Not one single day or night passes that Greg doesn’t need to go “next door.” I work till 7 or 8 some days and all I want to do is sit down, have a glass of wine, and talk with Greg. But no — I pull up to our driveway and he’s sitting next door, so then I’m in a situation where I don’t want to go out of the car because I want to chill in my own house, and if I don’t go next door, I look really rude. Not only that — we go out with his parents every weekend and go on holiday with them every year (not once have we gone away alone). Yes, it’s lovely that Greg loves spending time with his parents, but I feel more like his sister than his partner! We never have date nights, and I can count on my hands how many times we’ve gone out on our own since living there. We are always with them all the time, and when I ask when we’re going out on our own, he tells me to stop moaning.
I suggest so many times that we need to move out so our relationship can grow, but he shrugs it off and says we will, and then nothing comes of it. So I start looking at houses and start showing him some pictures, but it’s always like, “No, I don’t like that,” or “No, I don’t want to live there.” It’s like nowhere is going to be good enough for him.
What should I do? — Tired of Feeling Like His Sister
You can stop searching for houses because moving to a new house isn’t going to solve your problem. Your problem isn’t where you live; it’s that Greg doesn’t seem to have any regard for you and the two of you don’t spend time together. A new house, while maybe putting physical distance between you and Greg’s parents, isn’t going to fix those things. Maybe nothing will fix those things because, if Greg truly has no regard for you (as opposed to simply having trouble expressing his regard for you), that’s sort of a deal-breaker. You can’t be with someone who doesn’t care about you.
So, how do you find out whether he cares and how do you spend more time together? Easy — you stop waiting for him to decide when and where and what you’re going to do together and you start making plans for the two of you. I’d suggest starting with a weekly date night and making it a tradition, so that you both know, “Ok, it’s Thursday night, and every Thursday night we go play trivia down at the such-and-such bar.” Or: “It’s Saturday night, and every Saturday we go to our favorite pizza place and then go bowling afterwards.” And if he tries to invite his parents along, say no, this is for the two of you to save your relationship. And, honey, if he’s not interested in saving your relationship, there’s your answer to all of this right there.
Finally, you’ve been with this guy since you were 13, and it’s understandable that you stay with him despite what sounds a shitty relationship, simply because it’s all you know and, even in the shitty-ness, it feels comfortable and familiar. That’s not a good reason to stay stuck, though. If you don’t get this relationship on a better track in three months, you need to move on. There’s no good age to settle down in a crappy relationship, but 21 (and with no marriage and no kids) is a particularly young age to basically give up.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.