Don’t I get a key?

My boyfriend just moved into his own place, but he won’t let me have a key.

You aren’t actually entitled to one, says our elder. But please tell me you’re not doing all his housework.

Dear EWC

My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over four years now. He recently just moved out of his mother’s house into his own apartment. Because neither of us have ever lived completely on our own outside of our parents, he said that both of us should have our own separate places before moving in together. At first, this made me upset because I thought we were at that point in our relationship. But after thinking about from a more logical standpoint, I began to understand. While I was over his place for the first time, I jokingly mentioned getting a key to the place. He said that he didn’t want me to have a key just yet because he wants his place to just be his place for a while. I tried not to let my disappointment show. Then I thought to myself, his mother has a spare key to his place, and her having it doesn’t make his apartment any less his. Part of me understands where he’s coming from but another part of doesn’t understand why he doesn’t want to give me a key yet. Because it isn’t as if we’ve only been together for a couple of months and barely know each other. I know that it’s wrong of me to feel entitled to a key to his apartment that he got on his own but I honestly cannot help feeling this way. I thought about not cooking and cleaning his place as much as I used to until I do get a key in order to have some control over the situation. Is there anything else I can do to put my mind at ease about the situation?

Ketchman replies

It sounds to me, that your boyfriend wants to get to know what it feels like to have a place that’s his, and only his. Because he’s never lived on his own before, it’s perfectly understandable that he would want to get that experience before, once more, going back to a shared living situation. Granted, his mother has a spare key; but it makes sense that someone should have a spare key for emergencies and, who better than his mother who has looked after him all his life. That’s not, in any way, a criticism of you and your relationship.

You said something about “not cooking and cleaning his place as much as (you) used to”. Please tell me that you’re not cooking for him and cleaning his apartment. If so, why, on earth, would you do that? Living on your own also means either doing your own cooking and cleaning or paying someone to do it for you. If you’re doing it for him then, first of all, he’s not really living on his own and, secondly, you are, in effect, doing the things his mother used to do for him. That, in my opinion, is not a basis for a healthy long term relationship. You’re not a substitute mother for him and I suggest you make sure that he understands that. I think if a good long term relationship is what you want it should be viewed, by both parties, as an equal partnership — not one in which the only one of you is required to do the scut work.

I hope I’ve offered you a useful perspective. When two people decide to live together it always requires adjustments on both sides, no matter how long you’ve known each other. If you think that there’s a good chance that, at some point, you’ll both want to make that move, there’s no better time than now to start establishing the ground rules. I wish you both the best of luck and happiness. We’re always here for you so, please, call on us again whenever you’d like a bit of advice or a second opinion on most anything. We’ll always do our best for you. Thank you for giving me a chance to help.

Letter #: 411081
Category: Dating/Relationship

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