You've seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it's your turn to sit in her chair...
Dear Dr. Sherry,
I have been in a long distance relationship for three months now. I've known him since high school but we lost touch over the years and recently reconnected. He has only come to visit once since our relationship began. Through the years we both lived separate lives; he was in the Marines for six years. I have three kids ages 12, 8 and 3 and he has one. Lately the idea of him moving here with me has been an issue. For my kid’s sake, I don't want to get to know him while living together. He thinks it’s not a good idea to move here, get his own and get established while living on his own. Basically he doesn’t want to move to a new state just to start over as far as living goes. I think it’s a good idea because I get to see if we can go to next step as far as marriage and then move in together later on if it’s going to build. I don't agree with the whole shacking up before marriage concept. I tried it before and it was the worst thing and a total disaster. He does not want to waste any more time being apart and he’s ready to settle down with me, and get marriage and everything. My fear is that we live together and it doesn't work, but at the same time, I'm ready to be with him – just not living together. He feels like it’s such a hassle to move to another state and start completely over with no family, especially since I'm the reason he is truly moving here. I care about him deeply. I don't know what to do. Help!
I am so glad to hear that you are thinking with your brain and not just your heart. You are responsible for your children's emotional stability and wellbeing. Your last attempt at shacking up was not just a "disaster" for you, it was a disaster for your children as well I imagine. There is a reason that dating and living separately comes first on the path to marriage. You have been in this long distance relationship for only three months and he is already talking about moving in together and marriage. Really!? What is his rush? Trust me, your boyfriend today is not the same guy you knew in high school. People change. It is called life, and you must try to understand what has happened in his life over the years.
You need time to really get to know the "good, bad, and ugly" about him. This is much easier if you can send him home at the end of the day. His willingness or lack thereof to honor your desire to date without living together says a whole lot about him. Do not feel pressured and give in to something that you really do not want to do. Your decision will have a long lasting impact on you and your children. If your boyfriend really wants to marry you, he will do whatever is necessary in the short time to have you for a lifetime. It may be an inconvenience and cost him to move and live independently, but those are his issues not yours. He must decide if you are worth the cost and is he willing to pay the price. I am sure you are worth it, but you must believe you are and not settle for less. I recommend that you have an honest heart-to-heart conversation with your boyfriend. You must be clear that you are in a relationship because you want to be not because you need to be or out of desperation. Keep thinking with your brain! -- Dr. Sherry
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