So you and your man have been dating for a while. He’s met your family and you’ve met his. Things are feeling pretty serious and you find yourself spending more and more time with him. Next thing you know, you all are having nightly sleepovers, alternating between your respective places. You’re basically living together, except you’re not. Your mail still comes to your place, your name is the only one on the lease, and you’re paying all the bills by yourself. At some point, it begins to dawn on you that you’re both wasting money by living in your apartment half time and the idea of cohabitation begins to float around. While The Boy and I didn’t solely move in together to split bills, I was still living with my mom, I can attest to having nightly sleepovers and being annoyed that I was lugging my whole life around in a duffle bag.
The Boy and I are not married (yet), but after living together for 2.5 years I can confidently say it’s a decision I’d make again if I had to. Living together prior to committing my life to growing old with him has given me the opportunity to REALLY get to know him. We know what household chores the other loathes and what pet peeves drive the other mad. Also, with our super busy schedules we still get to see each other daily even if it’s as we go to sleep or as one person leaves for work as the other person comes home. Regardless of if you decide to move in with your man before getting married or you wait until the knot is tied, there is going to be a period of MAJOR adjustment. Don’t think for one minute that just because you all have had nightly sleepovers, living together will be a total breeze. As all ways, ya girl (me) is here to help you out by sharing what I went through with The Boy.
Deciding where to live is a super important first step. You want to live in a place that you both love. I’d strongly suggest discussing budget, location, and maybe 3-4 MUST haves in your apartment. It’s much easier to have a discussion and both make compromises before jumping into your search. For us, it was really important to be in an apartment equally close to both of our jobs. We also prioritized a washer/dryer and multiple closets. Once we got Thor it became SUPER important to have some kind of fenced in yard.
So you’ve found your place, paid your deposit, and have your move in date set. Now you need discuss who’s going to pay for what. Will you split things 50/50? Will each person’s contribution be based on their income? Only you and your man can decide what works for you. Seeking advice from friends who are living with their man is fine, but don’t take their word as gold. What works for their household may not work for yours and at the end of the day it’s all about finding the right balance for you and your man.
I’d say those were the two most important things The Boy and I did before getting our keys. After we had our keys and moved in, it was just a matter of getting used to living together. For instance, The Boy has a tendency to leave his shoes in the middle of the floor. This used to literally drive me up the wall until I eventually just started to line them up in one place. Now I’ve even mastered the art of dancing around them so that I don’t twist my ankle. Likewise, The Boy HAAAATES seeing hair in the sink. I mean even one strand of hair has his skin crawling. Well if you’ve ever worn extensions you know that they tend to shed. I am now much more conscious of this and make a greater effort to keep my hair out of the sink. We also opted for a master bathroom with two sinks to decrease his odds of being grossed out. If your man is doing something that irks you, don’t pick a fight. Just let him know what it is you aren’t feeling and ask him to be aware of how it makes you feel.
If you guys are anything like us, you’ll learn early on who is going to complete which household task. For example, The Boy used to be TERRIBLE at grocery shopping so I used to always be the one to handle that. Now, if I don’t go alone, we go together or he is sent to get items I know he is familiar with. Another example, I’m a lot more anal when it comes to bills being paid early and in the full amount so I take care of that. Even if it means asking him to pay a bill that’s his responsibility on a certain day. Similarly, these days I’m swamped and barely have time to eat, so The Boy cooks almost every night. We’ve utilized our strengths and accounted for each others weaknesses to make a system that works for us.
My biggest piece of advice for couples new to cohabitation is to never go to sleep angry. At the point at which you all have decided to live together, you’re relationship is probably pretty serious. Arguments are bound to happen and you can’t control that, but how you handle it is within your control. I’m not saying that when I get mad at The Boy, I brush it under the rug, but because we don’t go to sleep angry, we always talk about whatever our issues are before we go to bed. It’s not always easy to have the conversations, but it helps us to be sure issues aren’t lingering.
Cohabitation is all about finding what works for you and your man. You must never compare what’s happening in your household to what’s going on in your friend’s. The decision to live together should not be taken lightly and should you and your man decide to do so you must be ready to learn the art of compromise.
Do you live with your partner? What has your experience been like? What are some tips you have for other couples considering cohabitation?