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Ex-etiquette: Boyfriend who still lives with ex wants new girlfriend to move in

Q. My boyfriend lives with his ex. He tells me they are just roommates now, but they dated for about six months. They have been roommates for about 10 months. I have been dating him for three months, but I have never been to his home. He recently asked me to move in, too. He says she would have a room of her own. What do you think?

A. I think there are red flags all over the place! Beginning with “would” have her own room? As in, she doesn’t now, but would if you moved in? Sounds very fishy. I suspect they may have signed a lease together, broke up, and he’s trying to move on, but she still lives there. If that is the case, expecting someone else to buy into that living arrangement is very bad ex-etiquette. Finish one thing before you move on to another.

To answer your initial question I suggest you consult the 10 rules of good ex-etiquette for exes who do not share children. (There are two lists, one for parents and one for those who do not have kids. Both lists can be found on both the Bonus Families and Ex-etiquette websites.)

Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule but on the face of it, I think it’s crazy to even consider moving in with him at this point. A second red flag: You have been dating for three months, yet you’ve never been to his home. That could indicate he has something to hide. More importantly, if you thought everything was on the up-and-up, I don’t think you would have written me. If your gut is telling you something’s not right, something’s not right.

Here’s another red flag: Suspicion and jealousy are two very human emotions that are difficult to overcome, and it’s human nature to wonder what those two might be up to when left alone. Even if their relationship has truly evolved into something platonic, who wants to worry about coming home to their boyfriend and his ex, casually watching TV? Add a little wine on a chilly evening, a nice fire, you working late – it’s just too tempting. Like I said ... human nature.

Red flag No. 4, and this is a stereotype, I’ll admit, but I rarely see guys pushing to move in with a new partner after only three months. You have to ask yourself, what’s the motivation? Is it because you have grown close very quickly and he can’t live without you, or does he need more cash to make rent? Is he proposing a threesome? Good ex-etiquette rule No. 8, “Be honest and straightforward,” would suggest that you immediately have a conversation about boundaries, (Ex-etiquette rule No. 4, “Set clear boundaries”). Whether you move in or not, it’s important to confirm that you both envision the same relationship.

There are just too many unanswered questions. If I’m right about the lease, there are quite a few alternatives to living together so soon after their break-up.

It’s all questionable behavior and, therefore, questionable ex-etiquette.

Dr. Jann Blackstone is the founder of Bonus Families, www.bonusfamilies.com. Email her at the Ex-Etiquette website www.exetiquette.com at dr.jann@exetiquette.com