Moving in with your boyfriend can be a big step in your relationship. And it can be a really great thing to do! People live together all the time now. Just think: in 1960 there were about 450,000 unmarried couples living together in the United States, and by 2012, there were over 7.5 million!
But if you’re not ready, it might not be such a good idea. If you’ve wondered whether moving in with him now is right or whether you should move in with your boyfriend at all, read on.
1. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ATTITUDE
Moving in together is, for many people, the next step to take after being in a committed dating relationship. Some people don’t intend to take the relationship any further than living together, and they live together happily ever after. Others view living together as a step on the way to marriage, and some people are just testing the relationship by moving in together.
Some scenarios tend to lead to successful cohabiting relationships, and others don’t. The key is that both of you need to set a clear goal as to why you want to live together. People can live together indefinitely and have a happy life. And people who live together who plan to marry also have success with this arrangement.
The problems arise when people are serial “live-togethers.” That means they live with many people. People who live with two or more people tend to get divorced twice as often as people who live with only one person. The reason is that when you keep trying to live together to see how things work out, it usually means you are not sure whether you want to or can commit to someone.
2. BAD REASONS TO MOVE IN TOGETHER
People move in together for all sorts of reasons – just like they get married for different reasons – many of which are bad ones.
- It just happened: Many couples wind up living together by default. They spend the night at each other’s places so often that one person just starts moving stuff in. The other person might keep his or her place. That way, the logic goes, if it doesn’t work out, there’s an easy out. That thinking is setting up the relationship for failure. This is in contrast to couples who consciously plan living together as a shared goal.
- Helps pay the rent: Wanting to live together because its helps pay the rent is a bad reason to move in with someone. That reason is for convenience, not because of the relationship.
- Loneliness: Moving in together because you’re lonely is another bad reason. You’re putting your neediness first and not necessarily considering whether it’s right to move in together.
- Testing the waters: Another bad reason is to test the relationship to see how it will be to live with this person. People who do this show that they are just postponing wanting to make a real commitment or have no intention of ever committing. One study suggests that women often want to live with their partner as a precursor to marriage, and men mostly want to live together with their partner to test the waters. Source. Those are not compatible goals, which means the relationship is more likely to fail.
When you move in together for the wrong reasons, the relationship could still work out, but the odds are stacked against that happening. People who live together face most of the same pressures as married couples do, including lack of sex. Just as people need to discuss their goals in life before they marry, they also need to have those discussions before they move in together.
Difficult discussions can benefit from some of these same tips you can use when talking about sex.
3. LIVING TOGETHER IS STILL NOT TOTALLY ACCEPTED BY SOCIETY
Although living with your boyfriend is common, and most people don’t look down on couples who live together anymore, many people still hold the attitude that people are better off to be married instead. Or, if your friends and family do accept that you live together, they probably expect you to be married soon. People don’t take your relationship as seriously when you live together as they do when you marry, and neither does the legal system.
4. STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO HELP MOVING IN TOGETHER WORK
Moving in with your man is a big deal. If you want the relationship to work, you should take some steps to help ensure success. If you don’t and just fall into an arrangement of living together or choose to do so for the wrong reasons, you might wind up in a bad situation, which is often tough to get out of.
Some people find it so difficult or costly to get out of the living together arrangement that they continue to do so, even if they don’t really enjoy living together and have no intention of ever marrying. For example, you might have a pet together now. Who will get it when you split up? You might have bought furniture together or even have a joint bank account. All these ties that happen over time just encumber you.
Here are five ways to help ensure you have a good living together experience.
- Talk about whether you both feel ready to make this move. If you aren’t even at the stage where you feel as if you can bring this up, you aren’t ready. You need to be prepared for him to admit that he really isn’t ready, or admit to him that you don’t want to take that step just yet if that’s the way you feel.
- Work out the financial matters. Do you expect your boyfriend to support you or pay all or most of the rent? If so, does he know that? Talk about whether the expectations are to split everything 50-50 or if one of you will be the financial support person. Finances are one of the biggest reasons for divorce and break ups.
- Try spending three nights a week with him. You can do this either at his place or yours (or alternate), before moving in together. This gives you a good idea as to what your life will be like living together full-time. You might decide after this trial that you really don’t want to live together. That knowledge could save you a lot of time and emotional upheaval.
- Consider how well you get along now. If you two are already fighting and bickering with each other, the fighting will probably ramp up once you live together. You need to learn how to negotiate and discuss problems before you move in together. If you can’t do that, it won’t happen just because you are under the same roof. Plus, everyone has quirks and habits that might be annoying to others. When you live with someone, you can’t expect those to stop. You need to realize that being rigid and set in your own ways is not the way to make a living together situation work.
- Figure out whether you will be moving into a place one of you already has or whether you’ll get a new place together. If one of you will move into the other’s place, discuss how the person moving in can make the place his or her own. When you agree to live together, the place is now both of yours, and both of you need to feel comfortable with that.
5. WHAT IF YOU’RE NOT READY AND YOU MOVE IN TOGETHER ANYWAY?
Moving in with your boyfriend when the time isn’t right could ruin your relationship. Plus, if your relationship is already in trouble, moving in together is not the solution to becoming closer.
Moving in with your boyfriend can be great because you get to see each other so much more. But living with your boyfriend should be something you do after giving it some serious thought. Living with your boyfriend for the wrong reasons or just kind of sliding into the relationship are not good ideas.
You also need to be prepared to deal with living with another person, annoying habits and all. When you sit down and seriously plan living with your boyfriend, making sure to weigh up all the benefits and drawbacks to it, you are much more likely to have a great experience living together. And it might mean you’re a good match for greater commitment too!