Not ready to move in

Dear Meredith,

My boyfriend and I are both in our mid-to-late 20s and have been dating for a little over a year. Everything is going really well! We're both very supportive of one another, have similar interests, compatible personalities, and enjoy spending time together. This is my first relationship where I have really felt loved and prioritized, and I see a real future with this guy.

Now to the issue. My boyfriend is just about ready to move in with me. He told me that he likes having companionship at night, and said he feels lonely when I'm not there. While I love him to death, I just don't feel the same way. I am perfectly content to grab dinner with friends or come home from the gym, flop on the couch, eat dinner and watch Bravo. Alone. I also feel like we sleep together a lot as it is (two nights during the week and both weekend nights). Even though we don't have a ton of issues to speak of, I just don't feel ready to move in together and I want things to stay as they are. Sometimes I'm just tired and want a little alone time. I am confident that I would be ready in a year or so to settle down together, but right now, I feel guilty that he feels lonely and I feel fulfilled. Is there a way we can find balance without hurting feelings?

– Not Ready, Washington D.C.

There shouldn't be hurt feelings about this. Not after a year of dating. If you were on year three of this relationship and you were avoiding a move-in to watch "Real Housewives" on your own, he'd have reason to be concerned. But at the start year two, this is pretty normal.

Tell him that at a year and eight months, you'll reevaluate and hopefully start planning the next step. Until then he must respect your pace.

And over the next eight months or so, before you move in, try having your alone time during a sleepover, with him in the next room. He needs to know that on some nights, you're just going to want to have anti-social time in front of the television without him around. He must be comfortable giving you that space, even if you're sharing a home. If you're confident that you can do your own thing with him nearby, without him getting offended (or asking for attention), the move-in will be much, much easier.

Readers? Is there a compromise? Should she be ready at a year? How do you live with a partner and maintain your alone time?

– Meredith