moving in

Reader D. M. writes:

I’ve been with my boyfriend for six months. His lease is coming up due in a few weeks and he has told me that if we get a lease together somewhere he won’t renew the lease and will instead live with me somewhere else. I live with my parents right now and would love to move out. Living with my BF would be easier than living alone (I can’t afford that) and way better than having roommates. But is it too soon for me to move in with him?

Dear D.M.:

Moving in with your BF/GF is a pretty common occurrence for our generation. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, fewer of those of us who are 25-34 are married than have never been married. “They” think it’s because of the economy, and we’re putting off marriage until we’re more stable. Whatever the reason, living with your SigO is apparently almost the norm these days.

That said… just because it’s perhaps a sound financial decision and “everybody else is doing it”,  I’m not saying you and your boyfriend should just jump in here. There’s a lot to consider about living with each other, especially if it’s the first time you’ve lived with a boyfriend.

The difference between having a roommate and living with a significant other has to do with how much you mix your stuff. Living with a BF means you (typically) sleep in the same bed, split the food bills, and mix your CD collections together. Whereas with a roommate you keep your own stuff in your own space (most of the time), living with a lover is a much more intimate relationship.

sharing a home

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And there’s also the consideration of what happens when/if you split up Breaking up with someone you live with is much more like a divorce than breaking up with someone who has his or her own space. Also, you don’t have the legal protections marriage provides if you just live with someone (although if you live together long enough, there’s common law to consider), so you’ll have to do your own mediating when it comes to splitting the stuff you owned mutually.

Also, I think when you live with someone you’re in a sexual relationship with, a lot of rules are thought to be implicit, whereas with a roommate, you’ll actually have conversations to set up rules and regulations. A lot of times in relationships, we take it for granted that the other person knows us well enough to understand what we need or want. This is rarely the truth. In this sense, living with your significant other can be a lot harder than living with a roommate.

I’m not sure if how long you’ve been together is an accurate gauge of whether or not it’s a good idea for you two to live together. We all know stories about people who have fallen in love in a flash and stuck with it, and people who have been together for decades still break up. It depends on your relationship.

There, then, is what you have to weigh. Regardless of how long you’ve been together, moving in with him will most likely prolong your relationship, because even if things go sour, it’s really difficult to break up with someone you live with. I have watched plenty of ladies stay in relationships with boys they weren’t necessarily in love with anymore just because it would be too inconvenient to move out.

In my eyes, if you have this kind of uncertainty about the move, you’re probably not ready to move in with him. Honestly, if you have to ask an advice columnist if it’s “too soon”… It’s probably too soon.

Why not find a roommate on Craigslist and try that for a while before you move in with your boyfriend?

And one final word: I don’t think moving in with a BF/GF is ever a good idea if you don’t feel capable of standing on your own two feet financially. You don’t ever want to be in a situation where you are relying on a significant other for your food, housing, or any other mainstays. It just makes the relationship that much more complicated. Trust me on this one.


2 Responses to “moving in”

  1. 1 Kerrie
    December 8, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Last paragraph is the Most Important, IMO. I think each person in a relationship should be able to support themselves.

  2. 2 Melisa
    December 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    A recent article in Psychology Today said that couples who moved in together before becoming engaged were more likely to get a divorce if they get married. I think the thing to take away from the study is not that you need to be engaged before you move in together if you want logevity, but that you have a very definite set of expectations. I feel like that’s what the engagement does for people: Let’s the other know they expect to be in this for the long run.

    Also, as far as common law, not every state is a commmon law state (for example, NY is not). Be sure you know the laws before getting into something because when people break up, things can get very messy

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