Moving in with your boyfriend is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, so you have to be smart about it. Not everyone who takes this step is ready for it, which leads to a lot of unnecessary (read: avoidable) and sometimes, irreconcilable fights. Remember that this isn’t a decision you make just because you want to spend more time together by playing house. This is a decision for when you’re ready to start building a life together. (Yup, I know. #LEGIT)
Trust me when I say that living together isn’t the same as sleeping over each other's houses all the time, even if the amount of time spent together is almost equal. Once you start making decisions on living situations together, things change. You get to know yourself and your partner in a totally different way. It’s not always going to be fun, but it’ll always be interesting. Here's a rundown of things you need to consider before you take the next step:
Not everyone is comfortable talking about money, but if you’re going to live together, you have to learn to discuss your cash flow, income, personal investments, etc. You also have to be open with how you want to manage your budget. Some people will want to prioritize having a nicer apartment while others are willing to live in a very basic house to allot more for savings.
Another thing to take note of is that living together isn’t the same as being married. Sure, if someone's earning better, then he or she can afford to pay more for groceries and such, but both of you have to be able to support yourselves and your needs. Apart from paying bills (rent, water, electricity, Internet, and mobile), you'll also need to have some extra cash saved up in case of emergencies. Sure, you can do without luxury items here and there, but what if it's something as immediate as having your bathroom fixed? On the upside, you get to save more on dates since you can have most of them at home, so yay!
Maturity and Compatibility
Living together is also a journey of discovery. You will surprise yourself at how many heavy grocery bags you can carry up three flights of stairs without stopping (mine’s eight) and you’ll discover that your boyfriend can actually cook decent Japanese food. But not all discoveries are good. Sometimes, you’ll find out that your boyfriend isn’t always as responsible as you’ll need him to be when it comes to paying the bills. Or you actually discover that you're a bit of a nagger when things get rough.
Self-awareness and sensitivity become more crucial to maintaining your rhythm, so you first need to decide if you and your partner are both mature enough to learn and grow in all aspects of your relationship.
There are also a lot of external factors that will come into play such as careless landlords, noisy neighbors, arduous work commutes, ants that won’t quit…the list goes on and to tell you the truth, it will never stop. You don’t have to know how to handle all these situations right away, but you have to be confident that you can manage your way around them. Fake it ’til you make it, right? (Let’s just hope that’s the only thing you’ll be faking, though.)
Compatibility as boyfriend-girlfriend doesn't always translate well once you live in the same house. Even if your existing relationship is going great, that’s not a guarantee that everything will work out. Not without hard work, at least. There are easy days and bad ones, but there are also the forgettable ones that matter just as much.
Some spats can be settled within five minutes, while others can easily turn into three-hour screamathons. A really important lesson you both have to learn is how to decipher which instances are one-off incidents and which ones signify a bigger problem in your relationship. Every couple has a different approach to conflict, and no one has the right to judge your methods—for as long as you have one. In these moments, openness and a positive approach go a long way. If you feel that you trust each other to be honest with everything, then you can expect that to carry over once you live together. Just remember that moving in together isn’t a solution to any sort of problem you have as a couple. If you can’t deal with it now, you won’t be able to deal with it then.
And remember, it's okay if you're not ready. If your boyfriend asks you to move in with him and you're hesitant, don't be afraid to say so. The right guy will understand.
Do you believe in marriage? Do you guys want to get married eventually? Move to a different country? Have children? How about work? Again, you don’t have to have all the answers right away. You only have to have some semblance of a plan to make sure you don’t get stuck taking it month by month, paycheck to paycheck. If you’re considering living together, then that means you’re old enough to know what you want for now. If you don’t, then maybe you should reconsider your priorities. Don’t be afraid to take your time.
New phases always come with an adjustment period. Don't panic if you find yourselves disagreeing about how you want to run your household; that's perfectly normal. Just make sure to practice your negotiation skills. And when all else fails, just learn how to laugh it off. Love conquers all—even week old laundry and apartments for ants.