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! :D

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. ;)

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.  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! :D

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! :D

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

    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.

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    • 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?

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  2. 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!

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  3. 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 :-)

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  4. 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!

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  5. 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!!

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  6. 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!

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    • 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!

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    • 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.

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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.

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  9. 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!

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  10. 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.

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  11. 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.

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  12. 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!

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  13. 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.

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  14. 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).

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  15. 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.

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  16. 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!

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  17. 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!!

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  18. 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.

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  19. 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!

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  20. 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.

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  21. 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?

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  22. 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!

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  23. 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!

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