Will He or Won't He?
October 1, 2012 3:51 AM   Subscribe

My wonderful long-distance boyfriend and I have discussed him moving in with me and my kid. But I'm starting to wonder if it's really going to happen and I need some hivemind advice here.

Through Facebook, I reconnected with someone who was THE ONE over 25 years ago. We had a youthful (and unnecessarily tumultuous) head over heels relationship until I realized that he wasn't ever going to commit. At the time, I broke it off, met someone else, and was married to that guy for 17 years. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I completely broke his heart.

We have since reconnected (and live 5 hours away from each other). It's magical, wonderful, full of passion and shared interests and we're both very happy. But like in any LDR, we're both kinda unhappy when we're apart.

Understanding that I have a kid and life where I live, he uncomplainingly comes here every weekend and is great with me and my kid.

So...we've discussed him moving in with us, and herein lies my brain exploding. After a long discussion, we decided that he should try coming up to live with me for more than a 4 day weekend and instead, will come here for a week, then for a few weeks, etc. See how it goes, then he comes for good.

We check calendar dates and the earliest he can come is in a month and a half. I don't love this (I know I'm more rabbit-like than he is, and part of what I love about him is that he is much more controlled and centered than me) because my rabbit-brain is thinking, "November? And what happens if we just have a shitty week? Is it over, then?" And is this one week at a time maybe his way of not really committing?

I don't want to ever give him an ultimatum, but the LDR thing...it's not working for me. And I don't know if I'm being selfish by wanting him here all the time or I'm being immature.

All I know is I don't like this "one week at a time" compromise, and I need some advice.

He's said he's fully committed to spending his life with me; he just wants to take time to get all his pieces into place (finding work where I live, etc.).

Am I getting anxious over nothing? Do things like this usually work out?
posted by kinetic to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
the last gap lasted 25 years, what's the hurry now?

yes, I do think you're getting over-anxious, if everything is going as well as you say in the first part of your question then you need to relax and trust this.

it might even be better if the November week was shitty, because one of the main problems with LDRs is you tend to get too many problems & petty annoyances "parked" for the short time you are together.

you need more realistic time together without making a huge committment if only for the sake of your kid.

with a child in the picture patience is your friend, I wish you lots of luck & happiness
posted by Wilder at 3:57 AM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

it's not a "compromise" if the idea is making you miserable. sounds like you have a lot of talking to do with him- he lost you once because he didn't commit, does the idea that he might lose you again not drive him to seek a better compromise (not sure if either of you feel that you might leave the relationship as a result of this, but most people do tend to view history as something that repeats itself under some conditions, so you should both be warned).

it sounds like you should suggest that next time the two of you meet you have a LOT of serious dicussions coming because I think you need to talk talk talk talk talk about this

the solution you should come up with at the end of all that talking should make you feel at least a little bit better. if it doesn't, then that's a huge red flag.

it's not a bad thing for him to want to ease into this though, maybe he just doesn't realize how much it's upsetting you.
posted by saraindc at 4:01 AM on October 1, 2012

Am I getting anxious over nothing? Do things like this usually work out?

I don't think you're getting anxious over nothing - it sounds like you're anxious to see the relationship progress, to have some sort of end goal that doesn't just mean him travelling to see you every weekend until your child moves out and you no longer have that level of parental responsibility*. That's not a bad thing to want. But it doesn't sound like he's shutting the door on that; November is really not that far away time-wise, and he would be making a massive transition in his life, so giving him time to sort things out properly (both practically and emotionally) doesn't seem like something you should take lightly.

LDRs are really bloody difficult. I did it for 6 years across an ocean, with big 6 month gaps in between, and it nearly broke us up about 3 or 4 separate times. The two things that saved it, AFAIC, were 1) we both knew what the end goal was [ie. I would move to his country, marriage, etc.] and were fiercely dedicated to making sure that happened, and 2) talking that shit out. Communication is the only way, really. If you find yourself getting anxious about where things are going, talk to him about it. And be ready to listen when he needs to communicate his anxieties, concerns, and fears, too. Believe me -- the person who does the moving isn't in for a picnic. That's a huge life change!

It's not clear from your question - is there like, complete radio silence until y'all see each other during these long weekends? If you have a bad time during face-to-face contact, how do you presently work through that conflict during away times?

*It also sounds as though you're worried that he hasn't completely gotten over the fear of commitment that broke up your original relationship. Apart from this specific instance (of needing to take his time to work through the plan to move in with you), is his behaviour throwing up any other red flags that would indicate he's still struggling w/ commitment? If not, then I think your worry that this is his way of not committing is probably unfounded. But again - talk to him! He'll give you a much better indication of where he's at commitment-wise than Metafilter can.
posted by catch as catch can at 4:14 AM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

He's said he's fully committed to spending his life with me; he just wants to take time to get all his pieces into place (finding work where I live, etc.).

Do you really want him to give up his job, his home, everything, because you can't wait a month for a longer visit?

That's a lot to ask of someone and you need to be willing to return the commitment (i.e., support him if he can't find work for a while, make it "our" space and not "your" home that he lives in, etc.) These things take time, and I think you need to reconcile your need for haste with actually having enough time to set conditions where your relationship will succeed.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:38 AM on October 1, 2012 [11 favorites]

A month isn't really that long when someone is organising their life. Be cool like Fonzie.
posted by h00py at 4:44 AM on October 1, 2012 [8 favorites]

A few thoughts:
(1) I don't know what his life situation is like, but scheduling a week-long period away from home within a 6-week timeframe is actually impressive. If you read AskMe enough, you'll discover busy, overscheduled and/or "just not that into you" adults who take 6 weeks to schedule a goddamn dinner-and-movie date. If he's rooted enough that he just can't drop everything and come visit for a week at the drop of a hat--THAT'S A GOOD THING. YOU DON'T NEED DRIFTERS IN YOUR LIFE. (Ask me how I know.)

(2) Your brain has agreed to "see how it goes" with a gradual ramp up of your amount of time together, but it sounds like your heart wants to cut to the chase and just have him move in already. IT IS TOO SOON to ask that he be "fully committed to spending his life with" you. That's crazy talk infatuation hormone talk.

I'm not sure if "selfish" or "immature" are the right terms to use, but by wanting him to move in full time now and commit for life now, you are prioritizing your needs over the needs of your child. I don't hear you say a single word about how you think this situation is going to impact him. For his sake, you need to not rush this thing and allow him time to adjust the the idea of another adult who is not his father being a full member of the household.

It's completely irrelevant whether "things like this" usually work out. What matters is that your situation may or may not work out, and pushing forward the time frame is not going to increase its likelihood of it working out, and may actually make it less likely to work out.
posted by drlith at 4:46 AM on October 1, 2012 [27 favorites]

You are absolutely right in feeling anxious, and he has to know that.

Thousands of women make far greater commitments of moving and uprooting their lives without a selfish 1 week at a time rule .

Make your demands known to him, and I'm sure he will do accordingly.
posted by Kruger5 at 5:06 AM on October 1, 2012

(1) I don't know what his life situation is like, but scheduling a week-long period away from home within a 6-week timeframe is actually impressive.

I agree with this, if he has a job. If he does not have a job, this is massively, massively less impressive.

Look, this can definitely work, and I don't think I'd be worried that him not already having moved is a failure to commit, or that just a week is a failure. What you have to remember is that you have a kid, who may hate living with him. So staying for a week is actually a great test case.

You worrying "what if we have a bad week" is a realistic worry, though - this is also why a lot of people take more time before trying living with each other, because living with each other is hard, very hard, and it tests even great relationships.

I feel in some ways like you want to hurry things up and get what you think you could have had if you didn't make that choice so many years ago. But that choice is already made, and you need to remember to be careful to make good choices for you in the now.
posted by corb at 5:19 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't push until the doctor tells you to push.
I tend to think that things like this will unfold perfectly of their own accord, if you're doing the right thing.
He's the one coming to live with you and your child, let him drive the bus and come up with a schedule that will allow him to become accustomed to that life.
posted by THAT William Mize at 5:52 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

November? And what happens if we just have a shitty week? Is it over, then?"
Yes, because it wasn't meant to be. If you're the kind of couple who could end things because of a shitty week then moving in together just raises the stakes without changing the odds. Not saying don't move in together. Just saying that it may help to realise that, if it ends between now and then (which doesn't sound likely) it will suck, but it will also be a close escape.
posted by caek at 6:04 AM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

I think it's a terrible idea to have him move in. He should move to your area, and then get his own place. LDRs are intense because of the feeling that you're stealing moments. We have to make the most of our weekend because it's all we have.

He should get a little place of his own, a studio, or rent a room, some place where he can be while you get to know each other in a day-to-day situation.

So what if he quits his job, moves to your house and it falls apart? What does he have at that point?

Picking up stakes and moving is a HUGE undertaking. I don't get that you appreciate that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:12 AM on October 1, 2012 [20 favorites]

I'm not in the relationship with you and really, I am not a relationship expert, but why not try it for a week and see how that works out? If it was not so great after a week, you can talk about what didn't work and how to make it work better. You had a seventeen year marriage, it you've experienced what works and doesn't work. Don't think he isn't anxious or afraid, he is about to uproot his life. You know what didn't work (with a previous marriage), so have your brain tell your heart that things will be fine no matter what.

You have the chance to make a trial run, be excited for what you will learn about one another.
posted by Yellow at 6:42 AM on October 1, 2012

You should probably discuss your feelings with him.

Your question states that you guys mutually agreed to do the one week, then a few weeks, trial run thing. But it is clear that you object to that -- not merely to waiting until November for this to happen. I don't think ultimatums are the way to go, but discussing feelings is because otherwise you're both just guessing in an unsatisfying way.

And since you're asking, yeah, you broke it off because he wouldn't commit, and now that you're back together in a long-distance relationship he tells you that you actually broke his heart back in the day (even though he was the one who wouldn't commit) -- these are red flags to me that suggest maybe, you know, there are other things going on in his mind and he's not being totally forthcoming with you. If you're feeling like he doesn't really want to move and commit now, well, you might be right about that.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:46 AM on October 1, 2012

Yes, you should just chillax and wait. You needlessly lost him once because you were in a hurry to commit. It's much more responsible and grown-up for him to plan it this way, especially when there's a kid involved (do you really want your unemployed boyfriend sitting around the house all day? That doesn't sound ideal). So take a deep breath and relax. You guys have all the time in the world.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:48 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

[Constructive answers please.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:25 AM on October 1, 2012

You really need to talk to him about this. It's totally a valid thing to want to talk about (and if he is not willing to talk about it, well that's another AskMe). I'd focus on the following bullet points:

1. November feels like a long way off. Is there anything we can do to either shorten the wait, or at least make it feel shorter?

2. This plan puts a great deal of pressure on this one week. Can we schedule a second week (or preferably a longer stay) now, so that neither of us has to worry that everything hinges on this one week?

3. I am anxious about your level of commitment to our relationship. Rightly or wrongly, that's how I feel. What decisions/activities/discussions can we do to help me lessen my worries about this?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:58 AM on October 1, 2012

You left out A LOT of details.

-What is his life like where he lives?

-What are his committments there like?

-Is he employed? Is he working in an industry where he can work remotely?

-What does your son think about all of this?

-Why must he move in with you when moving nearby and having his own place seems wiser for all three of you?

-Have you been to his home? Do you really know how he lives? Does he drink excessively or anything like that when he's at home? Is he neat or sloppy? Will he be a good "fit" for your family's lifestyle overall?

It does sound like you are being abit impatient and selfish (and honestly, foolish) from the way you wrote the question, but without all the details, it's hard to judge one way or the other.

I will say November is not that far away.
posted by jbenben at 8:35 AM on October 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

« Older Adivce on significant change in working...   |   How does theft happen at the supermarket checkout? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.