Now that the world is slowly starting to turn again, it might be safe to resume thinking about the next phases of our lives. Like, if the pandemic put your wedding on pause for a while, you may be starting to look into microweddings or other alternatives. Similarly, if coronavirus f*cked up your plans to move in with your S.O., now that spring has come and gone, it may be time to start thinking about that again (just be warned that working from home with them for months on end might result in a literal crime scene). It’s exciting to be able to take those big steps with your S.O., but before you take the plunge, there are a few things to think about, especially when it comes to cohabitation. We spoke with Leslie Montanile, an N.Y.C-based divorce attorney, to discuss how to successfully move in with your S.O. and the many benefits of living together before saying “I do.”
When you move in with your S.O. before you tie the knot, you get to know all of their daily habits and quirks, which is a huge bonus when preparing for newlywed life, according to Montanile. While you might think that your partner is crushing #adulting prior to moving in together, you may quickly find out that Brad isn’t actually the neat freak you thought he was, but was just shoving his dirty laundry in the closet before you came over. However, says Montanile, “the good news is that you can find a middle ground by blending your differences so that both of you are comfortable in your new arrangement, making adjustments before taking that trip down the aisle.” Just like you learned in kindergarten, sometimes you have to compromise.
Although moving in together can bring couples closer, don’t expect it to be all sunshine and rainbows from the moment you move in. Most couples will likely argue during the adjustment phase, especially when it comes to personal space and living habits. Since friction is totally natural when you and your partner have differences about, like, the A.C. temperature, Montanile suggests finding “a solution to your differences that are creating friction in the first place.” This can actually be super healthy for your relationship, Montanile says, since “You can be secure knowing that arguments during the adjustment period do not mean you are not compatible—in fact, it means you care enough about your partner to express your frustration or discontent at the moment and are not afraid to show how you are feeling.” Eventually, your lifestyles will meld together, and you can get back to your mushy couple stuff (gag).
Come As You Are
Initially, giving up your personal space and private time can make you especially pissy towards your partner—being hypercritical, starting fights about what you should order for dinner, sh*t like that—or it can even make you question the entire decision to move in together. Before you commit to living together, Montanile advises sitting down “to discuss what is important to you to keep as part of your new life together. Whether it is a weekly date with your friends, yoga, cooking class, golfing on the weekend, etc., these are the activities that made you and your partner happy before moving in together and should not suddenly cease.” After all, no one wants to be that girl whose only personality trait is being Josh’s girlfriend. Since you fell in love with your partner as a unique individual, “maintaining some of that individuality keeps your romance alive,” Montanile explains.
Making Money Moves
Talking about money can be awkward, but it’s necessary to discuss when moving in with your S.O. When you began dating, you might have followed a set spending pattern, like taking turns paying for dates or having the partner with the higher salary treating the other, but there are even more financial factors to consider when combining households. Montanile advises couples to “discuss their budgets and spending habits before moving in with each other so that there are no surprises.” While it’s not the sexiest conversation, “Deciding how you will handle the newly joint expenses upfront will take the stress off the relationship right from the start to concentrate on the fun new adventure of living with the one you love.” For example, you could both agree on a bill-splitting app to use or create a shared spreadsheet to track expenses, then you can move on to the fun stuff, like attempting to put your IKEA bookshelf together.
Happily Ever After
While you may want to jump straight into wedding planning the minute you’ve posted your “He put a ring on it!” Instagram, there are literally so many perks to living together first. After all, remarks Montanile, “it is a big deal to move in with someone no matter how much you love them and want to be with them.” Basically, it’s like getting to know each other all over again, except in an up-close way and in your shared space, instead of over Tinder. So, it’s not uncommon for your S.O. to act a little differently after move-in day, Montanile says. “Perhaps you find that your partner is quieter than usual—realize that when you are with someone all the time, you will learn that they are not always ‘on’ as if you were dating. Everyone has downtime or up time that you do not see when you are not living together.” You shouldn’t worry too much, though, because your partner is prob just adjusting to not having their own space anymore, which can cause them to behave a little differently until they become comfortable in your new, combined abode. At the end of the day, all of the ~struggles~ of moving in together are so worth it, since they’re all part of creating a grown-up, happy, and lifelong relationship.
For more insight on love and law, visit Leslie Montanile’s website.
Images: Cottonbro / Pexels; Giphy (2)
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.