Times are changing…Moving in with your boyfriend is not a taboo anymore, according to studies. Between 1965 and 1974, only 11% of women lived with their partner before their first marriage. But, that number rose to 69% of women between 2010 and 2013. So, if you’re thinking of moving in together, don’t worry, you’re not a minority anymore!
And when should you start talking about moving in together? When you love and trust your partner completely. If cohabiting and traveling together has worked out well for you, maybe it’s time for this trial run. Fret not, we’re here to help you cover all bases before moving in together with the help of psychologist Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in relationship, separation, and divorce counseling.
Moving In With Your Boyfriend – What To Expect?
Living together can be so much fun! It makes sense financially and it is way more convenient. Also, it gives a taste of formal commitment (and could be a trial run before marriage). Cooking, cleaning, and shopping can be way more fun together than alone, provided you talk about and come up with a system for sharing the load that works for your both.
As you prepare to take a step toward this major life decision, having a broad framework of dos and don’ts or guidelines for cohabitation to abide by can help make the experience more smooth sailing and fulfilling for both partners. But hey, before you get to that point of elaborate and meticulous planning, you need to be sure that you’re ready for this big step. So if your question is, “Should I move in with my boyfriend?”, we have designed this quiz to help you figure out the answer:
As you pack up your life in a few dozen cardboard boxes, you may be filled with the titillating excitement of venturing into uncharted romance and intimacy. Unless you are an uptight person, who always gets her way, moving in might be a tad different from what you expect:
- Privacy? What’s privacy? From peeing with the door open and being in a fart competition, expect a lot of fun moments of no privacy. If you haven’t seen it all, you will, after you move in. Hence, the foundation for vulnerability/intimacy/comfort
- Nowhere to go after a fight: If you are usually the one to walk away from a fight to calm down, you won’t get that kind of luxury anymore. Your bedroom is his bedroom. Instead, expect to actually talk about your issues with each other. Make requests instead of complaints and listen with an open mind
- The old married couple situation: Ever seen your father look for his things for hours while your mother finds them in seconds? Expect things to be misplaced, expect your boyfriend to launch panic-ridden searches for his charger that you can see is still in the wall socket, only for you to literally point it out for him to find it! Don’t worry, you’re his savior and he is yours
- Blurred territory of arguments: You won’t know when an argument about toilet paper can change track into a much deeper fight. Even though you had settled an issue in the past and said you had made peace with it, it can come back in ugly ways. But remember to fight the issues, not each other. And remember to reconnect after a heated argument
- Hunger pangs and all that: You SO might be hungry all the time. It could be for food or for sex. You might feel it too. Couples often rub off on each other. Your hunger pangs will hit you at the oddest of hours. Thank God for long drives at 3’O clock
When Should You Move In With Your Boyfriend?
Being madly in love is one thing and living together quite another. You need to have a certain comfort level with each other to be able to share the bed for a good night’s sleep and not get perturbed by the farts and warts. How long should you wait before moving in with your partner? There cannot be a timeline for this. It depends on the level of emotional intimacy and intensity you share. But, rethink moving in with a partner in your late teens and early 20s.
That is the time to develop a concrete personality and get to know yourself better. Having a full-time partner with whom you live can be more taxing at this stage. So, if you are moving in together during your college years, make sure you don’t end up losing yourself in the relationship. Moving in together too soon can feel overwhelming, as everything is sped up and intensified.
So when to move in together? If you both have already cohabitated for short periods, like spending the weekend or taking trips, then moving in together makes a lot of sense. It can also help in saving money as a couple. Paying rent for two apartments when literally you are in one place all the time seems impractical. Also, premarital cohabitation has been correlated to decreasing divorce rates, as per research. So, living together before marriage can actually reduce your chances of getting divorced.
10 Tips For Moving In With Your Boyfriend
According to studies, the percentage of US adults who are currently married has declined from 58% in 1995 to 53%. Over the same period, the share of adults who are living with an unmarried partner has risen from 3% to 7%. While the number of couples who are currently cohabiting remains far smaller than those who are married, the percentage of adults ages 18 to 44 who have lived with an unmarried partner at some point (59%) has surpassed those who have ever been married (50%).
Shazia points out, “The good part about living together before marriage is that there is no compulsion/obligation. You live together not because you feel bound to each other but because you love each other.”
If you make a big deal of moving in together, it will seem terrifying. So, approach it in a relaxed way. You are not doing something you can’t reverse. You are just trying something new with your partner. From sharing a bathroom to cutting him some slack for his alone time, here are some tips for cohabitating and still staying madly in love:
1. No ‘helping’ only ‘sharing’
Allocate tasks to avoid fights in the future – cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, and making arrangements for house guests if any – as per the availability and skill of each partner. You can do dishes for one week and let him shop for groceries, and then reverse those tasks in the following week.
2. Throw out stuff
You’ve got one wardrobe and fifty different kinds of underwear. The closet is overflowing and you’re running out of space to store your belongings. Take out some time for closet clearance on your shared calendar. Bring down the number of clothes you own because the same space will now be utilized by two people.
You need to be clever about creating closet space so that it doesn’t become a constant reason for bickering. Donate the things that you don’t need. This will have a direct positive effect on your relationship. Even research has shown how clutter negatively affects our mental health.
Related Reading: 5 Things A Girl Does In A Live-In Relationship
3. Finance matters
Shazia explains, “All expenses like rent or payment for buying the house should be split fairly in a live-in relationship. That way, no one feels taken advantage of. Otherwise, the person taking care of all the expenses would feel financially overburdened at some point. In the longer run, they will end up feeling exhausted/overwhelmed and may even think you’re using them for money.”
Living together before marriage might not require a joint account, but go ahead and get one if you think that’s what works best for you. There is no one right way to handle money as a cohabiting couple but make sure you are sharing the finances in a way that no one feels pressured. Ask your partner if they’re diverting a portion of their earnings toward savings or paying off credit card debt, disclose your own financial assets and liabilities, and then come up with a fair division of expenses.
Also, in legally enforceable terms, you both can sign a non-marital/cohabitation agreement. The court will lay down your expectations regarding property co-ownership, caring for children, and covering household expenses; and ease the division of assets in the event of a breakup.
4. Have a life of your own
According to Shazia, “Don’t forget to give space to each other and don’t step into each other’s boundaries when cohabiting.” It could be going on a solo trip, shopping alone in a mall, eating alone at a café, running with earphones on, reading a book, or drinking alone at some bar. Become your own best friend. Find your home in yourself. Learn to enjoy your own company. This way, you can avoid some of the relationship problems after moving in together.
Your lives shouldn’t revolve around each other. Living together will ensure you see each other all the time but that doesn’t mean your boyfriend needs to be around every time you have your friends over. Hang out with the gals when you want and let him do the same with his friends. If you forget to have a life of your own after moving in together, you’re going to get sick of each other.
5. Brace yourself for an oh-so-different version of your boyfriend
Is he really sweet? How does he handle pressure? Does he expect you to do more housework than him? Is he an insecure boyfriend? You’re about to discover a lot of hitherto unseen aspects of your partner’s personality. Shazia explains, “When a person comes back home to their own space/comfort, they are a very different version of themselves as compared to when they dress up and go out.
“It can obviously get overwhelming to share everything with your boyfriend, from washroom to bedroom, from pillows to personal belongings. The whole setup is a very new experience. But how well can you accept those changes? Can you do it gracefully?” Be patient and not quick to judge. Yes, some of your partner’s habits and traits may seem annoying and off-putting at first, but you’ll eventually come to accept them, or at least, learn to live with them. Give it time.
6. Accommodate a little
So, meet each other mid-way. If you are the cleanliness freak who likes her jeans ironed and dishes washed right away, you should take over the cleaning part. Let your boyfriend take charge of shopping and running errands. You will not always get to do things your way.
Decide what you can compromise on and what not. For instance, you can let go of an argument over the position of the living room table but not your independence. Be open to suggestions and let your boyfriend take a call on some things. Remember: it’s a shared household.
Shazia agrees and advises, “Moving in with your partner doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to compromise. But you do have to adjust/accommodate to be on the same page. You have to make sacrifices in order to co-exist. But you cannot compromise on things like personal space and value systems. If someone is trying to tarnish your self-esteem and self-worth or belittling you, you ‘adjust’ in these situations. That’s when you need to put your foot down and stand up for yourself.”
7. It’s okay to sleep angry
A fight in the evening led to you sleeping on the couch? Good. Fighting and being angry is a given when you are sharing a living space with your boyfriend. This practice might just be healthy for your relationship. But figuring out what to do after a fight can be a really tricky situation to be in.
Listen, you do not need to stay awake till 3 am trying to resolve a fight. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to sleep on it. The issues you were fighting about can be handled more rationally when you’re well-rested and in a calmer headspace than they’d be when you’re all groggy and frustrated about how little sleep you’re going to get.
In fact, Shazia advises, “Fights are natural when you’re cohabiting. Don’t try to avoid fights. Keeping things inside you instead of expressing them can prove to be toxic later. One day, you’ll burst out like a volcano and things will take an ugly turn. So, it is always better to resolve issues, without disrespecting/abusing your partner. Even bigger issues can be solved by healthy communication. All you need to do is express yourself in a decent and clear manner.”
Related Reading: 8 Things That Are OK To NOT Share With Your Partner
8. Changes in sex life
Shazia says, “Sex with one person becomes monotonous when you make it a physical need/bodily want. The key to interesting sex is to strengthen your emotional connection by spending time with your partner. When you’re emotionally bonded to someone, one look is enough to send a shiver down your spine. Be sensitive/caring toward your partner and enjoy the little moments. This emotional intimacy will keep your sex life interesting.”
When the novelty of living in wears off, sex life changes too. There are dips and rises, there are times when you go days/weeks without sex. Know that it’s okay. You can even schedule sex on shared calendars, without feeling weird about it.
The ebb and flow of sex drive can make you question the validity of the relationship. But it’s more common than you think. It’s normal to experience this change because nothing in life stays the same and remains perfect. You need to work for it. In times of doubt, talk to your boyfriend. Maybe rev up your sex life by experimenting with toys, role-play, and such?
9. Continue dating
It’s easy to stop making an effort to look nice when you have seen each other walking around in a T-shirt with a three-week-old stain. But that can take a toll on your relationship eventually. Even if you are sharing a living space, dress up pretty, and go out for dinners, movies, and long rides.
Living together might become mundane and you may feel like you are already married, but don’t let the thrill of the romance and intimacy die out. Don’t let adult life, work routine and proximity dampen the spirit of dating. Keep the spark in your relationship alive by spending quality time with your partner.
10. Don’t let the insecurities get to you
Sometimes, insecurities grow when people move in together. Do you have a habit of texting people till late in the night? Does your boyfriend think these late-night conversations with different guys amount to micro-cheating? If he did the same, would you be okay with it? These small irritants can snowball into big issues if not handled correctly. Make sure you prioritize honest and open communication in your relationship and practice transparency so that there is no room for niggling insecurities.
Moving in with your boyfriend is a serious step and should not be taken lightly. When you are sharing a space with your boyfriend, it calls for compromise and communication. Do not skip talking about the issues bothering you, do not hesitate to share how and what you feel, and above all make sure you are willing and ready to move in.
Related Reading: How To Tell If Your Partner Is Lying About Cheating?
Can Moving In Together Ruin A Relationship?
No, moving in together doesn’t ruin your relationship. But it does shine the spotlight on the true state of your relationship and give you a reality check on how strong your bond is. It can get intense and overwhelming and the fights might increase. But, moving in together kills a relationship only if you let it. Many couples treat moving as a trial run to check their readiness for marriage. When you’re constantly viewing the experience as an assessment of whether you can survive together in the long haul, little irritants begin to stand out.
There are couples who live together but decide not to marry because they realize they are like chalk and cheese. On the other hand, many couples come closer while living together. So, maybe you and your boyfriend fall in the second category. If you communicate well, you can actually use this opportunity to know each other and yourselves more.
When it comes to moving in together, I have seen that things can sometimes get very ugly in case of a breakup. Partners fight over things as petty as furniture and Bluetooth speakers. So, it is better to discuss all this beforehand because should the relationship go south and you choose to part ways, neither of you will be in the emotional state to make rational decisions about dissolving your cohabitation arrangement.
Shazia explains, “Moving in together doesn’t ruin your relationship. But trespassing on each other’s boundaries, breaking trust, and disrespecting each other are the sure-shot red flags that ruin a bond. But even when you move out, make sure you do it gracefully, without being disrespectful. If two people can mutually come together, they can mutually part ways as well.”
- Allocate tasks to avoid fights in the long term
- Make sure you don’t get too tired of the sex
- Take out some alone time for soul searching
- Downsize, communicate and set boundaries
- Have the money talk
- Discuss the hypothetical breakup and always have an exit strategy
Finally, moving in together will not just make your relationship more fun but also add depth to it. You will get to know yourself and your partner on a whole new level. Make the most of it!
This article has been updated in November 2022.
Moving in with your boyfriend will help you understand if he is the one for you. It might increase the love in your relationship or it may end up being a disaster. It all depends on how well suited you are for each other. The good thing is, at least you will know for sure.
If it is the right time, it is definitely not a mistake. When you are ready, you should 100% commit to moving in together. The perks are that you end up saving a lot of money.