It’s Not You, It’s Me

I feel compelled to explain why I’m not jumping at the chance to live with The Fella because for many of you that would likely be the obvious solution to our current predicament.

I’ll just say this upfront and get it off my chest: I do not take living together lightly. I’m not one of those women who dreams of her wedding day. When I was 19 I told my Mom that I would likely adopt a baby and be a single parent. She looked at me like I was crazy. I know why now but back then I was like, “What’s the big dealio? I don’t need a man!” That was me and my budding feminism which, thankfully, has morphed into a more sane and balanced version of feminism. Single parenting is not something I take lightly as I see too many of my loved ones in that boat. It’s hard to row that boat alone. The point is- I always knew I wanted to be a mother but was never fully on board with the wife part.

I’m not one of those girls who has had a lot of long term relationships. I have dated a lot. I mean, A LOT. But the amount of relationships that have lasted over a year I can count on one hand. I lived with a boyfriend once for less than three months when I was twenty-four. We went into it knowing it was temporary and yet, we broke up before the three months were up. And that was MY FAULT. Not that blame serves any purpose here but I’m trying to demonstrate a pattern with me. I looked for housing with another boyfriend years later and around that time fell into what I call my “meltdown”– not that I blame that boyfriend (he was such a sweetheart). I’ve let men I was dating shack up with me which was basically them using me. (Ok, so they were basically homeless but we don’t need to discuss them here and now. Ahem!) I’ve dated too many of the wrong men and spent the greater part of my twenties figuring out who NOT to date.

I have a history of not handling long-term commitment well. Basically, I freak out. So for me to move in with a boyfriend is basically the equivalent of getting engaged. It has a lot of weight to it. If and when I move in with someone, it’s going to be purposeful- not out of crisis or necessity. I don’t want to live with The Fella because of raised rents or financial burdens or job sharing. I want to live with him because I WANT TO BE WITH HIM.

I have spent the majority of my adult life living alone. I am fiercely independent. I am over-protective of my alone time. I am a control freak. I am bossy. I am not what you would call, “easy to live with.” And. . . those are my good qualities. I have a lot of work to do internally to get to a place where I can let go of some of that shit. I’ve come a long way but I’m just not ready yet. Maybe I am scared (ok, I am because I don’t want to fuck this up). Maybe it’s bad timing (it really honestly is). Maybe I’ll overcome all my bullshit insecurities and need to control everything (anyone have a miracle handy?).

The Fella and I have talked about living together. When I bought the new bed we basically agreed that I’d fork the money over for it and when he moves in, he’ll buy the flat screen TV. We’ve named our kids. We talk about the future. Six times out of ten it doesn’t freak me out. Progress IS being made. I just can’t be rushed. If I am rushed I will curl in a ball and be useless to everyone, most of all myself.

I’m well aware that the story I tell myself about how I am not good at relationships is not serving me. It’s something I work on every day. I know things are changing. The Fella’s patience and encouragement has been a positive influence on me. If anyone can woo me into cohabitation, it’s him.

Just. Not. Yet.

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71 thoughts on “It’s Not You, It’s Me

  1. I think you’re right on. Trusting yourself and knowing yourself IS the right thing to do. And besides, “want to” ought to always out weigh “need to” with these things. It’s real commitment then, not just the bottom line talking.

  2. Well I’m glad that you not wanting to rush and screw things up. Fella sounds like a great guy for ya and that he could be the one that breaks down that wall. He’s stuck around thus far and he’s still here right? He must really think you’re worth waiting for. No matter how long it takes.

    If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it!

    πŸ˜‰

  3. I so respect your self-awareness!
    As I think I’ve told you offline, moving in together is a subject that my fella and I have discussed and we’re still butting heads on. I DO love him and I DO imagine spending my life with him, but I don’t see living together as a “test run”. Marriage is nothing you can prepare for. Period. Life happens…how will living together prepare us for 4am feedings and unexpected financial problems? I don’t believe it will.
    I know this is the right choice for a lot of people, and for some people marriage doesn’t even enter into the equation. And that’s fine. But the pressure to move in together is nonsense. Things happen at their own pace. So says the girl who is sick of being asked when she is going to be engaged already. πŸ˜‰

  4. Kudos to you for being mindful that you are “not good at relationships,” yet working to be better at them. Some people don’t even try. They go from relationship to relationship, claiming to not be good at them, and then failing. Again.

    IMO, you’re not so bad at relationships. You just needed to find the right One. I’m glad you found The Fella.

    Baby steps. Soon you won’t freak out over those talks seven times out of ten.

  5. Damn you for being so level-headed about something as serious as co-habitating! You know, you guys seem to have a amazing relationship so you must be doing something right- just keep doing what’s right for you two!

  6. You should definitely take your time until you’re sure you want to take that next step, and sure that the reasons why you’re taking it are the ones you want. It’s hard. Sometimes the easy thing to is not necessarily the best for all involved. You’re working on it, and that’s what counts.

  7. Marriage is NEVER something you should rush. Take it from someone who made that mistake once.

    You’re doing the right thing by taking it slow.

  8. I think it is great that you know yourself well enough that even though that would be the convenient solution at this time, it is not the right one. I was a serial dater for many years and definitely played house along the way, but never officially lived with anyone until Jon. I am glad that it worked out that way. It was fun to finally set up a home with someone that I knew that I would marry and eventually have kids with, and even though it was sooner than it should have been, it all worked out in the end.

  9. I think it’s totally fine that you want to take your time.

    I’ve never lived on my own completely and sometimes I wish I had. Alone-time is VERY important πŸ™‚

  10. If I could have one third of your self awareness and insight, I could maybe figure some of this crap I call life. Good on you for being true to yourself.

  11. It truly amazes me that for someone who constantly thinks she doesn’t have her shit together … you really DO!

    And really, did you think you owed US an explanation?

    I say Hell to the No!

    You’re a practical, no-nonsense person. And that’s a good thing.

    Come on now, read what you wrote and you HAVE to realize you really do have your shit together. And that, dear Sizz, is 90% of the battle won!

  12. You have a long time ahead of you to live with someone else. I agree- why rush it? At least you know yourself well enough to not get into something that you wouldn’t yet be entirely comfortable with. Good for you.

  13. karen is SO RIGHT. i managed to meet, get engaged, get pregnant, get married, and finally get divorced in a year and a half. whee!

    you’ll know when you’re ready to live with the fella. the last guy i lived with, i wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do and we ended up splitting up just after a year of co-habitation.

    take your time. sheesh. don’t rush a sizzle.

  14. Rather than needing to apologize for how you are, I think many of us should be looking to you as an example. Making decisions during a crisis period is never a good idea. Rather than berating yourself for not being able to do long term relationships, perhaps you should spin it, somewhere deep inside you, you knew that those relationships would not have worked for the long term. I am fairly confident that everyone questions their relationships regularly; it took me a good 4 years after I got married, to decide that yes, I really should have married this man.

  15. You are a great example – I wish I would have read this years ago before I married my first husband. You should be very proud of yourself for “owning” how you feel and where you are at. Take it one day at a time….

  16. You are right not to feel pressured and to go at your own pace. That being said, I only lived with one man (Max) and it ended up being a wonderful period. When we did get married, I felt even more confident that I truly knew and loved this man. And our lives never once changed, even after we said our I dos.

  17. You’re smart to know what you want AND need to make your part of a relationship work. You can only control your part of the relationship anyway.

    When Ian finally moved in after dating for 4 years I was a bit cold to him for the first 2 weeks. Then one morning after he got up for work (5:30am) I found myself bummed he was gone and curled up in his slightly warm spot in the bed. Evolution baby, evolution. ;o)

  18. I had all those doubts too. Even if you’re super independent, bossy, etc., if you’re living with the right person it does work. Really.

    But I think you’re so right on. Don’t do it unless you mean it. Don’t do it for convenience. Do it because it’s what’s right. And it will be right, eventually.

  19. I totally agree — living together, marriage, babies…they should never be taken lightly or done for reasons other than an overwhelming WANT to do them.

  20. I think we were very similar teens. I told my mom and I didn’t need no man to hold me down and oppress me, and if I wanted a baby I could adopt or some such thing.

    I’ve mellowed too… but if you’re not ready, you’re not ready. The Man and I aren’t married(over-rated, overly expensive indulgence, usually nothing to do with anything… sorry I still have issues with marriage.) When we moved in, it spoke to our commitment to one another…

  21. You know, even married for… ever, like I am – I’m also fiercely independent. You have to rely on yourself before anyone else, and that never changes. Your choices are your own, and your schedule is also. I had the no long relationship history going for myself early on, in a very bad pattern – and it was only stepping back that allowed me to step out. But that was my solution, and everyone criticized it and thought it was wrong. Stick to your guns, when it’s right to move forward you’ll know, without a doubt.

  22. You are very right. It’s a very big decision to make. When you are ready to make it and if you want to make it, then you will. The worst thing to do is to rush things. Everything comes along in its own time and when you are good and ready.

  23. Not an word of explanation is needed. In my eyes, not wanting to jump into this does not in any way minimize your commitment to this relationship – it does just the opposite, Sizz. Just like my first kiss at age 17, you’ll make that move when you’re ready.

  24. “I don’t want to live with The Fella because of raised rents or financial burdens or job sharing. I want to live with him because I WANT TO BE WITH HIM.”

    Bra-fucking-vo! Honestly, when I see relationships crumble after moving in together, most of the time THIS is why- because it “made fiscal sense” or “we were together a lot anyway” or “their lease was up.” Kudos for being so aware, and putting your relationship;s health first!

  25. AMEN. I think we live in an era of instant gratification, and of not thinking things through. Just like our economy, we slap a bandaid over things and decide to deal with them later. I’m so proud of you for knowing yourself and determining to stay true to Y-O-U!

  26. If taking things slow now means a lifetime of happiness with The Fella… do what you need to do! You’re building the foundation of something special, take your time!

    When Andrew and I started dating, I really could only tolerate having someone in my space two-to-three nights a week. Just before we were married, I still needed a good night or two away from him! Maybe it’s an Aries thing… πŸ˜‰ Heh.

  27. When you posted yesterday, I thought, “I wonder if he’ll move in.” Then I thought, “She would’ve told us if he was going to.”

    Moving in with someone is a big deal. I’m glad to see that you’re doing this at your own speed, and not rushing because the blogosphere expects it. πŸ™‚ Not that we’d ever pressure you into something!

  28. I met my husband in the fall and by the next summer we were married. I was also nineteen years old. I don’t regret it for a second, even though it wasn’t something I was even looking for. We have a much more solid relationship than some of our friends who waited years to move in together or marry, but I don’t think that’s because we rushed (conversely, I don’t think my friends have crappy relationships because they didn’t rush) — I think it’s because we both talked things through and trusted our gut instincts.

    Yep, that’s usually my only piece of advice for my friends in relationships: Know thyself. Which, clearly, you do.

  29. my boyfriend and I just put a contract on a townhouse a few weeks ago. We’ve been dating for a year and a half and know full well that this is the relationship we see ourselves in for the rest of our lives.

    Sometimes it scares the crap out of me especially since I would’ve discouraged any friend who mentioned doing this same thing. But then I look at him and remember what I want to do it in the first place.

  30. I think you’re absolutely right to hold off on moving in together for now. You’re both stressed out, you with overwork and the Fella with looking for work. You don’t want someone’s minor living quirks to get blown out of proportion because you’re stressed out about other stuff.

    Also, it’s your life, you’re not beholden to explain your choices to us. Blogging puts ourselves on display, and your comment volume makes your blog quite interactive. Just don’t be afraid to set up some boundaries if explaining ever stresses you out or you feel like you need to justify yourself.

  31. I hear you girl, I’m the same way, moved in with a guy when I was 26 and that lasted 2 months too AND it was my fault, don’t really knwo what, why or how now but I remember being such an arse. Anyway, I feel where you are coming from. Moving in with someone should be a big deal.

  32. I think your self-awareness is as healthy as it would be for you to be in that perfect (for you) place. Knowing your own limits and not pushing yourself beyond them before you’re ready is certainly better for you, better for the Fella, and better for your relationship.

  33. I this you’ve hit on the most important thing which is progress not perfection. You are making progress and honoring yourself at the same time, which sounds to me like there is real growth happening. Kudos to you!

  34. Yeah, moving in with someone is a really, really big decision. I’m probably going to be facing that decision sometime early(ish) next year.

    A lot of compromise and adapting to be done. I was married for 10 years so know all about that πŸ˜‰

  35. Don’t rush! I moved in with my now husband before we were married and it was really hard – my story similar. To get alone time I used to sit in our closet and hide – we lived in Chicago the places are small. Anyway, if its meant to be it will be but rushing it can be a disaster. You know yourself better than anyone so don’t let someone talk you into something else. best of luck.

  36. Good for you! You know yourself well and that is FANtastic! He doesn’t want to mess this up too, and this is why he is going to wait for you for how ever long it takes. Because he loves you just as much as you love him! Beautiful!

  37. You are right Sizzle. I have the same issues and I am still single at 52, so I know what I am saying. I could have married the wrong guy, but why? When it is right, it is right and you know it and Fella might be the right guy, and if he is he will stick around until you are ready :-).

  38. Then, wait, until the time is right. You will know when that is. And you are smart to know and admit when it is not.

  39. I agree so much with everything you said. You know when its right its right,

    I lived with my hubs 9 years before we got married two years ago. Everybody always said what are you waiting for? I don’t know but we did and we are still happy as ever. So if your happy they way it is then stay happy and when and if you decide to move in you’ll know its right.

  40. Thank you for writing that. I’m a fiercely independent, seemingly-terrified-of-relationships girl myself. I don’t know how I got that way (years of practice being alone, I suspect?), but it’s comforting to hear that when you find the right one, it’s not so scary and maybe not so hard. I see no problem with taking it slow. Better to be certain and purposeful about it than to rush things because it’s convenient. Too many people do that, I think. It’s not the way I’d want to start a shared life.

  41. You do what you need to do the way and the time you need to do it.

    I just go lucky in that I married a man who gave me all that “Only Child Syndrome” space… I mean, who knew?

    When it is right, you’ll know it. I applaud you for not jumping in because of outside pressures.

  42. It will happen when you are ready. And when that time comes I bet it will be the most amazing time of your life. You will be well deserving of it! Sounds like you have a great man there who is patient, kind and really gets you. The best things in life are worth waiting for. (Man that sounds so cliche hehe)

  43. Good for you. As a ‘hard to live with’ woman… I feel your pain. But maybe one day you’ll be ready for comittment, and The Fella sounds pretty cool.

  44. Hey, maybe you could talk some sense to my daughter. She’s young and on the single parent track, and many of her awful choices have been based on two the contradictory fears of intimacy and of being alone.

    Obviously, because she’s a human being, she’ll never listen to her parents.

  45. I have a lot of respect for you knowing yourself. When the time is right, you will know it. Until them, enjoy the ride πŸ™‚

  46. As I said in my email: I understand completely. Moving in was a big deal for me, too. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t believe we’d be together forever πŸ™‚

  47. Good for you for knowing what you want and sticking to it! I told my mother something very similar when I was in my 20’s and she kept nagging me about “settling down” and “giving me a grandchild”. She now has her grandchild. And I have an ex-husband. Would I take any of it back? NEVER. My little man is worth more to me than anything in the world and I’d go through all the pain over again a hundred times if it meant having him in my life.

  48. I was actually proud (that doesn’t sound like quite the right word, but I can’t figure out what is) of you that you didn’t just come up with the “obvious” solution. Then you would forever wonder whether it happened because it was the right time for you both, or if it was just something that seemed to be easiest. I totally get this. I haven’t ever lived with any guy except my husband (but to be totally honest here, I did get married when I was only 20, so there wasn’t much time for that anyway), and I think it is a really big deal too. I love that your relationship is so strong, but I think one of the reasons it is is because you are taking time to listen to yourself and make sure you are comfortable with everything. Taking it slow about moving in together is a good thing. It will all happen when you are both ready for it.

  49. I think it’s amazing you are so into this and you are okay with it. You are making a very grown up move for being so fiercely independent like myself! I applaud you for being upfront and honest. Considering there are no rules to dating let alone life, I actually admire you and respect you even more. πŸ™‚

  50. If you’re not ready for whatever reason, you’re not ready. And that’s really the only reason that matters. Once it feels right, then it will be, but don’t let anyone, not even The Fella, make that decision for you. Good on you for being so honest about it.

  51. You know what’s right and wrong for you anyone else, and I think you’re ballsy and fabulous for putting it out there. I have a feeling we’ll be sending you guys housewarming presents at some point — but for now, why ‘fix’ something that’s not broken?!

  52. I totally get this, and have been there, too. Too fast is not good for anyone, ever. I admire you for sticking to your convictions about what you know you need for now. I also believe things will be looking up for your fella soon, too. He’s too awesome for them not to.

  53. Don’t move in with someone before you are REALLY sure. It’s so hard to move them out when you are done and you are usually done with them quicker when you live with them than not.

    Okay, maybe that’s me.

  54. Yeah. Take ‘move in together’ and replace with ‘meet my kids’ and then replace ‘the fella’ with ‘DC’ and I could have written this post.

    He’s THE GUY. But. Just. Not. Now.

  55. Admittedly, Ted and I formally decided to move in together b/c his roommate wanted to move in with his girlfriend so it just made financial sense to do it since he was at my place every single night anyway. I figured I’d take the rent rather than an empty apartment. But, there’s no way we would’ve considered it, had we not thought the relationship was going further. And because we thought we could go further, we also wanted to “test the waters” and see how well we’d really get along — were we really stuck in a fairly tale with blinders on? We even set up a joint account for just our entertainment/grocery expenses so we’d figure out how we budgeted together (rather than trying to keep track of whose turn it was to pay) and it’s really worked out.

    But, it’s a decision that is really a personal one and what works for some isn’t the right fit for others. I think it’s great that you guys are so open with each other.

  56. I almost fell out of my chair after reading this post. I am EXACTLY the same way when it comes to not only relationships but to living together. I am bossy, fiercely protective of my alone time and tend not to do well living with others (I worked two jobs in college in order to afford to live alone because I was this close to strangling my roommate – a friend since I was ten). I’m horrific at relationships and have a tendency to shut down when guys get to close. Like you, I’m trying to overcome my relationship phobias and have a fairly patient fella of my own right now. But believe me when I say I understand it’s hard. And I admire you for overcoming them one day at a time.

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