Living Together, Cheating Compulsions, and Marriage Smoke Signals

by A Married Dude

I need some guidance on the whole moving-in-together step of a relationship. My hombre and I are soon approaching three years in our loving, committed, and wonderful relationship. We are in our early/mid twenties, have stable jobs, and we get along well with each other’s families and friends. The last time we talked about moving in together was when we were graduating from college, and we both agreed that we wanted to wait until we were older and had more life experience. That was just over a year ago, and now I am interested in putting the conversation back on the table.

My hope in living together is that it will help us find out whether we can share the same space and responsibilities (expenses, housekeeping, respecting personal space, etc.) and still want to be together. If we manage to cohabit for a few years and still feel good about our relationship then I’d hope to start discussing the M-word. If we move in together and find ourselves wanting to kill each other, then I would take that as an indicator that either A) we are too immature to be making serious decisions together and should go back to living in our own places, or B) maybe this relationship is not meant to be and it’s good we figured this out sooner rather than later so we can move on and meet other people. However it goes, I would like us sharing an apartment to be one of the ways we figure out if we have a shot of making it in the long haul.

So, do you have any general wisdom for young couples who are thinking of moving in together? When you think it is a good vs. bad idea? And do you have any advice for my specific situation? Your insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

When Robert Oppenheimer was finally presented with the test version of the nuclear bomb, he said, “I’m going to go home and have a slice of meatloaf, set this baby off, and if I still feel good about it tomorrow we’ll see if we can beat the Japanese.”

No, of course he didn’t say that, Oppenheimer was a Communist sympathizer.

The point is, tests that are seen as successes at the time don’t always ultimately lead to the long term results you wanted. STUDIES CONFIRM.

Moving in together should not be the engine driving your “Is this it?” questions. Moving in together, at your age anyway, should be a natural extension of the confidence you have in the relationship. Treating it as a test is asking for trouble. (That doesn’t mean it isn’t a test.)

Sure, feel free to bring it up in casual conversation, when you’e both hanging at Ikea, which is what I’m told kids do these days. Was there a particular detail of the original conversation he seemed positively attached to? Work that in.

Anyway, you seem to be a tremendously sane and thoughtful person, so it’s a shame you worry about this. You should be worried more about, at this state anyway, something like, say, his hairline.

I am 31 years old and dating a real champion, for the last year or so, who is 33 years old. He has never really totally committed to anyone and his relationships has lasted for a few months at a time. Although his family is of the opinion that he will never get married, he has expressed that he would love to get married if he is 100% certain of his choice. Now, I have respect for that and feel exactly the same way. But let’s be honest here, I am not celebrating my 21st birthday this year (thank god!) and even though Botox does wonders for me, I am not getting any younger. I don’t have the desire to get married right away, but I would like to know that I’m in a relationship that can ultimately lead to that. If not, I would rather get out now … hurtful or not, that’s not the point.

I would like to get married to him someday, but I am shit scared that he might decide after two years that I am not the one he wants to get married to, and then I’ll have to start dating someone from the “divorced-with-two-children” group. I don’t want to squeeze the spontaneity from our relationship and I’m sure as hell not having “THE TALK” with him. So, should I just chill out and give this relationship a chance to grow at its own pace or or should I start giving subtle hints … like leaving bridal magazines laying around? Kidding! OK, seriously … how do I know whether he’s serious enough to consider getting married to me someday? Or is this something that only time will tell?

Good gravy! Please just chill out. For now, everything sounds like it’s going swimmingly. I’d give him another year without any “subtle hints.” And for the love of Pete, even engaged men hate to see bridal magazines, so… no.

When I was 32 I was all, “Dude, Gerard Butler really does have it all figured out.” By 35 I was married with a two beautiful daughters and a little upset my wife said we couldn’t have sex and make more babies because “My uterus is closed.”*

Relax. You’re OK. But stop Botoxing. You Botox AFTER marriage, not before. (Kidding! Never Botox!)

All that said, families are excellent judges of character, and nothing in life is 100 percent (except Goldman Sachs bonuses).

*We’ll see about that.

I have been married for almost three years. My husband is truly wonderful, but he is a horrible communicator. I have made it clear to him many, many times that he needs to make more of an effort. Unfortunately, he has not, and it has gotten to the point where I react to his reticence as dishonesty and betrayal.

So now, I have a compulsion to have an affair, and I’m afraid I’m going to act on it. I have never cheated or even been tempted to cheat before. On one hand, obviously this is not something I rationally want to do. On the other hand, a part of me feels like maybe this is a way to regulate our marriage: OK, so you don’t tell me about your life, and I fuck other men. Deal? (I should note that no third party is causing such compulsion.)

Of course, I’m afraid that my marriage is falling apart. How do I save it? What can I do to deal with its problems without destroying it? Thanks for considering this question.

Well, my obvious first take is to ask how you would feel if he cheated on you because of a perceived overabundance of communication? Or did I just blow your mind/excuse?

Beyond that, I guess it’s difficult to understand how a lack of communication is balanced out by having sex with others. Are you going to seduce him, take him to a motel, and get him to spend all night talking to you about how his dreams never really came to fruition, but now he’s growing into this feeling of mediocre accomplishment and understanding that life is more than oneself, and how he loves his mom? Or are you just going to screw his brains out in a fit of guttural noise (which I suppose counts as communication)?

The solution you’ve concocted to your problem, in and of itself, invites huge problems.

Obviously, everyone’s going to counsel that you “just talk to him about it.” But that seems to be the core problem, and something you’ve already done. So I would suggest you confront him about it again and let him know how at-wits-end you are, framing it as worry that your marriage will not survive.

I’m sorry, but what he might want to tell you is that your marriage IS falling apart and he’s just too spineless to communicate it. Better you know sooner than later. Then you can go out and “communicate” with all the men you want and not worry about the guilt.

An aside, if I may: I am against cheating not for some moral reason, but simply because cheating on somebody has never solved anything in the history of time. But it’s important to identify the two types of cheating, which are not at all unlike the two types of crime. There is opportunist (got drunk, lost mind, had sex) and there is premeditated (Premeditated). The first is known as the “it didn’t mean anything,” the second is known as the “sound of door slamming.”

From the first, a relationship can conceivably recover… from the second, not so much.

Previously: Kids, Married Coworkers, and “Self-Actualized” Exes.

A Married Dude is a married dude who doesn’t claim to know everything about marriage. Do you have any questions for A Married Dude?