Relationship Adverse Man Looks To DTR With Male Roommate, Worries The Conversation Will Jeopardize Everything
Come and knock on our door...
A Redditor needed some advice for a life changing situation involving, of course, love... they asked... Me [32 M] with my "roomate" [31 M], how do I ask him to be my boyfriend when we pretty much are already a couple?
Here is how the story goes... I'll be the first to admit, I have huge commitment issues- my parents threw me out for being gay and then shortly after I entered into an abusive relationship with a much older man. After that broke up because he found someone younger, I was in a relationship with a guy who was in the closet and basically was his dirty secret until he got engaged to a woman without telling me and then wanted me to stick around. I didn't. After that I became pretty anti relationship.
I'm pretty well known for being anti-relationship too, especially in my circle of friends.
About 18 months ago, I met Alan at a supermarket, we made eye contact, flirted a lot and I invited him back to my place for a drink when he invited me back to his place when he saw that I was just grabbing a frozen meal, whereas he was going to cook. So of course I accepted.
We started a FWB thing after that but then slowly started hanging out outside of the bedroom.
Then Alan's lease was up and I was wanting a housemate so I asked him if he was interested- he couldn't afford it but I told him he could pay what he was currently paying and he could cook and kept the house clean.
He agreed because he was essentially paying for a single bedroom apartment and living in a house and he loves cooking and cleaning anyway, his personality reminds me a lot of Monica from Friends only he works in a library.
Before I knew it, I was getting packed lunches every day and he's made a vegetable patch in the backyard.
About 2 months after he moved in, he brought up being mutually exclusive FWB after an STI scare. I agreed because I actually hadn't slept with anyone except Alan for ages and neither had he. So after we got tested again we stopped using condoms.
Then a few months after that- Alan wanted to join the gym so I added him to my membership as my partner. We turn up to events with each other. We hang out a lot. He sleeps in my room more often than his room because we have sex there the most.
Then last week we were at a party when someone asked what our relationship was. Alan laughed, looked at me straight in the eye and said that we were "mutually exclusive, housemates with benefits with income proportional expense sharing."
Now that just sounds ridiculous. I know I have a boyfriend, I've been sort of denying it all this time but that's what Alan is.
This situation is both really screwed up but I've also never been happier. He's so easy to talk to, to hang out with and when he's not at home I feel bored, like I don't know what I did with myself before I met him.
But somehow I both want him to be my boyfriend but a part of me is scared of getting in a relationship, even though I am in one.
I just feel like saying the words will change everything- it's a commitment and I really want it but there's that irrational part of me that is scared.
Also I'm scared that Alan doesn't think we're in a relationship even though we are right? Alan has never had a boyfriend as long as I've know him and he has his own set of issues too, he's parents basically tried to "pray away the gay" and he left of his own volition. He used to bring up very subtly about getting more serious but I would just evade and he stopped pushing. It's so weird, like I can talk to him about everything and anything, we have these amazing conversations but lately this whole boyfriend thing is like the elephant in the room.
How do I get over this fear of commitment and also what does it say that he'd put up with this crap from me?
Use your words...Giphy
"mutually exclusive, housemates with benefits with income proportional expense sharing".
I kind of love Alan. I'm sure this was upsetting, but he really nailed it, didn't he?
If you're scared, then you don't need to change anything, but it sounds like you want more. I'd just tell him that functionally, we are in a committed relationship, you make me happy, and I'd be interested to know if you'd like to make it official and put a label on it.
Face 2 Face...
"Hey Alan, the other day at the party you said that we were "XXXXXX," I know this conversation is lame and i'm not trying to change anything we're doing, but don't you think we're boyfriends already?"
Just talk dude. Not to the internet. To him.
I may be the only one to say this, but in addition to just straight up talking to him, why not make him dinner one night for a change and THEN talk about it? I think it could be a cool defining gesture to mark the shift in your relationship and sort of show symbolically that you want to be a partner to him officially.
I think this is beautiful. If I were you, I would thank him wholeheartedly for the patience he has had in allowing you to see clearly where you want to place him in your life, because-- as it turns out-- he has become the most important part of it.
Good luck! It sounds like he is primed already, so go for it!
I think, reading between the lines, that you're almost over your fear of commitment and just need one last push. And I think (having been in Alan's position before) Alan must care about you very much, so don't stress too much about having the conversation with him. Communication is important! Best of luck to you both :)
Why so difficult?
Of course his description sounded ridiculous. Alan meant it to sound ridiculous. Because
He used to bring up very subtley about getting more serious but I would just evade and he stopped pushing.
He CAN'T call you his boyfriend. You are the architect of this ridiculous sounding situation. I'm sorry that asking for commitment is scary for you, but you have totally put yourself in the position of needing to ask, because you've tied Alan's hands from doing it at this point. So just grow a pair and do it, I'm sure Alan will accept.
Everyone else probably assumes you are a couple now, and it sounds like you know you are and he does too, but didn't want to say in front of your pals in case it freaked either of you out. I suggest you just sit him down and speak to him about how you feel about him. You guys clearly care for each other deeply, perhaps are even in love by now.
Even if you guys decide that yes you are a couple now, you don't have to announce it to the world and make a big deal out of it just yet. You can get used to the label for a while until any commitment issues around it have faded away, then just mention it if and when people ask.
Two of my closest friends lived together for years as friends, the girl had a boyfriend for some of that time as well but eventually they realized their feelings for each other and started dating. They didn't want the world to know immediately though, so I kept it on the downlow until they were ready to have their relationship public. I think a lot of relationships that start like this have a transitional period where the label is a bit fuzzy. But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck!
Skip the labels...
You guys sound adorable. The nice thing about being good to each other is you don't HAVE to worry about titles and the implied commitment/status/whatever (which are sometimes used as a crutch in crappy relationships), you GET to, but only if you want to. Ask Alan how he feels, if getting to use the title is worth the trouble of working through the old BS, do it. If not, keep being happy with what you are.
Alan laughed, looked at me straight in the eye and said that we were "mutually exclusive, housemates with benefits with income proportional expense sharing".
I know you're worried about it, so I don't mean to make light, but I think you should joke about this with him. But, like, serious-joke, you know?
When he comes home today (or you do, or whatever, whenever you see him next) you should be like "hey there, mutually-exclusive-housemate-with-benefits-and-income-proportional-expense-sharing, I was thinking we could...date." And then share a laugh about it and then actually go on some dates and move your stuff into the larger bedroom, turn the smaller one into an office or something.
How do I get over this fear of commitment
You're not afraid of commitment. How could you be afraid of it when you're already in it? You're afraid that he doesn't feel the same way about you, I think, but I think he's probably afraid of the same thing, hence the half-joke about "mutually exclusive housemates with benefits." His attempt, perhaps, to say "I think we're dating" without being the first one to put it out there that you're dating. Well, one of you has to take the risk. That's what you're afraid of.
Getting kicked out of your home for being gay, being in an abusive relationship, and being in a relationship with someone who ended up being engaged to a woman... these are all fairly traumatic events that I guarantee will affect the rest of your relationships in some manner. Have you sought therapy for this at all?
Before I knew it, I was getting packed lunches every day and he's made a vegetable patch in the backyard.
This made me "aww" out loud. Alan sounds like a great guy. I think you should get therapy to make sure you are in the right headspace to ensure a healthy relationship with him moving forward.
It's completely valid for you to be scared to commit to someone after those two awful relationships, but Alan seems to be a great person for you to be with. That doesn't mean you have to define the relationship right away, but recognizing that he makes you happier than you've ever been is a great sign that you are with the right person.
I would watch the hell out of this romcom.
When in the beginning stages of dating, it's important to know as much as humanly possible.
The element of surprise is no longer a fun aspect of romance.
Ask the small questions. Ask the hard questions.
Interrogate. Grill. Investigate.
Of course, you should do it with a subtle hand instead of an interrogation lamp.
The truth is all we have.
Redditor RedditPenguin02 wanted to make a list of the best inquiries to make when starting a relationship, so they asked:
"What is a good question to ask before you start dating someone?"
From what I've learned in my past, always ask... "Are you into Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The TV show."
If it's a no, then it's a dealbreaker.
I DoShocked Schitts Creek GIF by CBCGiphy
"Are you married?"
"I would ask that. If they said no, the next question was 'Would your wife agree?'"
"If they laughed, they were telling the truth. If they got indignant and pissed off that I thought they were lying…they were married."
"Worked every time."
"Do you clap when the plane lands?"
"I swear people used to do this all the time when I was a kid (early 2000’s), and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone do it in 5+ years. I guess 9/11 really made people afraid of flying for about 10 years and then most folks decided they didn’t need to applaud when the plane landed safely?"
"Do you want kids in the future? If one person wants kids and the other wants to stay child-free, then they are not compatible. And it is better to try dating someone else."
"It confuses me whenever some couples who disagree on this end up in a conundrum because one expected the other to change their mind. This is something I bring up early cause I see no future with someone who wants kids when I do not."
"You should always put childfree on your dating profile. It's not a small thing. Either you agree on it or not. If I had to date, I would put childfree on my profile too."
Carb it on...
"Do you like bread? That is the extent of my flirting skills."
"Being German, bread is like a frickin' cultural phenomenon here, we have around 300 kinds of bread, there's a bread museum, every time I go on vacation I'm like yeah it's nice here but the bread ain't it yall, never as good as home lol. So yeah, valid question and the only answer to this is an enthusiastic yes."
Room TemperatureFrosty The Snowman Winter GIF by filmeditorGiphy
"What temperature do you set the thermostat to throughout the year?"
"Haha this one always gets me as someone who needs low temps - you can always put on more clothes, I can't peel my skin off to get cooler."
The thermostat is a dealbreaker for me.
It's gonna be 60. Love it or move on.
DiscoveryBlown Away Wow GIF by AminéGiphy
"When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
"Opens a window to how they think."
"If that was really early on in the dating I’d think it was a bit of a head-f**k question. I’d probably find that question a red flag, tone dependent, although I agree with the sentiment."
"Aside from major differences about finances, kids, politics, or religion, a big one is; What are your hobbies? If they don’t really have any, you may be the next hobby, which isn’t going to work unless you’ve got that kind of time. If the hobbies are time-consuming ones generally done with a SO."
"But you have no interest in them, that could be an issue as well. If only one of you likes camping, wanted to spend vacation lounging instead of exploring, didn’t like sports, etc either that partner is annoyed or the other feels like they don’t get to enjoy what they love."
"Ask them about their exes. If they think every single one of them is an a**hole... they are likely the real a**hole."
"I have mixed feelings about that - I've been in three previous relationships and all three were emotionally abusive towards me (one wasn't nearly as bad as the other two, though) in various ways. I know this is a common sentiment and it always makes me afraid that people won't believe me or something.
"I mean, I realize in your comment you said 'likely' and not '100% sure' and there's plenty of room for nuance."
"I would try to take care of any dealbreakers. If I find out that she has different political values than I do, it's not going to work out in the long run, so I wouldn't bother. Same thing with other factors (religion, financial values, etc.). I would also ask how much cuddling she likes to engage in, as I prefer a lot."
EssentialsTell Me More To Do List GIF by Disney ChannelGiphy
"When I was dating my three essential questions were always kids, sex, and money. If you're not on the same wavelength for any of those three things, just don't even try."
"So, how much personal debt do you have?"
"Source: the guy who dated a woman with huge debts and was asked to pay for everything and then some".
"After that, I'd go with, 'Have you ever been diagnosed with borderline, narcissistic, or histrionic personality disorders?"
The questions are basic.
Just ask for the truth.
Do you have any good Qs to add to the queue? Let us know in the comments below.
As much as we always hop for our dating efforts to be worth it and for every relationship to work out, we all know that some relationships are not destined to work out.
But sometimes relationships end for totally valid reasons, and sometimes the reasons are painful, if not devastating.
Redditor overIorded asked:
"What went wrong with your last partner?"
History Repeating Itself
"He cheated on me. And I was glad because that was finally reason enough to allow myself to leave."
"Now I know somebody who's in the same situation. They're trapped. And she's such a gentle and fun person who's afraid to leave him because 'well, it's always been like this, I'm used to it,' and 'I deserve it.'"
"She wants to leave him, she knows she should leave him, but it's so hard to do it, and I know that feeling."
"I'm thinking I should give her my phone number like when the day comes you've had enough, I'll gladly come to help you move out from that s**thole."
Mental Health Struggles
"I'm lost in my own trauma and mental illness and he deserves better than anything I have to offer right now."
"I’ve been on the receiving end of this, and mildly said, it absolutely ruined me. Her trauma and mental problems were BAD, but I still wanted to be with them. So if you ask me, as long as they can give you the space and support you need, and want to be with you, let them make the decision."
"It's also fair and mature to care very much about someone but realize that you only have the emotional bandwidth to take care of yourself right now."
"I'm sure it was very hard for both of you to come to terms with that decision. I don't think it's that he deserves better, I think it's that your attention needs to be on guiding yourself through this thicket of trauma and mental illness before you can be someone else's partner. You can love each other very much but also acknowledge that you don't have the tools to spare for a relationship right now."
"I'm proud of you for focusing on your own mental health and someday, when you have more emotional stability and energy, I hope you find a wonderful partner."
"We disagreed on how many women he was allowed to date. I’m very strong on monogamy and have no interest in someone (in a supposedly committed relationship) that isn’t."
At Least There's That
"Her psychotic brother tried to kill me. Thankfully he has a Stormtrooper's aim..."
"Hate the attempted murder, love the 'Star Wars' reference."
"He wanted a big family, like, six kids, all-natural. Obviously, he wouldn't be birthing them. This was very important to him while I was pretty ambivalent about kids, and the further into my adulthood I've gotten, the more I've realized I just don't want to be pregnant."
"I broke it off so we could both get the lives we wanted. He was also quite a bit more conservative than me, and at the time closeted pansexual person, and some stuff he believed just didn't line up with what I believed. It hurt, but it was amicable."
"Now he has a wife and kids like he wanted, and I am happily partnered and childfree. It worked out for the best."
"She hated that I had a healthy relationship with my family and was trying to find ways to sabotage it."
"Similar aspect to mine, she hated my sister and mother because she had a bad relationship with her sister and mother. She would get mad at me whenever I brought my family up."
"My last boyfriend dumped me because I got mad that he was coming to Dallas after I hadn't seen him for two months, but didn't want to see me."
"He was going to meet up with some friends of his he hadn't seen in a few months. I told him that was fine with me, but I felt he should make time to see me too since we hadn't seen each other in two months and we were supposed to be a couple."
"He responded to my anger by ghosting me. That was two years ago."
Distracted with a Punch
"A girl contacted me about him talking to her. I asked him what was going on, and he sucker-punched me in the face."
"He cheated on me for all six years we were together and then accused me of cheating on him, even though I wasn't allowed to leave the house."
"I'm also pretty sure he slept with my sister-in-law when my brother and I went to pick up dinner."
Children Come First
"He was and still is no father to his kids, has anger issues, and probably has other mental health issues. I tried for years to help him and help the relationship, but he wasn't having it. After seeing how my oldest suffered under him, I had to leave."
"I communicated how I felt about many things in the relationship. He never communicated about anything."
"Oh look, it's the last 14 years of my life..."
"I'm guilty of this, and boy, do I regret not being able to open up about my feelings. It cost me my marriage. But now I'm trying to be more open and share my thoughts and feelings. Just wished I could've done this earlier than later."
"I started drinking again and became a miserable a**hole due to my own depression and my s**tty job. As such, she didn't get the attention she deserved, and had to put up with my s**tty mood all the time... so she left. I don't blame her."
"So, it was me. I don't know if I trust myself with a relationship again, but aside from the shame of knowing I hurt someone who I loved, and loved me back, but I was too self-absorbed and selfish, I am trying to be a better human to everyone."
"And to my ex: You'll find someone again... someone better."
"He wanted to move to Alaska to be with some girl he was 'friends' with before me."
"My ex's early-onset Alzheimers (at the age of 50) and the resulting violence, paranoia, and irrational thinking. I tried to honor my vows, but he was so far out there, I feared for my life."
Different Definitions of Marriage
"She cheated on me after five years total together, the last one of which was while we were engaged. She cheated on me for months, all while I was planning the wedding, working part-time, and going to graduate school so I can support us comfortably in the future."
"I planned on giving her everything I could and sharing the rest of my life with her, and apparently she didn’t care."
This conversation just goes to show that relationships can end for all kinds of reasons. Even in relationships where there is still a lot of love and committment, the relationship can still end, just like how the relationship can end suddenly because of a surprising and devastating realization.
We all had our aspirations about becoming a certain type of person or accomplishing different goals when looking towards the future.
But the goals we have for ourselves can drastically change once we're adults, and that's partly due to the influence of different life experiences.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions and respective strategies to achieve something by a certain age, we can never imagine experiencing different outcomes.
Curious to hear from strangers online who never saw themselves in their current positions in life, Redditor graces-taylor12 asked:
"What about becoming an adult caught you completely off guard?"
The following Redditors were not ready to process the inevitable when it came to their parents.
A Role Reversal
"Watching your parents becoming old and frail."
"Dealing with this yesterday and it is an eye-opener. Its hard seeing someone you’ve known as a pillar of strength for 30+ years in a position of such weakness, and knowing that he might improve but generally the decline is coming."
"I've had a weird atypical experience. My dad was pretty old when I was born and always had a bad knee he could never afford to get fixed. He could barely walk and has never been able to run since I could remember. It got so bad that he couldn't even walk up or down the stairs in our house."
"Well he eventually got a knee replacement and he's now more agile at 73 than he was at 53. It's weird to see."
"I'll never forget when I first realized how frail they actually were. I went over to their house to help out with some chores, and they couldn't even clean out any of the pens by themselves. They ended up selling most of their animals that year because they couldn't look after them."
Life Can Be Cruel
"It’s slowly beginning with my parents, small hints here and there, they’re in their mid 50s.The big freak out for me has been watching my grandparents slowly declining over the last 3ish years. One set of grandparents have been gone since I was a kid, so these two are all I’ve got now. My Pap’s arthritis and sciatica is to the point now where it’s a process for him just to stand up. 2020 I saved him from a fall, if I wasn’t there to catch him, he would’ve easily been in the hospital for quite a while. That was the first 'Oh sh*t, he’s not immortal' moment."
These Redditors discovered older doesn't always mean wiser.
"I can do whatever the f'k I want. But I don't really want to do anything..."
"Yup, the idea of doing whatever you want as an adult was the biggest scam cartoons sold us."
"Yeah, you can do anything you want but you're gonna need money. So you get a job, there goes most of your day to your job."
"So now you have money but that'll go to bills first and by the time you can do what you want you don't have the energy or funds. Then the loop continues.."
Fake It Til You Make It
"How clueless other adults are. I really thought adults had their sh*t in order while in reality most people are winging it."
"Maturity is a skill. Some people learn it quickly. Others never do."
"Children are limited by their youth. Their brains aren't fully developed. But adults are not guaranteed to get more mature without working for it."
"Some people never grow up. They just get old."
"I'm surprised by the amount of people who genuinely couldn't live by themselves if they had to. They somehow never learned basic life skills like simple cooking or cleaning and always had someone else to do it for them."
People became more aware of time.
Not Enough Me Time
"How little free time you have. You have to work, you have to prepare for work, drive to work, drive home from work. You also have to do household chores. You have to take care of kids if you have some. When do I get to enjoy my hobbies?"
Point Of Exhaustion
"Most of the time I'm so tired from the day, I just don't have the mental capacity to do anything but go right to bed and watch tv ;_;"
Never Going Back
"Transitioning from college student + part time worker to full time worker I gained a bunch of time back. I was shocked that I could just decide to do laundry tomorrow if I didn't feel like it. Every evening I had this huge chunk of time that was just open."
"But then, moving from an apartment to a house, now there's a bunch more chores to do. Then introducing kids, now there's all that. But still, I wouldn't go back to the hectic college life."
"How it just goes on endlessly."
"When you're a kid, there's a summer break every year, and a new school to go to in a couple of years. Whatever part of your life you are in is clearly delimited and there is something new to look forward to after it."
"Once you're an adult, it's just 5 days of work and 2 days of weekend over and over and over until you die."
After having a decent, long run in the entertainment business as a dancer, I've long held the belief I was invincible.
I was physically stronger, more agile, and foolish enough to think I could perpetually live in such a state.
All of a sudden, reality smacked me in the face one morning when I woke up and heard and felt various parts of my body crackle and pop like when milk hits a bowl of Rice Krispies.
My tired body had the audacity to inform me:
"Not today and from this day forward."
We're currently not on speaking terms.
Not much good can come from dwelling on the past.
Even so, no matter how hard we try to avoid doing so, we can't help but look back on things we've done in our lives which we regret.
In some cases, it's nothing which had any sort of lasting effect, like wishing we thought more carefully about where we had a birthday or spending more than we could afford on an outfit that didn't end up paying off.
In sadder cases though, we often wonder what our lives might have been like if he had made a different, and smarter decision.
If we didn't say certain things to certain people, not spoken up when someone needed us to or rushed too hastily into a life we weren't ready for.
"What is one thing you regret doing in life?"
Giving People Attention Who Didn't Deserve It
"Wasting time worrying about people that never spared me a single thought."- Eborys
Getting In With The Wrong Crowd
"I regret making friends with people who I knew were bad for me just because it was easier than becoming friends with good people."
"Now I don't have many solid friends."- misswallflowerr
Staying In, When They Should Have Gotten Out
"Not ending bad/unhealthy/unfulfilling relationships sooner."- Superseriouslyguys
"Hanging on to a relationship for too long."
"I should have up and disappeared the first time he was disrespectful."- Mirrorflute88
Not Taking Enough Risks
"Not putting myself out there enough."
"I probably missed out on a lot of opportunities because I'm so self-conscious."
"Working on this though!"- Fife_Flyer
"Not following my dreams and ended up sitting behind a desk for 30 years."
"Of course, I'm currently on Reddit sitting behind my desk."
"So, there's that."- CatOnTheHill
"Overthinking my way out of potentially rewarding choices."- mmmmike1590
Rushing Into Things
"Going to college before I had the slightest idea what I wanted to do with my life."- Mysterious_Shake2894
Taking Things For Granted
"Not spending more time with my mom."
"I visited her 2-3 times a week but still, there were other times she'd call and I'd ignore the call or tell her I didn't have time to talk."
"Would give anything to go back and take every one of those calls."- Fruitjustlistens
Putting Their Health At Risk
"Most of 2019–addiction bottom."
"Sober now for 432 days and counting."- CommunicationTop5231
"20 years spent on expensive, self-fed poison."
"Biggest regret of my life, by far."- Itsprobablysarcasm
"Mentally exhausting myself at work for companies that turned out to not give a sh*t about me or value my work."- fpuni107
"Being too nice to tell undeserving people to f*ck off when I should've been putting myself first."
"Lessons learned."- MrsHppy
Not Having Enough Fun
"So, this is gonna sound kinda dumb, but I kinda wish I had acted out a bit more."
"Taken more risks, gotten in trouble more, explored and pushed my boundaries."
"I was pretty sheltered growing up and really wanted to be this good person."
"It created a lot of conflicting feelings for me."
"It also contributed to me avoiding doing some stuff cause I thought it'd be bad for me."
"Now that I'm older and worked through some of those issues, I feel like I missed out on a lot of stuff other people got in their teens and 20s."
"I'm now at a point where I'm exploring that, but most people my age have already gone through it."
"I just feel like I'm trying to 'catch up' with everybody."- animewhitewolf
It's only human to look back on things we regret, or wish we had done differently.
But living in the past will only keep us in the past.
The only way to move forward and make progress is to accept the present for what it is: a present.