Before I moved in with my boyfriend, I interrogated everyone I knew who lived with their partner. I’d read plenty of horror stories about couples breaking up after living together too soon. They were all frustratingly vague about how and why exactly things went wrong. My friends, sadly, were similarly unhelpful. “It’s just different” was the most common offering, with “the first month was the worst” being a close second. Six weeks into living with my boyfriend, I’d agree that both those things are true. But because I’m
paid to write this not a terrible friend, I’ll actually explain why. Here’s what to actually expect when you move in with a partner.
1. Laundry Will Kind Of Rule Your Life
This aspect of living together is particularly true if you live in NYC and the closest laundry to you is a laundromat that only takes quarters. Totally random example, NBD. But, even if you have a washing machine in the comfort of your home, or go full bougie and get it picked up, there’s just going to be a lot more dirty clothing existing in your home. Especially if your partner plays sports and/or is a guy and therefore inexplicably goes through six T-shirts a day. Either way, I miss only thinking about laundry every few weeks. And of course not having anyone judge me when I used my laundry bin as a “backup tees” drawer.
2. Food Is Now A Shared Entity
If you’re not already, I highly recommend listening to every episode of the Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast. They spend one episode talking about how hard it is to control your eating in a relationship. I loved it so much that I made my boyfriend listen to it. In the year and a half we dated before moving in together, I’d complained plenty about his constant desire to post up at beer gardens, or his tendency to make the whole box of pasta whenever we cooked. Now that we live together, I deal with all those struggles, plus the fact that he fills our kitchen with chips, Gatorade, and sugary cereals. Not to mention that he buys everything in bulk as though we are a family of seven.
Clearly, many of these problems exist because he also does most of the grocery shopping. I should be more grateful. But I have a late-night snacking problem, so I am instead furious that I now have such binge-able food on hand at all times. Anyway, whatever your weird food needs are (and you def have some), prepare to spend a lot of time arguing about what groceries you actually need. And/or screaming at your partner when you come home hangry at 10pm and the only food available is a microwavable corn dog.
Me to my boyfriend:
3. “Clean” Means Different Things To Different People
I’m very lucky with my boyfriend—for many reasons, but in this context, I mean because he’s relatively neat. He does the dishes, he vacuums occasionally, he’s kind of a freak when it comes to crumbs, you get the idea. HOWEVER. Things that I never realized are very, very important to me—like wiping down the bathroom sink/mirror, or having a designated place for shoes—won’t even occur to him. This leads to a lot of arguments where I become convinced that he’s actively trying to piss me off. And he has literally no idea what I’m talking about. Or where he tells me he cleaned the apartment and I come home and think he’s joking. Basically, you’re going to need to sit down a few weeks in and tell each other plainly what’s important to you in terms of maintenance.
4. You’re Probably Grosser Than You Realized
It’s not like my boyfriend and I went from seeing each other once a week to living together. But I do think I underestimated how much I used my time in my own apartment to do all the weird stuff I don’t think about. Like eating a block of cheese in bed, trying to get a good view of what feels like back-ne in my bathroom mirror, trying on 16 different shirts and flinging every reject on the same chair. All of these activities are made way less fun by being in a room with anyone else. And they’re made UNBEARABLE if that other person starts commenting on it, which they definitely will. You are now doing it in a space that they equally live in.
Ultimately, this isn’t the worst thing in the world and will actually probably curb some bad habits. But I def had a few moments of deep shame on this road. Like when my boyfriend came storming out of the bedroom demanding to know why there was almond butter on his pillowcase.
All in all, the biggest thing I’ve noticed about living with my boyfriend is space, plain and simple. Even with roommates, there’s always a spot that’s yours alone. Not having that is more of a shift than I expected. There are lots of fun parts too, like the fact that you can be naked all the time, pay way less rent, and just feel smug and happy every time you can reference OUR apartment. So as long as you’re willing to have a few screaming fights, a few cool-down conversations, and a few ugh-compromises, I wholeheartedly recommend it. If you try to treat the living arrangement like one of you is renting a room and the other one owns it, I guarantee that won’t work out.
So you’ve been in a long term relationship and you haven’t given up on each other yet, congratulations. Now you’re considering taking the next step and moving in together, most likely because you want to save on rent and because your boss is eventually going to notice all those late night Ubers you’ve been expensing. And sure, there are a lot of good reasons to move in with someone like saving on rent and utilities, always having a person around to scream your anxieties at, and the fact that you like, love them or whatever. But before you put a lease on it, here’s a few things you should know before you pack your bags and move in with your boyfriend.
And yes, this is male/female specific but there’s already a whole movie about all the awesome shit that can happen when women cohabitate and it’s called Wonder Woman. In theaters now.
You’re Going To Want To Have Your Own Space
Even if you’re head over heels Ryan-Gosling-and-Rachel-McAdams in love with each other, living together is going to suddenly feel like suffocating at times. You’re literally breathing in twice as much air, and it’ll sometimes feel like he’s listening to your thoughts when you’re trying to relax. Sometimes you’ll feel like his very presence is a personal attack. If you want to make living together work, you should carve out your own space to relax in on days you’re feeling stifled. Whether it’s a coffee shop nearby that only you know about or a literal office in your apartment you can hide out in. Much like a dog marks his territory, you need some corners that don’t have man energy all over it. This does not, however, justify him calling any part of your new home a “man cave.” Also just don’t move in with anyone who would want to make parts of your apartment a “man cave.”
Keep The Bathroom Door Closed
Sure, some psychos might think it’s romantic to get so comfortable you can pee with the door open, but those people don’t realize that “romantic” and “pee” should never go together. Unless you’re into water sports, I guess. In fact, maintaining some level of mystery will be key to keeping your romance alive. Just because you’ve had all his parts in your mouth doesn’t mean you want to ever hear him in the bathroom after you get Mexican. Just do yourselves both a favor and keep that bathroom door closed. Unless he’s not home. In which case, do you. It’s actually very liberating.
You’re Going To Fight About Money
Even if you’re both killing it in your careers and/or born rich af, you’re still going to get in fights about money. As Tennessee Williams and Notorious B.I.G. taught us, mo’ money mo’ problems. You might not have a shared bank account, but you’re sharing rent and it’s just a matter of time before he brings home a flatscreen TV that starts doubling your cable bill. You can avoid this by just setting up a system for bills and documenting everything on a spreadsheet (*shudders*) so nobody feels like they’re paying more. Or by getting one of those sex coupon books and paying him back that way. Whatever works for you.
You Can’t Hide From Each Other When You’re Sick
Sure it’s sweet when he brought you medicine that one time you let him see you when you were sick, but that’s only because you were on your final day of recovery and spent 45 minutes on “natural” looking makeup before you allowed him to bring you orange juice. Living together means the next time you get deathly ill and liquid is coming out of every hole, you won’t be able to go off the grid and tell him you have a “busy week at work”. He’s going to see you in your full sickness, and vice versa. This goes double for hangovers and period pains. Beware.
You Gotta Keep An Eye On Your Sex Life
When you think about living together, you probably assume you’re going to be having sex constantly. I mean, you sleep in the same bed. But the thing about literally any step you take to further a relationship is you stop having as much sex as you would if you were still late night booty calling each other and pretending it’s “casual.” This weird thing happens where because you have to see each other literally every day, you just start getting bored. It’s like having unlimited snacks at work: you just stop wanting to eat them (or so I am told by people with self-control). If you plan vacations and day trips, you’ll keep the excitement alive and have something to look forward to.
You’re Going To Stop Going Out As Much
Why would you go out to eat or drink when you have a full bar at home and you can do it in your pajamas? Living together means you’re going to both stay in more nights, and going out is going to feel like an event. It used to be convenient to meet up out and then go back to one of your places, but now you won’t see the point of running the race when you’re starting at the finish line. If you want to keep the sparks alive, just make plans to hang out with people other than him more so you have something to look forward to when you come home.
You’re Going To Freak Out About The Next Step
Once you move in together, everyone and your mother (especially your mother) is going to expect you to get married. You may even expect you to get married. Because you’ve knocked out one of major milestones of your relationship, even if you both know you want to wait for marriage, it’s going to be the next big thing for you to hit. It’s like going on a road trip you know is going to last for a while—you’re still going to keep checking how far you have left to go. So if you’re not ready to consider the idea of marriage, then don’t move in together. You’ll also be going to more weddings as each other’s plus one because you can’t not take each other when you literally live together.