My boyfriend and I have been dating almost 4 years and are both 25. I feel like we have the perfect relationship except when i bring up moving in together hes "just not ready" (99% wants to 1% doesn't - he says). We never fight we are truly best friends - except when when i first brought up the issue of moving on together (about 8 months ago)- he told me he wasnt ready - i was completely shocked that he didn't love the idea and didn't want to live together so after much arguing (yes i was being mean and acting very hurt) we (more-so he) ended up going on a "break for 5 days" so we could think about what we really want from the relationship. We realized we missed each other and couldn't live without each other we were both miserable.. That was 8 months ago - now its time for his lease to renew so i brought up the idea again and he still 'isnt sure he is ready'. (i was planning on waiting for him to bring it up but it was eatting me inside) I don't want to push him but i am scared that he may never be ready and am concerned about how much longer i will have to wait. most of all i want to move in because i think we are ready for this next step, we spend so much time together and it is the logical next step in our relationship. I know he is worth waiting for if he isnt ready but it is breaking my heart in the meantime. We spent 6 of 7 nights together as it is. I know i couldn't be without him but i feel I may resent him for not being ready. - (a part of me thinks, its not like i am asking for a ring...just simply for him to move in when he is over nearly everyngiht anyway) What do you think? I asked him for a timeline and his response was im not sure if it will be 2 weeks, 6 months, im just not ready now...eeek!
My question is if we spend (meaning he sleeps at my place or I sleep at his) nearly every night together (on average 6 of 7 nights a week) what is the difference? – then just moving in together?? And why wont he just move in? We both currently have roommates and I just hate commuting back and forth and having 2 sets of everything and i don't think it is fair to our roommates (we basically sleep at eachothers place everynight). How is he not ready when he is already spending all his time with me?
I really feel so lucky to have him and am so happy with our relationship – am I asking too much and should just continue to enjoy our relationship or is he taking advantage with no formal commitments? We are same religion/culture/values so I doubt that would be it. Also, we both have great jobs and are financially stable. When we last spoke about the issue he said he wasn't in the place he wants to be career wise and feels he may loose a part of being able to 'find himself' if he moves in... i reassured him that wouldn't happen and we left it off that he would let me know in a few weeks.
Am i pushing too much? Should i back off? He is perfect in everyother aspect and i really do love him so much- but that is also the reason why i am so unsure of why he just is not ready... I also feel like maybe he is the type of guy who would want an engagment before moving intogether? but if that were the case wouldn't he just say so? I know we are young, only 25 but we are truly in love and really do have a great relationship.
Im confused… I would appreciate any insight here...
I'm going to cut to the chase, and then break some things apart for you.
You asked, why won't he move in if you spend 6 out of 7 nights together anyway, what is the difference?
The answer is, if you're already spending 6 out of 7 nights together, why should he.
Right now, he's got everything he wants. Why would he change that?
You admitted when you took a 5 day break that he was feeling as you did - missing the relationship, and more convinced of his feelings. So you know for a fact that when he is apart from you he wants to step it up.
Now let's break down some things here and examine it all more closely.
He said he's not where he wants to be career-wise, and is afraid of not being able to find himself. OK, that's a load of shit. But there is a point in there that needs to be translated. You're both 25, and have been together 4 years. This means, his frontal lobes completed development during your relationship.
While he was with you, a part of his brain developed that allowed him for the first time in his life to understand consequence, and long term commitment. He did a big part of his growing with you. He got involved with you before he understood these things. He may have thrown around ideas like marriage or living together, because he didn't understand the true impact of them. After this physiological change occurred, he had the capacity to to understand the seriousness and depth of these terms. So most likely, he stopped throwing them around, or stopped taking them lightly if they were brought up.
That line about his being afraid he won't find himself is crap, but there is a good point in there he's poorly expressing: He changed once. He knows it on a very animal and base level. He realized how big and important commitments are. And he wants to make sure he's doing it right. He wants to feel like he knows himself and knows what he's doing now. It's hard to be 25 and realize that what you were feeling and thinking at 21 is all changed now.
What this translates to, is that he's afraid of failure.
We can also tell this by the symmetry he puts between career and finding himself. And another tell is that you said he's actually got some financial success behind him. That means he knows the difference between succeeding and failing. Once you know, it's harder to take a leap. Really, I think he's afraid of failing. Failing himself, failing you, failing some how. Now just review that for a second - he's just come out of a period where he awakened and realized things he didn't understand at all before. He knows he changed once. He understands consequence. The world got bigger over the past few years for him. He just doesn't want to make a mistake, with something that he now realizes is the most important thing in the world - his relationship with you.
You asked if you should back off, if you're pushing too hard, if maybe you should wait for the ring...
I have to go back to the obvious to bring this all into focus. Remember, he has no reason to change anything. He has every benefit of cohabitation. He has everything he wants, and can take all the time in the world. That is, unless you stop that.
The key here is not to punish him. He's done nothing wrong, he doesn't deserve to be made to feel like he has. My advice is to drop the pushing. He knows how you feel. Nothing comes from repeating it over and over. I promise.
But in your most femininely charming way, with your inside voice, and with a smile on your face, you have to stop letting him sleep over so much, and you have to stop sleeping there. You have to make Living Together into something that has rewards. Just like when you two took the 5 day break. If he wants to be with you more, than he has to take the next step. You have to be strong, but you really have to be nice about this. Remember, you're technically trying to lure him. You sure as hell can't do that if he's feeling like you're angry, or bitchy, or punishing.
Taking this backstep is also a good way of opening that door to the possibility that you may be right: maybe he wants to wait until he proposes. And that may be a year away. Who knows, Linda. I'm just saying, you have to give him something to look forward to. He has to be enticed into wanting to make that next step.
One last pearl - if he didn't want to live with you, no trick or wink or prize at the end would make him. So don't think of any of this as tricks. You can't trick someone into moving in, you can't fake them out into loving you. They either do or they don't. But what you can do is to help them to move along the path they are on with ease. All you're doing with backing off, dropping the pressure and enticing him to want to step up his commitment, is to make what he already wants to do easier and clearer.
And if it takes him a little while, so be it. You have time. And I think you have a good shot at making it ;)
Do you have a relationship question? Email me through my profile link. Thanks!
dotty1 from In my world on December 18, 2010:
ooooo so loved this advice and I read it today when I just so happen to be asserting myself hehe x
Veronica (author) from NY on June 02, 2010:
Great news! I'm so happy for you. Thanks so much for letting us know!
This advice applies to a lot of different dynamics and relationships, from your kids to your boss. People will continue to do what they want to do, as long as you reinforce for them over and over that it's perfectly fine, by allowing it. You want to be treated a certain way, you want certain things, it's up to you to show people with your actions what's acceptable for you and what isn't. You have to follow through. You have to mean what you say. I'm so glad for you that you were able to be true to yourself with your actions, and that he responded positively. Congratulations!
Linda on June 02, 2010:
well everyone i have GREAT news.
I tried this plan (could have been stronger and more firm at times) and it worked! it didn't take long at all either - i would have written in sooner but didn't want to jinx myself!
i think it only took the first "its okay - you sleep at your house and ill see you at mine in the morning" to shock him into the right place. I saw the look on his face - the confusion - and about a week later i got the good news.
Thanks for all your help and support - i am forever grateful! I will keep following your blog as i love to read all the advice you give.
Veronica (author) from NY on April 29, 2010:
Elizabeth from Some Sunny Beach, USA on April 29, 2010:
Veronica, Great advice.
Linda: Please keep us posted as this is a very interesting situation! Good Luck!
Veronica (author) from NY on April 28, 2010:
If he's assuming he can sleep over anytime without asking, you def have to break this mold, girl. Maybe stating it prior to his coming over will help. When you're making your plans, say it out loud, "Yeah OK, I'll meet you at 6 and we'll have dinner, and then you're going home tonight, so I'll give you a call in the morning when I'm awake about the park tomorrow." - or whatever. Yeah, he'll ask what's up, why can't he sleep over and you can't lie. You know how well you guys communicate. Just make sure you stay smiling, positive, inviting and encouraging. Be clear this isn't a game. You love him and can't wait to be waking up with him all the time. xo
Linda on April 28, 2010:
Yes I completely agree. The hardest part will be his assumption that he is automatically staying over at my place or I at his. I think he will definitely catch wind of a change in me and eventually ask – where I will follow your directions.
I think my goal will be no more then 3 nights a week from here forward.(any maybe even fewer as i grow strength) This is really scary but really exciting because I know positive things will come of this!
Veronica (author) from NY on April 28, 2010:
New behavior should start immediately and do not tell him. Don't become unavailable as in always having plans. Just say no. But the important thing is you have to say no with a smile. Positive reinforcement that time with you is happy time, that you aren't miserable and complaining all the time. If he says sleep over, just say, "No thanks, love, I'm going to head out to my place." If he asks to sleep over, say, "No that's ok. I'll just see you tomorrow." If he doesn't ask, you have to bring it up and say, "Listen why don't you leave for the night and I'll call you tomorrow."
If he directly asks you what is up, do not lie. But make sure you word it in a very non-accusing way. Smile sweetly and say, "I don't want all this sleeping over anymore, I'm serious about this. It's too much. But I am sooooooooo really looking forward to waking up together every day - some day."
Yes, it is going to be really difficult. But he has no reason to move in when he has every benefit of it already.
If there was a car dealership near you, and there was this beautiful car there you really liked, and every time you went in and asked to drive it they said, sure! Take it! And you could keep it over night and weekends, and just drop it off from time to time when you felt like it, what do you think you would do if the salesman asked after four years, when are you going to buy the car?
You would say, "Why should I buy it? I can drive it anytime and keep it as long as I want. What benefit comes from buying it? then I have to get insurance, i have to pay for the registration, I have to start washing it and taking care of the maintenance. Right now I'm almost never without that car. I drive it 6 out of 7 days. No this way is just fine, thanks."
Linda on April 28, 2010:
Thank you so much for your thoughts and words of wisdom. You are right – there is no motivation for him to step it up. My next question for you is – do I say I am backing off and tell him I think we should only spend a few nights together rather then nearly every night? Or do I simply just start making more plans with other friends and becoming less available? As we left things, he was going to let me know in a few weeks what he decided regarding moving in – do I start this new behavior immediately or after his I get his answer (assuming it is a no?) I know these are a lot of questions but I really trust your input ? I had a gut feeling even before your response that this is what I was going to need to do and I feel like it is going to be REALLY difficult especially on weekends when we typically spend from Friday after work until Monday when we go to work together. But I know I need to do this, I will be strong and keep you updated…
I completely agree with your idea of his fear of failure. A girlfriend and I were talking about this issue (she dates his roommate) and she commented, “he needs more confidence in himself”.
I know I need to back off with the pressure – from here on I vow to never bring it up again – its official. These changes will be hard, probably more so for me because I know they are going to happen but I will stay strong and keep you updated.
Thanks for your advice!
Veronica (author) from NY on April 27, 2010:
valeriebelew from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA on April 27, 2010:
Your advice was good. Pressure is a turn off, and being too available is boring. I've seen people in such situations end up leaving the person for someone new, and marrying the new person after only a few months. Something is wrong, or he'd have made the move himself, and it might be the pressure and the availability combined. Probably is. Good advice.