I have been reading and adopting the RPW principles for about a year now and my relationship has never been better. I'm hoping for some advice.

My man was married once before. He has a narcissist mom who did quite a number on him, and eventually he married a woman who was like her. They had kids. He felt trapped and numbed himself. Eventually, they divorced, and I met him a few years after that.

We've been together for three years. I love him more than I've loved anyone before. He's handsome, hardworking, and very affectionate. He makes me laugh a lot. We've got great chemistry, and three years in, our sex life is still fantastic.

Before I learned RPW, we were falling into a typical pattern where I was nagging and controlling, and he was passive. Since I've surrendered, things have been wonderful. He thrives being treated like a man (for the first time in his life), and he loves having a feminine woman (another first.) I've got a good relationship with his kids and am looking forward to those relationships growing.

What is the problem?

He's been so happy that he wants us to move in together. Yay! But, he only wants me to move in where he lives now with his kids. It is a small condo.

I'm uncomfortable doing this for a few reasons:

  • First, his ex-wife, ex-MIL, and an ex-girlfriend all live in this community. His ex hates me (I think it's because she's both lost control over him when he and I started dating and she hates that he's happy) and has called me names and walked in his home when I was there alone. It feels uncomfortably close. I secretly wonder if he's afraid to make her angry by moving away.
  • But his place is falling apart. He doesn't take care of it. It's dirty (though I do clean up for him when I'm there). There's no privacy - we can't have a conversation in the bedroom without the kids hearing. It's small for three people, let alone four. When he doesn't have his kids, he likes to be at my (1 bedroom) place, because it's "cozy." His daughter is too embarrassed of his place to have her friends over, something that I know hurts his feelings.
  • His kids sneak over when they're supposed to be at their mom's place and raid his fridge and use the toilet and don't flush, etc. It's gross. I fear I'd never be able to have downtime where I know a kid's not going to burst in. (My guy tells them not to do this, but because he's mostly at my place when he doesn't have them, they do it anyway.) I'm an introvert and I need down time. I feel the anxiety I'd feel over this would not be good for our relationship.
  • He and his son have a habit of leaving the front door wide open (mostly when unloading things from the car, but his son has forgotten it and just left it wide open for hours), and I have indoor only animals that I worry will get outside. I'm not sure I could forgive easily if something happened to them, since I see having a door wide open as a very unnecessary thing.
  • It will makes me feel like he has me on a trial period, which isn't a nice feeling after three years of taking things very slow because of his complicated life.
  • I will essentially be an outsider moving in with a family who have been living in the home together for a few years now. I will not be able to assert any authority in the home as a result, and I have a few rules I'd need followed to not be a nervous wreck everyday (doors kept closed at all times, etc.)
  • I feel like he wants me to take all the risks while he takes none.
  • Though his place is sparsely furnished, there is no place for my furniture. I've worked hard to make a home for myself, and I'd have to give all that away.

Here's why I want a new place:

  • Space and privacy
  • Symbolism of beginning a new life together
  • We can afford it
  • We will be able to use both of our furniture to create a cozy home
  • Kids will thrive in a home of their own (something he has spoken about before). I'd make sure they had nice bedrooms and had an ability to decorate them how they like. It will be their home too.
  • He would also be taking a risk and demonstrating his commitment to me
  • He and I will be able to set household rules from the get go, which would be easier for his kids to remember since the environment will change.

We are having trouble agreeing on our future, and I'm not sure if it's a dealbreaker for me or not. He's been married before, he's had kids with someone before, he's happier with me than he's ever been before, but I can't even get what I see as a perfectly reasonable step toward beginning our new life together?

Worse, he wants me to live in his current place until his kids are grown, which would be about 5 years. I could see living there for a year or so if we were engaged, and then getting a home of our own. But it's like he wants me to fit into his life and have to change nothing, and that makes me feel taken for granted. I want him to cherish and protect me, not have me be the one taking all the risks while no one else is inconvenienced. Is that all I'm worth to him?

I view this as a personal boundary issue, almost. After three years, I'm honestly not sure if settling for the version of commitment that he wants will be something that I can get over. I want to be with him, he says he wants to spend his life with me, so I'm not understanding why we can't get to it. Instead, it feels like he wants to avoid taking a risk and squeeze me in.

What are your faults? How have you contributed to the creation of these issues?

I work every day to not be controlling and stay as the feminine energy. But things like this make me so incredibly anxious. I feel like he's become passive and... almost childlike (in that he's very comfortable receiving all I have to give and asking me to take risks he's not willing to take) and has stepped out of the leader role.

I am currently struggling not to step into that leader role. It's very difficult, because it's felt like he's so anxious about committing that he's left it and now there is a vacuum.

Why do you think this (these) problem(s) manifested?

When he's anxious, he acts passive and withdrwan. I understand the idea of committing to a woman again would be hard, given his history. But he's had every bit of evidence that we are happy together and that I'm different that his ex.

I feel caught in a no-win, given that I want to be feminine, have him lead, and feel safe. I don't feel safe and it makes me want to not keep giving to him.

What steps have you already taken to try and resolve the problem?

I am trying to keep calm. I am trying to think of it as a boundary issue. I am trying to wait for him to bring it up. I plan on telling him my worries and fears, and what I want (a new home and to get engaged) and see if he steps up. I really want to avoid trying to talk him into anything, other than explaining my reasoning if he asks.

How long has this been an issue?

We've been talking about it (or having glaring silence that makes me a nervous wreck) for about a month.

Are you making a mountain out of a mole-hill? If a woman you really despised came to you with this issue, would you still think it's a legitimate concern? Or would you tell her she's throwing things out of proportion?

I have trouble with this one. On one hand, I'm happy he sees a future with me. On the other, it seems like he's avoiding a real commitment, which I need to feel valued and safe.

I would also like to be married. Before our conversations on this topic became a little divisive, I'd been planning on telling him that I'd like to be engaged prior to moving in together. Now I feel really anxious about bringing that up. But it's what I want. I want to feel like part of his family (we're not having kids together, and it would feel awful to live with a family and not feel like a valued member of that family). He says he wants to spend his life with me and I'm the most important person in his life, but when it comes down to it, I don't feel like his actions match his words.

How's your bedroom life right now? Are you taking care of his needs emotionally and physically?

Our bedroom is very active, as always. I do admit feeling less desire for him when I feel like he's not leading, but I am still available to him when he needs me. Still, I'm not as motivated to give him the extras he desires.

And something that doesn't fit in gracefully with any of the questions: I wonder if he's able to commit to someone like me. I know that before he met me, he was still going for the alpha female type (and then he'd grow horrified by them and the relationship would end quickly) because of the fallout with his awful mother. His ex is an alpha female, and he used to do what she wanted to keep her from having angry rages. He says he's happy with me and he loves having a woman treat him like a man. But why has he been able to commit in the past but it's an issue for him with me? That hurts my feelings since we've worked so hard to have a different style of relationship.

Give it to me straight, RPW. I can handle it. Am I off track? Is there anything I could do to get him to consider the future I'd like for us?