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Parallax - Advice

July 22, 2002

Excess Baggage

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Is your Wagon of Love breaking down under the baggage of life? Are you moving forward or are you parked on the shoulder of life's highway? This week we meet three gifted burden-bearers—people who are skilled at turning life's ruts into roadblocks. A simple move becomes a relationship standoff; a telephone call causes conversational crisis; and the focus of a European holiday flip-flops from family to fantasy. Our creative love porters offer tips on baggage loss...and toss.

A moving conversation?
No movement here!
 Date: 07/22/02

She chats—he chokes.
Cat got his tongue?
 Date: 07/22/02

A foreign affair?
It's relatively simple.
 Date: 07/22/02

More from last week...

A moving conversation?

Dear Conversely,

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I'm eighteen and have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. My parents are kicking me out, so the other day (when he was getting ready for bed), I asked him if he wanted to move out with me. He said, 'It costs too much and I don't want to spend that kind of money.' He's twenty-two and rents a room in a house for about $450 per month. We've never talked about moving in together, but we get along great and spend most of our time with each other (I'm at his place more than at my own home and I told him I didn't want to fork over money for an apartment in which I wouldn't spend much time.) His response really pissed me off. I was expecting something like, 'Yes, that'd be great...' or, 'I'm not ready yet, but I do see us moving in together sometime in the future.' I'm really disappointed. Do I have a right to be upset? Should I bring this up again or just let it go?

Her view:

Dear Wrong-move,

Well, first of all, this was not a move-in conversation. This was an 'I have a situation and a move-in solves it nicely' conversation.

This should not be the driver behind a move to the next phase in a relationship. Certainly, you spend a lot of time together (and logistically it might make sense) but this is not the way to bring up a very serious topic. Having said that, the topic has surfaced and there it is. Unfortunately, you didn't hear what you were looking for and that's always unpleasant.

His comment about rent is a red herring. It's plain and simple: He is not ready to move in with you. This does not mean he will never want to, but he is clearly not ready at this time, so you will need to find your own place.

Pushing him on this will only lead to constant arguing and, frankly, it's better for you to have your own place. If he's not ready for a move-in, there is nothing like a crowding girlfriend to wreck a relationship.

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His view:

Dear Wrong-move,

I understand that TV shows like Dawson's Creek (and others of its ilk) may lead the impressionable to think that moving in is no big deal...that one day you just call U-Haul and load up the truck, while a cheesy, little top-40 ditty plays in the background and everybody lives in harmony, thereafter.

When you're in your forties, an age difference of four years is nothing. When you're in your thirties, the same difference in age is easy to overcome. But when you are eighteen, and he's twenty-two, it's a major obstacle. In your case, for example, he can act mature and you cannot.

So, to answer your questions: No, you have no right to be upset. And no, you should not bring this up again—at least for the next two years—unless you want him to dump you. If you're getting shooed out of home, find a friend to room with. Find someone who's not going to ask you to move out when he dumps you (or you dump him).

Perhaps he should have been more gracious in turning you down. But then again, you don't call your boyfriend up in the middle of the night and ask him to move in with you, especially when you've never even discussed it before. Sorry you're disappointed—next time, think before you act.

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