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…
I have been in a long-distance relationship for three months now. I’ve known my boyfriend since high school, but we lost touch over the years and recently reconnected. He has visited me just once since our relationship began. Through the years we have both lived separated lives and he went to 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. I don’t want to get to know him while living together, for my kids’ sake. He thinks it’s not a good idea to move here to a whole new state and basically have to live on his own and just start over as far as his living situation goes. I think it’s a good idea because I get to see if we can take the next step as far as marriage and living together later on and see if it’s going to build. I don’t agree with the whole shacking up before marriage idea. I tried it before and it was the worst thing and such a disaster. He does not want to waste any more time being apart from me and he’s ready to settle down – marriage and all. My fear is that we will live together and it won’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.
Your feelings and thoughts are truly valid and on target. People change over the years and the two of you are no different than anyone else. He is not the same person you knew in high school and you are definitely not the same person he knew. You have only been together three months and he is already talking about moving in with you and your three children. Long distance or not, your relationship is in the “infatuation/honeymoon” phase. You are still catching up on old times and what has happened since you left high school. This is a safe fun phase to be in at the beginning of a relationship. That phase is much different from having someone living with you 24/7.
What is his rush to move in with you and your children? A relationship is an investment and you must be willing to put basic things into it if you want it to grow and have positive returns. What is he willing to invest in the relationship to make sure it will grow and develop? If he no longer wants a long-distance relationship, then he should move to your city, jut not into your house.
This is not just about the two of you. You have three children that are watching you and impacted by every decision you make. You mentioned that you have gone down the road of “shacking up” before and it was a “disaster”. What would make you think that going down the same road with three children would be any different now? Your boyfriend seems as if he is only about himself and getting his needs met. He has not considered you and your children as a package deal. He wants to move in now, but I am sure he has not invested any time in getting to know your children yet. If he is not willing to invest in moving and establishing an independent life near you, why do you think he is going to invest in you and your children if he lives with you? He takes no real risks or makes no real investment by moving in with you. If your relationship does not work out, he packs his bags and leaves and you are left cleaning up the emotional mess he left behind.
If he really wants a long-term relationship with you, allow him to work for it. If he chooses not to move there if he can’t live with you, that should tell you a whole lot about the relationship. Do not allow yourself to sound desperate by going against everything you know in your gut to be true and the best for you and your children. You are responsible for what you know! Trust me, you know a lot but you must believe in yourself enough to act on it. — Dr. Sherry
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