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Ask Ellie: Freeloader boyfriend isn't a partner: It's time to draw the line

Advice: His ambivalence about where he lives (mostly your place) is a convenience and a money-saver he’s holding onto tightly.

Dear Ellie: I’m 58, previously married for 25 years with three grown children living elsewhere. My boyfriend of five years is 51, never married, has no children.

I wanted him to move in permanently this past year. That discussion gets heated with me feeling I’m asking too much. He gets defensive, withdraws, and I feel unworthy. Otherwise, we get along as best friends.

He lives in a city 30 minutes away. He keeps his clothes, bike and anything he needs here. He spends all his time at my house. He only goes into his rented townhouse when he has a work shift.

It’d be financially better for both of us if he lives here. He calls his townhouse, with things in it, his “storage unit.”

I’d like to retire eventually, and I’m weary of the financial load of two people living here 90 per cent of the time, while I don’t get the financial offload. He says he’ll do it when it’s an “organic fit,” some unknown time.

He had an unstable childhood, many moves and divorces, saying that’s part of his ambivalence in moving in. He worries we could have a fight and I could kick him out (it happened to him with a previous girlfriend).

I sympathize, but when does the line get drawn? I want to share the time I have left with someone who wants me.

Feeling Rejected

The line has already been drawn. His ambivalence about where he lives (mostly your place) is a convenience and a money-saver he’s holding onto tightly.

He may be a “best friend” but he’s not a committed partner. He may enjoy your company, but there’s no mention of “love” from either of you.

The result of this situation dragging on without resolve is a negative effect on you. At 58, with healthy years ahead, and the possibility of meeting new positive-minded people, no one should be making you feel “unworthy!”

Not “good enough” for what? Carrying his part of the relationship? He’s been delaying five years for “an organic fit,” without explanation. You want a true partner, not a freeloader.

Reaffirm your self-confidence. Go out with friends, take part in your community. And set the date for him to pay up or leave.

Dear Ellie: Can you name one or two female marriage therapists I could check into?


There are many excellent marriage therapists reachable for an initial conversation, in person or online. My opinion and personal experience, has shown that a therapist’s gender doesn’t matter.

It’s the connection a therapy-seeker feels or doesn’t feel, when listening to the therapist’s responses to her situation, say, of a cheating husband.

One of the best such therapists I ever heard about, was a man whose wisdom and empathy made possible the client’s journey from heartbreak to a happier, self-confident life, without the man who’d been cheating on her for years.

The search for a therapist who “gets” you, starts with who you are at your core, not your own gender or current role in the marriage. It’s up to you to “open up” and listen to the response. Fudging facts about yourself will only confuse the exchange between a client and therapist.

Marriage therapy is a conversation and exploration of the relationship you’re currently living. Something internal is making you question where you are in your life, and with whom.

In most cases, a professional marriage therapist will “get” you and can be very helpful. If, instead, you feel certain that’s not happening, you have every right to try someone else.

Dear Readers Some feedbacks come from people with experience and expertise regarding a physical problem that can help many people:

For example, regarding the man whose wife’s chronic nighttime itch keeps them both awake:

“They could consult with a doctor of Traditional Medicine, who’ll likely prescribe Chinese herbs and apply acupuncture needles; an Herbalist, who’d prescribe Western herbs; a Homeopath who’d prescribe homeopathic remedies; a Holistic Nutritionist who’ll see if changes in her diet and supplements might help. Or an osteopath or chiropractor who’ll make sure her spine is aligned.

“Irritated skin can indicate internal issues - liver, kidney, lungs, her spine, diet, and/or stress. These professionals will study them both, from the context of their whole lives.

“Online, they can find licensed and registered practitioners in their own area. Some homeopaths, herbalists, and nutritionists, also work online. Interested readers should check out their websites.”

From A Registered Professional Homeopath

Ellie’s tip of the day

Someone who won’t share costs of living together, isn’t your partner.

Send relationship questions to [email protected] or [email protected]