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Advice

After 3 years, my boyfriend still says he’s not ready to move in together. What does that say about our future?

  • Author: Wayne and Wanda
  • Updated: April 10
  • Published April 10

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost three years and he still won’t move in with me. It makes no sense to me. I feel like we are more than ready for this step.

He says he likes living alone and doesn’t see why we should “mess things up” by living together. He likes having his place to have “alone time.” He seems to think if we share a space, we will always be at each other’s side, and that’s not true! We have somewhat different work schedules and now that things are starting to return to normal, I can see going out with my friends more, and him also sometimes doing his own thing.

The truth is, during this past year with COVID, we practically lived together anyway. I don’t understand why he is dragging his feet. Living together would allow us to save money, too. We spend so much time together, it just doesn’t make sense to me that we are paying for two separate places. We are both in our mid-20s. I have lived with someone before, but he has not.

I want to get married and have kids and I’m starting to wonder if I need to end things with this guy because he just can’t make a serious commitment. Or should I give him more time? I really need advice.

Wanda says:

Living together is a big deal. Living with someone for the first time is an even bigger deal. It’s completely understandable that after the crazy year we’ve all had, your boyfriend is hesitant to rock the boat and take what amounts to a huge step for him, since he’s never cohabitated with a romantic partner. I know you’ve been together three years and that feels like ages, but honestly, does 2020 even count?

And there’s this: saving money is not a reason to move in with a partner. It’s a fantastic reason to get a roommate, but it’s a recipe for disaster with a romantic companion. Living together is a huge step. Yes, you might save money. But you also have to blend finances, and lifestyles and habits. Your lives become way more emulsified than a traditional roommate situation where it truly is easier to live on parallel paths. Cohabitation is a major step that can suck the air out of the most fiery and fun union if you’re not both ready for that level of commitment.

My advice: slow your roll. I know it feels like the future is rushing toward you and time is sliding away, but you’re young, he’s young, and it won’t hurt anything to maintain separate addresses a while longer and see where life takes you.

Wayne says:

So, would you consider dating someone exclusively for three years a “serious commitment”? Sounds pretty committed to me. Probably shouldn’t question his loyalty to you and this relationship.

Or his honesty, for that matter. He made it clear that he’s not ready for the level and pace of commitment that you are: moving in tomorrow, getting married next summer, having the first of many kids the following spring. Maybe he hasn’t visualized his future beyond getting through the pandemic with you and returning to something of a normal life. Maybe he sees you two together forever but wants to hold on to his semi-independent life a little longer. Or maybe he’s scared and will never be ready.

Instead of wondering and pressuring him to do something he told you he isn’t ready for, be honest with yourself about how much flexibility you’re willing to give him before you either take the next step or move on. A week? A month? A year? You seem to know exactly what you want long-term. Is he a part of that? Figure it out and play it accordingly. Whether that’s giving him a move-in or break-up ultimatum, or appreciating that you’ve planted the seed and you’re willing to nurture it for a little while, at least you’re being true to yourself and your relationship timetable.

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