Should I be worried about my live in boyfriend?

Dear Guys,

I’m divorced (seven years) and living with a great man. He’s kind and caring. But here is the problem. He’s been married twice before and both marriages lasted less than six months. So he says he is done with marriage. (Honestly I am ok with that.) But the problem lies in the fact that he won’t tell me he loves me. When I tell him I love him he says it’s mushy crap. I am afraid of being in a relationship where I care more than he cares about me. All his friends have told me that they have never seen him this happy and that I am the first woman he has lived with full time 24/7 other than his ex wives. (It’s been almost two years now.)

I want more than anything for him to tell me how he feels. Should I worry about this or let his actions speak for him?


Dear Kristi,

His actions are speaking for him already, because the act of doing nothing, is an action, in and of itself.

He knows how you feel about him. You’ve told him many times. He also knows that it bothers you that he won’t tell you how he feels. But, instead of trying to alleviate your fears, he tries to downplay the importance of opening up and communicating in a relationship by saying, “It’s just mushy crap.”

You might counter by saying, “Well, if he wasn’t into me, why would he want to live with me?”

He wants to live with you because he’s getting his needs met emotionally and physically without much investment on his part. It’s like collecting interest without having to front any money. We’re not saying he doesn’t care about you, and that he’s not fond of you. But we’re saying that something is holding him back from telling you how he feels. And we think it’s important for you to find out what that something is.

Some possibilities:

1. He enjoys being with you but doesn’t love you.

2. He’s scared that if he expresses himself things will fall apart. (He doesn’t trust himself enough in relationships, especially with his track record.)

3. He’s not sure yet. (Worried about his track record again.)

4. He’s not an expressive person. (This is not a great excuse.)

You ask if you should be worried. But the fact is, you already are worried. Otherwise you wouldn’t have contacted us to ask the question. If you were totally fine with the current arrangement—it seems to be working on some level, or even many levels—you would just let it ride and enjoy what you have. But clearly, you want more. You want to be in a mutually respectful and loving relationship. And his inability, or unwillingness to go there with you is really bothering you.

That said, you may change your mind and decide that you’re okay with the situation. If so, don’t rock the boat. But if this keeps eating away at you, then you need to force the issue a bit. It’s not okay for him to avoid your question and make fun of you for expressing yourself. That’s not how relationships work, and in fact, that type of response is downright disrespectful. Talk to him. Tell him that you need to work this out. You need to know where he stands. And that the truth, even if it might be difficult, is something you need to hear. If he continues to avoid the topic, or refuses to go there with you, then it will be up to you to decide how you want to proceed.

We’re not making any guarantees about how this will go. If you push the envelope, things could go downhill quickly. But if that’s the case, then you’ll know that maybe your relationship wasn’t as solid and wonderful as you originally thought.

Good luck and keep us posted.


Check out these other questions:

Not over his ex; should I leave? 

Am I getting played or not?  




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