June in England writes:
I have been with my partner for 20 years, but I do not live with him. I am now considering selling my home and renting a home. My partner is not keen on us living together, and to be honest, he is too finiky in his ways e.g. can’t leave toothpase top off, that sort of thing. I have come to the time of my life now where I would like to have harmony and have him there everyday (not just four nights per week).
My son also died last year, and I also feel quite lonely. I have thought about giving him an ultimatum, but a friend of mine did that with her boyfriend, and he has now moved out, leaving her quite shattered. I don’t know what to do. I often think he is keeping the relationship this way, just in case someone else comes along who is younger and prettier than me and it would make it simpler for him to end it.
Your boyfriend is quite comfortable with the arrangement currently in place, because he likes being able to be with you and still have separate residences. What he is trying to avoid is the essence of marriage, legal or common law. He is very stubborn when it comes to his ways and routines. Giving him an ultimatum really isn’t going to change anything, except that you will hurt his feelings and aggravate him. While he isn’t looking to replace you with a newer model, if you try and force him into a situation that he doesn’t want, he will withdraw emotionally from you.
If you do want to move, find a place that is suitable to you. While this is a pretty big decision on your part, the shift of home and energy would do you some good. While house hunting, your boyfriend is likely to become more open to the idea of living together, provided that you are looking at places that can provide him with some personal space. He is rather finicky, or set in his ways, and he also requires a good bit of privacy. It isn’t that he doesn’t want to be around you, but he does require time to himself.
Not everyone is cut out for cohabitation, and your boyfriend does have concerns that living together 24/7 may cause more problems and difficulty in the relationship than it would solve. You have your fair share of concerns on this as well, but you are willing to risk it because of your times of loneliness.
While this relationship isn’t perfect, it also isn’t bad. The two of you understand each other quite well, and it works. However, your man isn’t always as super-supportive as he could be, and does tend to put himself before you. But, this is nothing new, it’s just part of who he is. For the most part, you can accept it. The last year has been incredibly hard on you, and there are times when you wish your man could or would give you more, but he is doing the best that he can.
I don’t see your relationship ending, so that is one less thing you have to worry about. Focus your attention on the things that will make you happy, and help you to feel more in balance with your life. While your boyfriend is a part of that, living with him isn’t necessarily the answer.
I’m very sorry for the loss of your son. You have my deepest sympathy.