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Bottom line? He wants control

Hi, Carolyn: Long story short – my boyfriend of two-plus years and I keep having the same circular, chicken-or-egg discussion.

He thinks our relationship is too unstable to commit to moving in; I believe that if we lived together, most of our issues would naturally resolve, allowing us enough stability to see if we have the legs for long-term. How to break a stalemate? – WA

What are “our issues”?

Carolyn: The most significant is that he believes it is inappropriate for me to have platonic relationships with ex-boyfriends; he feels it’s emotional infidelity. I don’t agree with that, but did agree, for his sake, not to see or email any of my exes.

However, his ex-wife, the mother of their daughter (who lives with him), calls him on a regular basis just to chat, and feels free to drop in to his house to see the daughter whenever she wishes.

I find his acceptance of this extremely hypocritical; if we were in the same house this simply would not happen. – WA again

Shacking up cures hypocrisy?

Yes, the ex-wife’s visits might change if you move in together – but your boyfriend won’t change, his beliefs won’t change, and your tendency to rationalize big problems into small ones won’t change.

And their friendliness isn’t even a problem; it’s actually admirable. The problem – a serious one – is your boyfriend’s comfort with imposing rules on you while doing as he pleases. Your appeasing him is also alarming.

Let’s say your relationships with these exes are, in fact, sketchy. Wouldn’t the healthy person just dump you?

This is about control. Your boyfriend wants it, and he’s going to dangle your relationship on a string till he gets it. In spite of the sensible voice that’s telling you he’s a hypocrite, you’re searching for ways to justify giving him that control.