I met a beautiful young lady just the other day who told me that she and her girlfriend moved in together after only dating two weeks! By the time we spoke, they had lived together six months and she seemed very happy. And lucky. Some of us are not so lucky. I’ve been there, done that and thought I’d share some tips so you can avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made:
1. It’s time. After dating for a year or two, moving in together seems like the next step. After all, most people are not interested in dating indefinitely. But, are you simply moving in together because it is the next step or are you moving in together because you want to create a life together? If you’re not interested in building a life together, you’ll be little more than roommates and unfortunately that doesn’t make for a lasting living situation.
2. Financially makes sense. Some people move in together to save money and that is extremely practical and unromantic. It may seem much more pleasurable to share bills with your honey than with Jerome but your honey can cause problems that Jerome cannot! And when you fight, there’s no escaping each other. If you’re having a tough time making ends meet, get a roommate or two, and when the roommate gets on your nerves, spend the night at your honey’s house or when your honey annoys the crap out of you, you have your own space to go to.
3. Laziness. Let’s face it, it’s very unlikely that your perfect someone is going to literally be the girl next door. Sometimes she is an hour away or even in a different time zone. It can be exhausting driving or flying to visit her. But I never recommend you move in with someone because you’re tired of the travel. If you’re tired of commuting to each other, put away the moving boxes and plan a special long weekend to recuperate.
4. You spend every night together anyway. This is probably the best-sounding reason to move in together. But I still recommend against moving if that is your sole motivation. Spending every night together is not the same as running a household together. Spending copious amounts of time together having fun is no substitute for facing the realities of life together.
5. It’s temporary. Stuff happens. That’s a fact. So when one of you loses your job, it may seem like your honey is the best person to bunk with until you get back on your feet. Think again and see point number 2 above. Had you talked about moving in together before she lost her job, moving in together now would be fine. No one wants to feel like a back-up plan. In this case, since it’s going to be temporary, don’t put any pressure on the relationship by expecting or offering to prematurely share space.
5 Reasons why You Should Move in Together
So you two have determined that you’re not moving in together for any of the above reasons. If you’ve addressed any of the issues below, it may be time for you to move in together:
1. You share similar long-term goals. You two have talked about your long-term goals and moving in together is not just a temporary, money-saving situation. You are moving in together because you plan to build a family, own a home, etc. All in all, you’re planning to be together and be there for each other.
2. You share the same values. This one is a doozey. Should you not share the same values, moving in together will definitely reveal that. Living together can show you so much more than several carefully orchestrated dates where being on your best behavior ever could.
3. You’ve discussed the what-ifs. Have you talked and agreed what would happen if one of you lost a job, needed to relocate or have family demands? For those of us who are a bit older, we could be the primary caregiver for an aging parent. How will your honey support you during this time? Or if you are a parent, what role does your girlfriend play in the child’s life?
4. You’ve gone to see a counselor. Even if it is just for a couple of sessions, seeing a counselor can be very helpful. The right counselor can help you navigate some hot-button issues and give you some great tools for managing conflict.
5. Accept that there will be problems. Whatever patterns you engage in now to resolve conflict while living separately will serve as a template for how you will fight once you move in together. Some things may change, but know that some things never will and be okay with the latter. By now we all know that life is not conflict-free, and if we can accept that our partners, wives or girlfriends are not perfect and neither are we, the better prepared we will be to share a life together.