Moving In With Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Food is expensive, socializing is expensive, clothes are expensive, utilities are expensive, and RENT is definitely very expensive – especially in major metropolitan cities.  What many 20-something, 30-somethings (including myself) do is move in with their partner to minimize rent expense while improving their standard of living at the same time.   If you live in NY, you no longer need to put up that awful fake wall to convert a one bedroom apartment into two bedrooms; you can live like a real adult with a real one bedroom “home.” Convenience and cost aside, does it make sense to move in with your partner?

For one thing, you see each other all the time, and I mean ALL the time – through the good, the bad, and the morning bad breadth.  Suffocating each other (it’s unavoidable) with your presence does not make the heart grow fonder, unfortunately.  The good thing about this is you will not get the censored version of them. When they are upset, you see it first hand, as opposed to after they recompose themselves before meeting up with you.  You see how they deal with stress, how they deal with life obstacles, and how they deal with household chores.  That will serve as a good indication for how they will be post marriage.  The best reason to live with someone prior to marriage is to discover their flaws and to see if you still love them in spite of these flaws.

When living together, you can also try to sniff out little clues to see if your future marriage will fall victim to the top causes for divorce.  While there are many different lists on the internet, I think the top contenders are 1. finances, 2. infidelity, 3. sexual incompatibility, 4. differences in personal and professional goals, and 5. religious beliefs.

  1. Finances: Do they split bills straight down the middle (“hey babe, do you mind getting the grocery bill this time since I got it last time”) or do they view you as a team, so it really doesn’t matter whose money you are spending?  I personally think that splitting the bills down the middle is a huge problem because it may conceal less obvious issues like trust issues, desire to hold the power in the relationship, or calculated motives
  2. Infidelity: Unfortunately, there is no sure tell-tale signs on whether someone will likely commit infidelity.  People can commit infidelity out of so many unforeseen reasons that it is almost impossible to detect.  You will just have to go with the heart on this one
  3. Sexual incompatibility: When you date someone for a while, sex is just no longer as exciting.  It’s natural.  But, when you see someone all the time in their least glamorous moments and you still find yourself captivated by them, then the relationship is likely to last
  4. Differences in professional or personal goals:  Saying that you have great dreams and aspirations is one thing, but acting on it is another.  By living with someone, you can see if they are lazy, motivated or determined.  If someone is lazy, their desire to achieve goals is probably limited to just talk.  Or, maybe you dislike them taking life too seriously and devoting too much time to work
  5. Religious beliefs:  Although you should know if this is going to be an issue prior to moving in together, you can see if the person will be tolerant of your cultural and religious practices, ie: burning incense, praying at various times of the day, etc.

However, it is very easy to take each other for granted or being too comfortable with each other where one or neither party sees a point in moving the relationship forward (“we are practically married, the wedding is just formality”).  If you do feel like you are at that point, I would recommend moving out, or at the very minimum, do separate things on the weekends.  That way, you learn to appreciate time with each other.

The biggest con to moving in together is what happens when the relationship takes a turn south.  The hassle of finding a new place within a short period of time (assuming you don’t want to be around your partner anymore after the breakup), having to sort out who brought what furniture, etc. is a real consideration.  It could get very messy, especially during the initial emotional roller coaster rides; the last thing you need when going through a breakup is seeing your partner all the time, and not being able to find sanctity in your own home.

But every couple is different, and you should do what feels right for your relationship.


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