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Living with Your Significant Other

Oct 12, 2007
You and the love of your life are ever growing in your relationship and are now seriously considering taking your relationship to the next level. No, not marriage, you want to move in together so you can spend every waking moment on each other's nerves. I mean in each other's loving company.

That is a big, big step. I mean HUGE! I know eventually my boyfriend and me are going to move in together and to be quite honest, the thought of that actually happening, although exciting, is also terrifying. Am I ready to share my personal space with him? What if we move in together and then find out we don't really like each other? What if he finds me absolutely boring? What if I find him boring? What if he has some kind of crazy habit like peeing in the bathroom sink? What if he becomes controlling and keeps me locked in the house? Or gets upset when I leave to hang out with my friends? So many questions are running through my mind and I figured I can't be the only one who is considering moving in with their significant other. As per usual, just bringing you guys along for the ride.

First things first

I'm hoping that you have known your significant other for more than a couple of weeks. Please don't shack up with someone you just met. Lust is a tricky thing sometimes, it can give you the illusion that you are in love with someone when you really just love the way the person makes you feel, if you catch my drift. Just wait a little longer for the infatuation to fad and see if you still love the person for who they really are.

And even if you still do, just because you are falling in love or are in love doesn't mean that you automatically have to move in together. Suzanne Alexander, Relationship Coach and Author of Can We Dance? Learning the Steps for a Fulfilling Relationship says, "There are two key factors to consider in any serious relationship before going forward into whatever the next stage for you is. One of these is whether you have a strong and established friendship. The other is how well you know each other's character--the ability to be kind, patient, courageous, truthful, faithful, thoughtful, and more." So if you are convinced that you know the person well enough to move in together then do it. But make sure you take the time to really be honest and ask yourselves: Why do we want to move in together?

Is it for financial reasons?

In theory that sounds nice and convenient but overall, if that is the only reason, is it really such a good idea? Is compromising your personal space really worth it? Consider this before shacking up together: Who is going to be responsible for the bills getting paid? Whose name are the bills going to be made out to? Are the bills going to be split 50/50? Is the person who is making more money going to have to pay more? Are there things that you are not willing to pay for? Are you going to get a joint account?

Is it to spend more time together?

"I'm over there practically every night anyway, so we might as well move in together." Is that your argument? There is a big difference between spending a lot of time together and living with someone. Let me explain. With spending lots of time together, you hang out a lot at each other's place, see each other every day and everything is great. When you've had enough you retire to your own homes. With living together, you wake up everyday and they are right there in your face. You have to put up with their habits day in and day out. There is no escape. What will you do when you have an argument? You can't go anywhere, you can't go run into your own place to regroup. You have to be able to duke it out and come to an amicable resolution. I hope your communication skills are up to par, or you are in for a rude awakening.

Do you both have the same expectations?

By that question I mean, is the purpose of you two moving in together a test before marriage? Or is this the final step for the relationship? I know for most women, when we move in with a man, we are expecting/hoping that he will eventually marry us. For men, not so much. If the man tells you he doesn't plan to get married, don't think that moving in with him will make him change his mind. "Often when a couple discusses or slides into cohabitation, they are not on the same page with goals. One person may be thinking this will lead to marriage, and the other may simply be looking for someone to share household expenses and have sex more accessible," says Alexander. So make sure to clarify this well before moving in day.

Also, p lease don't use moving in together as a last ditch effort or an attempt to fix the relationship. If you're not getting along in separate homes, then you're sure as heck not going to be able to do it living together. It is also not a way to make sure they stay faithful to you or keep an eye on them. Let's face it; if there is a will, there is a way.

In writing this article, the majority of all the research and statistics I have seen indicate that couples who move in together before marriage, do not last. Some couples use cohabitation as a way to test whether they should marry. The challenge with this setup is that it's impossible to test how you will behave in a committed relationship when you are uncommitted," says Alexander. "How can you have a 'trial marriage' while you are noting who owns the couch and whose TV you are watching? It's also important to realize that current studies show that divorce is more likely if you live together first and then marry." Geesh not to encouraging if you're one of those couples who are using this as a trial before marriage.

I know it seems like I am trying to dissuade you from moving in with your significant other, but I'm not. I'm just playing devil's advocate and throwing questions out there to really make you think about what the two of you are about to do, and make sure you are ready for it.

But don't be discouraged, I know plenty of couples who live together happily and have gone on to get married. And so far, they haven't killed each other and seem very happy together. As in any relationship, whether you are living together or apart, there are going to be ups and downs. And when it comes down to it, you should follow your heart.

Good Luck!
About the Author
ChaChanna Simpson is an editor, author, professional speaker. She has been empowering twentysomethings with real, no holds barred advice on successfully transitioning into life after college. For more articles visit Twentity.com
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