“My Boyfriend Won’t Sell His House and Buy a New Place with Me”

My boyfriend, “Hank,” and I have been dating for over a year and a half, but we’ve known each other for over 20 years. I’m 42, he’s 49. We are so perfect for each other, and at our age I feel like we each know what we want in a partner. The problem is we aren’t moving forward, but it’s not that either of us doesn’t want to go the next step. He purchased his parents’ home about 10 years ago and has asked me and my son to move in. The home is in my childhood neighborhood, which is not a safe area and doesn’t have good schools, either. It’s definitely not a place I’d ever choose to live. Plus, it’s HIS home. It’ll never be OURS. I’ve suggested purchasing a place together – somewhere we could both feel comfortable with, but he refuses. He says it’s ridiculous for someone his age to purchase a new home, pay a mortgage for 30 years, and have to work until he’s 80. The house he owns now is also sentimental to him since it was his family home (although his seven siblings had no problem selling it prior to his wanting to buy it), and I understand his point of view. But he’s financially struggling in his current situation. Every year he’s late on his house taxes, and he even has to have a roommate just to afford the minimal extras in life. I’ve explained how moving into our own place would benefit him financially. I have a decent paying job with a pension, and I could take on that burden, for the both of us if I needed to.

My heart is breaking, thinking that I should leave him, because it’s not fair to me to continue with this relationship if there’s no end game. Am I right to feel this way? Is there a middle ground I’m not seeing? Should I give up everything I’ve been searching for in a relationship for my “wanting to build a future” together? — Don’t Want to Lose Him

I think what you aren’t seeing is potentially that you aren’t as well-matched with Hank as you think you are. You say that at your age you know what you want in a partner. I would imagine that you want someone who is financially responsible, right? After all, you’re 42, you’re a mom, and you sound responsible yourself. Hank does not sound financially responsible. He’s late paying bills and, at 49, he can’t afford living in his home without the financial contribution of a roommate. Rather than move somewhere more affordable, he stays in his financially insecure situation. That doesn’t sound very responsible. I would also imagine that, as a single mom, something that you would look for in a partner is an interest and commitment in being a strong father-figure to your son. Part of being a parent – or a parental figure – is to prioritize one’s kid’s safety and education. Maintaining residence in an unsafe area with bad schools when other options are readily available – and would be affordable with the support of a partner – doesn’t sound very responsible. In these ways, Hank doesn’t sound like a perfect match for you, even if everything else in your relationship is wonderful. These are big issues on which to be mis-matched.

Now you might decide that maybe these aren’t issues that are deal-breakers for you. Maybe you can convince yourself that living in an unsafe area with bad schools will work for you. Maybe you can, in fact, finally convince Hank to sell his house and move somewhere else with you. You still have the issue of his financial irresponsibility. You say you would be willing to “take on the [financial] burden” for both of you should you need to. The only way that moving in together would work is if you accept the financial burden from the beginning as otherwise you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You cannot expect that Hank is going to move in with you and suddenly become financially responsible. History has shown that he isn’t, and that is not going to magically change if you were to move in together. Are you prepared to financially support him? To pay the mortgage and taxes on a new home together, and to cover most of the bills (since he has a history of being late with them)? If you are – like, really, truly, genuinely and you’re not going to resent him for only contributing when he feels like it – then the only obstacle is getting him to sell his house (or at least move out), which may be far easier to do if he knows you’ll be footing the bill of his new living environment. If you are not prepared to foot the bill, it’s time to MOA, because, as you said, there’s no end game here – not when you’re with someone who isn’t a match for you.

My boyfriend, “Mike,” who is 20, is living with me so he can go to college (which he picked just to”be with me”). Well, now he’s wanting to look at apartments together. I’m in high school and I want to live in a dorm for a year, but he keeps trying to persuade me to get an apartment instead because “it’s cheaper.” I also don’t really want to live with him right now. I feel like I’m raising a child. If I wake him up because he’s running late, he yells and calls me names and goes back to sleep, he refuses to clean (I have to throw a fit for him to even pick up his clothing that he threw on the floor an inch from the hamper), and I pretty much have to turn off the wifi so he’ll stop playing on his phone and get his college work done. I can’t really text anyone because he gets mad and says I’m on my phone all the time, and then he wants to look through my phone when I’ve never looked through his, and he watches tik tok or Youtube almost every second he’s awake. — Playing Mom

MOA. This guy is bad for you in all kinds of ways. He sounds controlling, manipulative, lazy, neglectful, and irresponsible. And he doesn’t respect your wishes or the goals you’ve set for yourself. Give yourself a powerful lesson now, while you’re young, that the freedom and relief of leaving a bad boyfriend is worth whatever it is you think you’ll be giving up when you give him up. Choosing yourself is always the best course. And staying with a bad match never works – not when you’re in high school and not when you’re in your 40s.

***************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.

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