Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend of two years wants us to move in together. I suspect we’re getting engaged soon, so I see his point. But from early on, I expressed my feelings about living together before marriage. I feel like being married is a big deal and part of that is finally sharing a space and a life with your chosen partner. I also value my independence and privacy, and it would take a life-change to put those aside.
He says I’m being a little selfish, and if I really love him, I’d want to be with him as much as possible. We both know I’m not “holding out” for a ring, so I think he’s out of line. Is this a red flag?
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Well, why isn’t he being just as selfish by insisting he get his way? “If you really love me” pronouncements cut both ways and need to be called out accordingly.
You’re in it for the life commitment, right? Then explain to him that you’ll move in when this is a life partnership. None of this “I suspect” stuff about engagement, either; in any other aspect of your life, do you hand the decision to someone else and wait to be surprised? Talk openly about your commitment. When you’re both satisfied, then you talk housing.
That is, if he can grasp that starting a sentence with, “If you really love me … ” is at best adolescent and at worst coercive. An attempt to pressure someone into something s/he doesn’t want is never to be dismissed lightly. Please make sure that’s an aberration for him, one he readily agrees is out of line once you bring it to his attention.
Dear Carolyn: My ex-fiance and I called things off less than a month before what would have been our wedding day. As I painfully process everything that comes with that, I have NO IDEA what to do on that un-wedding day, and I’m dreading it. It’s easy to say I should do something I’ve always wanted to do, but there’s nothing I want to do! I really don’t feel up to planning something — I’m exhausted and emotionally spent from heartbreak, not to mention dealing with all the details of de-planning the wedding. I am seeing a therapist, and I know this period of misery will pass with time, but I’m grieving now. Please, any suggestions?
Well that stinks, I’m sorry.
A vision of your ideal zero-planning day of self-indulgence is good to have handy, because sometimes we’ve got nothing left. I’ll share an obvious one I defaulted to once: watching, back-to-back-to-back, a movie trilogy that I had always wanted to see but had never gotten around to. I actually remember it fondly.
During another big empty day of lousy significance, I took a low-stress, no-planning, short-haul road trip to a really pretty place to see a low-maintenance friend.
Good luck and hang in there.
To: Un-Wed: Do you feel comfortable asking some of your closest friends to plan the day for you? When a friend of mine was facing his un-wedding day, he told me he would need to be distracted — so I planned the day for us.
What a good friend.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.