Your boyfriend seems to love you as long as he doesn’t have to make much effort and put the time in to give you what you need. It may be that he is in some way continuing your online relationship. He met you while staying at home. He’s still staying at home. He doesn’t move from his comfort zone. That may have been okay when you were 15 but you two are now young adults. Growing up means leaving the comforts of home and making your own lives. You seem ready but he doesn’t.
According to Psychology Today’s website, one dating red-flag for women is, “He expects you to do all the work. Relationships are a two-sided affair. While it’s wonderful that women can approach and ask out a man without waiting for him to do it, there is also a delicate balance in the relationship. Both sides have to invest. Does he ask you to plan all the dates? Does he show little interest in making reservations, getting creative with activities, or expect that you’ll do this for him? The investment factor seamlessly leads to an even more important type of initiative.”
Secondly, a red flag is also when you are questioning: “Is he really emotionally invested? You ask him any iteration of relationship check-up questions and he’s either unsure, needs more time, or tables the topic entirely. It’s completely fair to ask if he sees long-term potential in the relationship, his view on commitment and marriage and other “big picture” questions. It’s natural that the speed of relationships progress as a function of many factors, one of them being age. However, this can also vary. On average however, dating in the later 20s to early 30s tends to make it somewhat more socially acceptable to ask these more serious questions earlier on.”
“Furthermore, listen to your intuition. If you think he’s not emotionally invested, there is a good chance he’s not. Many times in the heat of an argument one partner might throw out the “let’s end it now” card. While it’s ultimately a power move, see your partner’s reaction. Is he so egotistically-driven that he won’t take a second look back? Will he say ending the relationship is “your choice?” No one needs that. The guy who fights for you and the relationship? That’s the keeper.”
It may be that you have outgrown him. Separating from him will be hard since you have been together so long. But it might be wise for you to take a break from the relationship to get to know some other men. In order to make a wise choice of a partner, you need to have people to choose from. Right now you are choosing from a group of one. (It is easy to be the “best” when there is no competition.) Get out there and get some experience and meet other people. And you ought to encourage him to do the same. If your relationship is really the best for the two of you, you will come back to it — this time as adults.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on December 14, 2009.