Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

His Take: “Is He Ready For Our Future or Not??”

My boyfriend of a year seems leery of taking the next step in our relationship. I have tried to talk to him about moving in together when I buy a house in a few months, but he has been resistant to the idea. (FYI: I don’t plan to buy the house with him, just for him to live there with me and pay rent.) After dealing with him avoiding conversations about future plans while still constantly saying how he wants to be with me and loves me so much, I’ve decided to not bring it up again until I’m closer to house-shopping time. Then last night, out of the blue, he says he doesn’t like a certain male family name for our kid (mind you, this child doesn’t exist yet!) that we had joked about before in a baby name conversation a few months prior. Please help me understand: how can he, kind of seriously, initiate a talk with me about our future child’s name when he’s not even ready to talk about moving in together? — Incredulous in Oregon


DAVE: The thought of you owning your own house is probably weighing heavily on him because it is a huge step for you in the direction of maturity and independence. He doesn’t want to be left behind, and is no doubt intimidated that you are taking that step without him. It completely takes him out of the driver’s seat in the relationship, Now he faces a future of living in YOUR house, as YOUR tenant, under YOUR rules, and paying rent to YOU. No wonder he’s trying to test his own significance by renaming your unborn children! What you are doing (whether consciously or not) is jump-starting your life and then bringing him along in a subservient role, i.e. tenant. That is very different than starting a life together.

You need to make some choices. If he IS your probable future husband, he can’t be your tenant. Period. The money issues will destroy you. However, he can live WITH you as your partner and help fix things and earn his keep, but he has to be an equal… which means he should help you pay the bills and do half the chores. That being the case, just get married first. That way the house becomes a mutual accomplishment, not an obstacle. There is a reason they call it “natural order.” Then (and only then), talk about having kids.

ANDREW: There’s a time to rent and a time to buy. Now seems like a pretty good time for you to rent. Your letter suggests you want security in your life and you want it pronto. But, if it’s security you seek, you’re probably not going to find it in the Oregon housing market. Look at yourself: you’re still months away from even house-hunting and already you’re incredulous and preparing for a breakup. Slow down. Think about renewing your lease and renewing your relationship with your boyfriend. Be careful about buying into false sense of security that comes with a 30-year mortgage.

JOE: Ihis is all about timing. I think he really does want to be with you in the long term, and I believe that a relatively serious discussion of baby names, out of the blue, is a sign of that. If you’d been fighting and you’d said he doesn’t want/love you and then he brought up baby names, I could see it as a means of deflecting the argument. But to bring it up on his own strongly suggests he truly is interested in children (and a future) with you. It’s just not a topic men will initiate discussing in earnest with someone with whom they don’t see themselves later on.

But… I think that’s still a future plan with him, and he’s not yet ready to take the concrete steps along that path, such as moving in together. It’s also possible that he feels that isn’t something he’d want to do before marriage, or even that he has wanted to buy a home as well (possibly with you) and sees your decision as forcing a change to his. My gut feeling, though, is it’s something he wants, but it’s just a bit too early for him right now.

* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.

112 comments… add one
  • avatar

    TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 12:43 pm

    As Dave said, it’s probably not the best way to start a life “together” if you are not starting out as equals.

    I know a lot of people won’t agree with me about this ( especially Wendy & Andrew ! ) but I think one year is not enough time to date someone before moving in ( let the thumbs-downing begin ! ). Living with someone is a big step and if you don’t both want it equally, there will be trouble ahead.

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    • avatar

      WatersEdge March 28, 2011, 12:48 pm

      Out of curiosity, why do you think that one year is not enough time?

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        TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 1:12 pm

        @WatersEdge: Like ReginaRey said, it’s about experiencing real-life issues together. After a year, you might know how much you love someone and be pretty sure you want to share your life with them but the first year is mostly the “honeymoon” phase in a relationship. I think it’s equally important to know the other person thought some of the more difficult situations life throws at you.

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        TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 1:17 pm

        …or maybe I’m just too “old school” !
        🙂

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 28, 2011, 1:27 pm

        I think you life in the real world!

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      • avatar

        WatersEdge March 28, 2011, 1:42 pm

        Well I went 13 months from met to married. In a lot of cases you’re right, but I think you can know a person’s character and their goals and values in a much shorter time span. It’s different for everyone!

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    • avatar

      BoomChakaLaka March 28, 2011, 12:48 pm

      I actually agree with you. I think the LW here is guilty of getting a little too crazy a little too fast. If he doesn’t want to move in or shows no interest in moving in, then don’t bring it up again and carry on with your life. If and when he’s ready to live with you, trust me, it’ll happen naturally (i.e. he starts hogging up all of your closet/drawer space with his clothes). But until then, I think worrying about this is going to bring unecessary tension to the relationship.

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      • avatar

        maynard March 28, 2011, 1:14 pm

        yeah, if she buys a house it ain’t going anywhere, so it’s not like he would HAVE to move in when she did. They can still take more time, which it seems he needs (though she’s probably 6months from moving if she hasn’t even started looking yet)

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      MissDre March 28, 2011, 12:49 pm

      I actually agree with you… My personal opinion is that people shouldn’t live together until they are ready to be married. Not necessarily engaged, but at least mutually decided that marriage is their ultimate goal.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey March 28, 2011, 12:54 pm

        I agree as well. After a year, you MAY have been through enough together to know that you’re going to be together forever. But in my opinion, a year is not enough time to experience enough arguments, enough real-life issues, and enough of LIFE together to be certain about anything. Two years is my personal mark, though I don’t think there should ever be a set time on “knowing” these things.

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      • avatar

        Marie March 28, 2011, 5:29 pm

        Yes. The way I feel about this stuff is, what’s the rush? One or two more years to let feelings settle out can pretty much only help to stabilize a relationship. Granted, you can *know* before that, or at least have a pretty good idea. But waiting can really only help in the long run, and that’s what one should be concerned with right?

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        jena March 29, 2011, 12:28 pm

        I disagree. I was head over toes in love with my last serious boyfriend. Like, we had discussed the idea of getting married. We live together for 11 months, broke up, and havent spoken much since. Being in the marriage mind-set doesnt guarantee living together will work, any more than NOT being in the marriage mind-set gaurantees it won’t work.

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        _jsw_ March 29, 2011, 1:51 pm

        I just wanted to point out that this comment serves as an example of why you might want to give those who make mistakes while replying to your online profile a second chance. 😉

        [Apologies in advance if the HTML for a link doesn’t work… never tried it before here]

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    • avatar

      ricki March 28, 2011, 1:17 pm

      my boyfriend and i lived together (unofficially) about a month after dating. not normal, but it worked for us while we were at school.

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com March 28, 2011, 1:57 pm

      I think a year is the bare minimum. But most important is to listen to your gut. My 2 cents.

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      • avatar

        demoiselle March 28, 2011, 5:21 pm

        Alas, some people’s guts are miscalibrated…

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki March 28, 2011, 2:20 pm

      In general, I kind of agree with you on the time span; however, I know quite a few people who were married, not just living together, around 1 year. In my case, I was living with my husband before we dated. He went through a rough divorce and needed a quick place to live and he ended up on my couch. It took us a while to get from friends/roommates to dating and then getting married, but I thought it was awesome to know what it was like to live with him even before dating.

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    • avatar

      Jess March 28, 2011, 2:38 pm

      I wish the ‘honeymoon phase’ lasted a whole year with me! The rose colored glasses come off around 7 months for me, no matter the boyfriend. i guess thats when my ‘obsessive love’ chemicals run out!

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      • avatar

        silver_dragon_girl March 28, 2011, 3:38 pm

        It’s about 3-4 months for me, so I think you’re very lucky 😛

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      • avatar

        danielle March 30, 2011, 5:26 pm

        perk up ladies! Mine usually lasted only 3 or 4 months too, in current relationship 2 + years. Might have been that it took 3 or 4 months for my commen sense to overwhelm the dumb chemicals and show me what was wrong in the past.

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    • mandalee

      amandalee March 28, 2011, 5:50 pm

      I was going to agree with TheOtherMe about a year maybe not being enough time, until I did that math and realized I moved in with my now-fiance after just over a year! Whoops lol I think it all depends what you go through with the person in that time period and the intensity/seriousness of your relationship. My fiance had a fluke heart attack (he was only 23 and in good shape!) two weeks after we started dating, so that really seemed to speed things up.

      I think in the LW’s case, if they’re not on the same page when it comes to moving in or future children, then they aren’t ready to move in together, no matter how long they’ve been together. It’s a huge step, especially when there’s a mortgage involved, so why rush?

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  • avatar

    Fairhaired Child March 28, 2011, 12:47 pm

    I agree with most of what was said – if you tell your boyfriend he’s paying rent to YOU then it makes it look like that he’s not on the same level as you. Whereas if you said “Hey I’m getting a house and think it’d be great if you move in with me, and I’d def appreciate the help with some of the bills like electric and mortgage and I want to be able to spend more time with you” instead of making it sound like he is paying you to be able to spend time with you, its him spending money to “do nesting” together on a more equal letter.

    I do not agree with Dave though on the ” That being the case, just get married first. That way the house becomes a mutual accomplishment, not an obstacle.” I think getting married is not the best choice to make things equal. I’ve already discussed with my SO that if I buy a house it will be in my name only and even if we are married at the time, that if “I” buy it then only my name will be on it (thus if we break up that we cant fight for half the house and go through the hassle etc). It could be a mutual accomplishment ONLY if he is willing to put forth the money to A) get married and B) front up the money for the house down payment etc. – but that doesn’t seem like that is his current life goals at the moment – so on that note I really agree with Joe

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 28, 2011, 12:56 pm

      In the state where I live everything that either husband or wife accumulates/possesses/purchases during their marriage is joing property. That means that half of the value of the house that accrued during the marriage would be his even if the house is only in your name. That means that retirement and 401K accounts are split. I think this is very common so check out the law before you assume it would all belong to you. At the time of divorce attorneys demand statements showing all of your accounts and properties then determine how to split them. Only if the house wasn’t in your name would he not get his share of it. I don’t know if you could set up a corporation to own your house or some othe legal device but you should see a lawyer before you purchase if it is that important to you.

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        Fairhaired Child March 28, 2011, 1:11 pm

        agreed i think that involving a lawyer is very smart if someone such as I feel like they want a house but not necessarily put a SO on the deed – I was talking about if they (or if I do this in the future) purchased it together now before getting married

        On my personal note – we also agreed to a prenuptial – and when I do reach that step of marriage I should plan to see a lawyer to protect what I can -and since I have not reached that step yet I have not looked into the laws as deeply as I can – but that is very sound advice for sure! I spoke on a previous thread about the BF not wanting to get married after x amount of years and I was in support of the bf possibly being gun shy for family personal reasons- my mom has been married 3 times and most of my brothers and my “future” was split between two divorces to get rid of husbands – so my brother NEVER wanted to get married (he is in June though yay!) but I do want to get married but I’m going to do what I can to protect what is mine. My father actually was not one of the ones my mom divorced but he passed away, but most of my inheritance was “divided up” by lawyers during my mom’s 2nd divorce from her 3rd husband. Most of my Father’s tools and certain family furniture etc are not with my ex step dad. -rant rant rant-

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 28, 2011, 1:21 pm

        Definitely talk to a lawyer because they will know what to include in the prenup. Make sure they include things like pensions, stock and 401K accounts. It should also address the debt that each partner brings into the marriage. You would hate to gain half their debt and lose half your pension. If you plan to purchase a house before marriage you may still want to see how to protect that investment in the event that you do get married.

        My uncle was recently divorced and his ex tried to get the value of half of the property where they lived but that property was actually owned by a trust that belongs to the extended family and so she got nothing although her lawyer tried to see if he could trick my uncle into paying. He is pretty sharp so he didn’t even slightly fall for it.

        If your local community has civil court records on line you can go through them and see what assets were split between spouses. You may need to type in the name of a couple but if you don’t know anyone just type in a common last name like Smith or Jones and you will see lots of entries.

        I hope you never need this but you know from your own experience that the worst can and does happen.

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      • avatar

        kate March 28, 2011, 1:38 pm

        Great point on the prenup…and that sucks about your dad’s tools etc. That would really bother me, too.

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      • avatar

        Fairhaired Child March 28, 2011, 11:06 pm

        Thanks. Because of that divorce, though it didnt affect me much emotionally personally, it affected me in the sense that I have very little of my dads old things to remember him by. So I’m very leery of combining finances etc. mostly because my mother also has been shoving it down my throat since I was 14 about what I should learn from her mistakes. She has always voiced that she never wants me to have a SO’s name on the deed to a house that I would get and to always have seperate finances even though we could have a single joint account so long as we both put money into it equally (ie every month on a certain day we write a check from our own seperate accounts and put it in there for x amount of dollars).

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 28, 2011, 1:22 pm

        That also includes anything you inherit so that is just one more thing to think about.

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  • avatar

    RoyalEagle0408 March 28, 2011, 12:52 pm

    I think the guy isn’t ready, which is fine. And I think there’s a difference between ruling out names for future hypothetical children and not being ready to discuss moving in together. Maybe he needs more time.

    I don’t have a hard and fast time point at which it’s appropriate to start discussing moving in together because I think it varies from couple to couple. I do, however, have a personal emotional point that I need to be at before I even think about that. I could reach that in 3 months or 3 years. Who knows.

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    • Jess

      Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com March 28, 2011, 2:00 pm

      I had a similar reaction. My first take on the letter was about how it seems to me that there are some men who are are sure about commitment in the big picture but balk when the indefinite future suddenly becomes “right now.” The idea of marriage/children/house/etc is definitely what they want “someday” but it’s much more scary when time comes to actually make those things happen.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey March 28, 2011, 1:01 pm

    I tend to agree with Joe. Perhaps he’s ready to talk about these very serious next steps in a *hypothetical* way, not necessarily an act-upon-it-in-the-next-few-months kind of way. If he’s avoiding the conversation as much as you let on, he definitely isn’t ready to make the move. And that’s OK! A year is but a drop in the bucket of a long-term relationship. He’ll move on his own terms, when he feels ready to. Any extra pressure is probably going to make him avoid the conversation MORE. I would slow down, and not rush anything. You’ve only been in this relationship a year. While you’re certain about a future NOW, you never know how you might feel in another year. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been SURE of something after a year, and then completely glad it didn’t work out a few years later. Give your relationship time to get to the moving in point naturally, not forcibly.

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  • avatar

    LTC039 March 28, 2011, 1:01 pm

    Maybe he doesn’t want to just live in a house that you own solely. Have you even talked to him about the possibility of buying a house together? Is that what you want? Guys like to be in the lead & he might be uncomfortable living in house solely owned by his girlfriend & he only pays rent. & since guys hate confrontation he might not bring it up to you & just avoid the subject all together.
    AND/OR He might not be ready to take the next step just yet…

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    • avatar

      LTC039 March 28, 2011, 1:33 pm

      What is there to disagree about??? I think I said the same thing everyone else is saying.

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        fallonthecity March 28, 2011, 1:51 pm

        My guess: “Guys like to be in the lead…” “…guys hate confrontation…”

        Generalizations.

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      • avatar

        LTC039 March 28, 2011, 2:49 pm

        Well it’s def. the truth & very big reason as to why he is being reluctant. I didn’t say anything offensive.

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      • avatar

        fallonthecity March 28, 2011, 2:54 pm

        Well, (I assume) you don’t know her boyfriend and don’t know whether he is either of those things, so it’s not exactly the truth. It’s offensive since not all guys like to be “in the lead” all the time, and not all guys hate confrontation. Just because it’s not offensive to you doesn’t mean it’s not offensive to other people.

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      • avatar

        LTC039 March 28, 2011, 3:07 pm

        You don’t know her boyfriend either so you can’t really say that he’s not those things. I clearly began my comment with MAYBE implying that it could be a possibility, but is not 100% sure. I am quite aware that all men are not the same but it is a known fact that the majority of guys will tell you THEMSELVES they hate confrontation & it is a natural male instinct to want to be the “head of the house…” Again, I said nothing offensive however which way you would like to paint it. If people are offended by that statement, then they’re just too sensitive to be reading public forums.
        Go pick up a copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You,” written by a man & within the first chapter it’ll tell you those things.

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      • avatar

        me-me March 28, 2011, 3:14 pm

        If “He’s Just Not That Into You” was a scientific text, you may have been onto something. But it’s just one (or maybe a few) guy(s), so it’s probably best not to use it as a basis to generalize about all or even the majority of guys.

        The phrase “It is a known fact” shouldn’t be used for anything but actual facts.

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      • avatar

        fallonthecity March 28, 2011, 3:24 pm

        I didn’t say he’s not those things, and I read “He’s Just Not That Into You,” but that man doesn’t speak for all other men. You asked what you said that might be offensive to others and I pointed out what I thought could be offensive. Again, it doesn’t have to be offensive to _you_ to be offensive to others — just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re too sensitive. I’m not personally offended, but I don’t agree with you.

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      • avatar

        thyme March 28, 2011, 3:06 pm

        I have never dated a guy who likes to be in the lead. I would kind of like to meet one though.

        You don’t have to say something offensive for people to disagree with you. The buttons are agree/disagree, not fabulous/offensive.

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      • avatar

        LTC039 March 28, 2011, 3:08 pm

        That’s why I asked if anything I said was offensive…& someone responded that it was. But I do agree with you.

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      • avatar

        me-me March 28, 2011, 3:08 pm

        Now I want “fabulous” buttons.

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      • avatar

        fallonthecity March 28, 2011, 3:48 pm

        Me too!

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      • avatar

        maynard March 28, 2011, 3:29 pm

        “disagree” does not equal “offensive”

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      • avatar

        LTC039 March 28, 2011, 10:41 pm

        LTC039 March 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm
        What is there to disagree about??? I think I said the same thing everyone else is saying.

        The only one that brought up the word “offensive” was fallonthecity.

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      • avatar

        fallonthecity March 28, 2011, 11:17 pm

        I won’t waste my time trying to explain again what there is to disagree with in your original comment, but I’d like to point out that you actually were the first to bring up the word “offensive” in this thread…

        Nitpicky, I know. 😉

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      • avatar

        LTC039 March 28, 2011, 11:41 pm

        lol this is why I don’t like commenting on the internet, because of people like you.
        You’re right I did bring it up first, but after you insinuated it. Honestly this got way off topic & I think instead of wasting time trying to lash at each other, we should be trying to help out the LW, that is the main purpose of the comments anyway…
        Anyway, I’m going to stop right here because you never know who is on the other side of that screen name…
        I’ve been a fan of Dear Wendy for a long time & I’m going to stop wasting my time with you. Gotta get back to my life now…

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      • avatar

        fallonthecity March 28, 2011, 11:57 pm

        Aww, LTC, you’re too sweet.

        Kidding aside, I’m honestly sorry you feel that way. I commented with the expectation that this would be a simple discussion — had I known what I wrote would make you dislike commenting, I wouldn’t have.

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  • avatar

    Mainer March 28, 2011, 1:11 pm

    All the guys hit the pertinent facts.

    JOE: he sees a future with you, otherwise baby names likely wouldn’t have come up
    DAVE: you’re not suggesting you move in together, you’re suggesting he become your tenant. Big difference.
    ANDREW: the thing to do is rent.

    If you talk about looking for a place to rent together, you may find he is more open to that. If he’s not, then yes, he’s not ready for that step. You can try to force it, you can be patient with a speed he is comfortable with, or you can MOA.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 28, 2011, 1:12 pm

    I agree that one year isn’t enough time to know someone before moving in together. Many, many relationships end somewhere between 18 months and two years even though they still seem wonderful at 12 months.

    The second thing is that if you purchase a house and then rent to him all of the benefits of the home and renting go to you and he gets nothing but the pleasure of your company. This seems so uneven that I would assume it bothers him, it would bother me. It somewhat sounds like you would be using him to meet your mortgage payment not living with him because you see him as your future husband.

    If you plan to marry him then I think all of the major decisions in life become joint decisions. That includes where to buy a house, how much to spend buying a house and jointly choosing the house. But when you’ve only know him for one year how can you possibly do this jointly. So in my mind you are living and planning as if you are going to remain single which probably doesn’t appear as a long term commitment to him. Are you considering him when you buy the house? Would you make sure he liked the house? Would you consider his commute time as important in purchasing a house? Even though the house would be yours would you expect him to spend time mowing and painting and doing the things the owner would usually do? So would you expect him to act like an owner without actually being an owner?

    Have you asked him how he feels about you purchasing a house? Does he feel left out? Does he feel you’d be taking advantage of him? You also need to discuss what would happen if you got engaged and married. Would both of you live in your house which is in your name? Would his name be added to the deed? Would you sell that house and purchase a house jointly?

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    • avatar

      anna728 March 28, 2011, 9:45 pm

      “It somewhat sounds like you would be using him to meet your mortgage payment not living with him because you see him as your future husband.”

      I thought this, too.

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  • avatar

    maynard March 28, 2011, 1:20 pm

    I think the LW needs to slow things down in her own head before jumping on the dude. She hasn’t even started looking for a house and she’s upset he isn’t totally into the idea of moving in and paying rent? She could be looking at another half a year before she’s ready to actually move anywhere so it’s not like he needs to be on board NOW. And like I mentioned earlier, if she buys a house it’s not going anywhere. He could move in another few months down the line – he doesn’t have to move in right away when she does.

    I also agree about the oddness of looking at him as a tenant. Not that I would take relationship advice from me on this, but when I moved into my ex-fiance’s house, we decided I wouldn’t pay “rent” (because why should I pay toward equity that is only in his name?) but I bought all the groceries myself as a different way to contribute, and we split all other bills. That was just what we agreed on in order to both contribute to the house but not have one be subordinate to the other.

    Lastly, I agree with Joe that talking about potential baby names is an indicator that he sees something long term with you, but he’s honestly probably thinking “she hasn’t even looked for a house yet, no need to talk about moving into said house”

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    • avatar

      TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 1:36 pm

      I totally agree that you don’t want to pay towards equity that is only under his name but in a way, if you’re spending the same amount of money as he is each month, what do you get if you breakup and/or he sells the house ? You still have not accumulated anything in your name, “real-estate-ly” speaking. It works well when you are renting but when it comes to home ownership, you can maybe make an agreement that you both pay into the mortgage but there could be a clause where, god forbid things don’t workout, his share would include what he put in before you came into the picture.

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        maynard March 28, 2011, 1:46 pm

        My view was that if I weren’t at his house, I’d still be renting, and not building home owner equity anyway, so I guess I didn’t really care. Though I agree that if I had been in the market for home ownership we may have thought of it differently.

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        demoiselle March 28, 2011, 5:37 pm

        I guess the difference is that if he pays rent to her, he is effectively putting money into her savings/net worth.

        Let’s say their rent is $500/month each. If they break up in a year, they have each lost $6000 in rent money that they had to spend anyway.

        But if she buys and he pays her rent, if they break up in a year he’s still out $6000, and she has paid off $12,000 on her mortgage, which she will benefit from for years.

        I wouldn’t agree to that. I’d be pretty offended if I were offered that deal. I also might be kind of reluctant to move in with a boyfriend to a house they just bought–which I didn’t get to help choose–even if I *were* seriously planning to marry him. Where you live is pretty important. I think if my hypothetical boyfriend offered me that, I’d conclude that he was pretty sure he was more committed about having the house in his life than he was about having me.

        Not that I think it is wrong for single or dating people to buy houses. There are just so many layers involved.

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        _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 5:50 pm

        The thing to keep in mind is that, if they break up within a few years, the payments on the mortgage will not likely amount to much more than interest. So it’s not as though every dollar he gives her is a dollar of equity she gets “for free” in the house. Yes, she’ll be ahead of where he’d be… but, then again. he’ll likely be living in a much better place than he otherwise would and probably for less money, so he’d come out ahead as well, and don’t forget that she’d be the one to had to front the down payment.

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        _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 5:51 pm

        That was supposed to be “then again, he’ll likely be living in…”

        Comma, not period.

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        demoiselle March 28, 2011, 6:55 pm

        Whether he’ll be living in a better place is questionable–it depends on where they are.

        Just to explain how big a difference it can make: I live in NYC, and if my husband and I were to buy an apartment, we’d have to make either a HUGE step down in terms of housing quality/location or a HUGE step up in terms of cost. We have a two bedroom now, but if we could buy we’d probably have to get a studio or one bedroom, because of the cost of monthly maintenance (often $900+) on *top* of the mortgage. Most likely, we’d get less space and still be paying more per month. What makes it worthwhile is gaining equity–which is exactly what she’d be getting, but he would not should anything go wrong!

        The LW is probably not in this situation–I doubt that Oregon can compare. But I wouldn’t automatically assume that he’d be getting more house for less money, or that his other expenses would be unchanged by such a move.

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    ricki March 28, 2011, 1:22 pm

    i’m in a similar boat with my boyfrind. we lived together while at school, and now we don’t. i’m ready to move out of my parent’s house, and he’s ready to move out of his, but he’s hesitant because he doesn’t have a “career” yet. he says doesn’t want to get a place and get stuck in a lease, and then get offered a job somewhere else. i think we could work something out, but he’s really cautious. he has also said “what if somethng happens between us?” and i’m like, you either believe in us or you don’t.

    there’s always a possibility of a breakup, but if that were a reason to not move in together or make any type of further commitment, nobody ever would.

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      maynard March 28, 2011, 1:31 pm

      you still need to protect yourself, though. Having a game plan for the sad “what ifs” when you enter into something like a lease together is a big deal. If you want to move in together you absolutely should discuss things like – who moves out if we break up? will both our names be on the lease? are we splitting all costs equally? how much will it cost to break a lease early and will that cost be split equally?

      The real world is not as easy as “you either believe in us or you don’t”

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        TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 1:42 pm

        I agree with Maynard … Ricki, we all want to believe that we’ll be with our current boyfriend ( girlfriend ) forever but realistically, we probably thought that of the previous relationships we had that also ended.

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        Maracuya March 28, 2011, 2:01 pm

        I understand that I probably should discuss those things should my boyfriend and I move in together, but starting the conversation, “Hey, not that I’d want to break up but…should we break up, let’s hash all this stuff out right now.” I feel like those kinds of things may go out the window depending on how a breakup occurs anyway.

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        Maracuya March 28, 2011, 2:02 pm

        Oh, I didn’t finish my sentence. “Starting the conversation seems so awkward.”

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        Fairhaired Child March 28, 2011, 2:15 pm

        But if you did break up at least you’d both have some understanding of what the other expects out of the “end of the relationship” and how to discuss who would move out etc.

        You don’t have to hash all of it out but just get like basics and to let him know where your concerns or fears may be and to see what level you both could be on – you never know by voicing those ideas and thoughts your SO could decide to show you HOW much you mean to them and to make extra sure a breakup doesn’t happen.

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        maynard March 28, 2011, 2:24 pm

        Agreed – doesn’t have to be too detailed but I think the basics are important, especially if you start buying large items for a shared household. My ex and I bought a $5,000 couch and a $6,000 lawn mower while together and I just said “yeah so, uh, if anything every happens I get the couch and you get the lawn mower”

        And now I own a huge couch.

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        TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 2:27 pm

        That must have been some big-ass lawn you had !

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        maynard March 28, 2011, 2:34 pm

        He HAD to have a john deere riding mower.

        And I’ll tell you, that was a sweet ass ride. I loved to hill-billy it up in the summer and get out there and mow the lawn in a bikini top with a few beers in the cup holders. Sometimes we fought about who got to do it.

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        TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 2:40 pm

        I have a feeling you’re about to get a few online wedding proposals !!!

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        maynard March 28, 2011, 2:43 pm

        haha!

        (oh and I might have switched the costs of the couch and mower, honestly can’t remember. but we did incur finance charges on the mower because he bought it before i took over the bill paying and hadn’t been putting any money toward it for like 6 months so it wasn’t paid off when the ‘no interest for a year’ ran out, which really bumped up the total, unlike the couch)

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        Maracuya March 28, 2011, 2:32 pm

        Oh, okay. Well, I think we covered the basics more or less organically already. 🙂 I guess once we get into big-item-buying I’ll bring it up.

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        _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 2:45 pm

        The way I see it is this: every time he mows the lawn, he’s going to think of you in your bikini mowing it, and he’s going to think of when you sat where he’s sitting. You know as well as I do that he’s not going to find someone else who will (a) mow and (b) look even remotely as fine as you did doing so. On the other hand, you can sleep with someone else on the couch and pretty much replace any memories you have of him there.

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        maynard March 28, 2011, 3:32 pm

        Good point! However, I have troube believing he’s going to be thinking of me … you know, ever

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        _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 4:00 pm

        Trust me. He has/is/will be. Unless he’s in a coma. Or became a zombie.

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    spaceboy761 March 28, 2011, 1:31 pm

    I think that his hesitation is entirely because of the ‘banging my landlord’ issue and not because he doesn’t want a future with you. I’m hoping that you just didn’t assume that he’d be kicking in his rent check before talking it over with him.

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    Green_Blessings_Goddess March 28, 2011, 1:40 pm

    MOA, you are not happy and he is not giving you what you want, move onto someone whom wants to get married like you do.

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      _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 1:50 pm

      You must have read an entirely different letter than the one I did.

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      maynard March 28, 2011, 1:53 pm

      I think maybe a “slow down already” would apply, but not MOA

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 28, 2011, 1:57 pm

      I don’t think she is acting like someone who wants to get married. She’s making decisions like a single person who is going to remain single and expecting him to be excited about her decisions. Marriage is joint. You make joint decisions which benefit and accomodate both of you. If this relationship is going to work over the long term then she needs to learn to make joint decisions.

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      _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 2:11 pm

      @maynard: Or perhaps, since she wants to move to a home but the two of them have to agree on what it all means, the advice would be to “Move Only After Necessary Levels Of Useful Discussion Let You Decide On Important Terms”

      Or: MOAN LOUDLY. DO IT.

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        TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 2:13 pm

        Dammit! It’s only monday but we already know this will be the comment of the week !

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        _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 2:19 pm

        Thank you. 🙂

        However, it was merely a gauntlet thrown down to inspire others to rise to the challenge. 😉

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        maynard March 28, 2011, 2:32 pm

        seconded!

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        callmehobo March 28, 2011, 2:23 pm

        jsw- If I could thumbs this up a million times, I would.

        But I can’t. So would you settle for some loud moaning?

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        _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 2:37 pm

        Load moaning is always acceptable. Since I will not be able to hear it, make sure someone you like can. Or better, get them to cause it. 😉

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        TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 2:41 pm

        What is “LOAD” moaning ?

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        _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 2:42 pm

        I’d be happy to show you.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 March 28, 2011, 1:56 pm

    Well it seems that he probably feels like that because you are looking to buy a house, that you might be planning your life without him some what. It seems to be in a stage in your relationship that is at the point where things are starting to get really serious, and he is probably thinking about long term future with you. So when you bring up buying a house, he probably feels left out, because in the future he isn’t going to have the option to pick out a house with you, that you can both call your own, in a neighborhood that you both agreed on. He might feel like you are telling him that this is what you want to do with your life, and if he wants find out if it is for him, he can pay rent until he is ready join in, but by your rules. Which is perfectly fine if that is what you want to do. It just might be something he was hoping for more comprimise on in the future. I hope this makes sense, it was tough to put my thoughts into words this time hahaha.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 28, 2011, 1:58 pm

      You did it well!

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      TheOtherMe March 28, 2011, 2:02 pm

      Go Bagge72!!

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 March 28, 2011, 2:26 pm

      Thanks!

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    TheGirl March 28, 2011, 2:01 pm

    Yeah, its not so much that he doesn’t want to have a conversation about moving in with you. Its more that he doesn’t want to be told where to live and how much he’s going to pay you to live there. I’m not saying that’s what you really have in mind, just that he’s probably thinking that right now, hence his passive-aggressive lashing out at you over baby names as a way to gain some of the control back in the relationship. I think you need to back up and have a more general conversation about your life plans and I think you need to start by asking him what he wants. My guess is that he feels like an afterthought right now, and you need to take a second to make him feel like he’s an important part of your life and that you are willing to do a little compromising to make this relationship work.

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    Leyahn March 28, 2011, 2:52 pm

    I simply don’t agree with Andrew. If the LW is financially able and ready to purchase home she should not put that on hold because her boyfriend of only a year is running hot and cold. She should go forward with HER plans for HER life. If he wants to join her, then great. But no woman should put her dreams and plans on hold for anyone else, much less a fairly new relationship.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 March 28, 2011, 3:18 pm

      I agree with you that if that is really what she wants to do then she should do it, she does need to clearly tell him what her plan is though, and find out if that is something he is going to be on board with. She also has to be prepaired for the consequences if he isn’t, and the possibility that the relationship is no longer going to work.

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      anna728 March 28, 2011, 9:58 pm

      Unless she is planning for her life WITH him…

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    Rei March 28, 2011, 2:59 pm

    It sounds like he just doesn’t like the idea of paying rent to you. No one like being indebted to someone they know. It’s okay to miss rent and have to haggle for time with The Landlord, or The Bank, or The Housing Company. That’s their role in a tenant’s life. But to miss payment to The Girlfriend is different. He has to see you every day, listen to you talk about his missed payment, and try to make up beyond just money. You don’t have to give your landlord sensual foot rubs so they won’t be mad at you.
    Basically, I bet he’s upset about the rent issue. He probably doesn’t want to have to pay his girlfriend every month because…well, no one wants to pay their significant other every month for the chance to live in her/his home.

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      SpaceySteph March 28, 2011, 11:29 pm

      Totally agree. Just from reading the letter, before I got to the guys or the comments, I was thinking “Oh God, please don’t make your boyfriend be your tennant.” Totally bad news to mix romance with that kind of money relationship.
      Also a word of warning… a friend of mine bought a house he couldn’t quite afford without roommates because at the time he had two friends wanting to move in with him. Well one friend lost his job and moved away and it basically ruined his friendship with the other guy who he was holding hostage, begging him to stay because otherwise he would run out of money. Basically, buy a house you can afford on your own, and if your bf is going to move in with you, don’t depend on or request him paying you rent.

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    justpeachy March 28, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I think that your boyfriend has kind of put you in an ugly situation by his lack of communication. You really need to sit down with him and have an honest conversation of where things are actually going. Throwing around baby names is easy, pinpointing life goals and seeing if they line up or if a healthy compromise can be reached is another thing entirely. Would he rather wait another year to live together? Is it that he feels there will be a shift in the relationship if you buy a house? Does he expect to be included in the house hunting?

    Since the LW seems to not want to buy the house with the boyfriend (which is smart), she has a couple of options:
    1) Buy the house and live there alone.
    2) Buy the house and let the boyfriend live there for free.
    3) Buy the house and have the boyfriend help pay the mortgage, without any rights to the house.
    4) Not buy a house.
    I don’t think 2 & 3 would help your relationship any. I know Andrew has already suggested continuing to rent, but I disagree. I think you should find a house you love and buy it. If this guy is “the one”, there will be plenty of time to live together and compromise on your house. But it’s just so much fun having a space that’s just yours and a space to be 100% yourself. You’re ready, just do it.

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      Septicidal March 28, 2011, 4:21 pm

      How is #3 such a terrible option? If he’s renting already, his rent is helping to pay SOMEONE’s mortgage (or other property costs/maintenance/just plain lining someone else’s pocket). Personally, my boyfriend is buying a place and we’re moving in together – and yes, I’ll be paying him the amount of rent I would otherwise be paying somewhere else. That being said, we’ve also had discussions about getting married in the not-too-distant future, and had plans to move in together in a rental situation if he wasn’t able to find a property that would work for both of us.

      To me it sounds more like the LW’s boyfriend just plain isn’t ready to move in together (aside from whether or not she decides to buy a home). From my own personal experience, I feel like “paying rent” (we’re calling it “contributing to household expenses”) to my boyfriend is better in the long run than continuing to pay rent to the corporation that owns my apartment building – my boyfriend actually cares about my happiness and doesn’t care if I put in prettier light fixtures in the kitchen. 😉

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        justpeachy March 28, 2011, 4:56 pm

        The difference between paying rent to a landlord and paying rent to your girlfriend is that you don’t live with your landlord. In a traditional renting relationship, if the boyfriend broke, let’s say, the toilet, he’d put in a maintenance request and someone would fix it, no questions asked. In this situation, not only would the girlfriend know how things were being used and broken, but do you think she’d then hire someone and have the toilet fixed? Then it opens it up to questions of who’s responsible, how much each person should pay, who should fix it, etc. Now, if you have a strong relationship and outlined expectations for these sorts of things, it’s not a big deal, but let’s be honest, this couple still has some issues to work out and situations like this really wouldn’t help anything at this point.

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    Septicidal March 28, 2011, 4:00 pm

    I’m in the exact same situation as LW’s boyfriend – my significant other is buying a house, and we’re moving in together (with me contributing the money I would be paying in rent elsewhere toward mortgage payments, and paying for half of utilities). What’s different, however, is that when my boyfriend began discussing wanting to buy a property, we had a conversation about wanting to move in together (which influenced his housing hunt, because I don’t have a car and need to live somewhere with public transit). We decided that even if he didn’t wind up buying a property, we would move in together in an apartment instead when our leases were up.

    There are a lot of factors in deciding to move in together, though – and purchasing a home is a lot more of an investment than a year-long lease. If you buy a home in a location that’s inconvenient for your partner’s job, or have a style of home that doesn’t give you enough private space from your partner, it can be a really difficult thing to deal with.

    If you want to have your boyfriend move in with you – in a home that you own – the conversation needs to change from “I want to buy a place and have you pay me rent” to “I want to find a place that we can make our own, and I would prefer to own instead of rent”.

    Living with someone is a HUGE step, and it could be that he’s just not ready yet (completely apart from buying your first home). Maybe he’s been saving for his own place, or maybe he’s not ready to give up living with his best guy friends. I do think you should discuss whether he’s not interested in moving in EVER, or just not ready yet.

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    demoiselle March 28, 2011, 5:45 pm

    I know I posted these numbers above, but I just can’t get over it and am surprised no one else has commented! This is a terrible financial deal to be offering her boyfriend. If they break up in a year, he’ll be out (let’s say) $6000, which will have been paid into her mortgage. If they break up in two years, he’ll have paid $12,000 of her mortgage. And so forth! And it’s unlikely that she’d pay him back. If they do get married, it would work out, but if not…

    At least if they were renting, one of them would not be making a profit on the other. They’d both be out the same amount.

    I’d be really hurt if a boyfriend or girlfriend tried to get me to make a deal like that. It is so unevenly weighted to her gain and his loss.

    Or am I somehow missing something with the math here?

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      me-me March 28, 2011, 5:51 pm

      But if he’s already paying rent somewhere else, why would him giving her money for rent be wrong? Why is it better for some nameless property owner to have his money?

      I get the whole “she’d benefit from his living there and that could be bad if they broke up” thing, but if he’s renting somewhere, someone is benefiting from his rent. What’s so horrible about it being her? Especially if they were to get married and own the house together at some point.

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        demoiselle March 28, 2011, 6:48 pm

        I don’t know if it is necessarily a question of right or wrong–but it just seems unbalanced to ask him to take that much greater a risk. I would hope that in a relationship each party would try to protect the other, take equal risks.

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        _jsw_ March 28, 2011, 6:51 pm

        She’s taking all of the risk. He’s under no legal obligation to pay her anything unless they actually go to an attorney to draw up papers. On the other hand, she’s absolutely obligated to pay the bank.

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        demoiselle March 28, 2011, 7:08 pm

        Are you assuming she’s going to buy a house that she can’t afford without him paying rent? If so, that’s a risky move on her part. It wouldn’t be smart in any case to depend on income from a tenant (even if you get a room mate and draw up a contract) to make your own mortgage payment. I can see what you mean about her taking all the risk, if that is the case.

        My assumption was that she’d buy a place she could afford with or without a tenant paying rent–which would be the financially responsible thing to do when buying a house. If *that* is what she’s planning to do, then she is asking him to take the greater financial risk. She is saving half the cost of her mortgage each month–which he is paying without getting equity.

        I guess we are just coming at this with radically different assumptions. 🙂 I am sure that there are circumstances which would fit either of our imagined outcomes.

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        fallonthecity March 29, 2011, 12:17 am

        I agree with _jsw_, but I wonder, for the rest of you, what would the solution be so that the boyfriend would still be contributing financially to the household if he isn’t paying “rent” — does he pay more than half the bills?

        (Sorry if someone’s made a post about this already — catching up on the comments and may have skipped over something!)

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom March 28, 2011, 7:39 pm

        But you don’t know how the rent would compare and he probably got to choose the place where he is currently living but she would choose the place that she bought. He chose his current place because it worked in all the important ways for him but what if he doesn’t even like the house she buys or doesn’t like the location? Then there is the issue of having your girlfriend be your landlord and the fact that she expects to profit off of you. Since when do you expect to make a profit off your boyfriend?

        She should buy a house if she wants but find a different roommate to help pay the mortgage. Feeling used is no way to move a relationship forward.

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      SpaceySteph March 28, 2011, 11:46 pm

      I think a major part of the equation that you’re missing is that for the beginning of a mortgage most of that is interest. If you pay roughly $1000 a month in a mortgage and about $850 of that goes to interest. So hypothetically, in a year of my boyfriend living with me paying me $500 a month, he’d pay me $6000 and I would pay that to my mortgage but in that amount of time I’d pay about $1000 to my principal and $5000 to interest, which is just as lost as if I had paid that amount in rent.
      So yes he’s paying about $1000 towards my equity in about a year… but thats alot less than $6000. Also there may be other perks… will he get to park in the garage, rather than out in the open? Will he get more space, maybe a spare bedroom that both of them could use for guests rather than having them crash on the couch? Though this doesn’t occur everywhere (as one poster explained about NYC above), there are benefits to living in a house rather than an apartment that might be worth it.

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        SpaceySteph March 28, 2011, 11:49 pm

        I didn’t say above but I am generally against the idea of charging your boyfriend rent into your house. But it isn’t as much of a raw deal as you’re making it out to be.

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      princesspetticoat March 29, 2011, 12:16 am

      I don’t think that’s the issue here. My boyfriend owns his condo and, when I moved in with him, I specifically told him that we would see it as me paying rent. I’d be helping him out with his mortgage so that if things work out and we end up buying together some day, we would use the sale of his place to help pay for our new place. But, if things don’t work out, it would just be like lost rent to me. He charges me very minimal rent, so it’s great for me and it helps him out a bit.

      We’re actually in the middle of selling the condo now, as we’re relocating to another city, and since we’re common law now, apparently I still do have some rights to his condo. We had to go see a lawyer and I had to sign away my rights to the property as a non-owning spouse. Basically the lawyer told me “you don’t have to give up your rights, but if you don’t, he can’t sell it”. I thought it was interesting that just by living with him for awhile, I could have a say in whether he can sell his place.

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  • avatar

    CG March 28, 2011, 7:03 pm

    ITA with Dave. There is NO WAY the LW can charge this guy rent. Talk about a recipe for disaster! If the LW is worried about the finances, maybe figure out a way he could contribute without paying rent, such as paying for the cable and electric bills and buying the groceries. That would make things more equal without him feeling like he’s the “tenant.”

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  • avatar

    anna728 March 28, 2011, 10:11 pm

    If you weren’t thinking of buying house, would you still be suggesting moving in together? If convenience, help with the mortgage, or it just seeming like the next step you’re supposed to take, are why, I don’t think it’s a good idea to move in together.

    If you’re talking about moving in together and baby names, I assume you are thinking about a, presumably married, life together with him. If you see yourself marrying him, then it seems better to choose a house together, equally. I would hate to not have had any input on the house I would live much of my life in just because my husband had only been my boyfriend when he bought it.

    Other than that… I agree with the possibility that others have said that he is uncomfortable with the landlord-tenant quality to that set-up. However, I think it’s also a possibility that he just doesn’t want to move in with you. I mean he’s avoiding the topic, and you counter it with the fact that you “joked” about future kids’ names. It’s not unreasonable to think that a year in, a guy may not be ready to make that kind of commitment, even if he is ready to have jokey conversations about far-off hypotheticals.

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