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The Stayover Arrangement


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1 hour ago, asp2021 said:

I spoke to him yesterday and told him this almost verbatim, and his response was that he was sorry he has left me feeling this way and we need to fix it. I told him that it was also my fault for not telling him that I was feeling displaced. However, as I often do, I feel like he effectively shut down the conversation, which is likely the root of the problem...communication.

I plan to start staying at my own home more, which is what I have been needing. I realized that a drawer at his house isn’t going to make me feel any more “at home”. I need to BE at home more. 

Oh dear. How did he shut down the communication? Was he a bit flustered or did he direct any anger or frustration towards you? It's good to observe the way a person deals with frustration overall. Try to think of this less as A Big Problem and more of a situation that can show you whether a person is someone you'd like to spend more time with. I'd also see whether he is willing to bring it up again at a later time. Suggesting to "fix it" and then shutting down is giving two mixed messages in one breath. I can see how this is confusing to you and why you're a bit unsettled or nervous around him if you are.

I think this is worth chatting about because you spending less time at his place also involves him. Simply not going there or being there will shift the relationship and your routines a little but I think if someone cares about you that person will understand and adapt. It's not going to hurt him if you spend more time at your own place. It's a red flag to me why he's inviting you over so often. Just as you're not spending time at your place or being vocal about it why would he keep asking you over in the first place? I think it goes both ways. 

Good that you've come up with a plan on what to do that helps you feel better. Time apart is a good thing! When you both come together, you'll be chatting all about the things you got to see and do earlier in the week instead of the relationship stalling or not sure what to talk about if you're seeing each other every day for dinner. Give the living together idea that you may be wondering about some room. If it ever progresses to that point, it's a decision made with another person so you both will cross that bridge when it comes together. You don't have to overwhelm yourself or think about all that now especially if you're not ready. 

 

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56 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

Oh dear. How did he shut down the communication? Was he a bit flustered or did he direct any anger or frustration towards you? It's good to observe the way a person deals with frustration overall. Try to think of this less as A Big Problem and more of a situation that can show you whether a person is someone you'd like to spend more time with. I'd also see whether he is willing to bring it up again at a later time. Suggesting to "fix it" and then shutting down is giving two mixed messages in one breath. I can see how this is confusing to you and why you're a bit unsettled or nervous around him if you are.

I think this is worth chatting about because you spending less time at his place also involves him. Simply not going there or being there will shift the relationship and your routines a little but I think if someone cares about you that person will understand and adapt. It's not going to hurt him if you spend more time at your own place. It's a red flag to me why he's inviting you over so often. Just as you're not spending time at your place or being vocal about it why would he keep asking you over in the first place? I think it goes both ways. 

Good that you've come up with a plan on what to do that helps you feel better. Time apart is a good thing! When you both come together, you'll be chatting all about the things you got to see and do earlier in the week instead of the relationship stalling or not sure what to talk about if you're seeing each other every day for dinner. Give the living together idea that you may be wondering about some room. If it ever progresses to that point, it's a decision made with another person so you both will cross that bridge when it comes together. You don't have to overwhelm yourself or think about all that now especially if you're not ready. 

 

I feel like “we need to fix that” and then moving on is a way of giving the “right” answer while not inviting more conversation. It wasn’t said with any sort of anger and frustration, and in fact felt like a positive response at the time - that we will work together to find a balance. However in hindsight, it feels like there needed to be more conversation about HOW we plan to “fix” it, and his response didn’t invite that conversation. I will talk to him again before I just decide on my own to start staying at home more. Initiating these conversations is hard for me, and it is a practice I have to keep coming back to. I think the entire thing stems from lack of open communication about our needs, and maybe some lack of clarity on my part about what exactly his part is in this, if any. I know my past has caused me to feel pressure to know “the end of the story” and part of it could be just wanting to know he does have plans in the future to make permanent space for me in his life, even though I am not currently ready for that. 

 

Thank you for being compassionate. That last statement brought on the tears, so I think “talking” through it has helped me start to understand the root of the problem. 

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3 hours ago, asp2021 said:

I think what has complicated things a little is the fact that it is way more convenient for us to stay at his house than mine. Without giving too much potentially identifying info away, he has obligations associated with his home and job that I don’t have. 

It's only complicated because you have specific needs when it comes to staying at his home and want things a certain way.  I like Andrina's input a lot FWIW.

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Have you suggested maybe a drawer for your things as it's getting taxing bringing things back and forth? Surely if there is room for you to stay there, there is room for your necessary items to stay.

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23 hours ago, asp2021 said:

 I am not 100% clear about what I want. “Home” hasn’t always been a safe place for me, and I finally own my own little place in the world. I am struggling with the thought of letting that go, so I guess I am feeling really torn right now. 

I don't think think it's a drawer or physical space that you has you wondering, but maybe where you fit in to his world emotionally. 

In a later response you said you weren't good at waiting to see what the future holds. But honestly, one year in and from what you've shared, neither of you are 100% percent. So what's the harm in enjoying this moment.  You say that otherwise everything is good and you feel very welcome in his home.  Would a drawer make you feel better because I don't think it's about a drawer.  It's about wanting to predict the future. 

First and foremost you need to get clear on what you want before you say anything about his inability to communicate where he is at.

Maybe it's just too soon.  Consider letting this go for the time being.

I've been with my bf for over 3 years.  We live 10 mins from each other.  Sometimes we talk about what it would look like to live together, but then we swing to the other side and ask ourselves why and what the benefit would be.  This is working well, so for now we just carry on.   

I've seen too many couples make that leap (in their 40s & 50s) and it ruins a good thing.   Personally, I think we are pretty set in our ways as we get older.  Cohabitating after being on our own for a period of time isn't as easy as when we were young and flexible.

Enjoy what you have and try not to look for trouble when there isn't any.  If you decide exactly what you want and need, then share that with him then.  But having these vague fishing conversations probably isn't a good idea.  Not right now.

Edited by reinventmyself
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5 hours ago, asp2021 said:

I feel like “we need to fix that” and then moving on is a way of giving the “right” answer while not inviting more conversation. It wasn’t said with any sort of anger and frustration, and in fact felt like a positive response at the time - that we will work together to find a balance. However in hindsight, it feels like there needed to be more conversation about HOW we plan to “fix” it, and his response didn’t invite that conversation. I will talk to him again before I just decide on my own to start staying at home more. Initiating these conversations is hard for me, and it is a practice I have to keep coming back to. I think the entire thing stems from lack of open communication about our needs, and maybe some lack of clarity on my part about what exactly his part is in this, if any. I know my past has caused me to feel pressure to know “the end of the story” and part of it could be just wanting to know he does have plans in the future to make permanent space for me in his life, even though I am not currently ready for that. 

 

Thank you for being compassionate. That last statement brought on the tears, so I think “talking” through it has helped me start to understand the root of the problem. 

You're welcome. I agree with reinvent's post a lot and she took a lot of words out of my mouth that was about to post here. 

I have other thoughts about living together in the future. If what you are trying to do ultimately is move in together or want to have that conversation with him that's something you both have to be ready for. I think you should be clear about that with your partner. He may not want to live with anyone at all and both of you would free each other to find partners that are more compatible in the long run. I don't think there should be any mistake about this. Sort things out with yourself and what you want in a long term relationship and if this isn't progressing the way you would have seen it to by a year or two, then maybe it's time to move on. 

Carrying on though for years on end like this in limbo not knowing if your partner wants the same thing you do is not my idea of a happy or fulfilling relationship. You deserve to know. He deserves to know. I hope (eventually, whatever it is) you both want the same thing. 

 

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I actually have a question for you - what are you looking for in a relationship? I could be wrong but to me you feeling "misplaced" seems like you want the relationship to progress more. Such as, you want to actually move in with your boyfriend, not just stay there. Are you looking for marriage? I was actually thinking the same thing as another poster, that this could be a pattern for him. He's in his 40's and he's never been married or lived with a partner. Are you maybe worried that he won't want the same things as you?

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19 hours ago, reinventmyself said:

I don't think think it's a drawer or physical space that you has you wondering, but maybe where you fit in to his world emotionally. 

In a later response you said you weren't good at waiting to see what the future holds. But honestly, one year in and from what you've shared, neither of you are 100% percent. So what's the harm in enjoying this moment.  You say that otherwise everything is good and you feel very welcome in his home.  Would a drawer make you feel better because I don't think it's about a drawer.  It's about wanting to predict the future. 

First and foremost you need to get clear on what you want before you say anything about his inability to communicate where he is at.

Maybe it's just too soon.  Consider letting this go for the time being.

I've been with my bf for over 3 years.  We live 10 mins from each other.  Sometimes we talk about what it would look like to live together, but then we swing to the other side and ask ourselves why and what the benefit would be.  This is working well, so for now we just carry on.   

I've seen too many couples make that leap (in their 40s & 50s) and it ruins a good thing.   Personally, I think we are pretty set in our ways as we get older.  Cohabitating after being on our own for a period of time isn't as easy as when we were young and flexible.

Enjoy what you have and try not to look for trouble when there isn't any.  If you decide exactly what you want and need, then share that with him then.  But having these vague fishing conversations probably isn't a good idea.  Not right now.

This says everything that I have realized myself...that I am failing to just let go and see how this unfolds. It is more of an emotional “need” that really isn’t his to fulfill. What I have failed to mention (I think) is that he told one of my friends he is “working on” a ring. This seems to have unleashed the sense of urgency to figure it all out, and likely also the need to take a step back to reevaluate what I truly want for my life. I am independent, and my previous marriage was one of dependency. I moved into his house, sold mine, he made sure he always needed most of my income for some bill that popped up, he drove new vehicles while I drove junk, etc etc. Fast forward several years, and I took a second job. He fought me every step of the way, probably knowing it was my step to freedom. A year later I moved out and since then have bought my own house, a newer vehicle, new job, and have discovered a love for traveling. I love having my own space. I know I need to untangle “marriage” from “oppression”. My boyfriend has never had an issue with me coming and going as I please. In fact, I went on a solo vacation to Mexico at one point, just announced that I was leaving in 4 days, and he was just happy for me, yet I feel like I am about to be forced to make a choice I am not ready for, so I am looking for reasons why it won’t work. 
 

Damn. The things “needing a drawer” can bring out when you start talking through it 🤷🏻‍♀️

Edited by asp2021
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1 hour ago, asp2021 said:

This says everything that I have realized myself...that I am failing to just let go and see how this unfolds. It is more of an emotional “need” that really isn’t his to fulfill. What I have failed to mention (I think) is that he told one of my friends he is “working on” a ring. This seems to have unleashed the sense of urgency to figure it all out, and likely also the need to take a step back to reevaluate what I truly want for my life. I am independent, and my previous marriage was one of dependency. I moved into his house, sold mine, he made sure he always needed most of my income for some bill that popped up, he drove new vehicles while I drove junk, etc etc. Fast forward several years, and I took a second job. He fought me every step of the way, probably knowing it was my step to freedom. A year later I moved out and since then have bought my own house, a newer vehicle, new job, and have discovered a love for traveling. I love having my own space. I know I need to untangle “marriage” from “oppression”. My boyfriend has never had an issue with me coming and going as I please. In fact, I went on a solo vacation to Mexico at one point, just announced that I was leaving in 4 days, and he was just happy for me, yet I feel like I am about to be forced to make a choice I am not ready for, so I am looking for reasons why it won’t work. 
 

Damn. The things “needing a drawer” can bring out when you start talking through it 🤷🏻‍♀️

 

The thing is that this idea that you have to give up you, your life, your assets, your needs, to shrink who you are and go be subservient to and secondary to your husband was there long before your marriage. You might not realize that, but it's something you need to explore. The reason I said in an earlier post that you seem to have this black and white thinking about relationships is that it does come across even to strangers on a forum.

It also shows up in the "but he asks me to stay and so you just do even if you aren't always on board with that". Sure he does ask, but he isn't forcing or demanding and it sounds like he is himself quite independent. Most people would have a meltdown if you just announced you are going on a trip without them in 4 days and left. He was happy for you. 

He isn't forcing you to make any choices. Nobody is forcing you. The idea and this lopsided dynamic is generating internally within you. Where that's stemming from, where it's rooted within you might be worth digging up and unrooting. It's making relationships difficult and unfulfilling for you.

 

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1 hour ago, asp2021 said:

he told one of my friends he is “working on” a ring. 

my previous marriage was one of dependency. I moved into his house, sold mine

I know I need to untangle “marriage” from “oppression”.

Ok, so you don't want to make the same mistakes twice. What does "working on a ring" mean and why would he tell your friend yet not talk to you? You may want to view this as hearsay until he asks you to get engaged. 

 

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I don't understand... which is it? You want a more official place in his home and life? Or you are independent and need to be free to go to another country alone on short notice.

It seems to me, from this very far distance, you are sending mixed signals.  you want the commitment, but you claim independence so you don't look like you're needing more.

he may very well be not looking to move forward (based on his past) or open to it (looking at rings).

I feel like more and more my advice to everyone (posting their problems) is - start with yourself.  What do you want? what makes or will make you happy?  Get crystal clear on that. Then talk to your partner. Be prepared to say these actions need to happen, be ready to compromise where you can and be ready to walk away where you can't. 

My last advice (to you) was to talk to him.  And you did and you said he diffused the conversation. Red flag. Maybe on him... he is appeasing you.. with no interest in doing anything different. 

or maybe a red flag on you...

you are not communicating effectively or not clear on what your saying or you're not able to support your own best interests in the relationship.  which also reflects back to your prior marriage... always letting other's needs override your own.

Edited by Lambert
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37 minutes ago, Lambert said:

I don't understand... which is it? You want a more official place in his home and life? Or you are independent

Agree. Very confusing. He has never married because he doesn't want to. He has never lived with someone because he doesn't want to.

It's unclear why leaving a change of clothes there would turn someone in midlife into someone else who wishes to be married when it was crystal clear that this is Not who he is.?

You're doing fine and happy being single and free. So why is there a need for heavy talk if it's about leaving a toothbrush there for convenience?

Edited by Wiseman2
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Sounds like you have a good arrangement and you are both happy with it and you can tell him that. The approach about having to having a drawer, etc should be with reassurance that this is just for convenience rather than obligation. Explain that this is not "moving in" or an expectation of that. You can resolve it by suggesting you buying a trunk or a small dresser as to not intrude on his space in his own furniture if this idea is more suitable to him.

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4 hours ago, asp2021 said:

This says everything that I have realized myself...that I am failing to just let go and see how this unfolds. It is more of an emotional “need” that really isn’t his to fulfill. What I have failed to mention (I think) is that he told one of my friends he is “working on” a ring. This seems to have unleashed the sense of urgency to figure it all out, and likely also the need to take a step back to reevaluate what I truly want for my life. I am independent, and my previous marriage was one of dependency. I moved into his house, sold mine, he made sure he always needed most of my income for some bill that popped up, he drove new vehicles while I drove junk, etc etc. Fast forward several years, and I took a second job. He fought me every step of the way, probably knowing it was my step to freedom. A year later I moved out and since then have bought my own house, a newer vehicle, new job, and have discovered a love for traveling. I love having my own space. I know I need to untangle “marriage” from “oppression”. My boyfriend has never had an issue with me coming and going as I please. In fact, I went on a solo vacation to Mexico at one point, just announced that I was leaving in 4 days, and he was just happy for me, yet I feel like I am about to be forced to make a choice I am not ready for, so I am looking for reasons why it won’t work. 
 

Damn. The things “needing a drawer” can bring out when you start talking through it 🤷🏻‍♀️

I soo understand this and it in part explains why I still haven't blended homes with my current bf.

Ive worked hard after a controlling marriage and subsequent bad relationships.  My priorities became learning to put myself first, becoming dependent (financially and otherwise) And now with a safe, secure space that I can call my very own, I feel such intense resistance to live with anyone again. 

Thanks for giving me the word oppression.  It is what I associate living with someone would feel like.  I know it's not healthy, but it's all I have to refer to.  But I am working on that all the time.

I wish you luck.  Take your time and in the meantime enjoy the ride.   The answer will present itself when the time is right.

A year is really soon.  At least to me.  Lol, 3 years is too soon for me so I am probably not very objective.

Luckily (maybe not the right word) my bf got married impulsively for a 2nd time, for all the wrong reasons and was absolutely miserable.  He has alot of regrets for doing so and much like me, he has built his safe happy place post divorce.   He's the cheerleader for us to live together, but I often think its safe for him to beat that drum, seeing I am in the role of the gatekeeper.  I can't help but think if I called his bluff and told him I am moving in tomorrow, he'd panic.

So, we might very well be a perfect match 🙂

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2 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Agree. Very confusing. He has never married because he doesn't want to. He has never lived with someone because he doesn't want to.

It's unclear why leaving a change of clothes there would turn someone in midlife into someone else who wishes to be married when it was crystal clear that this is Not who he is.?

 

I am going to challenge this a little bit.

For those of us - and i've been on both sides of being afraid to take that leap -  I can honestly say I go into each relationship thinking that this one might be the one I can take that next step with. 

 But with time I realize it isn't so much about finding the right guy to motivate me.  It's about coming to terms with the idea that I may never be able to.

Not my current relationship, but my previous-  We both went into it with the best of intentions and wanting the same thing. Wanting it and actually being able to do it is entirely two different things.

I've lost count of how many years I have envisioned sharing my life and home with someone at this stage in my life.  It's an internal struggle between your heart and your head that only after stepping up to the plate a few times I admit to myself it might be something I actually may never be able to do.  

It's not easy to come to terms with.   Her guy may very well want to take that next step.  Self awareness is a practice of trial and error before things become clear to that part of ourselves we don't want to admit.

To paint him as someone who has zero intentions but might be misleading her might not be entirely fair.  Or someone who doesn't want to live with her and she's just not paying close attention.  If we go with this theory, the same could be said about her.

Edited by reinventmyself
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You're doing some good surface scratching, and that can be uncomfortable even while it's productive. 

Given your past relationship, it's understandable that allowing a man to absorb you into his home on his terms might feel disconcerting.

I'd question why I've never equalized, at least to some degree, suggestions that he come to stay at your place, also?

Your independence and ownership of your own home was hard-won. I'd take steps to uncover why you're both gravitating toward his home rather than also sharing yours. This isn't necessarily 'wrong,' but you might feel more comfortable communicating if you can assert more of a balance.

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Thanks for all the helpful insights. I realized that feeding this sense of unrest (maybe better described as a feeling of being stuck in a waiting period or between “phases” of my life) was the fact that my life plan of downsizing now that my kids are grown had become uncertain. This planned move is tied to my future financial security, as I needed to make a decision about moving to a smaller home to redirect more income to savings and retirement. This man has come into my life and altered my plan, leaving me feeling “stuck”, not wanting to sell, go through another home buying process, and move only to potentially move again in a year or two, but also not wanting to just “wait and see”. 

We finally had a talk about this, as a house had come on the market with great downsizing potential. He was very clear that his plans for the future include us being married and living together, wherever that may be. That relieves the pressure I was feeling around needing to decide my next step. I know we have the same overall goal. Meanwhile, I have been refocusing on and staying in my home more, which has helped me find balance. 

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12 minutes ago, asp2021 said:

Thanks for all the helpful insights. I realized that feeding this sense of unrest (maybe better described as a feeling of being stuck in a waiting period or between “phases” of my life) was the fact that my life plan of downsizing now that my kids are grown had become uncertain. This planned move is tied to my future financial security, as I needed to make a decision about moving to a smaller home to redirect more income to savings and retirement. This man has come into my life and altered my plan, leaving me feeling “stuck”, not wanting to sell, go through another home buying process, and move only to potentially move again in a year or two, but also not wanting to just “wait and see”. 

We finally had a talk about this, as a house had come on the market with great downsizing potential. He was very clear that his plans for the future include us being married and living together, wherever that may be. That relieves the pressure I was feeling around needing to decide my next step. I know we have the same overall goal. Meanwhile, I have been refocusing on and staying in my home more, which has helped me find balance. 

Good for you, asp!

Did you guys talk about time frame? Cause in some ways your actions are actually the opposite. You agree to be together in future... 

How does staying at your own place support this?  How does it also support your goal to save more? cause you're not doing that.  you're passing on an opportunity that interests you. 

It seems to me (from an outside perspective) you feel societal pressure to be more committed, married or living together, but neither of you really want that. As your own goals and feelings show.

Edited by Lambert
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1 hour ago, asp2021 said:

Thanks for all the helpful insights. I realized that feeding this sense of unrest (maybe better described as a feeling of being stuck in a waiting period or between “phases” of my life) was the fact that my life plan of downsizing now that my kids are grown had become uncertain. This planned move is tied to my future financial security, as I needed to make a decision about moving to a smaller home to redirect more income to savings and retirement. This man has come into my life and altered my plan, leaving me feeling “stuck”, not wanting to sell, go through another home buying process, and move only to potentially move again in a year or two, but also not wanting to just “wait and see”. 

We finally had a talk about this, as a house had come on the market with great downsizing potential. He was very clear that his plans for the future include us being married and living together, wherever that may be. That relieves the pressure I was feeling around needing to decide my next step. I know we have the same overall goal. Meanwhile, I have been refocusing on and staying in my home more, which has helped me find balance. 

That's wonderful. Like Lambert, I'm also wondering on the timeline and also treading on these waters carefully knowing talking about timelines anything when it's joining two lives can be tricky. 

See how things go. I don't see why you can't downsize anyway on your own and put more cash towards savings and retirement and marry this guy anytime later on (no pressure) when you both feel ready. You would still have a home and your cash towards savings and retirement whether he is in your life or not.  

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I would go ahead with your original plan to downsize. You two aren't getting married next week, so no need to discard your plan just because someday you might get married.  Sell your current home, buy a smaller, more easily maintained property,  then if you do marry you could rent it out for extra income.

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7 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

I would go ahead with your original plan to downsize. You two aren't getting married next week, so no need to discard your plan just because someday you might get married.  Sell your current home, buy a smaller, more easily maintained property,  then if you do marry you could rent it out for extra income.

^This exactly. OP you have got stop viewing marriage or relationships as some kind of a dependence. YOU need to continue YOUR retirement savings plans no matter what. If that means selling this house and downsizing, that is something you need to be doing today regardless of any marriage talk. Marriage is irrelevant to YOUR finances. Please speak to a good accountant about these things as you seem to be stuck mentally on becoming a dependent and it can seriously bite you in the arse. Also, get a prenup. You are too old not to.

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1 hour ago, asp2021 said:

He was very clear that his plans for the future include us being married and living together, wherever that may be. That relieves the pressure I was feeling around needing to decide my next step.

Are you hoping he financially rescues you and provides you with a comfortable retirement that you expected from your exhusband? 

Unfortunately you are not engaged, you are not married and you do not live together. You would be better off talking to your CPA and financial planner about your investments, real estate, assets, retirement etc.

That is a wise choice either way. Right now you are wasting a lot of money and time all hung on a few words that may or may not happen. It sounds like you proposed to him (as cryptically and backhandedly as the drawer thing) and again you got the same answer...maybe someday.

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I am glad you two are on the same page. Until you have a ring and a date I'd proceed with your personal plans. I'd also explore why you need to stay in your own home to feel a sense of balance.  I would think if this is a man you want to marry that being with him would feel like home.

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I'm on my 3rd relationship, post divorce.  During the first two I found myself torn between making decisions for my individual future or constantly wondering if I should either hold off and consider my partners involvement if by chance we married or lived together.

Several years and two relationships came and went and I stopped myself from buying that new couch, or remodeling the bathroom  So many  'what if's' swirled around my head, I ended up pushing back any plans.

When I met my current bf, about 4 months into the relationship I told him there were somethings I needed to do.  I had already taken a home equity line of credit to do some remolding and I had started buying new furniture.  Doing anything like this threatened my previous boyfriend, so for years I lived in a townhome that i had owned for over 10 years with original 1970's fixtures.  

I told my bf that these were things I needed to do and if at some point we decide to comingle I would deal with duplicates of everything we both had at that point.  But between now and then I had put my life on hold for over a decade and had nothing to show for it.  This is something I needed to do and I wasn't trying to send a message about my future intentions with him.

To each their own.  But for me, I need to carry on as an individual until we have concrete plans otherwise.  I put my life on hold for the exact reasons you describe and 10 years of my life passed me buy.

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