DEAR NATALIE: I’ve been seeing this guy for several months. We are serious and are talking about moving in together. However, every time I stay over, it is very clear to me that there are spaces that are “off limits” to me. Certain things like his office space or his gym space he said I really have no reason to be in, anyway, so what is the big deal if it’s an off-limits space? I asked him if I would have my own space then to make it fair, but he isn’t willing to give up either of his personal spaces for me to have one (for instance, turning his gym into a home office for me or just sharing the office he already has with me).
I am really perplexed and not sure how to handle this. I want to move the relationship forward, but I feel as if he is hiding something. Any thoughts? — NO LIMITS PLEASE
DEAR NO LIMITS: I do not like the sound of this situation at all. My first thought — is he cheating? It is very odd that he is dictating to you where you would be able to be in your own home. What do you mean that you couldn’t go in his office? What is this, a bad Lifetime movie?
In a space where you coexist, there should be no limits. This is not 1810. You do not have to deal with this utter nonsense.
Reconsider this relationship. I doubt that this is the only thing that he is controlling over. Is this really the kind of relationship you want? He might as well put a sign on his door that says “Keep Out.” And if that’s the case, you might wear one of those signs around your body for a while ... catch my drift? Next!
DEAR NATALIE: I feel like no matter what I do I can’t win with my partner. He and I have been together for almost two years, and our communication issues are getting worse, not better. He told me he wants to marry me, but we haven’t moved forward with those plans, and whenever I bring it up, he becomes very defensive. I know that he wants to do things in his own time, but I’m starting to feel like he’s stringing me along. We are both in our late 30s, and he sometimes doesn’t respond to my text messages for more than a day (we still don’t live together).
I’m confused and hurt, and whenever I confront him about our lack of communication, he tells me I’m too sensitive. Am I? — TEXT ME
DEAR TEXT ME: Sounds as though he is not as ready for a commitment as he pretends to be. From now on, pay attention to his actions, not his words. The fact that you have been together for almost two years, are in your late 30s and he still takes a day to respond to your texts is ridiculous. Why are you putting up with this nonsense? Give him a taste of his own medicine and see if he likes it when you ignore him.
My other question is why do you want to marry someone who doesn’t seem that into the idea? Lip service is easy, but actions are harder. A lot of people just go through the motions of their lives, not taking a vested interest in what will actually make them happy because they play the “I should be doing this by now” game with themselves. Throw that rule book out and redirect your energy toward things that will actually bring you peace of mind. Tell him what you want, and if he doesn’t move in that direction, cut him loose. Life is too short to be waiting on someone’s text messages. Instead send him one of your own. Preferably, “Boy, bye.”
Natalie Bencivenga is the Post-Gazette’s Seen and society editor. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. Need advice? Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Natalie on Twitter @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci.