I have my own apartment about 45 minutes from my boyfriend. I spend 6-7 nights a
week at his place, so mine is getting treated like a very expensive closet at this point. My lease is about to be up and I’ve broached the subject, but he doesn’t seem to have any interest in moving in together in a “share the rent” committed way, much less getting engaged. My friends tell me to stop going over there every night and let him see how it is to miss me, but I don’t want to play games like that. What’s the smart thing to do?
Cait in Waiting
Dear Cait in Waiting,
Before we get to your boyfriend, maybe it’s worth taking a step back and thinking about what this decision really means to you. Because living together is about much more than simply sharing the rent.
Sometimes when we think about moving in, we are only thinking of the surface change. The rest of it seems very romantic—spending your life with one person, saying “I do,” walking down the aisle, wearing a wedding dress, buying a house … you know, the fantasy. Often women get caught up in that romance without thinking through all of the actual details. Your living space, as a grown up, is going to change from being “yours” to “ours.” That’s a big deal. And if you’re like me, moving in means marriage somewhere down the line, which means that he could be the last guy you ever date. Have you thought that part through?
Another HUGE part of moving in is healthy communication. You have to know that your communication is so solid that you can easily and non-threateningly ask him to do things like take out the garbage, or pick up his dirty clothes, without him feeling like he is being nagged by his mother. If there’s one thing that can kill the spark in the bedroom faster than a knife fight in a phone booth—it’s women nagging men to do housework.
I agree with no games—games do not make for lasting relationships. But you know the old adage “boys are dumb?” They’re not. They are, however, a lot simpler to figure out than we women ever want to believe. If he isn’t showing interest when you bring up the idea of moving in, he probably isn’t interested in it. He may just not be ready for that step.
Women always seem to want things to just magically occur. But most men I know would be thrilled to do what we wanted if they were just told what—exactly, specifically—that was, rather than having to figure us out all the time. So, take the time to really weigh out what it is you want here. If you simply want to save on rent, think about other options. Perhaps it’s getting a place you love where you’ll both want to spend time? So you can share the burden of commuting?
If you truly want to live with your boyfriend, are you thinking marriage? If so, is this truly the last person you want to be with?
Once you know how you truly feel, then talk to him about it. Explain the reasons why you want to live with him and why it’s important to you. If you are already there six nights a week, what is really changing for him? Moving in together does not mean giving up your own lives and schedules, but he may have that impression. So if this is really want you want, make sure to voice that to him and make your case for why it will be good. Explain that you would be happy to know and follow the parameters of when you have couples time, and when it’s okay for him to just do his own thing. You can have one night a week—or one hour a night—where you just pretend the other person isn’t even there and you do whatever you need to do, for you.
If he’s still hesitant, try to find out his reasons. More likely than not it is because he’s not sure of where his future will be. Whether that has anything to do with you or not, you need to be honest with him about what you want and need out of the relationship. If you are the type who wants to move in, get married, and have kids—the whole kit and caboodle—then he needs to know that. And either he’s the type of guy who can offer you that or he’s not. Better for both parties to find out sooner rather than later.
Oh, and for much more on the topic of cohabitation, check out Kate Richlin-Zack’s opus, “Kate’s Dates: Why Living Together Before Getting Married Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be.” There is a Part One and a Part Two. And I’m not just sending you there because she agrees with me—she’s thought about this a lot because she’s been there.
Good luck to you!
Dear Kate is a column that runs on Kate-book.com every Thursday at noon. It is written by the wise Katharine Luckinbill, who you should follow on Twitter. Got a life, friendship, family, dating, or relationship question that you’d like Dear Kate to answer? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will help you out.