Thursday, 10 November 2011

Janine's Fear - I'm Not Ready To Move In With Him

Dear Babs

I am 40 years old and I recently got engaged to a 28 year old man. I am very happy with him but I do have a few worries. Although I have had several serious relationships I have never lived with anyone. I left home when I went to University and ever since then I have had my own space. We have been together for a year and he's stayed over regularly at weekends. To be fair we've got on with no upset but weekending is different to living with someone permanently. My fiancee is already talking about moving in together but I've told him I'm not ready for that. He's upset about this and says I'm holding him at arms length and is questioning how committed I am to the relationship. I really do want to be with him but it feels as if things are rolling out of control. Perhaps it is me but I want to wait. My friends think I'm unhinged and should be grabbing the opportunity with both hands. I wanted to ask you am I being unreasonable? 

Dear Janine

Let me first say congratulations on your engagement and then ask what was your intention in getting engaged? I can understand you having doubts about sharing your space if you've been on you're own for 20 plus years but I guess implicit in the idea of the commitment is that you'll get married and live together. If you hadn't already told me your age I would have thought you were older, since engagements when not living together seem a little old fashioned? These days people often live together, have children, and then get engaged?  I am assuming with you weekending together it's not about chastity or religious obligation? Anyway, I'm digressing so to the point. Ask yourself :-

1)  is your want to be with this man greater than your fear of moving in with him? 
2) can you live with someone amicably?

When we form a relationship and or, live with someone there is inevitably a period of adjustment. The knack is actually talking about how it will work before you do it. I guess work out the contract. Another thing that causes problems is one person moving in with another and I think you're probably evidencing that anxiety. Perhaps a more useful option if economically viable would be for you to search for a mutually acceptable home.

I do also pick up on a power and control issue which clearly could become a problem insofar as he appears to be in an irresistible force and you the immovable object. I always wonder when couples get into this situation what that is really about and what makes that particular issue the battle ground - perhaps you could think about that and or seek counselling prior to living together. The only viable option it seems to me is to come to a compromise? I can understand where you're both coming from but in my opinion you need to negotiate so you both feel you're in win win situation. 

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