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! 😀

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! 😀

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! 😀

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

    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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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!

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  7. 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!

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  8. 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!

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  9. 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!

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  10. Bethany says

    I just found this post for the first time and THANK YOU SO MUCH. My boyfriend and I have been wanting to live together for a while now but have been struggling with thoughts like “what if it messes with the great relationship we have” and the “what about our parents feelings”. But this post is just so encouraging and reassuring with some solid advice and is exactly what I needed to hear.

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