Illustrated by Emily Turner.
Dear Miss Information,
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year, and things have been great until recently. We’d been talking about moving in together for a few months, and after being in agreement about how great it would be, he suddenly told me he’s not ready.
My lease is up soon, and I was counting on this move, so in addition to having to find a new place now, I’m feeling disappointed and heartbroken. It feels like such a rejection even though he says he still wants to be with me. He didn’t bring up any issues while we were discussing it for the past few months, so I don’t know what happened to change his mind.
A week after he told me he didn’t want to live with me, he spent a day rock-climbing with a female friend of his whom I don’t know very well. I didn't find out about this little adventure until after the fact. I'm not a rock-climber, but I still feel so betrayed and disrespected. I’m starting to worry that we have nothing in common and it’s making me worry about the future of our relationship. I really don’t want to lose him, but I don’t know what to do. Help?
Ok, you are asking two questions here. Let’s address them one at a time, shall we?
Moving in with a significant other is a huge step for some people (though others don’t think twice about it), and it can bring a lot of anxious sediment up to the surface of a relationship. The closer you get to this person, the higher the stakes. The more you interweave your life with someone else’s, the riskier it gets, and the more it hurts and disrupts your life when you lose them.
You and your boyfriend have only been dating for a year, and that’s chump change on the spectrum of long-term relationships. That doesn’t mean it won’t blossom into something incredible as it grows, but you really don’t know a lot about it yet. If your boyfriend wasn’t confident about taking this step, good for him for speaking up now, rather than once you were sharing a living space and it was too late to take a step back.
He still wants to be with you, right? So, stop trying to treat your relationship like you've got to advance to the next one quickly or lose the whole thing. Chill out, respect your boyfriend’s honesty, and be cool with taking things slow. Nobody got rejected here. Let your relationship deepen for a year or two and then revisit the topic of cohabitation. This might be the first big conflict of your relationship, and how you get through this will say a lot about its long term viability, so be clear and honest about your feelings but don’t spend too much time playing the victim here.
And, regarding your jealousy of your boyfriend’s day of sweaty outdoor excursions with a female friend: stop. She has literally nothing to do with your boyfriend’s hesitation to live together. I know you’re feeling insecure, but take a deep breath. Rock-climbing does not equal sleeping together. There’s no betrayal here, especially since you admit that rock-climbing is not an activity you’re interested in. You can request that going forward your boyfriend give you a heads up about this kind of activity if there’s something about this friend that gives you the willies, but you’re not his warden. He told you about it afterward, so it’s not like he’s sneaking around or hiding anything from you.
Honestly, it’s a huge red flag when the guy you’re dating has no female friends, so be glad you’re dating a decent guy who understands how to relate to women and form friendships with them without treating them like sex objects. If you’re worried about not having enough in common, maybe you could ask him to take you out for a day on the mountains so you can explore whether that’s something you might like to do together, though remember — common interests alone don’t mean you guys are meant to be, and even if you like to do different things, you might still be very compatible. And, if it turns out you guys aren’t so compatible after all, won’t you be glad you figured that out before co-signing a lease?
This post was authored by Sarah Jaffe.