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Dilemma: my girlfriend doesn't want to live with me

Katharine Whitehorn / 02 February 2016

Agony aunt Katharine Whitehorn hears from a reader concerned that his girlfriend does not want to move in with him.

Man alone
A reader whose girlfriend does not want to move in with him questions her commitment

Dilemma: living apart

Since my marriage ended 10 years ago I have been lucky enough to find a new partner who is much younger than me; she too had been married before. 

She has always kept her own flat until this year, when for complicated reasons she had to let it go, and moved in with me. 

She is now negotiating for another flat, though, which makes me wonder how committed to our relationship she really is.

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

It used to be the case that if you “really loved” someone you got married and set up house; indeed, women often put up with a man for the sake of having a home, but in our complicated times these two ideas have become to some extent separated. 

Your partner plainly loves you for better reasons than a roof over her head. I know two couples who’ve been married for half a lifetime but now amicably spend their weeks apart – in one case, she likes trekking with enormous dogs, he prefers London and clubland; in the other, he spends his time in a library while she gets on with a more ordinary, less academic life.

More and more couples now “live apart together”; and I think the desire to share every scrap of your life is perhaps weaker among older people. 

What’s more, a woman can somehow get stuck with the socks and the washing up if she moves in with a man, even when he’s been doing it quite well himself for years.

If everything’s all right between you otherwise, I would try to see her desire for her own space as just that – you might even welcome returning occasionally to the sloppiness of bachelorhood.

Read our guide to dating after divorce.

Our readers say...

We also asked our Facebook followers for their advice...

"Don't pressure her, she has made her choice, it's your choice whether you can accept this and enjoy a happy relationship, if not move on, it will never work."

"Just carry on the way you are, if she does not want to move in with you leave it, you can be happy together and apart at times."

"Don't! Enjoy being committed in a relationship, sharing two houses and lots of freedom!"

"The paragraph about the socks hit the nail on the head."

"Don't try to CONVINCE... if you need to do this it means her heart is not in it."

"Yes I do agree, it's so nice to have your own space, but also to enjoy company when you both feel you need this."

"Respect her wishes!"

"Don't push it or it may backfire."

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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