Living with your boyfriend can be one of the best decisions you'll ever make in your relationship, but it can also be a bit scary. If you’re considering this option, expect all of your friends to remind you that things may go south and you’ll be stuck in a lease from hell. Moving in together is a huge milestone in your relationship — one that will facilitate the decision of whether or not heading to the altar is in your future. Essentially, it’s a trial run for marriage.
Can you really tolerate each other at all times? Will his facial hair clippings that will line your sink every morning start to drive you insane? Will you freak out if you walk in on him watching porn?
What if he eats the last black cherry yogurt in the fridge? You can’t know for sure until you sign that lease and take up 80 percent of the space in the closet, but here are some things to consider before taking the plunge:
Everyone has annoying habits; it's just a part of being a human. But, certain habits can be potential deal-breakers. Maybe the fact that he’s a quasi pothead doesn't bother you now, but will it bother you when you're around each other all the time? It might. Or, what if one of you is a total neat freak? Sure, you love coming over to the neat freak's apartment, but living there might be another story. Will he freak out because there’s been candy wrapper on the coffee table for three days? Will you freak out because his five dishes have been in the sink for a week?
This is where that lovely thing called “compromise” comes in to play. Assure the neat freak that you will, in fact, clean up your mess. Create a system that works for the two of you — for example, dishes in the sink have a 24-hour grace period before one of you can comment.
For people who love pot or cigarettes, not being able to smoke in their own home can be an issue. Keep in mind what is more important: love or your bad habit? The answer should be pretty obvious, and if the nonsmoker wants, the smoker should simply head outside.
Sharing a pet may not initially cross your mind, but it can certainly be a big deal, especially for an animal lover (or hater). Take some time to talk about your views on pets with each other. Do you want a cat? Do you want a dog? Do you want nothing? Would you be open to getting a pet sometime in the near future? These are things to think about beforehand.
Seriously, try telling a cat-obsessed person that he or she can't have a cat. It’s not pretty. If you're the animal lover and your boyfriend decides he's cool with getting a pet just to make you happy, consider offering to take care of it and its expenses on your own.
Bills, Bills, Bills
Money makes the world go round, right? Well, according to researchers at Kansas State University, it’s also the number one reason for divorce in America. Sure, you may not be married yet but living together is pretty much just marriage without the sparkly engagement ring and legal rights. Having a conversation about money should be high on your priority list since when you share bills, your relationship becomes a bit more of a business merger.
Does one of you make a lot more money than the other? Maybe this person should pay for a higher percentage of the rent, bills and groceries. If you both earn similar amounts, split everything equally. It's way easier that way. But ultimately, it all depends on what you, as a couple, are comfortable with doing.
If you're considering moving in with your boyfriend as a 20-something girl, you're likely also thinking about marrying him in the future. If this isn’t the case, you should probably reconsider signing the lease and maybe even your relationship.
Talk about the future together and what you want in your lives, both as individuals and as a couple. Think about how he treats you, if you get along easily and if he is always there for you. Does he drop hints that he wants to keep you around for a long time? If he does, it’s definitely a good sign that it's time to move in together. Just be honest, be open to compromise and be ready to have fun.
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