Sunday 17 December 2017

Moving in: Is it one step too far for Joanne?

February 2005


I'm 37 and have been in a relationship for a year and a half. He has just asked me to move in with him. What should I do?


Dear Joanne, as I start your reading the first thing that comes through, the general impression I get, is that you've been focussing up to now on taking care of your long-terms aims, goals and aspirations. I sense that you've been to college, got your education, bought the car, found the flat and now there's the possibility of completing the package with a partner.

The feeling I get about your past two years is that you were hired into a job in a slightly different field from the one you'd been working in before. You felt the need to immerse yourself in that new field, research your new working environment and prove to yourself and others that you were capable of the job.

So far, so good. Although, if I had one comment to make at this stage, it would be that so far you're focus has been on a macro level - now you need to take it down to the micro level and hone in on one or two issues that could use some attention.

When I consider your relationship in particular, everything is screaming out that the start of a new chapter in your life is just around the corner. Something tells me that this isn't the kind of relationship that took a while to get off the ground. When you met your current partner, I suspect it was fireworks from day 1 (in the nicest sense of course!).

I get a definite sense that, connected with your work, is the need to travel a great deal. There really hasn't been much time for any relationship, including your current one, to bed down properly and deepen. Perhaps that has something to do with your priorities so far, which have always leaned more towards the educational, the professional and the vocational. Work for you has, so far, always come first. So much so, that I suspect you even met your current partner either at work or through work!

The relationship to date has been a bit of a rollercoaster, to say the least. You've had to struggle at times to learn how to exist in a relationship (having never really given this a chance with anyone else before) and, while you might have the odd disagreement, you're as one on the major topics de nos jours . You've had the occasional contretemps (both of you are, I sense, quite independent and strong-minded adults) but that just makes the reconciliations all the sweeter.

Your question suggests to me that you're in two minds about this. That strikes me as a false impression that you've tried to create. In my mind, it's quite clear. You really want to press ahead, full-steam, so what's standing in the way? The answer: you're not sure where he stands on this one.

You need to understand that your partner is coming to the end of a cycle in his life which led him to evaluate all his previous, and existing, personal relationships and make some serious, long term changes to his life. The two of you have been very successful professionally. While you've avoided letting yourself have significant relationships, your partner has fallen once or twice, and badly! He needs to know that this time he won't be making a fool of himself again.

The reason he's been putting his house in order is that, some time ago, your partner had what I suspect was a minor health scare that forced him to put his life in perspective. The scare might have come and gone, but the resolutions he made then are still with him. I suspect that he's vowed to see through a few of the things he thought about at that worrying time, and one of them was to spend more time with you and move the relationship forward.

If I were you, I wouldn't worry that he might have changed his mind on this score. This is one of those changes that he means to keep changed. He's not going to revert to his old ways as far as you're concerned. If you do decide to move in together, I predict that your role will not change much at all - you'll still be the hard-working professional you've always been, only now, at the end of a hard day, you'll be returning to a partner who can give you the stability that you've always craved.

Good luck and all the best!


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