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Parallax - Advice            December 18, 2000

  He wants commitment

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I was married for about fifteen years to a man who was verbally and physically abusive. After I left him, I met up with a man who was recently separated as well. Although he told me he loved me, that relationship lasted only five months, as he was still in love with his ex-wife. I've now been dating a man for about nine months - I'm thirty-four and he's forty. He says he loves me and shows it. I think I'm in love with him, but I'm afraid to make any commitment. He wants to move in with me, but I'm afraid this will not last. He's never been married, but he's had ten relationships. I don't want to get my heart broken again, but I also don't want him to leave me.

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Her view:

Dear Scared,

Well here's the part where you have to put yourself out on a limb. Be vulnerable, alone…just yourself out there. You cannot live forever without love; it's just that simple. You will always seek it - it is the most coveted and exhilarating thing in life.

If your beau breaks your heart then so be it. If you end this relationship, you'll simply open yourself to a future one, in which your heart may be broken. Life is too short. Just close your eyes and jump - there is too much to miss if you don't.

Moving in together is not really a commitment; it's more like a hedge. Since you are hedging right now, it's perfect timing. It's not like you're getting married - you're just sharing an apartment. So give it a go. Things may be great, but if they don't go well, you can just saunter on out and start all over.

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His view:

Dear Scared,

Looking at the situation from your boyfriend's perspective, it makes sense that he is looking for a strong sign of commitment on your part. He's probably not interested in protracted relationships that end nowhere - it sounds like he has plenty of experience in that department.

However, he should be willing to compromise, given your recent romantic calamities. And so should you, if you really don't want to lose him for lack of commitment. Tell him you do want him to move in…eventually. Commit to a reasonable period of time - say six months. Come May, he will become a live-in boyfriend.

If May comes along and you still can't decide whether you are ready for this step, it might be a sign that the relationship doesn't hold as much promise as your boyfriend would like it to.

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