Home Health Advice | My girlfriend wants me to live alone for the first...

Advice | My girlfriend wants me to live alone for the first time — at age 49: Ask Ellie

Q: I’m 49 and met the woman of my dreams five years ago. We’ve been having problems because I’d previously lived with my ex for 20 years. I’ve never lived alone.

I moved back with my parents four years ago and she was OK with that. But last year, she insisted that I get my own place.

She’s a couple years older than me and owns her house. She’s said it’s time for me to have my own place where she can decompress, sleep, come and go.

We now pass weeks without contact. But breaking up isn’t an option for me.

I’m scared to live alone. It’s partly because I’d be abandoning my elderly parents when they need me.

Though we’re magical together, she blocks my coming to her house and doing things, which is causing the physical flame to dwindle.

Is there a way to make this work? She’s welcome here anytime. My parents think the world of her.

Why is she doing this? I can’t go on not seeing her for weeks.

She gets so angry she disappears to cool off and then we see each other and it’s magical again.

Then, it’s again “No” to everything unless I get my own place.

She always says we’ve invested five years; she loves me, and termination isn’t an option.

A: When something makes no sense, you’re missing what it’s really all about.

The woman you love has issued an ultimatum that challenges how you’ve always lived.

It may relate to your fear of living alone, since even before, you worried about your parents.

She may be worrying about your eventually moving into her place, with the possibility you’d become a common-law couple (and claim part ownership if you split up).

She also may fear your becoming dependent on her, as you don’t mention having a job.

You’re deeply in love but you need answers, not just orders — why is this so important to her? Why can’t she “decompress” at home?

No matter how magical things can be for you two, she’s arbitrarily changed the pattern of four years. Maybe she’s wise and is only thinking of your benefit.

But you need to insist on knowing more logical reasons than she’s offered so far. Currently, she’s saying it’s her way or you don’t get to see her.



This relationship won’t work until you find out why.

Q: I’m female, in my 60s. My cousin’s 46. I reconnected with her and her mother after my mom’s death.

My mother and other siblings had distanced from my aunt’s family, due to her husband’s abusive nature.

His schizophrenia is now in remission. He’s in a nursing home. My cousin bought a house for herself and her mom.

I’ve repeatedly helped my aunt/cousin with drives to medical appointments/emergencies, assisted two moves, etc. We also socialized.

Now, my husband and I are moving. I asked to briefly borrow my cousin’s carpet cleaner.

She texted that she doesn’t lend such things. Asked weeks later about the move, I replied “OK.”

Should I fix this relationship? I don’t think she realizes anything’s wrong. Yet, I worry about my aunt and uncle.

A: Your cousin grew up in an atmosphere isolated from the rest of family, including you.

You’ve since showed how family can work together — caring, helpful, responding to emergencies. Your cousin didn’t help you.

Call to inquire of her parents, since you care. Just don’t expect your cousin to change.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Giving a relationship partner an ultimatum that doesn’t make sense, equals issuing “controls” that must be avoided.

Ellie Tesher is an advice columnist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected].

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