Dear MsBehaved: Jonna Ivin Answers It For You

Dear Ms. Behaved,

I have roommates, but since my boyfriend lives alone it’s more convenient for us both to spend our time at his place.  A few days ago we were watching television, and he asked me to move in with him.  Sort of. I have been hoping that our relationship would progress to cohabitation and eventually marriage, so the idea of living together isn’t troubling.  I am confused by the way he presented it, however.  

Out of the blue, he turned to me and said, “You should move your stuff in and pay rent here instead of paying at your place.” I asked him if he wanted to live with me and his answer was, “You’re here all the time anyway we might as well split the bills and save money.”

How unromantic! Does he want a partner or a roommate?  I want to live with him because we are in love, not because it’s a business arrangement.  He makes good money and his financial situation hasn’t changed since we’ve been dating. Of course I am willing to pay my fair share but that’s not the main reason for living together.  I think it was his way of asking me to move in, but what a crappy way to go about it!  He’s never been an overly emotional guy, but come on! We love each other, but I can’t imagine after a year together all the romance is gone. My mind is spinning and I don’t know what to do. Please help.

-Romance or Roommate

Dear R or R,

I found this question timely as I recently went through something very similar myself. The guy I’ve been seeing had a job opportunity out of state, and he told me, “You know, if you want to come you’re more than welcome.” Then, proceeded to go over all of the financial in and outs of moving and getting a place together.  Like you, my question was if he wanted me to come with him.  I asked and  his reply was, “You have to do what’s best for you. I’m just saying you’re welcome to come if you want.” It didn’t fill me with warm fuzzies either and I decided not to go.  Picking up and moving across country for a lukewarm invitation didn’t feel right so I have passed on the offer. I will miss him a lot, but I think I have finally figured out that I want and deserve more in a relationship. So, I understand how you feel. If my guy had said, “I have to make this move but I really don’t want to leave without you. I want you in my life and would love for you to come with me,” I probably would have considered it or at least made arrangements to join him at a later date, but as it stands now, he is going his way and I am going mine.

All that said, our situations are different.  You boyfriend isn’t going anywhere. Whether or not you move in right away or not, the two of you can still see each other and continue your relationship. When your boyfriend brought up the living arrangement, he wasn’t under financial stress or pressed to make an on the spot decision.  He doesn’t need you to move in so I have to think that his offer was made out of a genuine desire to live with you even if it was presented in a lame package. You mentioned he isn’t the most romantic guy. This may simply be who he is and you have to decide if he’s the right guy for you. If you love him, you need to love him as he is and not as you want him to be. It’s like asking a duck to lay you a chicken egg. No matter how much you beg, plead or cry, a duck can only give what a duck can give. Wanting him to be something else will only cause you pain and frustration.  If you want to ultimately marry a romantic guy, than you need to start out by dating a romantic guy.

I’ve dated musicians and artists and it feels amazing to have a song written about you or receive long poetic love letters. But, I’ve also dated a few blue collar guys, and I tell you what, it feels just as good to have a man drive out to the boonies to change your flat tire when you’re stranded. Different guys have different ways of expressing themselves. For me actions speak louder than words. I would much rather have a man who loves me and is there for me, than one who can talk a big game but not be there when I need him.

I suggest you bring the subject up once again before making your decision and point blank ask him if his decision is based on his wanting to move your relationship forward or if he just wants to save a bit of cash. Give him a chance to explain in his own words exactly what he meant. His words may suck but his heart may be gold. The question is, what’s more important to you– a man’s words or his heart?

Jonna is here to help you over the mid-week hump every Wednesday.  Send your questions about  love, relationships, life, and grabbing life by the balls to jonna@msbehaved.com.  Read more of her posts here.

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Comments

  1. 1. I don’t think guys “get” the need to be romantic always. To him, he might view this as a big deal show of commitment in and of itself, he might not understand the need for trimmings. To him it might be a given that you are in love, he may not understand why you need reassurance in that regard.
    2. Dudes (not always but) often tend to think more in terms of practical terms rather than emotional ones. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, it’s just how his brain works. A close guy friend once told me that I might not be invited to his wedding “depending on the guest list and financial concerns.” I felt gutted, and my female friends were all like “oh no, that’s horrible!” while straight guy friends were like “well, it is a practical concern, it might be a family-only thing.” I can understand the practical side, and it hurt me that he didn’t frame it in a more sensitive way, but if he was seeing it from a strictly logical perspective he might not understand why it’s a big deal to me.
    3. Framing it in financial terms might be a defensive mechanism against rejection when taking a big step in a relationship. If you were to say no, it’s easy for him to be like “oh, well I just said that because it made sense financially.”
    4. Guys who make the big romantic displays are (not always but) often needy/insecure, manipulative (they know you will do what they want if they make the big gestures- I’ve met dudes whove gotten away with cheating and other bad behavior by overcompensating with the I love yous and dramatic gestures) or crazy. I run the hell away from any man who says I love you within the first few weeks of dating. (This has happened to me several times, it’s seductive but a big red flag). I once dated a man who bought me a $300 pair of designer shoes after we’d dated two weeks, and would talk about how we were going to take a romantic trip to Paris. This guy wound up being CRIMINALLY INSANE. It’s better to be with a sincere, stable guy than a flamboyant romantic who is big trouble.

    I don’t know your guy, but at the end of the day it might be a good idea to talk it through. I don’t think he’s viewing it as a Bert and Ernie situation, but you might want to get on the same page about expectations for future and where things are going.

    • I love all the points you brought up here, Bianca, but I especially like number 3 because that one one wouldn’t occur to me. I am THAT self-involved. I tend not to let anything go or give fella the benefit of the doubt because hung up on not “making excuses” for bad behavior. But dudes have feelings too! Gotta remember that.

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