I Moved in With My Boyfriend and Now Everything Is Falling Apart.

Everything is Falling Apart

I have been dating a man on and off for 3 years. We have decided to move in together and blend our families. We both have children. The issues I am having is that we argue over the smallest things and they turn into huge items that result in him calling me names and accusing me of infidelity, ignoring me and so forth. When we disagree, I feel like I am defending myself, and thus do have a tendency to talk over him in an effort to prove my innocence. He has indicated he will always one up me whether it is negative or positive. I feel we have more negative interactions than positive ones lately. There has been trust and insecurity issues in our relationship on both our parts and now I feel we have lost all respect for each other. My kids aren’t overly happy for the most part either because they do not feel he treats me well. I love him with all my heart and do not want to be without him, but I don’t feel our communication will change. What should I do?  


I’ve written about cohabiting multiple times. My take is that it is a vital step — the single best way to road test a marriage before you get married.

When I write this, there are generally two objections:

  1. “I don’t want to live with a man because if I live with him, he won’t feel any incentive to marry me.” It’s true that men who don’t want to get married will live with you indefinitely and waste your time. However, nobody said to move in with a man who doesn’t want to get married. What I’m saying is that if you DO want to get married, start by dating ONLY marriage-oriented men. When it’s time consider the next step (after 18-24 months), you move in together. If living together for six months is a positive experience, you should expect a ring shortly thereafter. Remember, a man who wants to get married is dating you for the same reason you’re dating him — to figure out if marriage is in your future. My wife never had to pressure me to move things forward. Our goals were the same. The only thing unknown was whether we’d have a future.

What I’m saying is that if you DO want to get married, start by dating ONLY marriage-oriented men.

  1. “I don’t want to live with a man because old studies (that have long aftereffects) show that marriages that follow cohabitation fail at higher rates.” I’ve written about this before and I feel those are mostly outdated studies. The problem is generally that people move in and get married two quickly and for the wrong reasons. They move in together because they’re young, impulsive, passionate, trying to save money, coming from long-distance relationships. And despite the flaws of the relationship that they’ve already recognized by cohabiting, inertia and fear keeps them going. Next thing you know, they get married and realize that, yep, they’ve got the same problems they did before, but now they’re amplified because the issues are intractable and they are locked in for life.

In other words, you’re lucky, Michelle, that you moved in with this guy — otherwise you’d have no other way to realize he’d be a terrible husband.

Your solution isn’t in improved communication; it’s not your job to change a man who calls you names, accuses you of infidelity, and doesn’t treat you well.

It’s not your job to change a man who calls you names, accuses you of infidelity, and doesn’t treat you well.

Your solution is to leave ASAP and find yourself a man committed to your happiness.

I hope you find the courage to do so, lest you become another statistic about a divorced woman who lived with her boyfriend before getting married and ignored the warning signs.



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  1. 1

    If they would have dated consistently for 3 years I’m betting she would have seen the red flags sooner and ended it long before they ever moved in together. I’ve seen plenty of couples move in together, live together for years, marry and then divorce. I’ve also seen many couples live together after marriage and never divorce.   Living together doesn’t mean anything

  2. 2

    Name calling and one-upmanship only INCREASE once an abuser has you “locked in” – and what you are describing, Michelle, IS an abusive relationship. Read “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft and see if you don’t recognize your man!

    Your children deserve better, and so do you. Get out now!!

    I wasted six years giving my all to a man I believed was the love of my life. I ended up breaking up with him due to extreme selfishness – but only after enduring years of escalating criticism and conflict like you described. I won’t bore you with the details, but it was just like you described and it got so much worse…

    About 6 months after I left – which was literally the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do – I met my husband. And now I have a passionate, loving relationship with my best friend: a man who is in every way 1000 times better than that other guy! (And my kids love and respect him, while they couldn’t stand the other one.)

    Listen to your children, and leave; do it for them, if not yourself. There is no way this guy will ever, EVER be a good partner; thank God you learned now. Don’t waste 6 years like I did! Your future husband is waiting to find you so he can love you and treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

  3. 3

    Moving sucks, it really does.   There are all kinds of excuses–maybe Michelle doesn’t have anyone to help her, or the stuff is all his, or that’s when he’ll start being “nice” again.   But it’s so worth it to suck it up and get out!

    IMO, I think Michelle knows what to do.   She just needed to hear it from an expert.   Nobody reading her letter would tell her to stay.

  4. 4

    Ick, sounds like an abuser. Honestly, women with children should consider not dating. The odds of attracting creeps, idiots, and hobosexuals are just too high. If you’re like me and you kid isn’t “normal” , it’s basically 100% likely you are only getting trash people interested lol.

    Sometimes I think people are so desperate for a relationship they’ll overlook idiotic behavior. I get this is a dating advice site, but romantic relationships are frankly overhyped. You’ll live and can still be happy without one. Don’t accept BS from people.

    1. 4.1
      Tron Swanson

      I personally feel that, if you avoid 1920s rail yards, you’ll be able to avoid “hobosexuals”.

      1. 4.1.1

        It’s a slang term for people who sleep with others simply to have a roof over their heads and are grungy looking people.

      2. 4.1.2

        A Hobosexual is a broke homeless sofa-surfing scrub of any race. Some hobosexuals are good looking and dress well. What they have in common is sweet-talking and conning women for roof over their heads.

  5. 5

    I feel sorry for her, she is avoiding some painful home truths.

    The very first sentence rang alarm bells for me. Dating a man ‘off and on’ for ‘three years’? I have yet to hear of a relationship that is so turbulent at the start that ends well.  It’s a sign that they do not address stress and conflict in a good way. The rest of the text just corroborates that. A person with healthy self esteem would have walked away by now..

    She also doesn’t seem to understand what real love is. Real love is relaxing, kind, generous and easy.   It is not love that is making it hard to leave, it is addiction and fear.


  6. 6

    Dating “on and off” for 3 years makes me think there were several breakups over the same behaviors. Living together won’t fix that.


    Couples counseling might be an option if both parties are willing to give it their best shot. Even if it helps them realize they are not compatible enough to continue.



  7. 7

    I fell sorry for her children that they have a mother who prioritizes having a toxic relationship over their emotional well being. And yes if he verbally abuses her, either he’s doing it to her kids, or he will.

    Move out ASAP and spend the next few years focusing on motherhood instead of trying to date like a child-free woman.

  8. 8

    Leave immediately. I ended a year long on and off relationship with a man who did exactly what yours does. Your kids should not be exposed to that and neither should you. This man is not a nice person and you’d be better off cutting all ties with him forever. Mine tried to move in many times and was definitely a hobosexual. Thanks too for teaching me a new word.

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