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Ask Ellie: Boyfriend wants to live together 'to see what happens'

Who controls the "test" of a relationship? Woman is uncomfortable about boyfriend’s request, "as if he’s setting up an experiment that only he controls."
Advice columnist Ellie Tesher.

Dear Ellie: I’m a woman, 29, who’s been dating a man for the past five months, and I really like him a lot.

Recently, he said that he wants me to move in with him. He’s 10 years older than me, so I thought he was silently hoping for me to have kids with him as soon as possible, but he says that’s not his priority.

Instead, he said he wants us to experience living together “to see if it works” and if we get along and suit each other’s personalities and needs.

I’m feeling uncomfortable about this, as if he’s setting up an experiment that only he controls. I’m worried about not meeting his private goals for us and about me. And about my becoming nervous with him instead of feeling relaxed together.

Things had been great while just dating. I didn’t have to be with him or anyone else if I needed time to myself, or if I felt crabby.

My mother is “old school” and old fashioned. She’s worried I’ll get hurt and said I shouldn’t even consider living together.

She wants me to wait for a marriage proposal, or walk away from this man whom I actually love. I need your advice.

Should I Refuse?

Not yet. First, be direct: He has come up with an odd “ask,” since living together can reveal him to be the wrong partner for you, instead of the other way around.

Next, tell him you love him. Then state some of the negative things that he’s revealed about himself: specifically, that he’s taking “control” of the relationship instead of asking what you’d choose about the relationship after these past five months of dating. And also, mention what you wouldn’t choose.

Ask him about the partner issues that he already thinks he’d find uncomfortable. Then, decide for yourself whether you’re willing to try out his live-in “test,” or just carry on until it becomes obvious whether you’re a committed loving couple. Or not.

Dear Ellie: I’m a guy who’s always loved sports, the outdoors, and my buddies. I’ve been close with half a dozen guys from high school and a couple of buddies from college.

But lately, the gang isn’t as close. Three guys got married, and two of them already have kids. We’re all around the same age (I’m 28), but it feels like everything’s changed, and it’s worrying me.

Then I realized that I’m lucky in another way. I got a job in a health-care field and I enjoy how my work helps people. I have the chance to travel overseas for a special course that’ll take me to a higher level.

Though I’d like to hang out with the guys, I now feel I’m on my right track, regarding the present and my future.

But how do I stay friends with people I care about, when I’m living a whole different lifestyle?

Separate Tracks

First, you stay in touch with longtime friends whatever way you can. Ask about their kids (learn their names) and their wives (remember their names, too) and the guys’ jobs.

Also, share some “good, old times” stories from the past, and some of the great sports moments watched or played together with these special buddies.

In time, some of you will catch up with each other. You’ll re-hash some of the old sports plays on special occasions, and you’ll stretch those past friendships to a new normal of getting together whenever possible.

Reader’s Commentary

Regarding the daughter, 22, who dislikes the way her mom’s “new man” looks at the young woman or how he treats her mom (May 18):

“He may be targeting the younger woman. Does she have a way to lock her bedroom door when her mom’s asleep or away? Does he have a key, to enter the house uninvited? She and her mom need to safeguard this daughter from being a victim.

“As a family physician, I’ve encountered young women who were drugged and raped in the home and the parents who allowed the predator free access had no idea.

“If this young woman’s gut tells her that the guy is a creep, she must follow that instinct and protect herself from him immediately.

“Tell her friends and relatives.

“Google the guy to ensure he has no criminal record or avatars on social media.

“Plan a getaway and all the details — women’s emergency shelters can help.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

To live together to “see what happens,” isn’t as illuminating as mutually discovering how great it can be.

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