- Dr. Love in the Media
Will He Ever Be Ready to Commit?
April 16, 2007 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
My boyfriend and I have been together for a year. He's 27 and I am 20. Although there is an age difference, he asked me to move in.
Well last week he tells me that he's not ready to move in together. He had a past relationship that lasted four years and said it ruined their relationship.
I know I am still young in years, but I am worried if he will ever be 'Ready' when it comes to the 'commitment'?
I understand your concern. You said that your boyfriend had a previous relationship that lasted four years and that'it' ruined their relationship. I assume that the'it' to which he refers is living together. I would be interested to know why he thinks that living together is what ruined the relationship.
Ask him to talk with you so that you can understand his feelings. The key to a successful discussion is for him to feel that you aren't pushing for a specific outcome, in this case, to live together; rather, you want to understand him.
You might even say that you want him to be comfortable and that you wouldn't want to live together if he isn't comfortable. When he doesn't feel pushed or pressured, he'll feel freer to talk about his feelings. It is talking that will ultimately resolve his resistance.
When you talk, ask him to explain why he felt living together ruined the relationship. Listen and reflect back what he says to make sure you understood him.
After you talk, ask him if it's all right for you both to discuss the issue more in the future. He'll agree. Then in future discussions, ask questions that make him doubt the validity of his reasoning (that living together ruins relationships). Ask him to come up with other reasons why the relationship failed (e. g. they were incompatible, the relationship feel apart because they didn't know how to resolve their angry feelings, unfinished childhood business got in the way).
Ask him to talk about what he believes are the weakness of your relationship. Help him to see that these problems will need to be addressed and resolved whether you live together or not.
Finally, ask him to look at the deeper reasons for his fear of living together. Perhaps he's afraid to fail at another relationship and by not living together he's avoiding this outcome. Explain that he will bring about his worst fear--the relationship with you will fail--if he avoids allowing the relationship to evolve and deepen.
What could be other reasons for his fear of living together. I suspect he may have a fear of intimacy. It is very likely that his problem was brought to the surface when he and his ex lived together.
So, in that respect, living together did bring about the end of the relationship. But, it wasn't the living together that was the cause of the end, it just underscored his problem.
If he can realize his underlying problem and work on resolving that then he should no longer feel reluctant to live together. To find out the exact nature of his problem, I recommend that he use my Personality Profile in order to pinpoint his specific emotional issues and show him how to heal the issues I uncover. Encourage him to do this work because time won't heal his fear, nor will avoiding living together.
Let me know what happens.
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