“I Don’t Know Where My Boyfriend Lives”

Tuesday, Mar. 1st 2011 1:33 PM

Oh, the mental gymnastics routines we can put ourselves through when it comes to our relationships: “Is my partner cheating? Is she lying to me about anything? Is he hiding things from his past that he doesn’t want me to know about?” If left unchecked, our minds can torture us over the secrets our mates may be keeping from us. Some people even go so far as to spy or read personal e-mails, invading their partners’ privacy because of their inability to get comfortable with what they don’t know about their mates. But you will never know all of your mate’s secrets – not unless he/she wants you to know them. So, the real question is, does it really matter?

One of my readers, Clarissa, recently asked:

Should I continue a relationship with a man that I have been dating for more than two years if I have never had the pleasure of visiting his home?  I have the home phone number, and I know what city and state in which he lives, but I have never been over to his house.

What should Clarissa do? Whatever she wants to do, which is exactly what her mate is doing. I do not know why he has never invited her to his home. It is probably because there is something she would discover that he is not comfortable revealing to her, such as his sloppiness, socio-economic situation or relationship status. The answer really doesn’t matter. Either way, he is choosing to keep this part of his life from her, and that is his call to make. The only thing that matters is whether or not the relationship is working for her. It is not in her power, nor is it her place (in my humble opinion), to change him or to make his decisions for him. But it is her decision whether or not she can handle the type of relationship he is offering.

This is not to say that Clarissa should stay or that she should leave. “Shoulds” are in the eye of the beholder, and it is up to each of us to determine if we can handle what we do and don’t know about our mates, or if we can accept the relationships they offer us. As far as I am concerned, there is only one reason to stay and one reason to leave a relationship – because I want to. If you want to be in a particular partnership, stop worrying about secrets and have fun. If you don’t want to be in it, abort.

What is clear, by virtue of Clarissa’s question, is that she likes dating this man. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t still be with him. The fact that she has asked this question could mean that she is uncomfortable with his secrets, but it could also mean that she wants to be comfortable in this relationship despite the advice or judgment of other people. But whether or not she can accept that he has secrets is her decision – and hers alone. Who cares if her mother, best friend, hairstylist, office mate, Steve Harvey or Dr. Phil would approve? It’s her relationship.

So, is your relationship working for you? If so, give up the mental gymnastics and enjoy what you have! You will be doing yourself (and your relationship) a big favor.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love


…and please do not multi-task when driving.

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How to Gracefully Exit a Relationship

38 Comments on ““I Don’t Know Where My Boyfriend Lives””

  1. Kelli Says:

    Interesting take, just hope he is not a serial killer that could put a damper on the fun. : )

  2. Lovely Says:

    As far as I am concerned, there is only one reason to stay and one reason to leave a relationship – because I want to. If you want to be in a particular partnership, stop worrying about secrets and have fun. If you don’t want to be in it, abort. <—– Love THIS!!!! Hilarious, simple yet true!

  3. Lina M Says:

    When I hear things like this going on in a relationship it makes me feel less lonely being single although I’m single by choice at the moment.

    To each its own. Depending on the relationship she wants and the reasons for why she’s never been to his home I would say she should see how things pan out when she tells him she wants to come and see him at his place. It sounds like she is bothered by the fact that she’s never been to his place so she needs to get that stress off her chest.

  4. Sunny Says:

    that was so funny. I agree w/ Kelli who commented that she hopes he’s not a serial killer.
    we need the book brotha for a more involved discussion of when to stay and when to go.
    perhaps that excerpt could be your next blog.

  5. Amber Says:

    Hmm…Interesting 😮

  6. Janis Evans Says:

    Hmmm . . . I don’t know about this one, Frank. I hear what you’re saying about personal prerogative and choice but I don’t think it’s that simple, especially if feelings are involved. There’s something that would make me a little uncomfortable about dating someone for OVER TWO YEARS and not knowing something so seemingly innocuous as how he lives. Even if it was because he was a slob or a hoarder, I’d rather he just say that. If I was really into him it wouldn’t matter. In fact, I’d be inclined to offer help to straighten up. If someone has been dating for two years, I think that would constitute a some kind of relationship and, therefore, require a certain degree of openness and familiarity with how the person with whom you’re involved, lives. An invitation into a person’s home is a “getting to know you” metaphor for the sharing of one’s personal world. Anything less, in my opinion, leaves too much room for suspicion, mistrust, deception, and unexpected revelations that can be damaging in the long run, especially after two years. Two years? Really . . .? There’s more to the story.
    Licensed Professional Counselor

  7. NolaPos Says:

    Okay, there’s something missing. She has the home phone number and knows what city and state he lives in. Is it that she has requested to come to his home and was denied? Or is she waiting for him to invite her over? Does he have someone (children/family/etc.) living with him? Is this a long distance relationship? What is really going on? Has she met his family and friends? Is she more a secret than she’s admitting? I have been in relationships where I have never been to the other party’s home and they never came to mine, but that was by choice. There were certain things that I needed to keep separate. It worked for me.

  8. Edie G. Says:

    I agree Frank.

  9. Misti Says:

    I love your approach … “you do you and let them do them” is your overarching message… it’s empowering.

  10. Andrea F. Says:

    I totally agree… and when it’s not working for YOU (“us”) then abort. Simple. True. Thanks for sharing. Namaste.

  11. Misti Says:

    Some might disagree with this position, stating that we should stay together, united under the false pretense of security around marriage. I don’t agree… I agree with you – we need to go to work on ourselves, ask for what we want and strive for happiness always. Of course, I’ve been in a committed relationship for more than 6 years and it works for us b/c we are both committed to being happy.

  12. Andrea F. Says:

    Andrea Fitch
    It’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to NOT have anyone I’m casually dating be among my friends on FBlandia until there’s a shared understanding that we are truly in a relationship. This forum skews things and feeds into the psyche grem…lin, especially when one is really insecure. For example, I got an email not too long ago from someone I’m not friends with but they wanted to establish a clear understanding as to whom I was and what I meant to someone who we shared in common as a friend on here. Ugh! Really?!? Some just have the spine of a snake. And some allow those with whom they can’t get what they want to be comfortable in any degree of a relationship to bring out their snakeryness. Life’s too short for that kind of high-maintenance and drama. That email was the most direct example of what I think the author of the piece is getting at in reinforcing. I’ve certainly had the round-abouts in which others get other mutual friends to spy etc. It’s pathetic. The games people play. And then peeps wonder why trust is fragmented and elusive these days. Oh well. Again, awesome post. Great food for thought. 🙂

  13. Chris L. Says:

    I could not agree more. People could worry a lot more about themselves and their happiness in a number of areas. It’s mentally liberating, you’re not going to change anybody and nobody has to tell you anything they don’t want to even if t…hey are in a relationship with you. As a result of thinking like this, I’ve never been the jealous type. I don’t get it. Only when I see people look at another person as an acquisition of property, is when I see jealousy and attempts to control. You can’t control. I’ve only had 1 girlfriend ever, and I’ve had a lot 🙂 who did not search through my stuff, phone, email, etc.

    Misti, you mentioned false pretense of security around marriage. I agree. It’s laughable how we pretend to live, but underneath, it’s nothing like that. We’re all adults, we can do whatever we want. Let the other person do the same as you would any of your other friends. There’s no real rules. If there are, I’ll probably do something different just to break them 😉

    Speaking of that, this is one of my favorite sites. Alternatives to marriage. http://www.unmarried.org/

  14. Andrea F. Says:

    You know, I’ve never understood the whole concept of searching through things and stuff. I got better things to do with my time… like get my drink on, be sillery, anything but being Nancy Medusa Drew. Ahahaha. Alright, I’m turning the page. Namaste. Namaste.

  15. Melissa Says:

    HMMMMM…. if Clarissa is asking then she is no longer comfy with the current status of her relationship – hopefully she’s communicated with her mate! If she wants MORE – only thing you can do is ask and move on if you can’t deal! NEW FEELINGS – NEW TALKS – NEW RULES!

  16. Massander Says:

    I agree with Lina on this one. Granted, you were asked whether or not Clarissa should stay. I think your answer is on point. I would be interested in how she goes about addressing her concerns within her relationship.

  17. YSOP Says:

    OMG I agree with Frank lol!! If its a problem for her, it is her responsibility to acknowledge it by asking the question or dealing with if she so chooses……!!

  18. Sara Says:

    No way! If he/she doesn’t say and/show where they live is a non-negotiable.

  19. Steven S. Says:

    There is a contradictory logic Frank’s conclusion that if we are satisfied in our relationships, we should shelf our nagging concerns and the “mental gymnastics” they engender. If the woman in question was truly content in the situation, she …would have already put the issue of never having been to his place into a category of things to disregard. She appears, in fact, to be conflicted. Torn between the satisfaction on the surface of her relationship and an agonizing sense of doom attached to what remains obscured… I think we are sometimes more compelled by the avoidance of feared realities than by the pursuit of favored ones. I think her “gymnastics” are a sign that she needs to find a way to resolve her concern.

  20. Massander Says:

    Agreed. I’m more concerned about how she addresses the reservations she has about her relationships. But Yao does make a good point regarding allowing others to have their secrets.

  21. Steven S. Says:

    Hmmm… yes and no. I think every relationship is conditional. If the secrets violate your conditions, then the maintenance of the secret and the maintenance of the relationship are mutually exclusive. And onna them suckas gotta go…lol. But I think that conditions are maximally effective when voiced as early as possible.

  22. Maceo Says:

    i think steve your second point was Frank’s point. if it doesn’t work, you can’t change other people. feedback from others is not the answer. SHE has to determine what works best for her. If we were all selfish and took care of our needs (…in a relationship, in a job, etc.) would would probably be optimizing our efficiency, productivity, skills and our happiness.

  23. Patricia Says:

    Hmmm guess that means u don’t have a boyfriend..if he is wealthy just go shopping n build ur stash as u plan ur exit strategy. If he isn’t wealthy y bother;u can always find a local tool 😉

  24. Gail W. Says:

    what da heck?

  25. Dani Says:

    I can see a certain amount of vagueness in providing info about where you live when you have first met someone, especially as more people meet via the internet. Personally, I don’t even tell people what city I live in.
    I can also see someone starting to date someone else and keeping information about home to a minimum for a few weeks or even months. It’s during this intial phase that you have to be cognizant of red flags and listen to what the other person tells you. As an example, it may not be a great sign if you talk on the phone and the conversation is abruptly ended – on a regular basis…or worse, if the only communication is via email and/or texts.
    But if you have gotten to a point where you consider yourself to be “in a relationship”, you should know and have been at the other person’s home at least once. You should have met their family and friends. And if you have not, you should be asking if the reasons are viable, or if the reason is something that could backfire on you in the future.

    I speak from some amount of experience as I have watched a friend of mine in his relationship. Yes, his girlfriend has been in his home a few times, but 99% of their together time is spent at her house. He lives with his folks and is open about that. What he is not open about is his alone-time hobby of knocking back beers and whisky until he passes out. His beer and whisky can be hidden when he knows his girl is coming over – and excused as a “one-time” if she were to “drop in”…He is an alcoholic and has hid that from her for over a year, since they met.
    The fact that they don’t live together allows him to hide more. Not necessarily things that take place in his home, as compared to at hers…but things that he has the ability to do and can mask with a phone call or text message on nights when he is not with her. This friend shared with me how he has cheated on every relationship he has been in. He shared with me how easy it is to be in bed with a woman and text a note to the girlfriend that says “I’m working late, we’ll talk tomorrow. Love you”….These are most likely not facts that he would share with the girlfriend if there is something else that he is getting from the relationship.

    But coming back to the issue of things hiding — I’ve learned to listen when people tell you things and learn to read between the lines. Yes, it is a horrible way to have to live, but you save yourself in the long run. Afterall, I know the fall my friend’s girlfriend is in for in the future…she’s too hidden behind her rose colored glasses to see it for herself!

  26. Barbara S. Says:

    No! For me, it’s a red flag. If a significant other fails to disclose basic information about himself, he definitely has something to hide (like maybe he’s married). That’s NOT a good sign and not something I would accept.

  27. Elaine S. Says:

    One shouldn’t be comfortable with basic and essential information like that. She could be dating a known murderer, paedophile or whatever. If he has not invited her to his home it is likely that he is already in a relationship which has trust and transparency implications.

    You said “The answer really doesn’t matter. Either way, he is choosing to keep this part of his life from her, and that is his call to make.”

    I agree up to a point. It is his call when he is single. The minute a relationship begins it denotes a partnership of equals in which TRUST and SENSITIVITY are key issues, and sensitivity is at the heart of respect. There can be no relationship without trust otherwise it would be dogged by suspicions, assumptions and genuine discomfort, as Clarissa is experiencing.

    However, you are right that it is up to her to do something about the relationship if his actions are untenable or unacceptable. She might want to be comfortable, as you say, but I think the doubts are creeping in because of the length of time that he has withheld that information from her and kept her out of his home. As time goes on, she is revising her opinion of him and, once trust is questioned, there really can be no comfort because that niggling feeling of dishonesty will continue to haunt her every time he leaves her presence.

    Great discussion, Frank! :o)

  28. Tracie H. Says:

    And why doesn’t she just ask him why he has never invited her over to his house?

  29. Simone R. Says:

    Depends whether you are happy with putting your head in the sand or not!!!!

  30. Not Buying It Says:

    You’ve got to be kidding me?!?!?! No, she can’t change the guy. And yes the only thing that she is ultimately in charge of is herself. But let’s be real here. The fact that the nan is hiding something really is a big deal and you downplay that. He could be living a double life. And if she doesn’t really know him, then how can she claim that she has a relationship with him. Saying that you have a boyfriend whose house you have never visited is like saying that you are married but have never had sex.

  31. Shannon A. Says:

    Ask him some personal questions and see if he responds

  32. Renee M. Says:

    I really appreciate Frank’s take on this. What’s important is how she feels about it. There are no should or shouldn’ts about it.

  33. Sileah G. Says:

    Well, if she does not know where her boyfriend lives, then what else does she not know about him. Does she know him at all, or she thinks she does?

  34. Karen E Engebretsen, PsyD Says:

    Hummmm. If you just started dating, so what? If not, head’s up. Yes, Frank is right. It’s OK to have some secrets. But if he is keeping secrets about where he lives, what other secrets are there in your relationship. After all, isn’t the very FOUNDATION of a relationship all about TRUST?

  35. Liana Says:

    Love what you have written Frank. I really like the part where you say – it is not her role to try and change him, but find out whether the relationship is working for her. This is the most vital part of a relationship – how we are & how we feel – but is most of the time overlooked by searching for validation outside of ourselves. Thanks for sharing this most interesting topic!

  36. Arnold and Maria (Part II): A Wildly Successful Relationship | Frank Love Says:

    […] I am not suggesting that she was happy about it, or that the situation was ever OK with her. I have no way of knowing how she felt about it. But she was not upset enough to leave her husband while he had a bright political career ahead of him, which means that she, too, was getting something out of his political success. That prestige and power was clearly more valuable to her than leaving the man to whom she no longer wanted to be married (assuming the rumors we are hearing about their unhappy marriage are true). The bottom line: This marriage served both of their goals, or it wouldn’t have lasted this long. Therefore, it was successful by their definition – even if not by yours or mine. […]

  37. camlet Says:

    WOW! I’m in the same exact situation,and truth be told it’s Crazy,,confusing in my case I’ve been with my boyfriend over 4years,havent ever been to his home can’t tell you how to get there,ive been overly patient,yet still no invites and when I ask,,,excuses and denials,he does well by my kids and I,he has purchased us a car and now a home,and he’s the one jealous,and tries to make me think I’m the one hiding something,im fed up but what he do for me make me stay,but really I’m unhappy,i feel like a mistress ugh but,hes not married I’ve met his family and my mom and him has become friends,im so unhappy and out of patience feel like it’s not a real relationship but friends with benefits,but, he’s always telling me how much he loves me but how I’ve never been to his home…i know for a fact it’s not normal,

  38. lost Says:

    Well I am in the same situation, I have been with my boyfriend only six months and he live’s on a diferent city about aolmost 3 hrs. from me. he always jealous and used to tell me ” I am alway’s planing when i am going to go and see you and you don’t even mention that you will tryed as well” well that maked me feel bad got a plain ticket for a weekend I thought just to go see where he lives and places he does hang out and maybe friends too soon tomet his family I thoght,well I send the ticket info to his email and ofcourse he had to work on that weekend, well I know where he reaaly lives I did a backgd check the very first time we were talking of him to visit me,no in this world i will have someone over for the more I like him without nowing at least if his been in jail,what for,or his married. but what alse is he hiding !!!

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