(The Root) —
"My fiance is mad because I'm putting my house that we live in on the market, simply because I bought it, and I would like us to buy something together. Yet I can tell he's crazy insecure with it being mine. I feel I can't win. Advice?" —R.T.
Ma'am, your fiance has every right to be "mad" — furious, even — and pissed off to the highest level. What you are attempting to do is just dead wrong.
Let me make this plain so there's no misunderstanding: You cannot sell this house without him being on board and still expect him to be your fiance, much less your man. If you sell it and he leaves — which he is likely to do — everyone but you will understand why he did.
You're treating your fiance as if he's your son. He is not your kid. He is your man. And not just some random man, but the man whose ring you accepted when he asked you to build a life with him. He is the man you invited to live in your home as you both plan your marriage ceremony.
He's done his part to show you that he is serious about committing to you and building a life with you. If, at this point, you honestly do not feel that he deserves the courtesy of having you take into consideration his objection to your selling the house where he also lives, then you do not need to marry him — or, for that matter, anyone else.
I understand that your name is on the mortgage, and technically it is your home. You are very correct about that. However, he is your fiance and you live together. You are trying to make an "I" decision when you are in a "we" partnership.
Now, technically, yes, you are single, as in unmarried, but you've accepted a marriage proposal, and you are living like husband and wife, which allegedly you soon will be. This means that your fiance — who, I am sure, has been splitting the bills on the house since he moved in, if not paying the bills outright — gets a say in where the two of you will live.
He could be the type of guy who isn't comfortable with his woman doing something for herself that he can't or did not do. I've heard that before. But in this case, I'm pretty sure that your ownership of the house isn't the root of his insecurity. If that were such a big deal to him, he likely would not have moved in.
Based on the wording of your question — specifically the stance that it's "my house we live in," and you can do whatever you want "simply because I bought it" — his issue probably has more to do with you reminding him that it's not "his" or "our" house but just yours. He knows he didn't buy it, and he doesn't need to be reminded of it.
Because you do remind him, it makes him rightfully insecure. This is because you could — I don't know — kick him out at any time or, you know, decide to sell it without him having any legal rights. You are about to confirm his worst fears about you and his living situation. If the tables were turned, would you be secure if you were him?
Of course not.
I'll guess that a candid conversation covering what he's insecure about and working together to hatch a plan to address the problem can put this issue to rest pretty quickly. Once the issue of insecurity is off the table, if you still want to buy a house together, share that with your fiance.
He is clearly expected to make a financial commitment for this new house, so he needs to be on board with the purchase (and likely he will be, if for no other reason than to avoid a dilemma like the current one). You two need to have another candid conversation about finances that includes very basic topics, such as what you're both willing to spend on this purchase, what funds you both have available or need to save in order to buy this property, what area or city you will live in and your timetable for moving, among other issues. You don't put a house on the market and then figure out all the details for purchasing one, especially in conjunction with someone else, on the back end.
I know you're frustrated. Planning a wedding — and, even more, a life — with another person is hard work. Lots of people manage to be successful at it, though, and you and your mate can be one of the success stories. But you have to communicate with him and stop thinking "I" when you should be thinking "we."
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at email@example.com.