Once a new relationship has progressed to a level of comfort where you're barely spending any nights apart, it's only a matter of time before you start leaving things at each other's respective places. Maybe it all began with a forgotten phone charger here or a hoodie there, but eventually, it's important to establish boundaries you're both happy with. If you've realized that you're not comfortable with your partner leaving stuff at your place, then this may be a concern that's worth delving deeper into.
During the earlier, more casual phases of dating, many people simply might not want the belongings of someone they aren't committed to in their personal space. However, once you've defined the relationship, it might be difficult for your bae to understand why leaving behind a few things would be a problem for you. To find out how to effectively communicate your concerns to your partner, I spoke to licensed clinical psychotherapist and relationship expert LeslieBeth Wish and prominent Los Angeles dating and relationship therapist, Dr. Gary Brown.
"If you feel good about your current intimate partner — but not 'good enough' for them to leave their possessions at your place, don't worry — this problem is not unusual," Dr. Wish tells Elite Daily.
Both Dr. Wish and Dr. Brown agree that if you're uncomfortable with someone you're dating leaving stuff at your place, it's important to consider what commitment level you've agreed upon "This is quite common when the relationship is new (approximately less than four months), when you are beginning to have doubts about the relationship, or when you both agreed not to be exclusive," explains Winter.
If, however, you're exclusively dating and consider yourselves to be a "couple" then not wanting to let your lives overlap in this way could be a sign that something's not quite right, according to Dr. Brown.
"Being partners is different from casually hooking up, it's another level of emotional involvement and a declaration that you're in a more significant relationship," Dr. Brown tells Elite Daily. "Even if you're not living together but are seeing each other and spending nights together on a somewhat regular basis, I don't think it is unreasonable for them to ask to leave some of their clothes at your place."
According to Dr. Wish and Dr. Brown, regardless of the source of your concerns, the best course of action is to speak up. Even if you know it's not what they want to hear, if you're not ready to take this step forward, then it's better to be upfront about it sooner rather than later. "The best way is simply to be honest and let them know in a respectful way that you aren't comfortable and what your reasons are," says Dr. Brown. "Especially, if they truly are your partner, as opposed to an uncommitted relationship. They really deserve to know the truth, no matter how painful."
Sometimes a new relationship chapter can come with some initial doubt, but it might be helpful to look at the situation from their perspective. It's possible that their desire to leave some things with you is more of a logistical need than anything else. "If they are important to you, even if you aren't at all ready to live together, this may help them not have to madly rush out the door to go home, shower, change, and get ready for work or school," says Dr. Brown. "Being a partner means we want to be considerate of their needs too."
At the end of the day, it's totally up to you to decide whether or not you're willing to be flexible when balancing a partner's needs with your own. If you aren't willing to compromise, then it's also important to be honest with them so they know exactly where they stand with you and within the relationship.