Now comes my dilemma. Upon my moving home, an old boyfriend whom I dated 20 years ago started pursuing me. We have been together ever since. It was so much fun and his family loves me and I love them. They are really great people. Now the kicker: my boyfriend, who is 48 also, still lives with his mom. His mother has a boyfriend whom she spends four days a week with and then they spend every winter together in Florida. You say, “What’s the problem?” Well, my boyfriend tells me that he can’t have a home with me because he has to keep this childhood home, that his mom is going to gift it to him so that she can enjoy her retirement and have a good life. Yes, it’s admirable, but where does this leave me? When his mom goes to her boyfriend’s house, I go to her place where my boyfriend lives, and the place is set up for her comfort with Lazy boy chairs in the TV room. My boyfriend never invites friends to his house or even thinks about entertaining. I feel like we have fast forwarded our relationship into retirement status and I’m starting to feel resentful.
Every time I try to have a conversation with him regarding my feelings he gets so frustrated and angry and he tells me that he can’t afford to give me my own place. Note: my boyfriend has never had a mortgage or children. He owns a new boat, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, an Explorer, his work car, a Nissan, and the garage is his work space with every tool imaginable. When I said that his mother should sell the house and everybody could have their own lives, the look of shock on his face was all I needed to see. I do love him and I know he loves me, but it’s not enough.
My biggest frustration is my boyfriend’s lack of understanding of my feelings and how this is affecting me. He chooses to live in a state of denial. He thinks if he buys me clothes and pretends that his boat is mine too that it makes everything perfect. It’s perfect for him but not for me. I would love to go to counseling, but he is too private a person to do that. I feel like every time I talk about my needs as a woman in a mature relationship that I am being selfish and greedy.
This whole thing has fueled me to stay focused on my current career path, and my plan is to get my own place after this winter passes. Even though I currently live at my father’s farm in a room upstairs, my relationship with my dad is polar opposite my boyfriend’s arrangement with his mom. I often wonder and have asked him if his mother asks him where or how our relationship is progressing. He tells me,” We don’t talk about that stuff.” Really? What is this girl to do, I ask???? — Still Waiting for Perfect
You said that you’d love to go to counseling, which is great because that’s exactly what you should do. Not with your boyfriend though; you should just go on your own. You’re 48 years old, have had a string of jobs, and have made some big lifestyle changes in the last year and a half. By this point in your life you probably have some baggage that a professional can help unpack, which might be especially enlightening as you embark on this new career path and also toward your goal of getting your own place in the next few months. Honestly, focusing on yourself sounds fantastic and probably the best and quickest way to get the life you want — one where you are living in a home that is designed with YOU in mind and not the home of a retiree.
So, what about your boyfriend? Well, at 48, if he’s never been married or had kids and he’s content living in his mother’s home and waiting around for her to gift it to him, I bet there’s not a lot you can do to change him. You either need to accept who and what he is or move on. If you really want to share a home with him and doing so is contingent on his leaving a place where he gets to live for free, I doubt that’s going to happen any time soon. He likes spending his money on his toys. And, really, there’s nothing wrong with that. He sounds happy. YOU are the one who doesn’t happy. So change your life, not his. If the relationship you share with your boyfriend isn’t enough for you, it may be time to move on, because it sounds like it’s enough for him. But if you want to know for sure, you could, you know, ask him directly (instead of asking him what he’s told his mother about where and how your relationship is progressing).
In the meantime, I’d be careful about passing judgment or even getting frustrated with your boyfriend for being 48 and still living with his mother. You’re 48, too, and live with your father. Both of you are where you are because of choices you’ve made in your life, for better or worse. You say your choice to move back home was the best decision you’ve ever made. Well, now it’s time for another good decision. Which will it be? Stay in a relationship that isn’t enough for you, hoping the other party will change? Or, leave behind what doesn’t work or make you happy and start relying on yourself for the life you want?
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].