DEAR HARRIETTE: I don’t want to live with my boyfriend yet. We’ve been together for a year, and he’s been asking me over and over again when we can start looking at places together. I’ve never had the chance to live on my own, and I’m very excited about being able to do it in the near future. I don’t want to live with anyone. He feels that if we don’t live together, we aren’t progressing in our relationship. What should I do? -- Ready To Live Alone
DEAR READY TO LIVE ALONE: Here’s where my old-school self steps in. You should not feel pressured by your boyfriend to live together. It is smart for you to live by yourself, establish your own life and get to know who you are as an independent person -- independent of your parents and your boyfriend. That doesn’t mean that you choose to look outside your relationship -- not at all. It means that you fully embody yourself as a young, independent person.
This can be hard for a partner to accept, especially if he is eager to take your relationship to a deeper level. But living together is not the same as getting married. Have you had that conversation? Even then, I recommend waiting and establishing yourself independently first. What you two can do now is talk about the long term. What do you want for your future? What do you imagine your future to be with each other? What goals can you set that will get you there? This is important for both of you, but especially for him right now so that he doesn’t feel you are abandoning him.