Moving in Together for the First Time

I was afraid that my lunch today was going to be a bit of a bust because I forgot to pack two slices of muenster cheese that I planned to use in my wrap.

I rolled up a cheeseless wrap that included Italian sausage and sliced pears, figuring it wouldn’t taste so great.

Where's the Cheese?

Fortunately I was wrong! Even without melted cheese, this wrap was pretty darn good!

I enjoyed it alongside beets, fresh strawberries and a cup of 2 percent Chobani Greek yogurt that I sweetened with a packet of Stevia.

The Whole Shebang

And now buckle up, my friends, because we’ve got a lot to talk about! πŸ˜€

Moving in Together for the First Time

I recently received an email from a blog reader with a request to write a post about living with your significant other for the first time.

Ryan and I dated throughout college and lived separately the entire time. After I graduated in 2007, we had our own places for a year (though Ryan was always at my apartment and even had his own closet) and didn’t officially move in together until the spring of 2008, after more than four years of dating.

Just a Couple of College Kids!

To be completely honest, I never thought I would live with a boy until after we were married. I always joke with Ryan and tell him that he “dooped” me into living with him by looking at apartments that I couldn’t afford on my own. πŸ˜‰

Our First Apartment

Though we both knew we were each other’s future and even had a dog together, I was nervous about officially living together since were weren’t married and living together can really complicate things.

Still, I had a good feeling about living with Ryan since we practically lived together for a year before we officially moved in together. Β Of course I knew I wanted to marry him, but he was also easy to get along with, not too messy and really valued communication, which I knew would be even more important once we bunked up together.

From a logistical standpoint, moving in together required us to consolidate our stuff and merge two separate apartments into one. We selected the better version of the duplicate furniture we both owned and separately purchased additional furniture like a coffee table, couch and new bed to avoid any confusion “just in case.” Though we obviously knew marriage was in the cards for us, I didn’t want to be presumptuous and buy things together, which may sound crazy, but I’m a little looney and it helped me still feel slightly independent and not worry about “custody battles” over furniture should the worst happen.

Our First Bed

Once we moved in together, I honestly didn’t feel like too much changed, which I think is a very good thing. Life felt easier and more natural (and fun!) once we were living together.

Looking back on the first year or two that we lived together, things trucked along pretty smoothly and we had a great time and genuinely enjoyed being both boyfriend and girlfriend and roommates.

Of course not everything was perfect and we did have some hiccups. My main tips for couples who want to move in together for the first time include:

  • Remain a couple and don’t turn into just “roommates.” This was a big one for us. I remember breaking down on a walk with Ryan because we definitely fell into the trap of becoming simply roommates. Sure we were still affectionate and loved each other, but we fell into a routine and were constantly running errands for the apartment and doing things that seemed more like chores rather than spending quality time together or enjoying date-like activities. Once we recognized this pattern and talked about it, I can honestly say things changed completely. We planned dates, worked as a team and didn’t just cohabitate. I got my boyfriend back! πŸ˜€

Date Night

  • Talk about your pet peeves. Ryan has every other Friday off of work and I would get really annoyed when I would return home from a day at the office to find that the dishes weren’t done. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t do the dishes when he clearly had the time. I let this bother me week after week until eventually I got really snappy with him and totally overreacted. (Think crying on the kitchen floor. I’m a treat.) Ryan said he honestly had no idea that not touching the pile of unwashed dishes bothered me that much and he was more than willing to do dishes. He told me that if I would have simply asked him to do the dishes he would’ve been more than happy to do them. I explained that I felt like I was nagging when I ask him to do certain chores, but he said he didn’t see it that way at all. Now I make sure to come right out and tell him about the little things that bother me, just like he tells me what I do that annoys him (like being a total Swamp Beast).
  • Discuss finances. When you live with your significant other, who pays for what can become a gray area since you’re likely making meals together, buying odds and ends for the apartment, purchasing furniture, etc. Talk about how you will handle paying for certain things. Ryan and I paid for our own groceries separately up until we were married (we split the cost of veggies and meats that we used for our dinners). This worked for us, but might not be the answer for you. Just make sure that you and you partner are on the same page with your finances and both feel comfortable with your financial plan.
  • Make sure you have alone time if you want it. I really need my alone time. I love being around my friends and Ryan, but I am someone who really needs time by myself. This can be time spent at the grocery store, running, walking Sadie, shopping, blogging or simply reading a book. Ryan, on the other hand, is fine with being together and talking all the time. Once we moved in together, I found that I had to explain to him that sometimes I like being by myself. I explained that this has absolutely nothing to do with my feelings for him. I’m the same way with my friends and family. Sometimes I need time just for me. You or your partner may be the same way, and discussing this with your partner in a way that lets them know that you love them and care for them can help them not take things personally if you say you want to be by yourself for a bit.
  • Maintain your own hobbies and interests. Just because you live together doesn’t mean you become one person. When Ryan and I moved in together, we made sure to maintain our friendships and favorite activities, even if they were separate. Ryan is still very active in his men’s soccer league while I keep up with my blogging even though these activities may take time away from each other. They’re very important to both of us and we respect and support each other’s interests.

And now for advice from you guys (via Twitter):

  • Don’t feel like you need to buy all new stuff to make it “our place.” (Marie)
  • Make sure to set your expectations BEFORE moving in together. Set house rules. It sounds silly but it will help in the long run. (@Emmazi)
  • Pick your battles (Nancy) and have “buttloads of patience.” (Natalie)
  • Definitely be on the same page about finances… who will pay what and how you are going to split it! (Maria) (Jenny recommends getting a joint bank account so you don’t have to keep track of everything.)
  • Don’t judge! We all have crazy things we do at home, so don’t be quick to snap at something you don’t like! (Amanda)
  • Don’t go to bed angry. Give and take. Some things are too insignificant to fight about. (Caroline)

Thanks for weighing in! πŸ˜€

Question of the Afternoon

  • Have you ever lived with a significant other?
  • What advice do you have for couples who are thinking about moving in together?

P.S. The Fashion page was updated!

Comments

  1. says

    thanks for the shout out! we have totally joint finances now but I think that works best for all non-married couples and even some married. I also didn’t think i would live with a guy before getting engaged at least but 6 months into our courtship I moved in with him. And then another 6 months later I proposed! whirlwind..sigh

    Great post! πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

    • Mischa says

      That sounds so fun! Thats how my fiance andI will be once we graduate in May – we are getting married in June, so we will live together after that! I am so excited for my whole new life! Plus I am conservative, so I definitely would never live with someone before we got married.

        (Quote)

  2. says

    I loved this post Julie! I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 1/2 years, and we are getting to the point where moving in together is definitely one of our options. I have always wanted to get married before moving in, so it’s definitely a big decision for me since we’re just not quite ready for marriage yet. I wrestle with ‘well we’re going to get married anyway so why not move in’ and ‘I want to save that part of our relationship for marriage’.

    We semi-lived together during study abroad, and you’re totally right, it just felt natural and was so much fun! I definitely can’t wait for that part of my life πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your tips!

      (Quote)

  3. says

    That is such a great list!

    My husband and I only lived together officially for a few months before we got married so I’m no expert. One thing we did was that he paid certain bills and I paid certain things (aka groceries). Assigning things instead of dividing them worked out really well for us.

      (Quote)

  4. says

    oo this is a post FULL of great tips!! i definitely dont live with a sig other at the moment… lets get a boyfriend first, Carrie!!
    hopefully in the future i will have to re-read this post tee hee!

      (Quote)

  5. says

    Great post! I think it’s important to realize that at first, as you adjust to sharing your living space with another person, you WILL have petty little arguments and things that your significant other does will drive you nuts for a little while. That’s okay. Take a step back, realize you are going through a major life change, and move on!

      (Quote)

  6. says

    I’ve never really lived with a boyfriend, there were some short-lived experiences but nothing long-term.
    I’m like you though and NEED lots of alone time. It’s one of the main reasons I’m terrified of being in a relationship. It’s good to know that it’s possible to maintain that even when you’re married though. Great post!

      (Quote)

    • says

      i think it’s totally possible to balance “alone” time in a relationship. it was hard for ryan to understand that my desire to be by myself had NOTHING to do with my feelings for him. once he realized that though, it was much easier.

        (Quote)

  7. says

    My boyfriend and I moved in together in July 2009 after 3+ years of dating, and it was really challenging at first. It took us a few months to find our routine and get used to sharing (very small amounts of) space. During the first few rocky months of living together, we made sure to COMMUNICATE even more than we already do. We were vocal about pet peeves and what was working and what wasn’t. We spoke up–and still speak up–when we needed alone time and together time. After a few months, things started to feel much more normal and comfortable, and now I can honestly say that living together is the most fun, amazing experience we’ve ever shared. Communication and honesty have been key in making it work for us. Thanks for this great post! πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  8. Margaret says

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 5 1/2 years and living together for just over 3. I never had to share a room before (not even in college!) but I love living with him and have more fun than ever! I think respecting each other has been the most important thing for us. I love the idea of planning a date night every month- during the winter up here in freezing New England it can be hard to find motivation to leave the couch!

      (Quote)

  9. says

    All very good advice!

    I agree the most with the “avoid becoming roommates” one and to plan date nights. This has been key in my marriage with my husband.

    Also, two other things, if you can afford a second bedroom, go for it — having the additional space is great for sanity. And two, have two floors. It also helps with noise, space, etc.

      (Quote)

  10. says

    I moved in with my fiance l14 months ago and we are finally getting married in 4 weeks! I think staying a couple and not just roomates is very difficult to balance, but once you find that balance it is perfect!

    my main piece of advice is to talk things through and not bottle them up, which can lead to fights and feeling generally annoying by your significant other. Communication is most important!

      (Quote)

  11. says

    Love, love, love this post! My boyfriend and I have been together for about 2 years and have practically lived together at my place for a year and a half. He still has an apartment but most of his things are here and we have been discussing when we would be ready to make it “our place.” He is graduating from college this year, but I am in a 6 year program so I still have 2 more years. We have decided to shelve it till next winter and see if then is the right time or after we graduate. I think everything you said is so true, but it is kind of strange to still be in the “limbo” period where we wouldn’t normally not hang out when we are both less than a block away (he lives right down the street), but we still are wasting money on a separate place that is rarely used. Definitely a gray area in a relationship, but I know everything works out in time. πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  12. Er says

    Great post!

    I have been dating my fiance for about four years now and I thought that I would move in once we got engaged…now I think I am going to wait till marriage! I am over his place most weekends anyway so it is sort of like “living” together, but all my friends who waited to move in till after marriage said that the first year was fabulous and fun and totally living the newlywed dream, and all my friends who lived together before they were married said they felt like nothing changed. I would hate to marry the love of my life and feel like nothing has changed!

      (Quote)

  13. says

    I’ll be honest – me and my man moved in WAY too fast. We got seriously really quickly – like, after the first time we spent the night together, we didn’t spend the night APART ever again! I mean, EVER! So it seemed silly to be paying rent in two places and we moved in officially after six months. We’ve been together a year and a half and we’ve had our struggles for sure – we came very close to living apart and staying together just to see if it improved things but we decided it was giving in. I’m so glad we decided to stick it out – we are busy people, and love our time together when we get it. We both travel a lot so we both get breaks from each other. I think we both know we’re going to get married so it seems like this was the best path for us – or, it was … our path, good or bad. I don’t recommend it for everyone – fortunately we both are strong, stubborn personalities who decided to insist on a life together, and we have really made it work and love each other so much.

    My advice: wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

    My other advice: Do little things for each other around the house apart from cleaning up. Hide notes in a place you know they’ll see it. Change your screensaver to read “I love you baby” one day. Make your moments at home as special as going out on a date. And only cook together if you can do it without killing each other! πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  14. says

    That was a seriously great post! I am currently living in sin with my lover, and have been for about 4 years, and definitely agree with all your tips.

    My number one piece of advice is, if you see something that needs to be done (ex-dishwasher needs to be unloaded), just DO IT. When you leave it, who are you leaving it for? Your lovah. We both try to do this and it helps the other out and also minimizes annoying housework because you tackle what needs to be done right away.

    My #2 would be pick your battles (which has already been said). If I nagged my bf about every little thing that bothered me…well…it would be bad news. But sure, I’ll nag every once in a while if something is REALLY bothering me πŸ˜‰

    I like the not becoming just roommates advice too! And maintaining your own hobbies and interests.

      (Quote)

  15. says

    Great tips! I totally sympathize with the whole not turning into roommates thing. That happened to me and we definitely didn’t do enough to stop it from happening.

    However, before you get to that point, I say consider the reasons you are ACTUALLY moving in together. In big cities like NYC, rent can be expensive. It is certainly tempting to fall into the trap of moving in together to save money….so advice to those that are contemplating this is just make sure that’s not the case for you before you take the plunge πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  16. says

    I would be very hesitant about a joint account unless you did what Meals and Miles did with her bf. They created a joint account for things like food, utilities and rent. Everything else is separate. The last thing you would ever want to do is break up and someone else has control over your finances!

      (Quote)

  17. says

    This is such a great post! My fiance and I have been together for almost 5 and a half years. We have been living together for almost 2 years. At the beginning it took a while for us to get adjusted to living together and to make a routine. After we figured all of those things out, it’s been wonderful. πŸ™‚ The most important thing is to communicate and make sure that you are both on the same page πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  18. says

    I think the “some things are too insignificant to fight about” part is good advice for everything! My current roommate is a huge jerk and sometimes I just take the high road even when I feel she is just being a bully because, in the long run, I’d rather not waste my time and energy on negative stuff and focus more on living my happy life. You’re definitely right, you gotta pick your battles, because some stuff is just not worth it! Great post, Julie — thanks for taking the time to share such a personal topic!

      (Quote)

  19. says

    Keith and I were in a long distance relationship for a year (he was in Dallas about 3 hours north of Austin, TX) so once we were engaged and he was moving to Austin it felt silly for him to get his own apartment. So he moved into my apartment and when the lease was up (3 months later) we got our own place. Then we were married about 6 months later. It worked for us and it made married life easier to transition into since we had always had a long distance relationship. Living together is always a challenege at first because you both brings different things (ideas, lifestyles, viewpoints) to the table and you have to work to mesh those things together. But just like marriage the best things in life take effort and work. It doesn’t mean it isn’t glamorous it just means that sometimes you have to work for the things that mean the most to you. Good post Julie!!

      (Quote)

  20. Pixie says

    I love this post. I think making sure you communicate well prior to living together is key. I also think it’s important to not fall into the routine of being “roommates”. It may take some effort but keep the romance alive for as long as possible. Especially before you have kids.

      (Quote)

  21. says

    My husband and I lived together for almost a year before we got engaged and actually moved into our house 7-8 months before we got married. The biggest thing I realized after the fact was how important it is to know what the other expects. He happened to get laid off for about 3 months shortly after we moved in and he didn’t realize how much it upset me that he’d have friends over while I was working all day or we’d plan dinner and then I’d come home to nothing being cooked. And he quickly realized that as we settled into our “grownup” lives and real jobs I didn’t like staying up as late or spending every night with our friends like I did in college. Discussing the realities of what will change is really important and once we smoothed those bumps, we fell right into place.

      (Quote)

  22. Cassie says

    Well, I’m finally going to comment. I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks and love to read it! (I emailed you a while ago too!)

    My husband and I dated for nearly 5 years, including all through college, before we got engaged. We were always together and at each others places. It wasn’t until after we got engaged that we moved in together. We probably would have done it sooner if it wasn’t for his conservative mom (who I love!). Moving in together didn’t change things for us at all. We actually combined our bank accounts right after we were engaged to make things easier.

    The only advice I have is don’t lose your identity and your own interests. There were times when I didn’t do something with friends because I thought I was supposed to be home with my fiance’ or husband. Now, we have our own interests and do our own thing, while still making time for each other! Moving in together made the transition to married life EASY EASY. There really wasn’t any big changes and we didn’t have the stress of being newlyweds and having to combine things.

      (Quote)

  23. says

    those are really good tips. I think one huge thing about living with someone else is that you learn things about yourself and it can change you for the better. When my boyfriend and I moved in together I became aware of my personal flaws and it has helped me to grow. By the way your first apartment was adorable.

      (Quote)

  24. Alissa says

    I love this post and can definitely relate!

    I have been dating my boyfriend for a little over three years now. We met in college 4.5 years ago and pretty much have been living together except for sleeping.
    Since we were so inseparable, we decided to move in together after college about 9 months ago and it was the best decision we ever made.

    I agree about needing “alone time”. My BF loves watching ESPN at night and sometimes I would prefer to have an hour or two of peace and quiet and curl up with a book in the bedroom. He is definitely one of those who could spend every minute with me, so didn’t understand why I needed “me” time. We’re still working on it, but I think he is starting to come around, even though he will constantly come in and pounce on the bed wanting to cuddle (like Sadie in human form?) πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  25. says

    Great tips! Yes, moving in together is exciting and a big step in a relationship, but I agree that you should tread carefully and do it only when you feel ready, not because it’s what you’re “supposed to do”. My husband and I lived together for almost 3 years before we were married and we learned sooo much about eachother, but it was hard at times. Having a separate space is what works best for us so we can relax and not be in eachother’s faces 24/7 πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  26. Jenna...lifeinjenneral says

    Awesome post Julie! I just moved in with my boyfriend the end of October, and I think your suggestions are great! I’ve felt the “roommate” rut happening, and you have to push through it. I’ve adapted your “date night” philosophy.
    Anyone that’s thinking about making this move: be sure you are both on the same level. Know that you want the same things out of life, and treat living together as a way to see if that can happen!

      (Quote)

  27. says

    My fiance’ and I dated for almost 4 years before we moved in together. We had dated long distance so when we moved in together it was a big adjustment for us both, we went from seeing each other every other weekend to seeing each other all.the.time.
    The hardest thing for me to adjust was balancing my time, I was used to spending all my time with him when we were together (since it was rare) that it took me several months to get used to the idea that we didn’t have to do everything together anymore, that he would still be there when I got home from the grocery store, and then I got some of my me time back also.

    We also have kept our finances completely separate, and will probably contine that way until after our wedding this fall. He is meticulous about finances and I just kind of loosely follow a budget, so we found it best to let him pay for all the bills so he could track it and I write him a check every month for half, it is SUPER easy for me because I don’t have to track anything πŸ˜‰ and it keeps him happy because he can track it. We alternate who pays for groceries every other week and the same thing when we go out to eat randomly- but everyone works differently.

    Great idea to post about this Julie! I wish it had been out there when we had first moved in together!

      (Quote)

  28. Kt says

    This is a great post, I definitely relate to a lot of what you said. When I moved in with my bf, I did the same thing as you – made us purchase stuff separately (“you buy the TV and I’ll buy the coffee table”) just in case we broke up. I think my bf thought I was slightly crazy but he was a good sport about it and didn’t take it personally that I was preparing for the worst.

    My biggest piece of advice – tell your partner when they are doing something annoying but DON’T do it when you are HUNGRY. haha. Hungry me = snippy me.

      (Quote)

    • Katie says

      Haha that is SO true for me, too. Once I was just being a b*** to my husband as we were walking together toward an errand. When we got to the counter, there was a tray of Jolly Ranchers. I ate one and immediately was in a better mood- I hadn’t realized my blood sugar was so low. I immediately apologized, and now whenever I appear to be cranky for no reason, my husband asks, “Is this serious, or can I get you a Jolly Rancher?” πŸ™‚

        (Quote)

  29. Brittany says

    Great post, Julie! Very useful for people considering moving in with a signficant other.

    I planned to never live with a significant other before marriage, but I ended up moving in with my now-hubby after being engaged 6 months (and dating for over 6 years). It happened sort of naturally, because we were living about 45 minutes apart and we’d alternate staying at his place one week, my place the next, and so on. Since he owned a home and I was renting, it eventually just made financial sense for me to move in. It worked well for us, but my default position is still to wait until marriage (or at least engagement) to live together.

    I have two pieces of cohabitation advice:

    1. Do not combine finances before marriage for any reason. While it might sem like a good idea to pool money together once you’re cohabitating, you’re really setting yourself up for something ugly if things go sour. (And of course, no one ever “expects” that things won’t work out, no matter how much you trust your partner. It can happen to anyone.)

    2. If you know you want to marry this person at some point, come to an agreement that marriage will, in fact, happen, and maybe even talk about a timeline. It’s easy to become comfortable with the status quo, and while you might be hoping to get married, your partner may lose his/her incentive to push the relationship to the next level if you’re already living together with no set plan to marry. Seen this one multiple times firsthand with friends and family members, the most extreme being TWENTY years before my family member’s live-in boyfriend was ready to propose!

      (Quote)

  30. Jocelyn says

    Great advice! My husband and I didn’t officially live together until we were married but we practically lived together for over a year. We didn’t pool any money or have any sort of system before we were married. He paid for his place and I paid for mine. I usually bought all the groceries but he would take me out for dinner. We were certain that we were going to get married and join our bank accounts so we didn’t care too much for the short term.
    Agreed about the alone time. I usually get home from work 1-2 hours before my husband and I love that time. I mainly use it to watch trashy tv shows he refuses to watch with me.
    One problem that we had when we first moved in was that he is very lazy about chores. He solved part of the problem by hiring a cleaning lady but there is still the day to day and I had to keep nagging him. So we actually made a few things his responsibility and I found it works really well for us. So no matter what, he does the dishes, shovels the snow, does the yardwork and a few other things and I don’t have to nag him to pitch in around the house. That might not work for everyone but it works great for us.

      (Quote)

  31. says

    For my boyfriend and I, it worked to come to an understanding on “chores.” I do most of the cooking, so he does the dishes. I unload the dishwasher, he takes out the trash. It makes things more managable around the apartment and having a set understanding about the roles helps us avoid fights. πŸ™‚

    Great post Julie! Even as a living together veteran, it’s always good to have a little refresher and learn some new tips to make the experience even better!

      (Quote)

  32. says

    Great post! My boyfriend and I will have been dating for 4 dates when we graduate and have discussed moving in together at that point. It makes sense for both of us and we’ve talked about marriage so I’m not too nervous. My main hesitations are that I don’t want my “home” to become the video game playing spot for all the guys. Obviously, I don’t mind friends over, but I think it’d be a huge adjustment for my boyfriend to go from living with 4 guys for the past 5 years to just me, so waiting until the college scene is over is definitely a must.

      (Quote)

  33. Jess says

    Great post Julie!! I definitely agree with all of what you said…it’s hard not to fall into the “roommate slump”–that’s definitely something I’m trying to work through right now actually!

      (Quote)

  34. alexa says

    Julie how did your parents react to you and ryan officially living together?

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years now, I’m only 21, so finishing school needs to happen before I can plan a wedding..
    My family is SUPER conservative. Moving in before marriage would kill not only my parents but my grandparents as well.
    I need to make them understand that I’m not ready for a husband right now, but I am ready for a roommate that I know has my best interest in mind and I can trust with my life.

    Did u have struggles with family when it came to this topic?

      (Quote)

    • says

      ryan’s parents were totally okay with it (they’re really laid back) and we slooooowly introduced the idea to my parents by first considering getting a house w/ the two of us, plus another friend. they were okay with that but eventually the plans changed and it was JUST the two of us. they supported me and wanted to make sure i thought through everything before making a decision. my dad also wanted to be sure we had TWO bedrooms. πŸ™‚

        (Quote)

    • says

      I can relate, Alexa. My boyfriend and I have been dating for over 2 years, I’m 22 years old, and both of our parents would see it as a slap in the face if we did so much as go on vacation together (by ourselves). Obviously living together is not an option. My mom said that she appreciated living with my dad much more since they both lived at home until they were married, to save money. Sometimes it’s hard to see their point of view, but I don’t want to disappoint them either.

        (Quote)

      • says

        honestly, i think it’s smart to respect your parents’ wishes. they ARE your parents and had my parents (or ryan’s parents) been very adamant about us not living together, i really don’t think we would have. i value my relationship w/ our parents and wouldn’t want our living situation to cause a rift.

          (Quote)

    • says

      Oh, dads… My dad has rules for me and my sister when we start considering marriage.
      1) Live together before marriage = Dad doesn’t pay for the wedding.
      2) Get pregnant before marriage = Dad doesn’t pay for the wedding.
      3) Get married before finishing college = Dad doesn’t pay for the wedding.
      4) Get married more than 100 miles from home = Dad doesn’t pay for the wedding. (This one isn’t as serious, I don’t think. :P)

      Personally, I think living together before marriage sucks all the fun out of marriage. I look forward to learning things about whoever my future husband is before and after we get married, but I want to make some of those “living together” discoveries AFTER the wedding.
      If you’re really serious about getting married and it (finances, habits, whatever) is that important of a question, that big of a pet peeve, that big of an issue… talk about it BEFORE you get married.
      I like how one person put it on Meghann’s blog post, that if it’s serious enough to move in together, it should be serious enough to get married. If you’re not ready to get married, don’t live together.

      Plus most of the research I’ve read says it’s… risky… to live together before marriage. So.

        (Quote)

      • says

        Alexa, there are definitely multiple things to consider here. Since you’re bringing parents and grandparents into the equation, there’s not just the couple’s feelings to consider, which is tricky.

        I, unlike other commenters, decided to move in with my boyfriend despite my parents’ conservative values. I’m very happy with the outcome of this decision, and proud that we made it ourselves. I’m pretty sure that I differ from the other people giving you advice because they sound like they have a closer relationship with their parents than I do with mine, but when it came time to make this decision, I knew that my opinion and my boyfriend’s opinion were the only ones that should really matter. The decision, when it comes down to it, belongs to the couple.

        In your case, I would say that it all depends on these three things for you to think about:
        What is your relationship with your parents?
        If you were to move in with your boyfriend, is it something they would eventually get over?
        Does it cost you something not to live with him? (What I mean by this is, does it bother you enough that you might go against their wishes anyway? Since you asked for advice, I’m guessing the answer is yes, but it’s still up to you to decide.) Don’t forget that you and your boyfriend are still the main people that this decision is for, and that the biggest changes will be for you to adjust to, not your family members.

        In the end, I would personally put the couple’s wishes over the parent’s wishes, but it really depends on how much you value your relationship with your parents, because that determines how much their opinions effects your decisions.

        Good luck!

          (Quote)

  35. says

    Great post!
    My boyfriend and I are moving in together in the fall (but it is an apartment with two others and we will have separate bedrooms, etc). I am really looking forward to it, but I hope it doesn’t put a strain on our relationship- but we spend a lot of time together already and our relationship is pretty effortless- so I think it will be okay. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    Needless to say, my parents aren’t that thrilled.

      (Quote)

  36. Sara says

    Great post! My boyfriend and I have been together 2 1/2 years and living together for almost a year. We both lived with our exes, so we knew the right way to go about things this time around, since clearly (and thankfully) it didn’t work out for either of us before.

    Shortly after we moved in together we got a joint account for shared expenses: rent, groceries, utilities, etc. The rest of our money is our money to pay our individual expenses (student loans!) and save as we see fit. Honestly, I think we’d probably stick to this even after we’re married, with the exception of starting a joint savings account to save for big things. I really like having my own money!

    My biggest tip (which I tried to share on twitter but apparently you don’t follow me, you should! @lawgirl329) is definitely to pick your battles! Sometimes I need to take a step back and remind myself that if my boyfriend’s biggest fault is that he never, ever puts away the clean dishes, I’m a lucky girl!

      (Quote)

  37. says

    My fiance’ and I have both been raised in very traditional catholic families and won’t live together until we’re married (or maybe days before!). I am *so* excited for that part of getting married…. more than anything! Saying goodnight/goodbye to him is the hardest thing.

      (Quote)

    • says

      Cute!! You have something to look forward to. Love it!

      I’m not Catholic, but there is some religious reasoning behind my not wanting to live with a significant other.

        (Quote)

      • Amber K says

        Hey, just out of curiousity what religious reasoning is there behind not moving in together? I’m very religious and lived with my husband before we were married. We had separate bedrooms and didn’t have sex until after marriage. While it wouldn’t work for everyone, I liked getting to see exactly what we were like living together before a full commitment like marriage.

          (Quote)

      • Amber K says

        Thanks for your response!

        I personally didn’t experience any extra temptation just by living together versus dating. And cohabiting doesn’t equal premarital sex as my husband can certainly attest πŸ˜‰

        But thanks for sharing your perspective!

          (Quote)

  38. Lauran says

    I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years now (living together for almost 2). When we first decided to move in, we agreed that my boyfriend would be moving into my current apartment, since his lease was up and mine still had 9 months left.

    Since he was coming into a space that he was perceived as “mine”, I felt it was really important to give him the second bedroom as his own little man cave. We decorated it with all of his college sports memorabilia, put two leather chairs and a flat screen in there (very reminiscent of Joey and Chandler of Friends) and he was instantly a happy camper!

    I think it’s so important for each person to have their own space and to make sure that you have slightly separate quarters to retreat to. Plus, two TVs/DVR boxes make it for a much less hostile environment! πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  39. Tricia says

    Great Post and perfect timing! I’m moving in with my boyfriend in a couple months, we’ve basically lived together in his house this past year so i feel like not too much could change…but I am definitely saving your tips!

    (ps I just found your blog and I love it!)

      (Quote)

  40. Kelly says

    Great post and excellent advice! My fiance & I moved in together after only dating 3 months and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know our friends and family thought we were crazy. BUT here we are 4 years later happier than ever and getting married in July!!

      (Quote)

  41. says

    Chores were a big thing for us, so before we moved into together we outlines our expectations about who was to do what and how often (this included washing the dishes!) Also’ along the the lines of not going to bed angry; we kiss each other good night, every night (even if we are irked)!

      (Quote)

  42. Ashley says

    I think moving in together can definitely make or break a relationship. I had dated my previous boyfriend for 5 yrs (4 through college and one year long distance from Orlando-Indianapolis) before we decided to move in together.

    Although we had grand plans for dividing up the living expenses and chores, not communicating well about these things was inevitably the end of us. I can’t stress how important discussing financial goals (where your ‘extra’ money after bills will be going) and other lifestyle choices is before moving in together.

    It was so hard for me to realize that he still wanted to stay out w/ his friends at the bars until 3am (or overnight!) and make poor financial choices (beer and golf), rather than spending time w/ me (and our puppy) and saving for our future. It was a tough lesson to learn but I’m so thankful I found these things out BEFORE marriage rather than after. Even though I never planned to live w/ a partner before we were engaged, in this case I’m so glad I did!

      (Quote)

    • Katie says

      “It was so hard for me to realize that he still wanted to stay out w/ his friends at the bars until 3am (or overnight!) and make poor financial choices (beer and golf), rather than spending time w/ me (and our puppy) and saving for our future. It was a tough lesson to learn but I’m so thankful I found these things out BEFORE marriage rather than after. ”

      I had the EXACT epiphany about an ex I lived with for a couple months, too. Living with him hurt emotionally, but was a GREAT decision because it stopped me from marrying a loser.

        (Quote)

  43. Rachel says

    I also love this post! My husband and I have been together for a relatively short amount of time compared to a lot of you guys, 2 years in January 2011. We moved in together “officially” 10 months after we started dating. He proposed 7 months later. We got married 6 months after that. πŸ™‚ We had both been living alone before moving in together, and the transition was pretty easy.

    I think for us, finances was definitely the number one thing we had to work out when moving in together. We always divided the bills proportionate to our income, kind of pain when we had separate accounts, but I was determined to not merge financially until we are married. I’m glad we waited but I LOVE having joint accounts – life is much simpler. I hate dealing with finances so my husband handles everything and I just check the account balance online before I go shopping. We also have a rather relaxed budget which helps us know where we’ll be before and after bills and other expenses.

    We struggled some living in a very small space (600 sq feet, one bedroom apartment) but thankfully moved into a 3 bedroom rental house in September last year which also made life much better. Chores and cooking have always been easy for us to split, though you’re not the only one who had a kitchen floor meltdown, Julie. πŸ™‚

    My number one recommendation for couples taking this step is to make 100% sure marriage is in your future. Talk about it, a lot, and talk about your future together. Talk about having kids or whatever you want to know. My husband insisted on the proposal being a surprise but gave me a deadline when it would happen by (which ended up being waaaay after the actual proposal). Without knowing we would get married, I would not have let him move in so early. πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  44. says

    My experience is a little different. I lived with a boyfriend after we were dating for a couple of years.

    As a result of living together, we broke up. However, I felt that living together was the best thing that could have happened to us. It allowed me to see him as he really was, and that wasn’t something I wanted to be a part of.

    Things happen for a reason and while it hurt at the time, I now feel that living together is a must-do before engagement/marriage.

      (Quote)

  45. says

    Oh gosh! I didn’t realize it would get used! πŸ˜€

    Also, DON’T sweat the small stuff. If him chewing loudly, or him being a stubborn, whiny male while he’s sick bothers you – chiilllll. It’s not going to be perfect 100% of the time!!

      (Quote)

  46. says

    Such a great post!!! I didn’t live with my husband until we got married, but the last year has definitely been a learning experience. We definitely fall into the “roommate” trap sometimes, especially being a new couple with not a lot of extra cash to spend on going out. I also would get soo annoyed if I were to come home if he hadn’t been working that day to find the bed still unmade and dishes in the sink – I just didn’t get it. I explained it to him (after letting my anger fester for a while) and he shaped up! It’s all about communication!

      (Quote)

  47. says

    Great post, Julie! I’ve never lived with my fiance, but we’re in the process of finding our first place together to move into after the wedding, and I can’t even tell you how excited I am! So, maybe one piece of advice I would give – from the other side of the fence – is that, if you’re able to wait to move in together, it’s just one more exciting thing to look forward to πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  48. Holly @ The Runny Egg says

    Great post Julie!

    Jason and I didn’t live together before we were married — but I will say that living together, whether married or not, has similar challenges! You need to figure out how to handle finances, food, chores, etc.

      (Quote)

  49. Tara Marie says

    Due to some hinky things with my family, my Man and I just moved in together. We have been together through an AWFUL lot in the almost four years we have been together. This past year I had my own apartment and so did he. I had to move back in with family and he moved onto his own apartment with no roommate. The plan that we had was that we would wait another year before moving in together. We wanted to spend the year working on our relationship, getting to know each other’s families, and getting ducks in our lives in a row.

    We went from planning on moving in together in a year’s time to living together in LESS than two weeks. We decided to move in together on Sunday (got our hands forced into it), meet with the landlord to get him to approve me on the lease (Saturday) and moved in (Friday).

    We spent a LOT of time talking to each other about things such as cleaning, cooking, responsibilities in the apartment. I am currently not working and not in school. So the logical thing was that the domestic stuff would be my job. This comes really hard to me because I am not a domestically-minded person at all. However, he has been rather patient and understanding as I try to adapt to it.

    In some ways, it seems like playing house since he always spent the weekend (Thurs night to Sun night) at my apartment. I am waiting for it to seem a bit more real.

    I think it is difficult in our situation since we had very little time to plan and discuss in advance. However some advice I have gained is:

    1. be comfortable talking about things, even the little mundane pieces
    2. be aware of your partner needing space (This is VERY hard for me since I am home all day by myself, when the Man comes home- I want to sit and talk and cuddle and be near him. He usually wants to spend some time decompressing and relaxing)
    3. Keep up with seperate interests ( I saw this in your post and can NOT agree with it more!!)
    4. Do something that is just for you everyday. I need to have some time that is “mine”. It usually is my morning coffee and internet.
    5. Be patient with each other. Remember, you love each other!!

      (Quote)

  50. says

    I love this post!! My boyfriend and I have been together for about three years now, and we still lead very separate lives- we only stay at each other’s places maybe twice a week. It works for us at this point because we’re still young and have a lot to experience outside, but if things continue as they are I could see myself living with him a few years down the road. I used to be totally anti living with a significant other before marriage, but I think that as long as the intention of marriage is there and you are open and honest about where your relationship is going, it can be a really valuable thing. I’ve loved reading all the comments, too- I’ve definitely gotten a few good tips, as well as some food for thought!

      (Quote)

  51. Shady says

    Try to get a place together. I lived with a boyfriend. I moved into his new condo with him. it was his pride and joy and we struggled because it felt like his place in a lot of ways, not our place.

      (Quote)

  52. says

    Awesome post Julie! Although my husband and I didn’t live together until after we got married, I was shaking my head to almost everything that you said above! The most important piece of advice I have (in marriage) is that you have to be unselfish. I am constantly thinking about what would be best for my hubby instead of what is best for me. When you have that philosophy, life is a lot easier because you are more chill about each others quirks and you can laugh about the small stuff. Laughter is the best medicine.

      (Quote)

  53. says

    Great post!! My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 2 and a half years, we are both out of college, living in the same city but in separate apartments. I don’t think we will live together until we get married, but I still have fears about some of the stuff you talked about!! I’m like you, I love my alone time, and I feel like my bf is just like Ryan! There are going to be times when I just want to be alone and I think thats normal!! I honestly can’t wait to live together! I think it’s going to make certain things a lot easier, but i’m trying not to be blinded by the fact that some things will be a lot more challenging!

    Thanks for posting about this! I’m going to refer back to this in the future πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  54. says

    Love, love, love this post! My boyfriend and I did it very similarly to you and Ryan, only with less “dating” time. We started dating in September ’08, and I moved into my own studio in July ’09. He continued to live at his place for the next year, but since he was always at my place anyway, we moved into the 1-bedroom apartment across the hall from me in September ’10… putting two people in a 280 sq. ft. studio is asking just a liiiitle too much!

    Honestly, like you said, it’s been better since we started living together (and got the space we needed for two people!). We’re both very conscious of one another’s “alone time” needs, and it’s not uncommon for me to hole up in our bed with a book while he veges on the couch with his Xbox for an hour after we both get home from work. Communication is KEY – we have the same problem with the dishes/resentment thing, so it’s really important for one of us to let the other know if something is bothering us!

    Lastly, keep the private stuff private – I have friends who have no problem letting their significant other see them do things like floss, shave, etc…. but I don’t, because there are SOME things that should remain a mystery!

      (Quote)

    • Katie says

      Haha, about the flossing/shaving/other personal things, my husband and I crossed those barriers a LONG time ago. Once we’d helped each other get through the flu (TMI ALERT: he held my hair back for me, while I had to bail his vom out of the bathroom sink when he couldn’t make it to the toilet), we figured we’ll probably be changing each other’s diapers in 60 years, too. I definitely see why some people prefer the “mystery” but I personally like having it all in the open πŸ™‚ Plus, he works such long hours, sometimes the only time I can talk to him is while he’s getting ready in the morning!

        (Quote)

      • says

        i really do love the idea of keeping things private… but, like you, katie, ryan and i let it ALL out there. i think we had similar experiences with sickness where we were forced to get down and dirty realllll quick.

          (Quote)

  55. says

    Craig and I were planning on waiting till marriage to move in, but we got a new little puppy so we changed our plans. I agree with you, the importance of planning dates and not just falling into the “roommate” mode. We have been pretty good about still going out for dinner and making time for other things outside of our apartment involving just us πŸ™‚
    I think the hardest thing for the both of us has been having to get rid of some of our own stuff so we have enough room.

      (Quote)

  56. Danica says

    Love this post!

    My boyfriend and I have been living together for about 10 months now and have been dating for about 4 1/2 years. The decision to sign a lease together definitely took about a year of thinking through, talking about, and planning. He was ready for it much earlier than I was, but he was great about making sure I knew that he would be patient until whenever I was ready to live with him, even if that meant until after we were married…
    When we did decide to live together, my family did not take it well. His family was fine with it, and his parents gave us some really good advice and questions to consider (which helped us be even more prepared for that ‘next step’), but my parents were not very approving. And plain and simple–that was really hard for me. After making sure they knew that we had spent really more than a year just thinking through things and talking about what was best for us, they were a little bit more okay with it, and now they seem to be alright with it but never talk to me about it.

    My advice?
    1. Make sure that finances are discussed. I’m just like you, Julie, and agree that finances should be split/separate until we get married. It seems more appropriate that way, and we’re really just more comfortable doing it the “fair” way.
    2. Set specific times for dates and “couple time.” The hardest thing I dealt with when moving in together was finding the difference between being home together and actually spending quality time “working on” our relationship. Once we talked about that balance and made some distinctions, it’s really worked perfectly because we focus on and value the romantic/fun time we have together!

      (Quote)

  57. says

    i LOVE this. i moved in with my (now husband) pretty shortly after dating and people were quick to give us their ‘opinion’. if you feel like it’s time and you are ready, go for it. not everyone has to like it as long as you and the person you live with are on the same page!

      (Quote)

  58. says

    love this post! i think you got everything covered. i found myself nodding, agreeing w/everything you said. especially the roomate rut….i feel like i’ve been stuck in that for awhile! i’m gonna go get my date nights back! (seriously time together has been spent apartment shopping and grocery shopping. it’s time to bring back the romance!)

      (Quote)

  59. Casey says

    My BF and I don’t live together, but would say by far our biggest issue has been learning to communicate. We just got back together after a tough break-up, and I feel like I understand him so much better now–the hardest thing was realizing that I am just plain chattier than he is! For a while there, if we weren’t talking every second, I just felt like he didn’t care about me. If we were sitting on the couch not talking (on our laptops or something), I felt like something was wrong. Once I voiced my concerns, I began to realize how much he does love me, and how silence can be comfortable and companionable.

      (Quote)

  60. duddes02 says

    I moved in with the BF only once I knew we were going to get married. It wasn’t a vague idea-we had dates and real plans. Only after that-did I feel comfortable.

    I’m a lucky girl-he pays all the rent, utilities, groceries, supplies..etc. He is better off than I am financially and he wants me to focus on paying off my student loan. He’s investing in out future.

    You know when I knew it was right to move in? When I come home from work and I see the lights are on because he got home before me. My heart literally leaps because I’m so excited to see him.

      (Quote)

  61. says

    I loved this post! Paul and I have been discussing what steps we’ll be taking after I graduate. Although we both see marriage in our future, we’re not ready to be engaged yet. I don’t think I’d live with him before we were engaged, but you never know where life leads you! These tips are so helpful, thanks for posting πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  62. says

    My boyfriend and I actually lived together BEFORE we started officially dating. He has been my cousin’s long-time roommate and I desperately wanted to move from NJ to VA beach. When my cousin offered me a room in his home to rent I jumped at the chance…and fell crazy in love with his roommate…oops πŸ˜‰ We’ve been living together for 8 months now and are moving into our own place May 1st. It’s wacky and sounds.. FAST..but it works for us and we are honestly so happy and would do anything for each other.

      (Quote)

  63. Heather says

    With 2 kids, a husband, & a dog, I have no idea what alone time is! But it sure sounds nice!! I am 28 and have been married for 5 years, & I loved your post! I think we have almost fallen into the roomates thing. By the time my husband gets home from work, I am too exhausted from the kids, errands, appointments, & dinner to even talk with him!! I love your idea of a monthly date night & communicated better.

    I can’t wait until you have kids, so that you can give advice on how to balance it all! I love all your wisdom & advice!!!

      (Quote)

  64. Amanda says

    My boyfriend and I have been living together for a little over a year now, after dating for about 3 years. We lived a mile apart and were ready to take the next step! It’s been so nice to know that I will see him every day because he works late and it used to take a lot of planning to mesh our schedules! Of course, it has not always been easy as I’m Type-A and he goes with the flow. On one hand, he totally balances me out, for which I am thankful! On the other hand, I have had to coax (i.e., nag) him to do chores sometimes. All in all, we love each other and it’s definitely strengthened our bond πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  65. says

    Corey and I moved in together during our senior year of college, but we also lived with two of his football teammates (PHEW! kept that one a secret for a LONG time! lol) He proposed before we moved into our own place.

    I actually LOLed at the dishes part you wrote- I literally had the exact same kitchen-floor meltdown just a few weeks ago, due to the dishes in the sink. The funniest part is he had the exact same response as Ryan- I have to “tell him” when I want these things done. Must be a male thing!

      (Quote)

  66. Linda says

    I agree about the chores and not becoming roommates. I regularly complain about not doing anything fun together. We used to be better about date nights until it felt we were never home. We have a lot more date nights at home.

      (Quote)

  67. says

    My boyfriend and I have been together for over two years. He graduated last year, and moved back home. I will graduate in May. We have been discussing the topic of marriage seriously, but we are not going to move in together until we’re married. We both have student loan debt, and it just makes more sense to live at home and save for the future. We have both lost friends because, once moving in with their significant others, they decided to ignore the rest of the world. We want to make sure that won’t happen, and I appreciate the fact that we love each other enough to know that we both need our independence!

      (Quote)

  68. Ashley says

    Wow this post hit home for me! My boyfriend and I moved in together at the beginning of our last year of law school, mostly to save money. It ended up being a bad choice…we totally became roommates! We literally did EVERYTHING together: gym, class, study, going out with friends. Not good! Around January my boyfriend ended up getting his own place again and things couldn’t be better. Neither of us are opposed to cohabitation in the future but not while we are still in school. We still spend plenty of time together but now we both have room to breath!

      (Quote)

  69. says

    I didn’t move in with husband until we were married, because it was something he really believed in. I honestly have zero advice since moving in with him was such an easy transition. We had spent so many years on the road traveling together for months at a time because we were competitive cyclists (he being a pro) that it felt like we had been living together for years! I do agree to date nights big time, or else it does feel like having a room mate.

      (Quote)

  70. Laura says

    Hi Julie,

    Awesome post! My boyfriend and I have been living together for a year this month (and together 2 years), and I can honestly say it’s been such a learning curve for me…

    So glad you mentioned this, Julie! As a classic introvert in a relationship with an extrovert, I’ve had to fight many small battles to get to a point of comfortably treasuring my alone time within a relationship. This is the one thing that changed a lot once we moved in together- I no longer had a place to go “home” to when I needed time alone.

    What worked was designating my alone time at our apartment for times when my boyfriend is out regularly, like for basketball games or work events. That way I know I have that time! Also, if we have a group event/outing, I’ve explained to him that I am always willing to go, but may want to leave on the early side (explaining that this will be better for all involved because I’ll be able to give all my social effort, then go home to rest before I get cranky/tired.) Win-win πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  71. says

    I lived with my ex for a year and a half, and we were engaged for the last four months. It was actually pretty ugly, because even though he was several years older than me, I ended up taking responsibility for nearly everything, especially financially, because he was just so immature. And then, when we broke up, he stayed there and I moved out, but I wasn’t able to move all of my stuff at once, and then he changed the locks (even though he never bothered to lock the doors while we lived together) so that I couldn’t get my stuff without him being there. I ended up having to have the police there when I got the rest of my belongings because he was so prone to angry and violent outbursts.

    So besides my clearly poor taste in guys… πŸ˜‰ I would still be willing to live with a guy before marriage. BUT there definitely be some ground rules laid out beforehand…

      (Quote)

  72. says

    My fiance and I never planned on living together until after marriage and so, he’s living in his own apartment and I’m with my family! πŸ˜€ I’m the same way with alone time and I know that communicating that to ANYONE is really important. I love being with people and all, but I need time alone to talk to God, read, walk, anything! πŸ˜‰

      (Quote)

  73. says

    This is a really great post, thank you so much for sharing your story! I really enjoyed the “don’t become roommates” point, even though my boyfriend and I don’t live together I can see how easy that would be for it to happen! Thank you for the tips πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  74. kyla says

    This is perfect! I’m moving in with my boyfriend next year even though we practically already live together. Thanks for all the great advice!

      (Quote)

  75. says

    This post came at such a perfect time – I am actually moving in with my boyfriend tomorrow!!!!!!

    We have been dating for 7 years now – since high school – and he practically lived at my place for the past year anyway since he was here over half of the week, but it is still going to be a change. We made sure to find a two bedroom so we can have more space, the second room is going to be an office/man cave where his tv and stuff like that are going. I am definitely going to steal your idea and make sure we have date nights, because I really don’t want to just become roommates!

      (Quote)

  76. Lauren says

    Thanks for the awesome post! I loved reading through all the comments too. My boyfriend & I have been together for almost 2 years, and we’re about to sign a lease for July next week. I stay at his apartment practically all the time anyways, and we sometimes fall into the roommate trap, but having our own time separate definitely helps.

      (Quote)

  77. says

    It sounds like you both were really level headed and realistic before you moved together and I liked your advice of not falling into “roommates”. It’s easy to take each other for granted when they’re always there.

    My husband and I didn’t move in together until after we got married, but we spend the majority of our time at his apartment. I still need my alone time and my time with my friends which helps us to appreciate each other when we are together. My advice? Get ready to have lots of patience (on both sides) at times!!

      (Quote)

  78. says

    My best advice: don’t freak out about chores. Chances are your man probably doesn’t know the correct way to wash your fancy girly clothes and will shrink your favorite skinny jeans, so put on your “big girl pants” and do the laundry yourself (unless it’s something like towels that he could handle). Same goes for dishes – he probably had a mom in his home doing the dishes for him, so he’ll probably think it’s OK to put grimey pots and pans on the top shelf and cups on the bottom… either tell him you’ll do all the dishes from now on or learn to live with his way of doing dishes – even though it is TOTALLY incorrect, it’s hard to change a lifetime of chore habits! But you take the good with the bad – the bad being that now you become that super betty crocker homemaker who has to do double chores on most days, and the good being you have a big strong man around to open the pickle jar, mow the grass, kill spiders and keep you warm at night =)

      (Quote)

  79. Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily says

    Great post. I have been living with my boyfriend for about 2 years now. It’s exciting and stressful thing but I honestly believe that the best way to make it work is to constanlt communicate with each other. (Finances, personal, house related..it doesn’t matter the topic…if something needs to be discussed ….discuss it.

      (Quote)

  80. says

    well this post came at a perfect time! my boyfriend and i have been together for over 4 years. 2 of those years we didn’t live in the same state, and we still don’t live in the same city but are only an hour away and see each other often. We’ve spent weeks at a time “living” together, but we have never had a place of our own. i am finishing up grad school in june, and we have begun the apartment search together! I am nervous, but all these tips are great!

      (Quote)

  81. Katie says

    I haven’t read all the comments yet, so perhaps something like this has already been shared, but here’s my story.

    My third year of college, I was dating a guy who I thought I’d marry (I was 20, about to turn 21, he was 26) who lived two hours away. We’d been dating for a year, and I decided I wanted to spend the summer living with him and find a job in his town. My parents were NOT happy because I was so young, but there wasn’t a lot they could really do, so off I went. Living together turned out to be the best mistake I ever made. All kinds of issues that would not have come up so quickly since were were long-distance reared their ugly head (he went out and drank several nights a week, invited friends over for loud drinking parties every weekend, and I found out later he was CHEATING on me- and ended up marrying one of the girls he cheated with, too). After that summer, I went back to school and broke up with him. I am so, so grateful that we didn’t end up marrying each other because I would have had to divorce him. For me, it exposed me to a whole other side of his personality that just did NOT mesh with mine. It was also nice because we had an “out” in terms of timing- I was obviously just living with him for the summer since I had to go back to school. It was a really terrible time for me, but so, so worth it.

    A few months after I got back to school, I started dating my now-husband. We had been friends for a couple years, and suddenly it became more. We began dating February of our fourth year, and moved in together after we graduated. When we moved in, we had a clear timeline of when we would be engaged and married. Even though it was just one year after moving in with my ex, it was an entirely different experience. My husband and I had no adjustment issues to living together, he proposed as “scheduled” before the end of the first year, and we were married a year later. We actually combined finances when we were engaged, because to live in married student housing in Manhattan, where I was in grad school, we either needed to be married or have domestic partnership. Because we didn’t want to bump up the wedding, we filed for the DP and the joint bank accounts were proof of that.

    I suppose all this to say that it IS possible that you will make a mistake by living with a boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still have a happy ending πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  82. says

    Thanks for sharing! My boyfriend and I just moved across the country together in January after dating for two years. It’s funny the little things that you bicker about while getting used to it – dishes, laundry, groceries – but I’m so glad that we did it. I never thought I’d live with someone I wasn’t engaged to, but things don’t always work out as planned and sometimes this is for the better. It has definitely forced both of us to become better at communicating and problem solving as a team.

    I loved the “roommates” part! It’s definitely easy to forget about romance when you’re sharing a bathroom with your significant other πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  83. says

    Remain a couple and don’t turn into just β€œroommates.” – This is exactly what happend to my relationship. Unfortunatley it resulted in me moving out and we currently have this awkward half way together relationship now. It’s definitely a good eye opener to live with your boyfriend and I don’t regret it at all. It’s a good test that will either make ya or break ya that’s for sure!

      (Quote)

  84. Elizabeth Cheek says

    I never would have married my husband if we would have lived together first. Our first year of marriage was AWFUL–not too mention HIS CRAZY family. I know that is how our first year of living together would have been and I would have hit the road! He is a slob and stubborn—-the things you learn. That being said, I am SO glad we didn’t live together bc he has made me one happy woman/momma 10 years later! Yes, 10 years and 3 wonderful children– E

      (Quote)

  85. says

    I love this post! Such great advice from your point of view and other readers too ; )

    I never lived with a boy until Michael , my fiance, it was the best thing I ever did though for us to move in together before we even got engaged, I have to admit , it was hard at first, we had struggles, I was so used to being so independent and being on my own, that it was very difficult, but we grew together as a couple and it worked ; )

    We have communication which is key, our alone time, where he will do his own thing like watch a movie downstairs and I will read or watch a movie in our room, and we respect each other! I have to admit, I kind of can;t wait to get a big house and have a huge master bathroom with two sinks ; ) lol! It can be annoying to share! I grew up with 4 sisters so it will be a day of joy when I can have my own space in a bathroom! Oh the little things! lol!

      (Quote)

  86. Erika says

    I am so glad you made this post! My boyfriend of 3 years and I will be graduating college in a couple of months. We both know we eventually (in a few more years) want to move in together; although I was just like you by thinking that I would never consider it until marriage! So it’s great to hear all your input! Great post!!

      (Quote)

  87. Ryan @ Aloha Appetite says

    Wonderful post. My husband and I had only been in each other’s physical presence for 3 weeks total (and not consecutively) before we got married and moved in together. It can be really interesting living with someone, as you see a lot more of a person’s quirks. However, like you said, communication is key to a happy household!

      (Quote)

  88. Brittany says

    You should go on House Hunters when you decide to buy a house. I’d watch it. Actually I’d watch anything on HGTV so that’s not saying much….

      (Quote)

  89. says

    Thank you SO much for posting this! My boyfriend’s planning on moving in in a few months and all though we’ve known eachother for a very long time and I, with all my heart, believe he’s the one..it’s a bit nerve racking because we’ve been long distance since starting to officially date, so moving in will be a HUGE change. I’m a tad worried..but hopefully it will all work out. I’d really hate for it to mess up just because we fall into some silly traps.

      (Quote)

    • Kimberly says

      I know this is a late post and you’re probably already living with your boyfriend, but I am in the same boat. I live in Virginia and he lives in Texas (army).. so I am a little nervous to move in with him in three months. We’ve known each other for five years and have been good friends since then, but we’ve only started to date about three months ago. Some think it’s crazy to move halfway across the country to live with him, but we love each other and I believe it will work out… I’m assuming you two already live together now. Was it difficult for you at first?

        (Quote)

  90. Eliza says

    Hiiii Julie,

    I just want to say I have been reading your blog for a few months now and this is my first comment! annnnd I LOVE your blog. This post today struck home to me because I am currently in a college relationship (will be graduating in May) and have been thinking about the whole moving in together situation. I am super independent so I appreciate your advice and enjoy your sense of humor!!

    Keep up the delightful and hilarious posts, I will be reading and smiling!

      (Quote)

  91. says

    Great post, Julie!
    I have been with my boyfriend for 6.5 years, living together for 5.5 and we bought our house about one year ago. Touching on some of your points:
    Regarding finances, it is absolutely important to do what you’re most comfortable with. On any joint purchases, make sure to keep receipts and / or a spreadsheet so that if the worst should happen, there are clear records. For a major purchase like a home, I suggest clear and concise records of who paid what. My boyfriend and I chose to split everything 50 / 50 to keep things simple.
    Regarding remaining a couple… this is so, so important and something that my man and I are currently struggling with. When schedules get hectic, it’s too easy to go into roommate mode and mope around or bicker with each other over miniscule issues. Make time for each other, even if it’s a one hour “date” per week, and keep the romance alive. It’s important to feel wanted and valid as a partner, for something aside from finishing the dishes or vacuuming πŸ™‚

      (Quote)

  92. says

    And for the record – I have totally broke down crying on the kitchen floor, on a walk and even hid in the closet once! Glad to hear that you’re not afraid to let it out. Sometimes you’ve just gotta be honest, and that includes an outpouring of emotion!

      (Quote)

  93. says

    Thank you for this post, Julie! I actually showed it to my boyfriend and he loved it as well. We’ve been dating all through college and he keeps hinting at living together, but I said I want to wait til I’m married to move in! I guess we’ll see….! I could also really relate to the alone time thing, especially this: “Once we moved in together, I found that I had to explain to him that sometimes I like being by myself. I explained that this has absolutely nothing to do with my feelings for him.” Thanks again for the insight!!

      (Quote)

  94. says

    Thanks for sharing those tips Julie (and to the others as well). I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year now and love him to pieces, but the idea of moving in together (which he suggested) really makes me nervous. I recently moved out on my own – without him. I think it may have hurt his feelings a little bit but it IS a scary move for me and just too soon – I’ll keep these tips in mind for the future though!

      (Quote)

    • says

      To be honest, I didn’t move in with Ryan for the first year after I graduated college and I think he was a little hurt by that as well. But he knew I just needed time and space and eventually understood and didn’t want to pressure me. I think it is great that you’re doing what is right for you!

        (Quote)

    • says

      I’m of the mindset that if it is important to one of you, then you should do it… but I’m very financially conservative. That being said, neither Ryan nor I felt it was important (and we didn’t really have much to protect), so we didn’t do one. If I had millions of dollars, I think it would be smart to have a prenup.

        (Quote)

  95. Presley says

    Such a great post! Ryne (my fiance) and I practically moved in together the day we started dating. I had an apartment and he lived at his parents, so he was ALWAYS there. It worked out fine though because my roommates and Ryne and I shared all the same friends so it really was just a hangout spot for everyone.

    I am with you on the pet peeves thing! Ryne also has Friday’s off and I would come home so confused as to why he hadn’t checked the mail, loaded the dishwasher, or straightened up. He said the same thing: that he would have if I had just asked! I guess I just assumed those things were as important to him as they were to me.

      (Quote)

  96. says

    Hi Julie,
    I love your post about falling in to the “roommate trap.” You absolutely hit the nail on the head! After living with my boyfriend for a year I recently moved back to my parents until I get my feet back on the ground.

    My BF and I had fallen into a pattern of cohabitation and even though we were still affectionate, we didn’t have quality time together. We were living together, but making dinner and watching American Idol just wasn’t keeping it interesting. We needed more.

    The two of us are willing to work it out, so I sent him “Moving in Together for the First Time.” Thank you for being so insightful.

      (Quote)

  97. Amber K says

    My husband and I moved in together before we were married and I really enjoyed it. I think it helped us really get to know one another and fully realize that we were meant to be. I definitely like your tips. And I also learned that I just have to ask my guy to do something. Because clutter doesn’t bother him in the slightest, even when it gets really bad!

      (Quote)

  98. says

    I think moving in together BEFORE getting married is a MUST. The last thing you want to happen is get married and move in together only to discover that it doesn’t work. Nightmare!
    My boyfriend and I have been together 5 years and lived together 4.5 years (pretty quick I know) but it works. I can’t imagine not being with him and not living and sharing everything with him.
    I think the biggest ‘don’t’ is couples living together with other roommates. It complicates things on so many levels haha.

      (Quote)

  99. says

    Ah, this is just perfect timing because my boyfriend and I are about to move into a place together in less than 2 months. Right now, I have my place but he basically lives there anyways so we’re deciding to this — but just like you, I still want to keep financial separate so there is no messiness.

      (Quote)

  100. says

    I know I am way late on this one…

    Moving in with the Spaniard has been fairly easy considering we are merging cultures also. We live off of entirely different time schedules.

    I work and eat as an American. He works and eats as a Spaniard. Hello, dinner at 10 PM… or later!

    We compromise on the weekends. Compromise is key!

      (Quote)

  101. says

    What a good post! (Clearly many others agree with me) I’m in a serious relationship and it’s sort of frightening to think about the future and what if things change at this part or that part. Your post was realistic and reassuring.

      (Quote)

  102. says

    I recently moved in with my man. I think my biggest advice would be to do chores together – i.e., every Sunday morning spend an hour doing the chores. It gets it all done and out of the way; two people working together means it gets done quickly; and the fact that you’re both working means no one can get annoyed at the other for not pulling their weight.

    I think it’s fun living together! But obviously if you’re not ready, you’re not ready (and that’s totally fine).

      (Quote)

  103. Valerie says

    clearly, i’m behind on my google reader.

    i think this is a great post. my bf and I have been living together for about a year and a half, and it was rough at first, but we adjusted. communication is the key. he’s still working on giving me my “alone” time.

      (Quote)

  104. Melissa Simson says

    Great post! I’m a little behind on your posts but I just found this one and I couldn’t agree more. My bf and I have *strangely* the exact same sounding relationship as you two, no joke! It’s rather scary. And “swamp beast” is probably a convo we have several times a week. And i still insist on walking to get my towel haha! As for finances, What worked for us was to FINALLY get a joint bank account ( took us 8 months to figure this out!) and each month we’d put something like $200 in it so we were always even. Then all communal purchases were used with that credit card from our joint account and we didn’t have to separate each and every thing.
    Also with chores- I found myself doing laundry all the time and him not helping and it bothered me so now we do time consuming chores ( That require us to go downstairs in our apt building) together. Even if I am the one holding the basket and loading the machine, if hes standing there I at least feel like I’m not doing it alone. And i do the same when he brings our dry cleaning, I accompany him just so it feels like we’re doing it “together” and we cant blame each other for not helping. It sounds stupid in theory but it works. What i found the MOST helpful: all the teeny tiny details are actually very important because they all come together to be big things. Love your blog btw!

      (Quote)

  105. says

    Browsing some older entries on my lunch break, and wanted to weigh in and say this is a *wonderful* post. I have been thinking about a lot of this stuff, and this will all be amazing advice for me to keep in mind in the future, I think.

    Thank you!!

      (Quote)

  106. says

    Thanks for all your valuable work on this web page. Betty loves participating in internet research and it’s easy to understand why. Most of us notice all regarding the powerful tactic you provide good information by means of your website and as well increase contribution from visitors on the idea and my child is undoubtedly studying a lot. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You’re conducting a first class job.

      (Quote)

  107. says

    Great post, Julie! I love that you came open and talked about living together before marriage (and an engagement)! My boyfriend and I have been together for more than 4 years and we just started living together a couple months ago. Granted, the dishes aren’t always done, I think it’s so fun to live with him! We have been learning so much about each other and we just got a puppy which has definitely added to the excitement. I love our life and our new family the way it is and when an engagment and wedding comes along, it comes along, but we’re in no rush. Congrats to you!

      (Quote)

  108. Emily says

    I know this is a little late in the game, but I saw in one of the comments that you said you and Ryan had two bedrooms when you first moved in together.. does that mean you guys didn’t sleep in the same room?
    I know it’s a personal question, but it seems as if when you’re moving in with your boyfriend, everyone just assumes that you’re going to sleep in the same bed with each other.

      (Quote)

  109. Jenn says

    I know I am so late commenting on this but I was just curious how your dad felt about you guys moving in together? I am thinking about moving in with my boyfriend but I am so scared of telling my dad. He is kind of old fashion. Any advice?

      (Quote)

  110. Anna Appleton says

    After four years of being together, going to different colleges, and long drives between Pennsylvania and Virginia, my boyfriend and I will be moving in together (he accepted an Structural Engineering Graduate Scholarship in PA). I really like your advice and I can totally relate to breaking down and crying on the kitchen floor…this is something I would do too! You offer great advice!

      (Quote)

  111. Meg says

    I know this post is old, but just wanted to let you know it is still helpful today!! I’m in the process of moving in with my boyfriend and was hoping you had a blog post like this! You made my mind feel at ease.. thank you!

      (Quote)

  112. Sarah says

    Hi Julie!
    What a great blog! This really helped me. My boyfriend and I are moving in together in a couple months and he is the first boyfriend that I will be moving in with. I am excited but so nervous but this blog helped me calm down a lot! Thank you again!

      (Quote)

  113. says

    You make such a lovely couple! I think that it’s so good that you caught the whole just-roommates problem and talked honestly about it, to make date-time is so important for every couple! This post is such a sweet, but still very useful read!

      (Quote)

  114. says

    You’re such a lovely couple! Our moving together was a natural continuation for our relationship ,and was very easy. Before that we were together all the time, and moving together wasn’t such a big change. Logistically it was quite easy, as we didn’t have much stuff and didn’t have duplicate furniture, most of my stuff were clothes and shoes, books, etc, more personal items than furniture. That’s why we didn’t need too much time for planning, we just booked the day we were free, packed everything and moved. Greets!

      (Quote)

  115. says

    Turning into a roommates is inevitable If you are living together. The main thing is not to let this feeling stay there forever. You should date again and make little surprised for your beloved one. I love your story. It is soooo optimistic. Best regards!

      (Quote)

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *