When Your Partner Won’t Stay Overnight

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I’ve been in a relationship with this guy for about 10 months now. Although it initially started off as a purely physical connection, we quickly realized that there was something more between us. Our bond has grown strong, and we spend a lot of time together. It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced before. We have an incredible connection and have been upfront about our past relationship mistakes. We don’t want to repeat them.

But there’s one issue that bothers me. He refuses to spend the night with me. Instead, he stays in my bed, cuddles with me until I fall asleep, and then leaves. Last night, he actually fell asleep, which made me really happy. However, at 5 a.m., he abruptly woke up and rushed out the door. This made me feel really down. He insists that he’s not cheating and claims that he simply prefers being surrounded by his own belongings. But I can’t help but wonder what he’s scared of. He talks about moving in together, but how can that happen if he can’t even spend an entire night with me?

Today, I came up with an idea. Since I have two dressers, I decided to clear out the tall one and make it his. I want to show him that there’s room for his things in my space. Hopefully, this gesture will help him understand.

I truly love this man, but I have had some terrible past relationships. My previous boyfriend was not affectionate at all, and I really need affection in my life. Just because he left, I’ve been crying for hours. On the nights he doesn’t come over, I can’t fall asleep at all. I’ve expressed my feelings to him and assured him that I’ll be patient and not rush him, but I also explained why it’s important to me. Even if he stayed over just once a week or once every few weeks, it would mean a lot to me.

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I feel like our relationship is stuck because of this issue. What advice do you have for me?

Wanda says:

Intimacy can take different forms for different people. For some, spending the night and cuddling comes more easily than engaging in sexual activities. Others may have a more casual attitude towards sex but view sleepovers as a stronger commitment signal. Your boyfriend has given you two reasons for not staying the night: fear and a preference for his own space.

His fear doesn’t necessarily mean he’s afraid to take your relationship further. It seems like you both are in a good place. Perhaps he’s scared of disrupting the magic you two have by moving things to a more serious level. Alternatively, he might genuinely enjoy the comfort of his own bed, pajamas, morning routine, and personal care items. Or maybe it’s a combination of both.

Instead of making space for him in your place, try packing an overnight bag and show him that you’re committed for the long haul. In other words, don’t force him to stay with you; go to his place instead! Clearly, he loves his home and can’t bear to wake up anywhere else. Let him know that you respect his need for his own space and that you understand his desire to live together in the future. Propose being his overnight guest as a way to test the waters. If he agrees, go ahead! But if he declines, then you’ll need to have a serious conversation about your relationship.

Wayne says:

Great suggestion with the bedroom switcheroo, Wanda! Now he’ll have to face the reality of being in his own bed, alongside his girlfriend, surrounded by his belongings. Nowhere to escape to, except maybe the couch?

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Letter writer, it’s a smart move to get him a dresser at your place. While you’re at it, make room in the bathroom for his toiletries, clear space in the kitchen for his breakfast protein shakes, and upgrade your streaming services to include live sports. Trust me, he won’t be able to resist!

However, what worries me is that he’s expressing fear. It’s not about the discomfort of your bed or restlessness while sleeping. It’s not about noise or lack of space on your couch. He says he’s scared.

I understand your confusion and concern. What exactly is he scared of? Is there a hidden monster lurking in your bedroom closet? His explanation is too vague and unclear. Moreover, it contradicts everything else he says about your future together. Ask him to clarify his fears. Maybe he used poor choice of words. Maybe he’s overwhelmed and leading you on. Or perhaps he’s genuinely terrified that everything will fall apart, as his past experiences have taught him.

Before you even consider moving in together, it’s important to get to the bottom of this issue. Your honesty and open communication have been commendable so far. Now, during this challenging time, it’s even more crucial to maintain that level of communication. Hold him accountable for what he’s said and seek the clarity you need. I sincerely hope you find the answers you’re looking for and have a warm, loving future together. And if not, I hope you at least gain clarity and adapt accordingly.

You can find more relationship advice articles like this on 5 WS.

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