A Lovely asks:

My boyfriend and I have been together for a few months (shy of a year) and because of the (very, very) close proximity of our houses, I spend most of my time at his place. He'll buy me food to put in his fridge (I'm a vegetarian) and bought me a toothbrush for the nights/mornings I stay over. I occasionally watch his three-year-old daughter overnight since he works night shifts, she's in love with me, and I'm so close by. Because I know he's such a busy single father, I like to clean up after myself/his daughter as best I can for him — doing the dishes for him every once and a while, vacuuming when need be, etc. (he owns half a double, so it's not like cleaning up the house is that big deal). It's very much a give and take relationship between he and I — he does a lot for me, so I do a lot for him. 

My question, then, might sound a little silly — I know my boyfriend thinks it is whenever the topic comes up. Because I'm over so very often, I tend to forget things at his place. Maybe a coat one night, my book then next. One day I was drinking some tea out of my favorite tea cup and left it at his place. It has since made a home there. I've taken a shower once or twice and — being that it's a man's den - there wasn't many nice, girly-smelling products available to me. So, even though he and I aren't technically living together, is it okay if I buy some feminine products to keep at his house? Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc.? Or would that be crossing the line? He's told me, when I mentioned how I don't live with him, that he wouldn't have his girlfriend move in until the two of them have been dating for at least a year. I wonder if keeping things like that at his place might be pushing the boundaries of live-in/live-away-from girlfriend territory.

It's always a little awkward when you want to leave things at his place or vice versa, and you don't really know how to ask.

I understand your predicament. When I first started dating my boyfriend, we lived less than a block away too. It was pretty great because we could always see each other whenever we wanted, and if either of us needed anything from our places, we could just walk down the street and come back. Whenever I wanted to have a shelf of my things at his place, I felt super awkward about it because the whole time I kept thinking, he's just going to ask 'You're just down the street, why do you need this stuff here?' Luckily, he didn't, but I still didn't bring a ton of stuff over... after all, it was only down the street.

Are you wanting to leave some things at his place out of convenience, or would you really just like to have a space to signify that you're "there"? I'm assuming that you're simply ready to take a next step in the relationship and you're testing the waters, because let's be honest, you could simply just go back to your place and shower there. And if he already told you that he typically doesn't like his girlfriends to move in until they've been together for at least a year and you're approaching a year, you're probably wondering what's going to happen. Having your own shelf or keeping a few things there is the logical next step. I'd casually bring it up and see what he has to say.

Honestly, it doesn't sound like a huge deal to leave a few things over at his place if you're already cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming the floors. If he's not comfortable with you leaving some hair products in the bathroom, but has NO problem with you cleaning up his house, that's a deal breaker. Just talk to him about it. Chances are, he will appreciate the fact that you asked and he will be cool with it. If he feels that it's too soon, he can hire a babysitter and a cleaning service and you can simply just be his girlfriend.

What do you think, Lovelies? Have any of you ever been in a similar situation, and if so, how did you handle it?