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Dear Sugar Needs Your Help: His Past Made Him Scared of Living Together

Dear Sugar and Ready and He's Not Nell need your help. She's ready to live with her boyfriend, but he's reluctant based on an awful past experience. Do you have any advice?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half, and we have a great relationship in all respects. We love spending time together, and we deeply love and respect each other. We've both expressed that we're in it for the long haul, and although we haven't talked about marriage we know we're headed that way. Since we're still young, we're in no hurry but in the meantime we've discussed living together, but he's reluctant.

You see, he once lived with his ex-girlfriend, and shortly after they moved in together, things started to unravel. She never gave him any time or space to himself, and she didn't do her share around the house and became disrespectful and inconsiderate of his needs and feelings. Communication and intimacy went out the window, and the bitterness and resentment continued to build until she finally left him for another guy.

Because this is his only experience living with a girlfriend, he's scared that the same thing might happen to us. He realizes that our relationship is a hundred times better than theirs was, but for some reason he's still not sure about the whole idea. He says that he definitely sees us living together in the future, but whether it will happen soon (when our leases expire in seven months) is still up in the air. It's really frustrating when I'm so confident about living together, and all he can see is the possibility of failure.

I hate being judged based on some other girl's stupid mistakes, and would love the opportunity to show him that we can make it work. Is there anything I can do to encourage him to give it a chance?

—Ready and He's Not Nell


Join The Conversation
PinkNC PinkNC 9 years
You should respect the fact that he’s honest with you and not coming up with any other issues. When you experience what he possibly did, then you want to be cautious the next time around. It’s like a man that has gone through a terrible marriage and divorce. The last thing he needs is someone pressuring him or giving him ultimatums when it comes to remarrying. The same thing goes with this moving in bit. You have to give this man time to get over it. Now if you don’t like that one, then simply move to the next intelligent thing and try it out for 3-6 months. While ALSO one of you keeps their apartment or home. It is better to try it out with your other home on stand by, than to have you constantly arguing or worrying if he begins to feel backed up into a corner when it comes to his living space at home with you. A man’s home is his castle, and he should never feel pressure inside his own kingdom. Make a plan to try it out for 3-6 months, or just back off and keep giving him time, without your possibly nagging voice in his ear.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
If you love and respect him, dont pressure him into living together. He isnt judging you, he is judging himself and his experiance and you should be glad that he can realize what he wants in his life.
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 9 years
I was in a similar situation a few months ago, when my bf (of about 2 years) and I were talking about this. My lease was up with my current roommate (about 3 months from when we were talking), and I asked him about us living together. (He has a house that he owns, so I'd be moving into his place.) We talked a good bit about it, and came to the conclusion that it would be better for both of us, for me to get my own place, and we'd reevaluate later on. I was a little disappointed at first, but now, looking at moving into my own place this weekend, I'm so excited! Plus, like someone said above me, independence is a sexy thing - you've got to keep some mystery about yourself!
Lippy Lippy 9 years
The girl in the picture looks just like Kelly Anne from the current Real World: Sydney
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
I think it's fine that he's not ready to move in yet. Some people just need more time and maybe he really doesn't want to live with anyone yet, and is kind of using the past relationship as an excuse. Give him his space and enjoy yours! Don't let this minor thing ruin a great relationship. Maybe you two can move in together after the wedding?
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 9 years
Your leases expire in 7 months? Why are you even talking and/or pressuring him about moving in together now. God, if you are together in 4 months, maybe he will feel more secure and ask you. I would certainly not conintue to talk about it just cause you seem so sure about it since he obviously is not and pressuring him is not going to help your cause.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
if you haven't talked about marriage you can''t "know you're headed that way". i'm not sure why you would want to live with someone in the first place, and then add to the mix that your partner is against it, why would you want to do that??? this is like saying "you'd be so great! if only you were different and saw things my way". if the 2 of you are good together then you don't need to live together to prove that. your relationship is what it is, and either that's enough for you or it isn't.
highleesa highleesa 9 years
Ideally, your relationship would be considered from a fresh perspective. Unless there's more to the story that he hasn't shared, its not fair for him to completely rule out living together using the past as his only excuse. But in his head, based on the past (fact) it makes no sense to fix something thats not broke. Continue nesting solo. Adopting a "take it or leave it attitude" with regards to an insignificant deadline of moving in with one another really says a lot. Independence is really a turn-on. Although you may not get what you WANT your needs are ultimately going to be met. If you're in-love with him, accept it for what it is. Express your confidence that the relationship is good, healthy and always forward-moving through your patience and through your actions. Those speak much louder than words. A year and a half is still NOTHING in comparison to how long you two will be together (especially if you're ultra confident, and he is too, that this relationship will "grow old" - no pun intended ;)) AND...unlike a lease, you're a flexible woman. It's ingrained in us! You'll be fine if you sign on for another year and plans change...everything does. Savor your "separate but togetherness." It's only one phase of many that your relationship is bound to go through.
GrandEntrance GrandEntrance 9 years
give each other plenty of space and talk, talk, talk. Communication is key.
Marci Marci 9 years
Oooops! That first sentence should read 'you CAN'T force someone to do something they don't want to'.....
Marci Marci 9 years
You can force someone to do something they dont' want to do or aren't ready to do. You have to decide if you're alright with the possibility that 7 months from now he still may not want to live with you; and if that's the case, is that alright with you? But as others said, don't pressure him and don't try to convince him. And fluffyhelen's quoting popgoestheworld's words of wisdom was spot on. People really don't change much, so deal with this accordingly.
ClassicsDiva ClassicsDiva 9 years
I agree that the two of you need to talk, but you also need to accept the fact that the goal of your talk is not to convince him to move in with you. If he feels that you're just trying to convince him to do what you want, he won't really communicate with you. Your goal is to find out what it's going to take for him to feel comfortable moving in with you. It could be just time. Maybe not at the end of your current leases, but perhaps at the end of the next lease. Maybe you could sign six-month leases, and re-evaluate how he feels a year from now. He could also be looking for some reassurance that what happened last time won't happen again. Can you get a two-bedroom apartment? Even if you sleep in the same bedroom, you can turn the spare bedroom into an office or a den, so that if he feels he needs some space, he's got somewhere to hide. If he's worried about you not pulling your weight around the house, remind him of all you do to keep your own space neat now, and even talk about how you would divide labor, and come to an agreement on how often you think major chores should be done. Promise to talk things out before bitterness and resentment build, and use this talk as proof that when things get rough, you choose to keep communicating respectfully, rather than shutting him out. You might not like all the answers he gives you, and you do have the right to (gently) explain that a relationship is a partnership, and you have needs too. But if you don't demonstrate that you are willing to listen and respond to his needs, why shouldn't he assume that history will repeat itself?
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
Who knows you're in for the long haul, you.. him or BOTH of you? It sounds like he isn't aware of what being in for the long haul means. I believe popgoestheworld said in another comment that the World would be a better place if everybody just accepted that people generally don't change and deal with it accordingly. You need to seriously talk to him about this. 18 months in is more than enough time to aclimatize to the notion of living together..
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Don't pressure him, if at the end he doesn't want to, accept that. You say you're in it for the long haul? Then you'll be fine, just keep the lines of communication open.
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