July 28, 2017 at 3:08 pm EDT | by Michael Radkowsky
Shacking up for financial reasons is usually a bad idea
living together, long distance relationship, gay news, Washington Blade, moving in

Relationships work best when both people can stand on their own.

Five years ago I met Jack, who lives in Philadelphia. We dated long distance with the intention that I would move to Philadelphia and we’d date more seriously.
I found a job in Philly, commuting between my D.C. condo and corporate housing for two months before my dad got sick back here in D.C. and I needed to take care of him. I left my Philadelphia job, moved back into my condo and even got my D.C. job back. Communications between me and Jack waned and we lost touch.
During this entire time, I never dated anyone else nor was I interested in dating because Jack was always on my mind. We could not pursue our goal of my moving to Philly because I needed to take care of my dad.
Fast forward to Spring, 2017. My dad stabilized and I got laid off from my job. I sold my condo and moved in with my father. I’ve been job hunting but with no luck so far.
Then a few months ago, Jack contacted me and we decided I would visit him. The visit was stellar. I realized I was in love with Jack and we both agreed that we wanted to pick up where we left off.
As I’m unemployed and don’t have my own home right now, I suggested to Jack that I live with him until I find a job in Philly, at which time we could decide if I should stay with him permanently or move into my own place. Jack has not agreed to this proposal.
How do we work through this situation to find a solution that allows me to live in the Philly area so that I can interview for jobs, while also allowing us to see each other as often (or as little) as we’d like, and work toward a possible marriage situation?

Michael replies:

The big unanswered question is why has Jack not agreed to your proposal?

A few hypotheses: One, he thinks it would be too large a step to move straight from having been out of each other’s lives to living together. Two, he thinks you are rushing things and perhaps perceives you as needy or desperate. Three, he is worried about taking responsibility for you financially while you are unemployed.

And of course, there is also the possibility that Jack is not really eager to continue this relationship, although you write that the two of you are on the same page about moving forward.

The best way to know Jack’s reasoning is to ask him. From your letter I gather that you haven’t done so and I’m curious about what may be stopping you. Are you afraid of what you might hear? If that’s the case, ask yourself if you would rather live with uncertainty and hope or actually know where Jack stands. The second option might be painful, but it would keep you in reality rather than in fantasy.

Or maybe you have asked Jack and not gotten an answer, either because he does not know where he stands or does not want to disappoint or hurt you. While you can’t force someone to speak up, you can talk with Jack about the importance of being able to talk about difficult topics in an intimate relationship. Keep in mind that if you were to have that conversation, you’d have to be willing to hear whatever Jack had to tell you.

With regard to your proposal of moving in with Jack: rushing into living together full-time would have some big downsides. This would be, essentially, a new relationship. As the two of you would be getting to know each other better and adjusting to being in a relationship, wouldn’t you want to each have your own space so that you could take a break from non-stop togetherness?

Also, putting the financial burden of housing completely on Jack would be a big weight for him to bear alone when the two of you are so new as a couple and have so little history together. He could only easily become resentful. And so could you, in the one-down position of being dependent on Jack for a place to live.

The solution that allows you to live in Philly in order to job hunt and spend time together is simple: Find some way to pay for your own housing. Relationships work best when both people can stand on their own.

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with gay couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to Michael@michaelradkowsky.com.


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