Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Moved In With Him Months Ago and He Still Won’t Introduce Me To His Parents”

I am 41 years old and dating a guy, “Brad,” whom I have known since elementary school. Brad has always been a great friend, and we have maintained contact over the past 20 years. Last June we started hanging out. Well, we ended up becoming friends with benefits because Brad, who has been a bachelor for 20 years, has an active and very busy lifestyle. I fell in love with him during the course of all this and he expressed he wasn’t sure he could do a relationship after being single so long. So I decided to continue with how things were despite wanting more.

In February, my living situation became unbearable. I needed a place to stay for about two months until I could move an hour away and start my life over. I reached out to Brad and he let me come stay with him. In March, he asked me to stay and be with him as he was falling in love with me. I was astounded to hear this coming from him. We have an amazing relationship and he takes care of me and buys me little things that I don’t ask for or he thinks I might like. I’ve never had someone treat me so well. I do just as much for him as he does for me too.

Brad is not one to express how he feels. Don’t get me wrong — he shows me attention and we hug and kiss a lot and we cuddle all night long, but I am concerned about a few things. I have met his brother and sister and they know we live together, but I have yet to meet his parents. When he has to visit them, he leaves me at home, and it makes me feel as if he is ashamed of me for some reason. when I get upset about something or he has said something that offends me, he says he loves me, that we are great, that he loves being with me, and that he wants this relationship. I guess I’m really just wondering if I will always be the girlfriend in the shadows when it comes to his parents and I’m wondering if a 20-year bachelor can really emotionally commit to a long-term relationship.

I love this man with all my heart, but I am so confused. — Battling Demons in My Head

What happened to your plan to move an hour away and start your life over? You just decided to forgo that because a man you’d been sleeping with — not even dating — asked you to live with him? You didn’t even have a relationship with him when you moved in. You were friends with benefits. You say he had a very busy lifestyle and didn’t have time for a relationship. What changed? Did anything change? You don’t mention anything that you do together, any shared values or goals, any common interests. All you say about him is that he buys you little things and you kiss and hug a lot. You can’t build a solid, long-term relationship on that. And you can’t build a successful cohabitation on simply needing a place to live for two months and his providing that. Why did you ask him for a place to stay, anyway? Do you have no friends or family? A guy you’re in love with but has told you he only has time for sex and not a relationship should be the LAST person you ask to crash with for two months. What were you thinking?

You made a mistake moving in with Brad – even temporarily — and you made a mistake agreeing to stay with him when he told you he was falling in love with you. You have to build a relationship and trust with someone before you take such big steps; you can’t skip those parts or you’re going to have trouble, which is where you find yourself now. You don’t really know how Brad feels about you. You don’t know how to communicate with each other. You tell him when he says or does something that offends you, and his response isn’t to apologize or to ask why it offends you or to change his behavior or explain why he does and says what he does; he just tells you he loves you and wants this relationship. It’s so dismissive of your feelings. He’s not responding to them at all. Like, zero. So, not only do you have a guy who can’t express his own feelings, but also he doesn’t know what to do when you express yours. He doesn’t know how to validate them or to even let you know he hears you. Instead, it’s all about him — he thinks things are great! He loves you! He wants this relationship! Nevermind where your head is and what you think and feel and need – everything is honky dory for him, apparently, and that’s all that matters.

Can a man who’s been a bachelor for twenty years finally commit to a long-term relationship? I’m sure many can. But it takes time to foster that level of commitment and to build a relationship that a long-time bachelor would be persuaded to make some changes in his life for. You went from being fuck buddies to a live-in couple literally overnight, and that’s not going to work. You are expecting him to make room for you not just in his home but also in his life when he hasn’t shared his life with a romantic partner in his entire adulthood. And not only do you expect him to make room for you in his life, but also you expect it to be a lot of room and very quickly, and the truth is, although he may, in fact, be telling you the truth that he does love you and wants a relationship with you, he doesn’t know HOW to be in a relationship. He needs time to learn, and you never gave him that time before shacking up with him and then, within weeks, expecting him to know how to be a serious, committed partner to you. He wasn’t even a serious, committed partner to you BEFORE you moved in together. He wasn’t a partner to you AT ALL, in fact, except in bed. I’ll say it again: You cannot build a relationship on just that alone, no matter how sexually compatible you are.

I really urge you to move out and to try to develop this relationship at a much slower pace – a pace that a man who’s never had a serious romantic relationship as an adult can keep up with. Go on some dates, maybe take a weekend getaway together this summer, get to know each other, let him introduce you to his parents when he’s ready. Don’t even think about moving in together again until you have been exclusive and committed for a year, you have met everyone important in each other’s lives, and you have talked about what your future hopes are for your relationship and life together. I once wrote about 15 Things Couples Should Do Before Moving in Together; until you tackle at least a majority of these before moving in together – and I’m willing to bet you didn’t even do two — the chances of your relationship surviving even to your first anniversary of cohabitation is pretty slim.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

12 comments… add one
  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom June 17, 2019, 9:31 am

    I’d add a discussion of life goals to Wendy’s list of things to do before you move in together. You need compatible life goals and in general you need compatible life ambitions. You need to be compatible on things like work/life balance and also on spending versus saving.

    If I was him I would be wary of moving forward in a relationship with a woman who at age 40/41 doesn’t seem to be financially stable enough to not need a friend to give them a place to stay for two months and who needs to start their life over. Not that there aren’t good reasons for starting your life over at 40 but he needs to know those reasons and decide whether your life is too chaotic or drama filled to be compatible with his and the same for you. The two of you need to be discussing things like finances. How much you each make. How much you save. How much debt you each have. What are your thoughts on retirement. Have either of you managed to save anything for retirement. Do you think you will be able to retire? Does he want to take that on and vice versa?

    Why do you feel that he is ashamed of you? I think that when we look for a reason that something is happening we usually project our own insecurities in as the reason. Do you not feel that you are good enough for him? Do you feel that he has a reason to be ashamed? Are you ashamed of yourself?

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    anonymousse June 17, 2019, 10:19 am

    I think you should move away and start over.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    csp June 17, 2019, 10:46 am

    LW – I think this just shows how little you know about this guy. Is he embarrassed of your or his parents? What do you know about his childhood? His family dynamic?

    I dated a guy years ago who never invited me to meet his parents. I thought it was me. After we broke up, I happened to meet them and remember thinking “Oh, he was hiding them, not me.” But he was secretive and it wasn’t an open and honest relationship. I think you fell into this situation and need to start taking control of your life.

    Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom June 17, 2019, 10:49 am

      I was thinking the same thing about him hiding his parents from her.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Allornone June 17, 2019, 2:26 pm

      It was two years before I met my boyfriend’s parents. I know that should’ve been hugely red flaggy, but he assured me that it was them, not me. Spoiler alert: he was telling the truth. Though, I gotta say I found the whole “Oh yeah, they’re Santarians thing rather interesting .”

      Reply Link
  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom June 17, 2019, 10:48 am

    The way you moved in has made you an unequal partner. You moved in not as a partner but as a person who needed a crutch in a bad situation and he was that crutch. Neither of you saw you as a woman who could stand on her own two feet.

    You should move out and be independent and then only live together when the two of you have a long term commitment. You need to come into the relationship and living situation as an equal partner, not as someone needing to be saved. The way to change the dynamic is by moving out and letting your relationship develop in a natural way and then only move in together if it lasts and if there is commitment.

    You shouldn’t assume that he is ashamed of you. Maybe he is but there could be lots of reasons he doesn’t want to take you home to his parents. He might want a greater degree of commitment before that happens. He might be embarrassed or ashamed of them. Until you meet them you won’t know if there is a situation in their home. They could be hoarders or have a run down home or fight all the time or be racist or sexist.

    Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark June 17, 2019, 12:00 pm

    Yeah. Whatever happened to you restarting You life, LW?

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Emily June 17, 2019, 2:19 pm

    “He buys me little things and takes care of me” threw me. Yikes.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    ron June 17, 2019, 3:46 pm

    LW is overly needy, both emotionally and financially. Her bf isn’t ‘hiding’ her. She’s met his siblings. Not every 40 year old has his parents as a big part of his life or craves their approval of his sexual/relationship partners. Some don’t get along with their parents at all. ‘Meeting the parents’ isn’t the same thing when you are 40-something as when you are twenty-something.

    I’m not at all sure how LW and Wendy have concluded that this guy has never had a serious adult relationship. That would be very strange and a big red flag about him. Does LW really know that much about his history?

    LW is really driving this show. The guy does a lot of little things for her but seems quite passive on the bigger stuff.

    I thoroughly agree about the moving in too fast and moving in practically as a rescued homeless person who happened to be his fuck-buddy.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    dinoceros June 17, 2019, 8:21 pm

    It’s not a good idea to move in with someone simply because you need a place to stay. It’s also not a good idea to keep seeing someone who only wants FWB or who doesn’t know how to have a relationship. Even when he said he was falling for you, you have to realize that someone who’s never been into monogamy isn’t going to just immediately fall for someone and become good at being a boyfriend. It also doesn’t mean he truly WANTS that. It’s just that it feels good, so he says, yeah, let’s do this!

    He’s repeatedly given evidence that he’s not going to be someone that you can have a serious relationship with. You’ve ignored it. Now, you’re seeing the result of choosing to ignore the red flags –you’re in this weird place where you’re all committed to him, but finding that he’s not actually wanting to incorporate you into his life. I mean, you can talk to him and see how things go, but there is zero evidence here that he wants something serious with you. Anyone can say “I’m falling for you.”

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      battlling demons in my head June 18, 2019, 6:35 pm

      i have known this man my whole life and he knows my whole life…. I lost my mother in 1993 at 16yrs old to suicide and have many challenges since that age. he has always been a trusted and well respected man in my life and his advice over the years has been spot on. I had a traumatic event in my life in dec 2016 and literally died but for some reason I was granted a miracle of life. he has been there through all the events in my life and knows my past and I know his and his 2 relationships that were 20 yrs ago. i may not be on my feet right at this moment but he has been very encouraging and supportive of finding a job or going back to school. sure we started as fwb but that’s because I wasnt quite sure what i wanted and he works 65 hrs a week and has hobbies and stuff. he does incorporate me into his life as a gf and we do share many common interests and goals. he is a wonderful man but yes I do have insecurities as a result of losing my mother and family that has never been there for me. we have serious conversations about our life together and he does listen and validate my feelings when I express them. I apologize if I didn’t explain in more detail ….. I just suffer from bipolar, ptsd, and chronic anxiety. I tend to over analyze everything in my life not just things with him I just was feeling insecure when I wrote this. we have since sat down and had a serious talk about my insecurities and what I as feeling. he understands and is willing to work on the things that bother me but again these are my insecurities….. not HIS !!!!! yes we didn’t start out as an ideal relationship but he is someone that knows the true me and I don’t have to pretend with. I can be me ( insecurities and all) . I love this man with all my heart and I apologize for not explaining in further detail the man he is. he is a great friend to everyone in his life, always willing and will help those in his life and would never turn his back on his friends. I admire this man and everything he stands for. I may not have everything in this world to offer this man but I can give him my love and honesty and faithfulness. I appreciate your comments and advice .

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    LanLan June 20, 2019, 9:03 am

    I kinda understand the sender.
    My bf used to be less affectionate, considering the fact that he doesn’t have a lot of serious relationship experience.
    He admitted to not doing some romantic stuff as he never learnt it from his parents nor previous partners.
    He actually dated a lot of women (first date, sex, then that’s it), so when we met it was quite difficult for him to do something else. Well, he tried to do the routine I mentioned above but didn’t work out. So, we ended up taking things slowly. We went out on weekends to get to know each other. A couple of dates, then sleep over at his place.
    After a year of dating, he wanted to move in with me. Everything has changed and he became more serious in our relationship.
    I’m not saying all guys will be like this, but just take things slowly and try to get to know him first before moving in with him and meet his parents.

    Reply Link

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply