Do we have to live together?

I love my boyfriend but living together made me anxious — so I moved out. Can our relationship work?

There is more than one way to be in love, says our elder. You’ll know when it’s time to take the next step.

Dear EWC

I lived with my boyfriend for a little over a year but found that I was feeling overwhelmed and couldn’t sleep. I moved back with my mom and feel much better now. My boyfriend doesn’t want us to break up and hopes I will move back when I feel better about things. I don’t know if I want to. I love him but right now I don’t want to live with him. Can a relationship work this way?

Lincoln-Parker replies

Relationships like this (in love but living separately) have worked forever. While living together is a much wider practice than it has ever been, it doesn’t make it the only way to be in love.
You don’t say why you don’t want to live with him, but that doesn’t make any difference; it is totally your decision. From an old school point of view, I think living together requires a commitment that maybe you are not ready to make yet. Being from a different generation, I admire that; it makes sense to follow your heart. It sounds like your decision is working for both of you. He is understanding and giving you time to decide about the long term; you “feel much better” now and less overwhelmed.

You need to decide what it was that was causing that overwhelmed feeling, but you should not feel any pressure to do so. You have a long life ahead of you, and lots of time for such an important decision. Rushing it or making it under self-induce pressure can only result in a mistake that you then have to un-do. That’s uncomfortable and; therefore, why chance it in the first place.

It appears that he loves you. His patience will show the extent of his love. It should only be about you and him. The fact that you are living separately doesn’t have to mean breaking up. If you love him, make him understand that. Discuss your feelings with him, and let him know where he stands. Ease his concerns, but don’t give in to his wants until you are completely ready. The accurate measure of his love will be shown by continued understanding regarding your health and peace of mind while you figure things out.
Once everything is out on the table, go on being with each other in the old fashioned way — considerate and loving but separate. You’ll know when and if the time is right to take the next step.

Letter #: 455961
Category: Dating/Relationship

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