The thing is, he recently had a job transfer and moved back into his parents’ house, which is two hours away. He’s been trying to get back on his feet and establish himself there because the money is good, but his parents are a little controlling. I know they mean well, but… His dad is very stern, and they want him to take a condo they own where the rent is very expensive and I don’t think he can make it on his own. They complain about him coming to see me on the weekends — they say it’s too expensive and too much wear and tear on his truck. So now he comes every other weekend. His mother takes his paycheck and is watching his spending.
Let me say that before he took this job his paychecks were slim, but he paid his bills and made it just fine. And I’m not a material girl — in fact, I don’t like him spending his money on me. We have had great times without spending money.
I haven’t gotten to meet the parents yet because he doesn’t want me to spend the gas money to come up just for the day. We’re both in love and serious about each other, and he’s told his parents this. But his dad says he needs a nest before he brings a woman home. I know he’s trying to find a place and that he’ll probably take his parents’ condo, but in the meantime he wants me to be strong and wait. I have no problem with that, but I’m seeing a difference in him.
I’m a very independent woman and very laid back; I enjoy life, but I’m confused about this man I’ve fallen for. Please send me a clue. — Needs a Clue
You don’t need me to give you a clue — your boyfriend has already given you several. He’s 48 years old and his mother, whom (says he) he lives with, hold his paychecks? Clue #1: that’s shady. You’ve been dating for five months and he doesn’t want you to meet his parents because he doesn’t want you to spend the gas money to drive the two hours to where they live? Clue #2: that’s shady. His mother is watching his spending and telling him that driving to see you is too expensive and too much wear and tear on his truck, and yet she wants him to move into a condo where the rent would be so expensive you don’t know how he’d manage alone? Clue #3: shady.
Something is up in your boyfriend’s world that he isn’t being forthright about. I don’t know what it is — maybe he’s in rehab and only gets out once every other weekend; maybe he has another girlfriend on the side; maybe he’s married; maybe he lost his job and is unemployed, too embarrassed to tell you, and using his parents as an excuse not to spend money he doesn’t have — but he has shown you several red flags now, and, if I were you, I’d heed the warning and consider moving on before you invest more than five months of weekend visits together. A grown man who hands his paycheck over to his mom (or says he hands it over to his mom) has baggage and issues that are preventing him from having the kind of relationship it sounds like you’d like to have with him.
Your gut is trying to tell you something. You have seen a difference in your boyfriend. You suspect something isn’t quite right. You need to tell your boyfriend you suspect he isn’t being honest with you and demand that he tell you the truth. And if he doesn’t or if he sticks with the story that, at 48, he simply has “stern” and “controlling” parents who hold his paychecks and forbid him from going to see his girlfriend, you need to MOA and let this relationship be a lesson to you that you CAN find love after your divorce and that there are men you can click and have a great time with. But just because this is the first man you’ve felt that way about since you separated from your husband doesn’t mean he is or should be the last guy you will feel this way about.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.