Five months into our relationship, I moved in with my boyfriend. But it wasn’t necessarily happening because we wanted it to.
To make a long story short, the living situation I had planned fell apart on me pretty suddenly, and he offered to take me in. My only other option was uprooting everything I’d built for myself, and moving back in with my mother — over 100 miles away.
While part of me was really stoked, a much larger part of me was sizzling with anxiety. We’d only been together about a short while, his house is barely big enough for him and his cat, let alone a second human, and there is a ten-year age difference between us; I was deathly afraid that he’d be so used to living on his own that we’d clash horribly living together.
Originally, the plan was that I’d live with my boyfriend temporarily while I look for another place. After a week or two of me moving in, he suggested that I stay with him; he figured that if we’re going to take the step to live together, why live separately again. So I went from paying rent and utilities every month to helping with the mortgage and other home expenses.
There were a few things I knew would have to happen right off the bat in order to keep the peace between us. And as a result of the following tactics, we haven’t had a single problem with this living situation.
Give each other space
As much as I love being around my boyfriend, I also require a certain amount of time to myself, otherwise I’d lose it. Thankfully, he’s the same way, so we’re able to make this one work without much of a problem. The only challenge has been finding space when we’re both at home together since the house is so small; if we’re both home, having alone time means one of us is sitting on the couch and the other is at the kitchen table, about ten feet away.
When you begin to cohabitate, it's SO HARD to combine your crap. You're getting used to living with someone else while, at the same time,... Read more
So far, our work schedules have allowed us to have a really great balance of alone time and together time. There was one week, though, when our schedules were identical . I found myself starting to get stressed and irritable because I couldn’t do any of my typical me-time things, and I could tell that he was feeling the same way. Truth be told, our first relatively serious issue stemmed from us not having enough alone time. Even during those weeks when we’re working the same hours, we like to either give each other space or let the other person call the shots for the night so if alone time isn’t an option, there’s still some semblance of “me time.”
Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more
I’m not a mind-reader. I don’t easily pick up on things if people around me are starting to get annoyed or upset. Most of the time, I won’t know that a person is upset unless they say it straightforward.
I made sure my boyfriend was aware of this pretty early on to cover my bases — I didn’t want us getting into any stupid little fights because I missed something like that. Fighting isn’t fun, being angry sucks. And since we both prefer to spend as little time as possible being mad about something, we’ve agreed to bring things up when we want to talk about them, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with us. For example: When I was really stressed out about a series of things my mom did, I made sure he knew that I wasn’t stressed out about him, and having that conversation opened the door to vent about her a little bit.
Do your share
One of the things I was most anxious about when I moved into my boyfriend’s house was that he would consider me to be a bad partner or roommate if I didn’t do enough around the house. I like to think of the house maintenance as a team effort. To put it simply, I feel a need to earn my keep in whatever ways I can on top of contributing what I can financially. In addition to contributing to the monthly bills, I’ll use my days off to tidy the house and re-stock the cabinets with essentials, and my boyfriend does the same.
We’ve been living together since the end of December, and I’m glad to say that things are going really great. In the grand scheme of things, the very few issues we’ve had while cohabiting have been really minor and we worked through them without much trouble.
Do any homies have any tips for cohabiting with a significant other pretty quickly in a relationship?
Comments on 3 ways to keep the peace when you move in with your partner “too soon”
Oof, I SO feel you on this. My boyfriend and I moved in together pretty much two weeks after we started “dating.” I think what worked for us and for you is that we all viewed that as something that could go VERY, VERY wrong. None of us thought moving in together would be easy, so we all planned on working to make it work. That attitude is super important.
I agree completely! My husband was practically living with me before we started dating and once we did, he never left my apartment. He never officially moved in to that first apartment, but he never went back to his dorm ever.
We communicated the expectation that living together would be hard and should statistically end in flames since it happened so fast. Once we knew the expectation, we were able to prepare for it and put energy into making it work. It is a very important attitude to have!
I moved in with my now-husband after about three weeks of dating. It was pretty irrational thing to do, but it worked out really well for us. In some ways I think it’s easier to transition into sharing your space when you’re still in the “you’re the most perfect person EVER” stage because you’re a lot more forgiving as you’re working out the minutiae of sharing your space. YMMV, obviously.
Great post. If I hadn’t JUST re-signed my 12-month lease when my guy and I first met, I think we would have moved in together pretty quickly, so I’m grateful that I had that other commitment to fulfill while we dated for that first year. (I dunno, maybe moving in after a year is still pretty quick to some?)
My advice: be flexible with the other person and recognize their individuality. Just because you live together doesn’t mean you have to do everything as a couple. Remember to keep up with your separate friends and hobbies, because especially early in a relationship, it’s so easy to just dive into your new love and forget to come up for air. I think that is definitely compounded when you share a household.
One thing that makes a crapload of difference for me and my guy is that we’re fine with having separate bedtimes. I’m a morning person and am usually asleep by 10pm. He likes to stay up til midnight or later (sometimes much later), so we never go to bed at the same time. There’s kind of a romantic idea about falling asleep side by side every night, but if it doesn’t work for your individual habits, don’t force it.
Yes, maintain your own lives — but also don’t assume that living together automatically means spending (quality) time together. It still requires putting in effort to get off Facebook and do something with your partner. My now-husband and I lived in the same student house (separate bedrooms) shortly after we started dating (signed the lease in February, started dating in late-July, moved into the place in September — about 7 weeks after we started dating — along with a bunch of friends…), and we pretty much assumed that living together would automatically mean we were spending enough time together. I hung out a lot with the rest of our housemates, and after a few months, my now-husband said he missed spending time with me (in fact, we nearly broke up over it…).
While sharing a bedroom is certainly different than living in house with a bunch of different students, even after we got married and had our own apartment, we still had to be really intentional about making time to actually *be* with each other — not on our separate computers on the internet.
To be honest, I think these are great tips for moving in at *any* stage!
In some ways, I think moving in after 6 years was harder, because we were too used to not living together… but who knows! Definitely communication is always important with the person you live with – and it’s not always easy.
My boyfriend and I moved in after 4 years together, and I still think it might have been too soon. It was extremely rocky for a while, and I wasn’t sure we were going to make it.
To be honest, even years later, we still have issues at times. He’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert. I prefer nights at home watching Netflix or doing art, but he prefers going out and socializing with friends. It was never a problem before we lived together, because if I didn’t want to go, I just stayed home, at my apartment. He got his socializing in, and I got my alone time. Now that we live together, there is almost an expectation that we do EVERYTHING together. I don’t even think it’s just society; I believe WE put the expectation on ourselves.
If we do everything together, one person is probably unhappy, but if we don’t do anything together, we feel disconnected. We try to find the balance, but it isn’t easy. You also have to watch for backsliding. Even when we find a nice balance, I am constantly evaluating it, to make sure it’s still working. Recently, my boyfriend offhandedly said he’s been feeling a bit bored with life lately. I KNOW that means we’re staying in too much and I’ll have to put more effort into going out, to get our balance back.
can I add, no matter whether renting or paying off a mortgage, get the finances sorted!
If you’re living together then you ‘re in what can be considered a committed relationship so it’s not healthy to hold stuff (or feel like it may be held ) over either of your heads. my advice; joint account! – sort out your direct debits to go out of it and work out a basic plan of how much each of ou pays in to cover everything; it doesn’t have to be split 50/50 but be sure everything is paid for; that way you can always know they money in your account is *yours* and if there is excess left in the joint account you can treat yourselves! 😀
Joint accounts can be really useful, but it’s easier for us to keep them separate. We’ve sorted it so that we both get our student loan/credit payments out of the way first (we split rent down the middle, and we both pull cash on payday to set aside), and then break up our utilities so that we’re paying as equally as possible (he pays the water bill and car insurance, I put gas in the truck and buy internet). We alternate cooking chores, but write a basic menu at the beginning of the the week, so we shop independently but still fall within a set food budget. I put a set amount out of every check into savings, and he opts for a higher withdrawal into a 401k.
This may sound silly to some, but I made sure that when I moved in with my partner (years ago), my money never went into his mortgage. I know it seems like rent to most people, but I just didn’t like the idea that IF we broke up, I’d be leaving having helped him pay for property that doesn’t belong to me and never would. All of my money went into things I’d be paying no matter where I lived – electric, water, etc. I also did this with some of our furniture. If there was something I wanted and really liked, I paid for it all myself and made it known that since I bought it, I’d take it with me.
We are still together now (8 years) and we share money, but back in the beginning it was important that I had my bases covered.
I moved into a house with three housemates, and a month later, started dating one of them – so my finance and I lived together before we starting dating. Honestly, knowing that we lived together well was a big factor that moved our relationship forward. The hardest part was taking the time to have special, early-in-relationship romantic cliché time – fancy dinners, vacations, etc. It was really easy to default to watching TV on the couch and never wearing makeup – and while there is nothing wrong with that, its nice not to rush the early part of relationships. I also kept paying rent for “my” bedroom, so we could have our own space when we needed it.
Fun story: I actually moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) really early in our relationship…..and it didn’t work at all. After a year, I felt like we were “acting too married” and I moved out. It was hard at first for him to understand that it wasn’t him, it was the living situation, but after we had separate living spaces our relationship took off! It was fantastic. We went through more of the fun “courtin'” phase, and I had plenty of space and independence, which I needed at the time. 10 years later, we are married and living together happily, because we both were able to think about our living situation and what the other needed.
I would love to see a guest post on this! This sounds like a really awesome story, and one with a lot of lessons other people could appreciate.
These are SO TRUE. I moved in with my girlfriend of 5 months about 4 weeks ago. Partially because I just finished grad school, am still job hunting, and couldn’t afford my apartment anymore. Partially because we’re queer ladies, and we kind of UHauled. But, yes. Having my own space/time (usually I spend a few hours out on the porch first thing in the morning, and we’ve been really mindful of keeping up with our own friends) has been a particular lifesaver and makes me more able to do the other things. We’ve set aside several chunks of time to talk about things, including how we think about household chores which resulted in a chore chart so I can keep track of whether or not I’m contributing enough. Great article!
My bf of 9 months moved in with me in October. His ex moved out and they sold the house, so he is staying with me until he finds and buys a house. The problem here is that my house is going into foreclosure as my soon-to-be-ex has stopped paying for anything. Having the house 85% packed and a large part of his stuff in storage makes things tense. But, we have tried very hard to talk to one another. Even an ‘I’m angry but I don’t know why’ or ‘I want a hug, but not right now’ can help. Even when it sounds silly. “I need a good cry, come snuggle me in 10 minutes, please?” works surprisingly well. We have already discussed marriage, but not until we are both completely free of obligation to our exes, so if we can get through all of the stress in our lives right now, we can make it through anything. As long as we communicate.
My now Ex practically moved in with me after the second date – because he had flatmates and I didn’t. But he kept his flat for a year or so (luckily we were able to afford paying rent for both places), until we were both sure it would work out between us. We didn’t need the “backup plan”, and stayed together for over 3 years without any problems or major fights. In the end he just fell out of love 🙁
But while we had the same work schedule and spent plenty of time together, we also always did things on our own (e.g. he would go to football games, I sing in a band), which I think is very important.
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