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Dear Life Kit: I'm ready to move in together. My boyfriend isn't

Two pigeons beak-to-beak forming a heart between their necks. Collage of letters behind them.
Collage by Trish Pickelhaupt/NPR

It's been three years since singer and songwriter Betty Who was with us for a Tiny Desk concert, when she graced us with her romantic tunes. (Go ahead, watch it! We'll wait...)

While she's not a therapist or a relationship counselor, Betty Who has plenty of expertise in love from songwriting and, now, reality TV: She's the host of The One That Got Away, the new Prime Video reality dating series.

Musician Betty Who is the host of <em>The One That Got Awa</em>y, a new Prime Video reality dating series.
Amanda Edwards / Getty Images
/
Getty Images
Musician Betty Who is the host of The One That Got Away, a new Prime Video reality dating series.

She recently joined Dear Life Kit to answer your anonymous questions about finding love, keeping love and knowing when to walk away.

The following has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

I'm 25 and my boyfriend is 27. We've been together for a very happy three years, and I'd love to move in together. But he says he's not ready yet. It's not just that...If we talk about something like furniture, he has no problem saying "our couch." But he always refers to "his kids" and not "our kids." I've always been a textbook overthinker. Am I being ridiculous? — Ready or not

I don't think you're being ridiculous. I think that intuition is very important in this situation, and if your intuition is telling you that something is not moving in the direction that you would like, I think that communication is key. I do think that a really honest conversation needs to be had. I think that you should be able to advocate for yourself, set boundaries for yourself and set goals for you and your partner in a relationship.

Have a serious conversation with guidelines of, "Listen, I've been wanting to talk to you. This is my five year plan. This is my goal. This is what I want for myself. What do you see for that? We're at the point where we have to move forward, and if we're doing this together, we should really talk about what that looks like." Give your partner the opportunity to step up and have that conversation with you.

Partners are supposed to add to your life, not take away from it. That's a healthy partnership. At the end of the day, you guys should be aligned on what you want for the future and where you're both heading, and see that path together.

I'm 21 years old. I live in New York City, and I've never dated anyone. Ever. Not even in the high school dance, we're-not-dating-but-we're-kinda-dating, kind of way. How can you find a romantic relationship when you have no experience in that arena, at an age when your friends are getting engaged or even married? — Single in the city

First of all, it's fine. You're 21. You've got lots of time. If your friends are getting engaged and married, they're ahead of the curve. So my first piece of advice is: Don't compare yourself to other people.

My second piece of advice is: Get off your phone and get into the world. The apps will make you feel bad about yourself. I understand that dating apps are the way of the future and the thing that we've been doing for a long time. But I think it makes you feel so human to be out in a public place and in a conversation with a stranger. It's such a beautiful way to find connection. Go out in the world, wherever it is...and don't be afraid to have conversations with people you don't know.

My sister told our family that she doesn't want to be married anymore, and that she's been talking to some new guy online. But she also promised to cut it off and give marriage counseling a chance. The thing is, she just told me that she still talks to the guy every day. I love my brother-in-law and I feel so guilty knowing this. What should I do? — Damned if I do, damned if I don't

I don't think that putting yourself in between a relationship is ever the right move. I know it must be really hard to carry a secret, but in the end, my personal philosophy is, "Not my wife, not my life." People can make decisions in their own relationship about what's best for them. You cannot know what it is like to be in that relationship.

As difficult as it must be for you to have to have this information, I also think that it's the responsibility of your sister and your brother-in-law to figure it out for themselves. It's hard to be stuck in the middle like that, and I think it sounds like she needs to make a call about if she's in or out. It's probably really painful while she's in the in between. I have a lot of sympathy for everybody involved.

I met someone over a year ago, and we've become close friends. We hang out a lot and text each other late into the night. I'm starting to develop feelings for them and I think it might be mutual. The thing is, they're married. Keeping this secret is so hard though. What should I do? — Carrying a torch

The state of their marriage is a really important part of this conversation. I know that open relationships are more and more prevalent in today's world, at least from what I've seen.

If I'm being vulnerable, I have personally been the person on the "outside of the relationship" with somebody who is in a relationship, and I do not think you want to be that person. That is from personal experience. I don't judge you. I think that love is a strange and crazy thing, and it can make you do crazy things. But it doesn't often work out to be that person.


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Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Becky Harlan is a visual and engagement editor for NPR's Life Kit.