Togetherness

13 May

Dear LetterBalm: My boyfriend and I have been together for a year. We’re great together, and he’s the best man I’ve ever known. Our families and friends are happy with our relationship. Last week he asked if we could move in together. This has thrown me, but I haven’t told him how panicked I am. I’m perfectly happy the way we are. He’s brought up marriage. If we eventually get married and have a home together, I’ll be happy, too. But for now, he and I each have our own place; we stay overnight several evenings a week at each other’s home. What can I say to slow him down but not discourage him?

–Home Sweet Home, For Now

This could be an example of missed timing: You two may be at different stages in your lives. He may want to settle down, but you, even though you love him, shy away from the first step in making a life-long commitment. It sounds to Ms. L.B. like you’re invested in your relationship for now, but you aren’t ready to give your boyfriend that promise for the future. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you must walk a fine line. You mustn’t give him the impression that you’re postponing moving in together for no good reason. You have to be prepared to reopen the discussion after a certain period. If you love him, this should be no problem. But if you don’t see a commitment to this man in your future, be honest with him. Keep all this private until you figure things out by yourself. You might try this:

Henry, I’m so touched that you want us to move in together, and you deserve an answer. The simple truth is I’m not ready yet. Please don’t think I’m pushing you away. I love you more than any man I’ve ever known, and you know I’m perfectly loyal to you. But I want to be totally comfortable taking the next step with you. Relationships are a big risk, but I think I have found a great guy. I want to keep our living arrangement as it is for another year or so as we get to know each other even better, so we can be even surer we’re doing the right thing. Does this make sense to you? Can we talk about this?

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