To Live Together or To Not
Most likely, the two of you have been dating for some time now and you are pondering the question…should we move in together? To be honest, the two of us made our relationship official on New Years’ Eve and were living together before Martin Luther King Day. We had been friends before we started dating. Actually, we are coworkers. We were starting to spend a lot of time together. Before either of us knew it, we were sharing bills and making life-altering decisions with each other. Lesbians call it u-hauling. Everyone else calls it shacking up or just living together. The actual term is co-habituating. Traditionally, people did not move in with one another until they were married. Those times are well behind us now.
First, you have to know what type of relationship you each want. It should be well established in the beginning of every relationship, as to whether or not you want or are looking for something long-term, or just looking to have some fun. Many men (and some women too) would argue that women can never have something casual; however, that is not always the case. Both men and women can have something casual.
As humans, we do sometimes tend to let our emotions get the best of us and we look for more than we should. As you start to spend time with a person, it is natural to wonder where it is going. Especially if you plan to one day be married and have children. Do not be afraid to discuss these things in the beginning stages. There should always be clear, set boundaries and guidelines. If the lines start to become blurred, then step back and talk about it.
If you two have decided that marriage is not right for you, then moving in may not be the best decision. That is not to say that living together means marriage is in the future either, but that goes back to knowing what type of relationship you want to have. You have to ask yourself, what are the reasons for moving in together, and what are you looking to gain or lose.
Many people find it easier to share financial burdens, and that alone can be motivating in times like this. You have to be careful though. One of you can be thinking “great roommate,” while the other is thinking “wedding bells.” When you consider finances, also think about your personality types. If he/she is the type to throw caution to the wind and spend to the last, or do they make responsible and wise choices. What woman would pass up a sale, the best sale ever to pay a bill, right? You also have to consider the mystery in the relationship. Once you move in with a person, you lose that mystery. You now know each other very well. You have lost your independence. Everything is now “we” instead of “I.”
Answer these questions for yourself, and if you are comfortable enough with your partner, ask them too: “Am I moving in with you, or are you moving in with me?” If you are the one moving, what happens with your things? Do you have the same taste in décor? What if you like to squeeze your toothpaste tube from the bottom and they like to squeeze it from the middle? Will moving in together mean marriage? If it does not, are you willing to accept just living together, and for how long? Set terms for yourself. Am I willing to give up my autonomy? If it means no more guys/girls nights out, can you handle that? Am I willing to compromise my personal space? When sharing a space with someone, you have to give up some of your own space. Is our relationship at the right phase to take on a change of this magnitude? If you are already having problems or doubts about your future, moving in is not a good idea.
Ultimately, the decision rests with each of you, but you should know that moving in with someone is not something to take lightly. It is a life-altering decision. It can make your relationship stronger, or it can break it. Talk. Talk. Talk with each other first. Do not make a decision like this based on the wrong reasons. Moving in does not mean that one day he/she will marry you. It does not mean that your trust issues will disappear, and life is not always a fairytale.