Okay to move out but still be together?
August 30, 2012 5:43 AM   Subscribe

Moving out but not breaking up?

I have been with my boyfriend for almost 9 years. We have a fantastic relationship and I love him dearly and don't want anyone else. There's only one problem; our living situation. Our house is lovely from the outside but on the inside it's a mess (not dirty) from all of his things. It's his house so I feel bad being upset about it. We have no furniture (except for a bed, t.v. and kitchen appliances)because he wants to pay off all of his debt first (It's been this way the whole time). Not having "things" is not a big deal to me since I didn't grow up with much but it's the lack of a "home" that is killing me. I have brought it up to him in the past and he feels the same way too but he has yet to really do anything about it. I've tried to make the place nice but it's hard when you have boxes, papers and misc. stuff lying around and half painted walls. He works a lot so I know it's hard but when he is home he doesn't want to do anything (I can't blame him) but we'll never progress if this continues. Like I said, I have brought it up several times and have even tried to fix it myself but it's hard when he won't let me do things because he wants them done right. Another part of this whole thing that has been killing me all these years is not being able to have my family or friends over. I have two nieces (3 and 1 month) who I would love to have over to stay with me but I can't because the house is not suited for that type of thing. I can't have my grandmother, sister, mother, father, etc over for dinner (which I've always wanted to do) because the house just isn't able to handle that. I'm 29 years old (he's 41) and I feel like I've given up so much of my life because of this. I've recently found a house that I'm interested in renting. I'm a teacher so I have the income to afford it. The thing is, I feel so bad for wanting to move out! I DO NOT want to lose him because I love him so much and he loves me but I am not happy at all living in that house. I can't take it anymore and don't want to lose anymore of my valued family and friend time. I know I can go to everyone's house but I want to open my own home to my loved ones too. He has always been a proponent of having good individual mental health and treating each other in ways that will support that so I can see him being okay with how I'm feeling and my desires to move out but still be together. On the other hand, maybe he won't be okay because the idea is ridiculous and selfish? I feel horrible but I know if I stay I'll just continue to be unhappy. Am I a total jerk for feeling this way? Am I wrong? Thanks everyone.
posted by Confusedteacher to Human Relations (66 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
A 41-year-old man who lives in a home without furniture, driving away his partner of a decade and refusing all attempts to change the situation, isn't doing something financially admirable -- he's living out some kind of mental health issue. You don't have to blame him, but you do have to find some perspective on what's really going on.

You aren't a jerk. This man needs professional help, and you need to have a space where you can feel comfortable hosting your friends and family, as those are critical aspects of leading a healthy life.
posted by ellF at 5:47 AM on August 30, 2012 [62 favorites]

You have a right to live like an adult. You have a right to tables, chairs, a sofa, painted walls. His style of living is odd and probably a sign of some psychiatric issues. If I were you, I would move out and feel perfectly OK about it.
posted by HuronBob at 5:48 AM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Its okay to ask for what you want.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:53 AM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

You have our permission to go. Better to live in a small apartment with a few chairs and a table to eat at, than a big house full of nothing but junk.
posted by zadcat at 5:54 AM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

Hang on. Your idea is neither ridiculous nor selfish. You're not a jerk and you're not wrong.

Your boyfriend has been de facto dictating your living conditions. Partners compromise on living arrangements, the compromise being that with which both parties can be reasonably happy. You're not happy. You say you've talked about what you need many times, and he is unwilling or unable to take action. Well, time to meet your own needs.
posted by likeso at 5:56 AM on August 30, 2012 [9 favorites]

At 41 your boyfriend has had his life on hold for as long as you've known him. If you're in love, and he wants to make a life with you, then you'd be officially partnered and you would both have equal say in how the housing is maintained.

You don't have to keep your life on hold because your boyfriend is a mess. Go, make a home, fill it with things and people who mean something to you.

If your boyfriend wants to be a part of that, he must earn his way in.

Also, not that marriage is the be-all and end-all of any relationship, but if you want to be married and have a family, your boyfriend is pretty plainly telling you that he's not interested. Is that okay with you?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:58 AM on August 30, 2012 [16 favorites]

have even tried to fix it myself but it's hard when he won't let me do things because he wants them done right.

Being unwilling to either deal with or let someone else deal with his stuff/projects, your partner has created a situation that suits him perfectly but doesn't consider your needs at all. He never has to change/grow/adapt/share. You are not the one being selfish here.

You have two options: move to your own home and make it your own ... and when he comes over to spend time with you, he cleans up after himself -- your house, your rules. Or stay in your shared home (who owns it?) and demand equal say in how it is run (e.g., he gets a junk room but you get furniture and fresh paint and no clutter in the public areas).

Either way, try to break out of the dynamic where he is "letting" you or not letting you do things.
posted by headnsouth at 6:00 AM on August 30, 2012 [9 favorites]

If you live there, it is your home too. He is the "total jerk," for not allowing you to treat it like your home.

I'm a little concerned for you; worrying that your desire to feel comfortable in your own home (by whatever means necessary) is "ridiculous and selfish" is not healthy. It tells me that maybe because you have been with him for so long, and from such an early age, that you've accepted whatever perspective he has on things as Bible truth and have not developed the independence to embrace your own beliefs and opinions. I believe that some time living apart might give you some much-needed perspective on what your own needs and values are.
posted by drlith at 6:01 AM on August 30, 2012 [22 favorites]

I think you should move out. And I think you should encourage your partner to get some psychological help. It sounds like he has some sort of anxiety disorder that manifests itself in a cluttered, badly-appointed home. That type of thing can be very difficult to break, and can take years to fix.

If you don't show consequences for creating an unlivable environment, he's not going to change (and in fact, he may never change), so I think this may be the best first step to addressing this issue.
posted by xingcat at 6:04 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is neither ridiculous nor selfish to leave a situation that is making you crazy with someone who refuses to allow you to make the changes you need in order to be happy. When you tell him "X is making me unhappy and I would like to do Y to fix it," and he says no to Y without offering any other sort of solution or compromise, he's saying that he doesn't mind that you're unhappy. That's ridiculous and selfish for someone you call your partner.

Frankly, I think your partner is being controlling. It may be his house, but when the two of you decided that you would move in, it became your home, and you have every right to be an equal partner in decisions about how the two of you will live together.

I will say, while we can all tell you that it's great and fine for you to move out without breaking up, ultimately, it's not up to us. You get to decide whether or not you want to move in, but then he gets to decide whether he wants to continue to date you. It is possible that he doesn't realize how dire the situation has become and that by telling him you're making plans to move out, you'll spur him to see just how miserable you are and to make some changes. But I wouldn't count on it. But in any case, I think you need to sit him down, tonight, and tell him that you've become so unhappy with the house that you're looking at rentals and that you're making plans to move out. Tell him that you still love him and want to date him, but you can't live like this. See what he says. Have the conversation. Because while we can all tell you that moving out and continuing to date is an okay, even positive thing for you to do in this situation, only he can tell you whether it's okay with him, and only the two of you can decide together what the future of your relationship looks like.
posted by decathecting at 6:07 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Move to the house you found. Living in a good environment is so important, and that's not a ridiculous or selfish way to feel. It's a hard decision, I know, but you don't need to keep giving up your life and what's important to you. Be happy.
posted by mrs. taters at 6:08 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you got together with this guy pretty young, which means you may not have perspective on how utterly abnormal his behavior is in the context of an adult relationship. Whether consciously or subconsciously, he's taking advantage of the difference in age and experience between you and using it to his advantage. I guarantee you there is no other woman who would put up with the crap he's putting you through because they have the experience to know he's being a shithead.

If the dude was a bachelor it is totally within his rights to live in a mud hut. Can't expect people to want to live there with him, of course. But he's not a bachelor. He's living with another human being, and that means it's kind of expected that he engage in compromise with respect to his living situation. Wanting furniture and not having boxes anywhere is not selfish. It is normal. Expecting you to live in a messhole? Never invite people over? That's selfish.

If he's taking the "It's my house so you can't say anything about it", well, that right there is an indication that he's not viewing your relationship as a partnership. After a decade there is some expectation that you are now sharing a living situation and get equal say irrespective of whose name is actually on the title or lease.
posted by Anonymous at 6:11 AM on August 30, 2012

Oh, and I should also say, while this could be a symptom of a psychological disorder such as anxiety, it could also just be that your partner doesn't give a crap about how his house looks. Some people simply don't mind living in clutter, and that's okay. Some people don't care about how their houses look, and don't care about entertaining guests, and are happy to throw stuff on the floor and forget about it. The fact that you don't want to live like that, and you have every right not to, does not make his different choice a pathology. Not everything that drives other people batty is a symptom of a mental health condition. Sure, by all means, if he has other symptoms that are interfering with his enjoyment of his life, encourage him to see professional help. But if this is driving you crazy and he's perfectly happy, I think you have to accept that he's just different from you in this way and then decide what to do about it.
posted by decathecting at 6:11 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

He's got control issues, and is maybe a bit of a hoarder. Is he willing to go with you to a counselor? If he is then try it a few times before you make your move. If he isn't then move out as quickly as you can. Everyone deserves to fell comfortable in their home.
posted by mareli at 6:12 AM on August 30, 2012

Moving out but not breaking up?

I think you should admit to yourself that what's actually happening here is a breakup.
posted by mhoye at 6:13 AM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

A little too much armchair psychology is going on here. Yes, living in a house with no furniture is peculiar, and may point to a mental malady. But let's also keep in mind the reason for this lifestyle choice. The 41-year-old individual in question has given up furniture to pay off debt. And paying off debt, in most cases, is always, always, always more important than furniture--and that includes furniture like couches and chairs. Paying off debt, assuming it is connected to a poor credit score, or has become burdensome in other ways, is more important than purchasing everything but the most basic consumer goods we need to survive. The OP's boyfriend is making a tough sacrifice, and he deserves applause rather than condemnation. Bravo, boyfriend.

That said, an unfurnished house is still less than a house. And it deserves furniture, no matter what the debt situation is. Before you move out, think about buying the bare minimum to make the environment livable. Get stuff on the cheap, from Sears or the Salvation Army. Most likely, you'll pay less than $500 for all you need.
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:26 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

It is SO not selfish to want to have a home where you can welcome your friends and family and enjoy spending time there.

I had a relationship once with a much older guy and lived with him in his apartment for a year, and even though (unlike your boyfriend) he had a comfortable home and good taste, it was very much his place and I never felt like I could make any changes because it was all his stuff arranged in exactly the way he wanted it. So I can sympathize with your position. But it really, really is OK to want to live in a place that makes you happy if that's something that's important to you.

You might put some time into envisioning what's going to happen when you tell him that you are thinking about moving out. He may very well promise to make some changes to get you to stay. The possibility, of course, is that he'll tell you he'll make some changes and then they won't happen, which will leave you in the same situation. So you should ask yourself some questions in advance so that you're prepared and don't make agreements you don't want to keep in the heat of the moment:

Do you want to move out no matter what? (This is perfectly OK, btw, but if this is the case you need to be ready to stand firm on it).

Are there SPECIFIC, ACTIONABLE changes that he could make that would make you willing to stay? (And I don't mean "buy some furniture", I mean "I want to have 2 chairs and a couch in here by next month" or "All the unfinished projects go in the back room" or "The walls in the living room need to be fully painted in three weeks".

No one here tell from your post whether your boyfriend actually has a psychological block on this or whether he just has different priorities and a high tolerance for mess, but these are priorities for you and that's OK. I agree that paying off debt is important, but if you are to the point of renting a different house because you can't stand it anymore, that money can go to buying some furniture from Craigslist or thrift stores.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 6:36 AM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Yeah... kinda with the last responder here... sounds like your boyfriend is between a rock and hard place a bit, he doesn't want to incur more debt by buying furniture and things. He probably has a mindset of "when I buy a couch, it'll be the last couch I ever buy" and thats whats holding him back.

Try compromising with him, you have a good income too, so why not see if he'd be willing to pool up $1000 between you both and go to IKEA? Even if you staged it as "temporary furniture" or said you'd get real permanent stuff after 4 years or so.

I know that good furniture is expensive, but IKEA stuff looks good in a pinch, is functional, and really will probably fall apart within 5 years anyway. I despise going to IKEA but sometimes its just what you need. Actually what I do is go on Craigslist and buy other people's already-built IKEA stuff for even cheaper.
posted by el_yucateco at 6:40 AM on August 30, 2012

If he won't let you fix the home you're living in with him, and living in it is making you miserable, then you should move out. You need to move out, I think.

I don't know whether he will be ok with this, but if he loves you and considers your feelings, he will make his peace with it.

(Of course, if that were the case, he wouldn't veto your attempts to make his house more liveable. I suspect he is not capable of acting like a grown up, and y'all got together when you were 20 and he was 32, and he's 41 now and not changing, and eventually this will end with you dumping him and winding up with a better match and being better for it. But I understand that's not your question.)
posted by J. Wilson at 6:40 AM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Being a homeowner is a 2nd job. By not investing any time into the property he's effectively losing value/money.
posted by MangyCarface at 6:42 AM on August 30, 2012

If you try to solve the problems that he can't solve because of his debt, and he says no, then you have your answer. Have you looked on Craigslist? You may be able to find things like a coffee table and couch for free or close to free -- and you evidently can afford furniture, even if he cannot.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:44 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can move out and not break up if it is done with understanding. I have two friends who stopped sharing a space for three years but recently moved back in together, both the better for it. They may be a unique case, but this is an acceptable action.

Your relationship with him is dictated by you and him and no one else. If you want to be together or even married with you living in separate residences, there is nothing wrong with that. It may garner some odd looks, but it is your right as a couple to live in a manner that works for both of you and maintains both parties mental health.

As with the couple above, you move out for a while and move back in later if this works for both of you. If after he has paid off his debt he then goes about making a place where you can live, if things seem like they work, you can move back in.

Be prepared, if this works out, the reassure friends that things are still good if you move out. It is unusual, but it is possible.
posted by Hactar at 6:45 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

The 41-year-old individual in question has given up furniture to pay off debt. And paying off debt, in most cases, is always, always, always more important than furniture--and that includes furniture like couches and chairs.

I'm sorry, but whatever his debt load, getting somewhere to sit inside of his own house can't conceivably throw off those plans, if the guy in question has any coping skills at all. Craigslist, yard sales, friends and relatives, Goodwill, Freecycle....the list goes on and on.

"I refuse to furnish my living space because I'm in debt," is a lousy excuse.
posted by xingcat at 6:50 AM on August 30, 2012 [34 favorites]

Context statement: I totally agree that his declaration of how the house will be, with no compromises to your needs, is unfair, and that moving out of this situation is probably the best thing for you.

If you move out without talking to him about it, pretty extensively, then yes, you're breaking up. Maybe not all the way broken up right now, but it'll be a wedge in your relationship that it'll take a long time to get over. It has to be your decision as a couple, not your decision as an individual, so talk.

Think about ways in which getting an apartment is the best thing for the two of you. Is the apartment entirely Yours, or is he invited to stay over without invitation? Would you be looking for a place down the street as nearby as possible or are you moving "away"? On the assumption that you're not breaking up, that he'll eventually pay off debt and finish the house, you'll recombine households someday - do you want his input on any of your furniture purchases? Would having living space outside of the work-in-progress house speed up any of the repair processes and get it ready for guests earlier?

Think about other ways that this compromise would work: Is he opposed to you buying furniture for youself with your money and it just happens to be in his house? If you've got $700/month to pay in rent, you could stay in the house for four months and buy a dining set and a living room set and all sorts of other things. Yours, not his.

I'm not saying that wanting to get your own apartment is wrong - it sounds like it might be just what you need. What I mean is, you need to talk to him about this. Calmly and logically, no accusation, just talk about what you need. Explain why getting an apartment is the best solution you've come up with, but maybe he really doesn't want you to move out. Maybe he has not yet understood how important this is to you. Be ready to talk about what specific things would need to happen for you to want to stay.
posted by aimedwander at 6:51 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

QFT: Your idea is neither ridiculous nor selfish. You're not a jerk and you're not wrong.

I was in a somewhat similar situation with an exboyfriend, although we only lived together for a summer and dated for less than a year. The only furniture he had in his nice apartment was a papasan chair that the previous tenant had left and an air mattress. He said he didn't "need" more furniture and that decorating was a waste of time. I remember one fight we had that left me totally flabbergasted as I tried to explain the virtures and importance of having chairs to him.

Admittedly, he/we had a host of other issues, but when I went back to his apartment to pick up something of mine two months after breaking up, the apartment was fully furnished. Somehow *that* was the ultimate nail in the coffin-- he wouldn't do it except under threat of losing the relationship forever.

I feel your boyfriend may be the same way. It wouldn't take any significant investment (especially if you pooled resources, which it sounds like you are willing to do) to get furniture on craigslist/thrift stores/IKEA and paint the house, and yet... he doesn't seem to consider that an option. Your happiness is not worth the $500 investment to him. He would rather lose your company in his house, which you share, than pony up $500-- which doesn't even need to be a single lump sum.

You are allowed to be happy and comfortable in the place that you live.
posted by Flamingo at 6:52 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

" I feel like I've given up so much of my life because of this."

This = him?

House can be fixed relatively easily. This, not so easily.
posted by Kruger5 at 6:56 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

We have a fantastic relationship and I love him dearly and don't want anyone else. There's only one problem; our living situation.

Do you really have a fantastic relationship? You love him. He loves you. That's not all that a relationship is. He doesn't fully appreciate your need to have a home. You live in his house. When you live in someone's house, you're a guest. You're not invested in the living situation. You feel like an outsider.

The fact that you've lived as long as you have in this dynamic is surprising. His money issues don't explain his apathy in keeping a clean house. I mean, you can have a sparse habitat and still be clean.

And once the house is clean, a few cans of paint and a weekend would get you painted walls. But if he's willing to let you walk because he doesn't want to go to Ikea for a cheap couch and paint the walls and tidy then it would seem like he's not as invested in this relationship as you'd think.

You're not wrong for needing and wanting the things you want and need. You should tell him that this is a dealbreaker and see what he is willing to do to keep you. If he does nothing...well, that's a breakup.

Don't be afraid to speak up. You're important.

Good luck.
posted by inturnaround at 6:59 AM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your input. It really helps a lot to hear from others. To answer some of your questions. I have family members who have offered their used furniture and he didn't want to take it even though it was nice. I asked him if my grandma could make me some curtains so I could hang them in the living room and he didn't want that to happen either. I know this sounds like he is controlling and maybe he is in this aspect but in every other aspect of our lives he's not. He doesn't ask where I've been or display any of the other typical characteristics of being controlling. Also, he makes a lot of money (he's an engineer). He typically brings home over a hundred grand each year. I forgot to say that he will also spend some money on things that are work related. For instance, he spent almost 15 grand recently on something that is supposed to help him with his work. He bought it almost 3 months ago and has yet to use it because of his engineering job. I know the answer should be obvious but when you care about someone and they do treat you nicely, it's really hard to even think about hurting them and I'm sure this will hurt him. Keep the comments coming, they're really helping. Thank you all so much. This is giving me a lot more confidence.
posted by Confusedteacher at 7:00 AM on August 30, 2012

I think you need to have a sit down and tell him, "Honey, I love you and I love being with you. I do not love living in an unfurnished house that you will not allow me to help make a home. It's your house, I get that, but I can't live in this kind of environment any more; I really miss having friends and family over. I'm thinking of getting my own apartment so that you can keep your house like it is and I can have a place to live where I feel comfortable. You'd be welcome to visit whenever you like. What do you think?"

Maybe once he hears that this issue is a big enough deal for you to seriously consider moving out, he may be willing to compromise. And if he isn't, you may be able to couch it in such a way that it doesn't end the relationship (assuming not cohabiting isn't a deal breaker for either of you). Either way, you deserve to live in a furnished, painted place. Good luck!
posted by smirkette at 7:09 AM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

I know the answer should be obvious but when you care about someone and they do treat you nicely, it's really hard to even think about hurting them and I'm sure this will hurt him.

Your current living situation is hurting you. That seems to be ok with him; don't make it ok for you. You have been accommodating your partner for a long time, and he has not done the same for you. Create a living situation that prioritizes your needs.

I am not happy at all living in that house. I can't take it anymore and don't want to lose anymore of my valued family and friend time.

Repeat this out loud to yourself every morning and throughout the day as you move forward. Your partner is a big boy and can handle the consequences of his rigid, uncompromising approach to the physical space he inhabits. Take care of yourself.
posted by headnsouth at 7:10 AM on August 30, 2012 [12 favorites]

I don't think he is controlling. I think like EllF says, he needs professional help. There is something emotional that is causing him to be this way. If you can't even bring in a piece of furniture or hang a curtain up, it is not about control and more about something mental.

If you love yourself as much as you love him, you will do what is right for you and move someplace that will give you sanity, peace and comfort. He can't provide you with those things and you have the means to give them to yourself. Go. Have a life of tranquility. Have the ability to share that tranquility with the people you love. Maybe when you move, settle into a home that is bright, cheery and furnished, he will see what it is that he needs to do. The most important thing is for you to have a home you enjoy being in.
posted by Yellow at 7:10 AM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

The 41-year-old individual in question has given up furniture to pay off debt. And paying off debt, in most cases, is always, always, always more important than furniture--and that includes furniture like couches and chairs.

I have a different read on this, which is that the 41 year old in question is very good at building up elaborate rationalizations for his behavior and making the OP buy into his mindset. Because in no way does the good and virtuous goal of paying off debt explain the control freak stuff where he will not put in the sweat equity to finish projects, nor let the OP do them, nor, on reading the follow-up, let anybody else in the OP's life pitch in with aid.

OP, I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Another +1 for moving in order to have the home you want and deserve, because 9 years is way too long to live in an environment you can't have any input into, or that you can't share with your family and friends the way you'd like.

Above posters are right in saying you can decide to move, but you can't decide whether he will continue to be in a relationship with you.

To me, no amount of "nice treatment" counteracts the fact that the way he dominates and configures your physical space has had you locked into a virtual and mental ill-furnished ivory tower with him, and that ain't nice at all.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 7:15 AM on August 30, 2012 [9 favorites]

I know the answer should be obvious but when you care about someone and they do treat you nicely, it's really hard to even think about hurting them and I'm sure this will hurt him.

A comedian has an monologue that is about, in part, his relationship with his girlfriend. At the end, they get to the brink of marriage before they call it off because he really doesn't want to get married. Years later, he goes to her house and her kids with her husband are running around the house and he asks her...

"Why did you stay with me all those years?"

She replies, "Because I didn't want to hurt you."

And that's it. They didn't want to hurt each other. They had love, but they couldn't be together because they wanted and needed different things. Not wanting to hurt someone is a pretty shitty reason to stay with them...and it just wastes both of your time.
posted by inturnaround at 7:19 AM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Both of you are making plenty of money to be able to get some tables and chairs for the house. There are people who are so much less well-off than both of you who still manage to do it. I can't believe one commenter seriously suggested that the boyfriend is being rational since he's in debt -- you don't think people who are in debt but have upper-middle-class incomes can buy furniture?! Furniture is not the real issue; it's a fake issue covering up a real underlying issue. Try to find the underlying issue and address that. If furniture were the whole problem, either one of you could have gotten some furniture a long time ago. The same goes for the other problems; for instance, too many boxes lying around? OK, he could unpack them or throw them out or whatever has to be done. You could encourage him and/or help him do this. People who have been in a loving relationship for 9 years are capable of helping each other out with minor household tasks -- if they want to. As for what the real issue is, I couldn't really say, since I don't know the whole situation.
posted by John Cohen at 7:33 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

"I love you. You have your house the way you want it, and that works for you. I need a home that works for me. I'm weighing the merits of renting an apartment for a while, and I wanted to let you know. Can we talk about this over the weekend?"

A script like this might work with an engineer type because it's factual, rational, and allows him some time to think about his response before giving it.

Benefit of doubt--he may not understand why these emotional factors (having friends over, having furniture with sentimental value, curtains that warm up the space, etc.) are important, let alone important to you. On the other hand, if you move out and he visits you and sees *what works for you in action,* he may be willing to reconsider changes to his space.

Good luck. This is a tough situation.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:35 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Based upon your update, I'm so sad for you. Your response is pitiful.

I know the answer should be obvious but when you care about someone and they do treat you nicely, it's really hard to even think about hurting them and I'm sure this will hurt him.

Treat you nicely? That's the fucking bare minimum that's expected in a relationship. Why have you settled for such a small crumb????

He doesn't seem overly concerned about his behavior hurting you. Sweetie, you seem like you're a lovely person, please, please move out and broaden your horizons.

Wouldn't it be better to be with someone who worships you and who would do anything if it contributed to your comfort and happiness?

Move out and don't break up, if you can manage it, but I beg you to open your eyes and see what's really happening here.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:37 AM on August 30, 2012 [18 favorites]

Armchair psych question: Have you had commitment issues with this guy in the past?

It is possible this stubbornness about the furniture is not so much about furniture as it is resistance to truly building a life together. Moving in together is convenient for a relationship by providing constant access to one's partner, but it's a huge step in commitment. However, if one is ambivalent about making that commitment a great way to have one's cake and eat it too is to allow the partner to move in, but continue to treat them like a guest via drawing lines on how much they're allowed to modify it or make the space livable for them.

Whatever the case is, this is a pretty clear indication the guy is not invested in you or the relationship.
posted by Anonymous at 7:39 AM on August 30, 2012

I think it's perfectly reasonable and understandable that you would want to live in a nice house, with nice things; a place where your family can visit and you can feel comfortable. I also think it's reasonable (if a bit less understandable, judging from most of the comments here) that your boyfriend could have extremely particular feelings about how his house is going to look, and yeah, maybe there is some small psychological issue there keeping him from wanting to change.

It's a perfectly reasonable solution that you could move out and get your own place nearby. There are many, many happy (married, even) couples that live in separate dwellings. He's 41. He's probably not going to change that much. If you really are happy with him and don't want someone else, discuss this with him and see what he would rather do - change his living situation, or live separately. Living separately is not that big a deal, and it's not necessary to make this about "a horrible problem that he has" if there is a simpler solution that can make you both happy. If living separately would make him or you very unhappy, he has the option to change, and you have the option to break it off.
posted by permiechickie at 7:42 AM on August 30, 2012

I'm going to take you at your word that he is not a controlling type of person. In fact, it seems like he might be the type of person who is paralyzed by wanting things to be "perfect." Since things can't be perfect, he gives up on doing anything as opposed to doing the not-perfect and/or temporary thing. This isn't a great way to live, but I can understand where he's coming from.

If you've been with someone for 9 years and you have a good, loving relationship he should want you to be happy (and vice versa). It very much seems like you're not happy. A straightforward, honest conversation like the one that smirkette suggests could be really beneficial here. In my mind, this conversation can not be about trying to use moving out as some sort of bargaining chit to get him to clean up his house. It has to come from an honest place about you finding a comfortable place to live that will make you happy. If he's as good a guy as you say, he'll want you to do what you need to in order to be happy.
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:58 AM on August 30, 2012

And paying off debt, in most cases, is always, always, always more important than furniture

There's a limit. If the OP is describing her house correctly, she can't sit down to eat.

Nobody can be in such debt that they can't buy a table and chairs on Craigslist so they can sit down to eat.
posted by zadcat at 8:12 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I was in a relationship with similarities. We had a LDR for 1 year and I relocated and moved into his home. Lived with him for 4 years. His place worked well for him. It did not work well for us. One bedroom was his closet - racks upon racks of clothing to the point you couldn't turn around - yet he pretty much just used the clothes out of the laundry basket from the last wash. I spent a great deal of time and money buying organizer systems, etc. to try to create order and maximize what space there was.

Two other issues came into play. Firstly I had assumed (yes, I know) that as our relationship grew we would eventually combine funds and get a new place which fit both our needs. Secondly I learned that he handled his finances very poorly. I do not wish to live with the stress of utilities being cut off due to someone not paying the bills on time because "it's not fun". The bills were in his name and he was not open to me seeing them or handling the payments. The money was there - he just didn't see timely payments as particularly important.

His lack of financial responsibility worsened and I ended up getting my own place with the understanding that we would still be a couple and this would eliminate the areas of friction in our relationship. I found a place 10 minutes from his house so it would be easy to be together.

Didn't work out. And I would have sworn that aside from those issues we were solid. The person who had no interest in replacing a sofa so worn that it sagged to the floor suddenly was furious that I was moving the sofa I had purchased to replace the ratty one. I didn't leave him without - we went to Ikea and I purchased replacements for many items. I left the majority of the organizer systems, linens, food, dishwasher, refrigerator, lawn equipment, etc. which I had brought into the house.

Each time he came into my house his fury would build. I didn't spend a lot, but I pulled together an attractive, functional adult space. The contrast to his place angered him.
I was building something and was excited about it. He was loosing something and the ramifications were starting to hit him.

Eventually in became clear that much of his reluctance to deal with the "issues" were actually indicative of much, much more. With hindsight I now can see that he had unspoken issues with us. His behavior since I moved has spoken volumes and I am now so much happier being on my own.

If you move you need to be aware that the relationship might not transition. For me that ended up being a good thing. Just took me awhile to realize it!
posted by cat_link at 8:13 AM on August 30, 2012 [11 favorites]

You're in this impossible situation where you feel like you're a part of this household (i.e., moving out would be seen as a betrayal) yet you don't feel like you get any say in how the house looks and whether it's comfortable (because it's "his house"). It is controlling for him to dictate that you can't bring in furniture or curtains. He doesn't need to be controlling in other areas of your life in order for this to be unacceptably controlling behavior.

You don't want to hurt him by doing something you know he won't like, but you've already tried the gentle, low-key ways to get what you need and he's ignoring or dismissing your concerns and feelings. I'm not saying you need to demand he put your name on the deed, but this is an imbalance you should address, and if he feels hurt because you take a stronger approach than you have in the past, that's really a consequence of his refusing to work with you on this.

I agree with others that there seems to be more going on with him than a practical approach to lessening debt. There are plenty of ways (including ways you've offered, that impose no cost on him) to acquire comfortable furniture to make the house nicer without incurring debt. There is a reason the house has no furniture and isn't decorated, but it isn't (just) because he's working hard on paying down debt.

I don't know how to untangle what's going on with his living situation, but I don't think you can even start to do that until you and he both come to an understanding that he may own the house, but if you're living in it, then it's your (joint) home, and each person should have a say in making it comfortable. If you can't reach that kind of understanding, then I think you should move out.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:18 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

It sounds like:
  1. He doesn't have his shit together financially; if he's been trying to get out of debt for 9 years then he's either in WAY too deep or he's continuing to use his credit cards even though he can't actually afford to pay them off. Without knowing further details, this is a red flag for me.
  2. He may be a hoarder. I know that I shouldn't try and diagnose someone with a mental disorder since I've never met the guy and I'm not a psychologist, but it sure sounds this way to me. The fact that he won't let you touch his things because you won't handle them correctly is part of what makes me think about this.
  3. Regardless of his reasons for doing what he's doing, even if my first two points are inaccurate, he is not treating you as an equal partner and you're being forced to live in a situation that you aren't happy about. If moving out will improve your mental health then I say: go for it! If he can't handle that, then perhaps cutting ties is what needs to happen (9 years is a long time, but it sounds like he's been treating you pretty poorly for most of that time).
For what it's worth, it is possible to live apart and still be in a healthy/successful relationship. I know of at least two couples (one married, one unmarried but together for decades) who choose to keep separate homes. They are happy and their relationships are strong, they simply prefer living separately and having their own space.
posted by asnider at 8:21 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

My husband was a bachelor for years, and while we did have some house issues when we first started living together, he is willing to change habits, offer to help out, and happily, we were able to get some nice armchairs and a used couch earlier this year. The old recliner went away! And we got a new dining set as well. I remember how stressful it was, wanting a house to look like a home and have guests over. At some point, I realized that he simply doesn't care about his surroundings as much as I do, but he did care that I felt the need to make it homey. Our problem was that we simply didn't have the money for good furniture but when we did, he went to the store with me and tried out chairs and we found a set we both liked a lot.

If he had spent $15 GRAND on some toy that was never used, while we didn't have a couch or a dining room table, I would have considered the old rolling pin (half joking!). Think of it this way: if you had a crappy roommate who told you that you can't buy new furniture and have to live in squalor the rest of your life because he can't be arsed to do something about it, would you stay with them? Because my idea of love is not making someone so miserable that they can't have guests over. Why buy something for $15K and not pay off the debt?

Get your own place and furnish it and get your life back. He is not going to change after 9 years of excuses. Picture living this way for the next 10 years. If he won't allow you to buy furniture or hire someone to paint the walls (as if he has an extra $15K to throw around, he most certainly could do so if his working hours leave him exhausted), then he is just insensitive to your needs. I can't imagine not being able to have my friends and relatives over, it must be very upsetting and isolating to be forced to live that way.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:21 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I know the answer should be obvious but when you care about someone and they do treat you nicely, it's really hard to even think about hurting them and I'm sure this will hurt him.

WHAT? but he can hurt you by refusing to let your family give you nice furniture for free.

He is only controlling in some ways. How many ways should someone be controlling before it is a problem?

I have family members who have offered their used furniture and he didn't want to take it even though it was nice. I asked him if my grandma could make me some curtains so I could hang them in the living room and he didn't want that to happen either.

Maybe you don't see this because you've been with this guy since you were 20 and he was 32 but he above is not normal.

This is your home. When someone moves in with you it becomes their home. 100% of the time.

If this boy will not accept free furniture, this has 0% to do with the debt. That is a lame excuse that you should not buy.
posted by French Fry at 8:28 AM on August 30, 2012 [15 favorites]

The problem isn't this guy. The problem is you. Get into therapy and figure out why you've allowed yourself to live in this ridiculous situation for years.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:44 AM on August 30, 2012 [11 favorites]

Also: acts such as creating a situation where you are not comfortable living but especially creating a situation where your friends and relatives are not welcome are "typical characteristics of being controlling"

Making different amounts of money, ownership of a building, duration of residence, age differences, gender differences are not acceptable reasons for having different amounts of power in a relationship of 9 years.

I make double your boyfriend's income and my wife is a stay at home mom. Even before we were married (and a lot less than 9 years in) it would have felt very very unacceptable for me to tell her she could not have furniture in our house or any other non 50-50 declaration about our finances or domestic situation.
posted by French Fry at 8:45 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Also, I did not ask my husband's permission to buy curtains - which he sees as unnecessary. I went out and bought tension rods and curtains and hung them myself. It was that simple. A lot of the discount stores have cheap curtains, or even Kmart or Goodwill can be great places for curtains. If you want to test it out, just, you know, get the curtains and hang them and see if he pitches a fit or just accepts it. Then you'll see if he really cares about being curtainless or if it's just that he's set in his ways.

I discovered that by simply just doing things instead of involving my husband in it, which he doesn't want, we were both a lot happier. It just doesn't appear on his radar. But if I ask his opinion, the answer is always going to be no (not telling me no, just that he sees no need to spend money on curtains, or a new bathmat, or whatever). So I've stopped asking, and he's stopped giving me his opinion. Win-win.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:46 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was in a relationship very much like this. From the perspective of years later, I can say that it was abusive in the extreme, in ways that I did not fully appreciate at the time.

I thought that he was tremendously loving and we had a great relationship, but I didn't see how much that was affected by my difficult upbringing and how truly low my standards were.

My ex had some severe mental health difficulties that I did not appreciate at the time because, like you, I was a lot younger than him, and hadn't been in many relationships before. He was extremely touchy about his stuff, I had no control over my own environment, and it stunted my personal growth in ways that I am still recovering from.

I'm not saying that this is your situation, but I really think you need to get some perspective on him, and moving out is a great way to do that.

He will likely (if he is like my ex), try to make this hard for you, coming up with all sorts of moral arguments about how *you* are destroying the relationship, character flaws you have, etc. Don't give in to these arguments like I did. They cost me years of my life.
posted by 3491again at 9:07 AM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Question for the OP: You've been together 9 years, but how long have you been cohabitating?
posted by sm1tten at 9:15 AM on August 30, 2012

9 years is long enough to know. He may love you, but he will NEVER provide you (or any children) with a loving nurturing home where all family member's needs are acknowledged, honored, and respected.

Get out.
posted by jbenben at 9:27 AM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: @ sm1tten, we've been living together for 9 years. @ 3491again, I too grew up in a rough home. Maybe that is why my standards have been so low because I've never really lived in a great place? I mean, we had furniture but it was still a very hectic and unstable upbringing for many reasons. Thank you to everyone who has posted, it has helped hearing different opinions.
posted by Confusedteacher at 9:28 AM on August 30, 2012

If you've been living together for 9 years, it is not "his house". It is also your house, and it does not matter even slightly who paid for it.

In all honesty, this is true as soon as you move in with someone. Immediately. YOU LIVE THERE. It is YOUR HOME.

If he is not allowing you to make any decisions whatsoever about the state of YOUR HOME where YOU LIVE, that is a big problem and a huge deal.
posted by kyrademon at 10:10 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was sympathetic to both sides, because I am a perfectionist who procrastinates about things like "home making" but also person who grew up in a rough household who craves her own home. But after 9 years, if it's not a home now, it likely never will be.

I know that it's really dependent on how he handles your speaking with him about moving out, but I also think that moving out after 9 years will be a nail in the coffin on the relationship. You have different values, and regardless of whether he has ISSUES or not, it's not likely that he's going to come around to wanting a "home" the way that you do or learn to share space the way that most people in cohabitating relationships would. Unless you are both content to live in separate spaces for the rest of your relationship (and many people do), I think it's difficult to negotiate that kind of step back going forward.

FWIW I moved in with my boyfriend into his apartment and there was definitely a feeling of "this is his space" AT FIRST. But my boyfriend made an effort to make sure that my belongings and personality were part of this space. And despite my tendencies (mentioned above) I would have done the same for him had the situation been reversed -- because that's the kind of relationship/partnership we both want.
posted by sm1tten at 10:59 AM on August 30, 2012

You've been living here 9 years.... He's right, this is his space.

All the more reason you should move out.

After all this is his space you've only been a guest with no basic roommate rights. It should logically follow that you should acquire your own space.
then DTMFA
posted by French Fry at 11:09 AM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

I sense that you, like me, tend to be sensitive to the needs of others and give them precidence. When your partner is happy, you identify with him and say, "WE are happy," and when his comfort comes at your expense you interpret your dissatisfaction as, "I am standing in the way of our happiness." This is a codependent tendency and when you catch yourself thinking along those lines, you have to remind yourself that sacrificing your own comfort for his does not benefit him or your relationship. It actually poisons the relationship.

In case you need to hear it again: Your needs, as you've stated them here, are completely reasonable and attainable. Your partner's arguments agains meeting them don't make sense to me, especially in light of his income and spending habits. He spent more on his work gadget than I make in a year, and I'm paying down some debts, and I have a comfortable and, to me, beautiful home, furnished with thrift store finds and free stuff from the sidewalk. Maybe your guy needs some mental health assistance or maybe he just needs a reality check. That's on him to deal with or not. But you deserve to have your own happiness, which he may or may not want to be part of. You've sacrificed a lot for him already. You have my permission to look after yourself now.
posted by milk white peacock at 11:11 AM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

check your memail
posted by French Fry at 1:07 PM on August 30, 2012

My partner and I bought a house together. It has two apartments. I live upstairs and he below. We are very happy.

There are more ways to go at this, so keep pondering. And don't let anyone tell you that not living together, or even sharing a bed every night, means anything about the life you share and love you have.
posted by Riverine at 1:45 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been there. When I was engaged to my ex-fiance years ago, we got a new apartment together and I was psyched to make it into a comfortable home (which, for me and most people, is a comfortable psychological space). We didn't have a lot of money (much less than you guys with two real jobs), but we had enough to pay bills and a bit leftover. The first issue came when we considered having a wedding registry. A lot of people told us they'd like to know what we (a young student couple) wanted, because they wanted to help us out, so I began to set up a registry with some necessities on it. He HATED this-- said it was sleazy and wrong to have a registry, that he felt tacky, that he didn't want people to feel like they had to buy us things. Then I tried to plan the wedding-- most of it was my job, but I'd occasionally ask him what he thought about colors, venues, &c. He told me he didn't want to spend any time planning the wedding itself and he'd take care of the "budget" and the "guest list" (things that practically, I'd actually have to take care of, since I had to know how many people and how much to spend). When we started furnishing the apartment, we got a couch from the Salvation Army and some basics from the store, but when I tried to match curtains or dishes and placemats he would say things like "why do we have to have a theme" and "what does it matter." I found it really condescending and obnoxious. It was like our goals for a living space were completely different. He wanted a bare bones place to sleep with a comfortable bed (with just a comforter and one sheet, no extra sheets or blankets, because they were "unnecessary") and I wanted a nice, comfortable, safe place to be an adult and have visitors, including my family and younger sisters. I wanted to participate in the ritual of hospitality, and I enjoyed decorating and exercising my taste. Looking back I still get angry, because what I felt at the time but couldn't name was that I thought he was being selfish. He wanted everything just so, in his idiosyncratic way, and didn't care what my goals were. He basically wanted a bachelor lifestyle but also wanted me to live with him, which... no. He didn't get why I had to be so "normal" (i.e., be myself). There was no compromise.

Eventually the wedding was called off, we moved out and broke up so it didn't matter (except that it probably sped us along to that conclusion), but I was furious that he wouldn't accept help, give me any breathing space, or listen to my need to be comfortable in our mutual home. On the other hand, he was 100% okay with filling our cabinets with rusty Goodwill spoons and Windex bottles with a tablespoon of fluid left from his mom. I don't think he was really ready for adult life, and like a lot of young guys, was more interested in listening to his mom than his girlfriend. Maybe your guy isn't really "ready" yet either, and needs a kick in the pants.

Anyway, super long story, but the moral is you shouldn't sell yourself short. You are 29 years old and have a good job-- there is no reason you shouldn't be able to build a home. Your boyfriend is being possessive and stubborn about "his" home, and if he wants to live with you he has to cut it out.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:32 PM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh, also-- having a home is an extremely important part of the social fabric in our culture. Having a place where you can have people visit, and where you can have your little nieces stay to build memories is exceedingly important. He doesn't care about that kind of thing apparently and a partner who doesn't understand your desire to connect with your friends and family (who prioritizes things which frankly are kind of ridiculous and self-centered) is probably one you're going to have to fight on a lot of issues. He doesn't sound like he's interested in family in general, or like he's interested in the social virtues of being a grown-up. He's interested in his goals and debt and career, mostly, from this post.

Regardless of his personality, you deserve to have this. You can tell him in straightforward language what you need to be happy and what you're lacking, and tell him you're still interested in building a relationship with him, you just can't find peace in a home you're not properly sharing. This is all true and reasonable. How he reacts to that is up to him. (I hope that he understands for your sake, but if he doesn't, it's likely to reveal his true colors.)
posted by stoneandstar at 2:37 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yo, we live in 2 apartments. One messy and all but unfurnished, the other less extreme. Together 8 years. It works fine.
posted by skbw at 5:21 PM on August 30, 2012

I saw this question this morning and I was really struck by the similarities to something I witnessed.

I had a neighbor who lived in a self-designed 4400 square foot house with a bed, a desk and a chair. He was also an engineer. He said he was waiting for his wife to come back to him so that all the furniture she had rec'd in the divorce would go right back where it had been. We thought that was a little odd, especially when we found out from other neighbors that the divorce had taken place 10 years prior. The house was a warren of empty rooms and I got kind of woo-woo bad feelings if I spent more than a few minutes in there.

After we'd lived on our shared driveway for 4 or 5 years, his 17 year old son came to live with him. He added another bed, desk, 3 chairs and a TV. His son didn't stick around very long.

Another 3 years went by and all of a sudden our neighbor had a girlfriend. Within a week that empty, cold, cavernous house was a fully furnished home.

So I say yes, plan to move out and maybe, just maybe, you will unlock the source of his grief. He is doing this for reasons that make sense to him. Ask yourself about that. Did he get divorced right before you came into his life? Was he over it? There is something very wrong here and I'm certain that you have all the info you need to piece it together. What's probably getting in your way is that things you accepted as truth when you were 9 years younger do not make sense anymore. You have grown up and started to hit your stride and what has he been doing? Your account of him makes me think he is stuck in the past, and that neither of you are looking at that.

Nobody here knows if your relationship should or will survive you moving out. I'm suggesting that you will learn alot by being serious about it and paying close attention to how things unfold.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:44 PM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hmm, I wrote this whole thing and then I realized I never properly answered your question. So, it's perfectly reasonable to want to move out, his place sounds like it sucks and I wouldn't want to live there, either.

I have a good friend who is a lot like what your boyfriend sounds like. He's not a bad guy, but he is:

a) overwhelmed by the size of his house

b) shamed about the stuff laying around and general unclean state of his house (he is/was venturing slightly into hoarder territory there)--this prevents him from getting outside help

c) a hobbyist (I would say his hobby is collecting hobbies), when he sees anything that's been made his first tendency is to go "I could do that!"

d) a perfectionist, he also says "I could do that better!" and anything less than the absolute best is not even worth it to him ("perfection is the enemy of good enough")--this also prevents him from getting outside help, since other people will never see the slight imperfections that he sees

e) classic adhd attention deficit plus hyper focus, he starts these projects (hobbyist) doing them in a time consuming way (perfectionist) while ignoring everything else (hyper focus) until about half way through where he suddenly switches his fixation to some new project (attention deficit).

So, for example, he might look at curtains at Ikea, think about how curtains can't be very hard to make, start hand sewing curtains using a ruler to make sure that each stitch is exactly even, stay up until 3am doing this, and then look up from still working on the first curtain and notice that the bannisters are looking shabby so he sets the curtains on the table and starts pulling out wood-working equipment... (The real killer is that he will buy the highest quality thread, needle, cloth, etc., and you don't even get a set of curtains out of it since they will never be finished, instead they'll sit on the table, eventually under other unfinished projects, slowly mixing into the general clutter. So it would have been faster, cheaper, and more effective to just buy the Ikea curtains.)

The happy news is that his current girlfriend has made significant progress on getting the house cleaned up, getting rid of the half finished projects and getting some basic furniture and things bought. She doesn't seem to focus on why he does this, instead she just focuses on what she wants done, loudly and repeatedly. She will even go into mom-mode if necessary, breaking things down into steps and more or less dragging him through them. If this sounds like your guy and you want to stay in a relationship with him, then you need to enact some pretty drastic changes. Either he needs to develop some coping mechanisms on his own (through therapy, medication as prescribed, etc.) or you need to be his coping mechanism for him (basically mom-mode, this doesn't work for everyone but does work for some). Moving out could be a great place to start that conversation, as it will show that you seriously for real mean it. (It would also be perfectly reasonable for you to not want to deal with all of his issues and to move on so you can start looking for someone who doesn't have these issues, that's what I would do, but of course it is up to you.)
posted by anaelith at 7:15 AM on September 2, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you everyone. It's been almost a week since my last post. Within that time I have rented the house and purchased new furniture...all without telling my boyfriend. Before you think the worst of me, I will tell you that I am going to tell him. I still have a lot to do to the house before I even think of moving out so I am still working up the courage to tell him. Today is turning out to be a very hard day for me. We had a wonderful night together last night so naturally I'm feeling very guilty and am very much second guessing myself. I know that I want my own place but now, for some reason, I am feeling very insecure about the whole thing and myself. The thought of living alone now makes me very nervous as I have never done it before. I am afraid I am making the wrong decision because of the feelings of doubt that I am having. I keep telling myself that the move has nothing to do with how I feel about him but rather the lack of a home environment. Still, I've done all of this under the assumption that we'll be okay after I move out...but after last night, what will I do/feel if he's not okay with me moving out? What if he does want to break up? I'm afraid I'll be heartbroken and depressed (I don't deal with heartbreak very well) and living alone will turn out to be a complete nightmare! It's not like I can just pull out the lease (it's a done deal at this point). I have all of these thoughts running through my mind today. I didn't sleep well and I feel down. I want this move to be exciting but it's turning out to be more stressfull and depressing than anything. It's to the point that the house I fell in love with and rented is turning into a place that I don't even want to think about. I am terrified and sick. :(
posted by Confusedteacher at 7:52 AM on September 5, 2012

Oh, hon. ((hug))

I know it's horrible right now. You're just about to dive off the board and suddenly it looks like 100 feet down instead of 10. And you haven't even told him yet, and it's a fait accompli, and a lie by omission, and maybe a betrayal? you say to yourself, so hello guilt.

But please, hon, remember how you got here. One nice, companionable, even wonderful night can't weigh more than years of living uncomfortably with your needs being dismissed/ignored/not met.

In a perfect world, you would have told him before renting a new place. He might have pulled a hail mary and/or made some concessions. But you know what? In a perfect world, he wouldn't have needed to be told. It might just be that you knew best. You went ahead, because on some level, it's what you needed to do. You pushed yourself - out of the storage shack and into a nest.

There's no real way to know exactly how your boyfriend will react. You'll have to face the music and tell him. I'm sure there'll be a bit of an exchange, and I think he'll probably feel betrayed or hurt or angry or all of the above. I hope you two can find a new modus vivendi, I really do. But whatever happens, remember, you couldn't live with the way things were. You couldn't live with the way things were.
posted by likeso at 8:31 AM on September 5, 2012

This is the OP's first activity here and I'm hoping the mods will bend a rule or two for the answering guidelines. She needs a hug or twelve.

for some reason, I am feeling very insecure about the whole thing and myself...afraid I'll be heartbroken and depressed...all of these thoughts running through my mind

You are trying to change your life and you are going to change his in the process. What's going on in your head sounds normal to me, but, by not telling him- you are ratcheting up your own guilt/cognitive dissonance while delaying some pain for both of you.

That space you have just acquired for yourself is your space. Go sit in the middle of the emptiness and forbid yourself to think about him. What comes to mind when you think about you, living there, on your own? I'm guessing that you probably had a moment of that already. Must that space be perfect from the start?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:20 PM on September 5, 2012

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