Moving in too soon?
August 4, 2010 5:41 PM   Subscribe

I've been in a relationship with an awesome guy for about five months, and we're thinking of moving in together. From an outsider's standpoint, is it too soon?

We both generally suck at the long-term relationship thing (both of our longest relationships lasted less than a year), but we see each other almost every other night and have yet to tire of each other's company. In general, I've seen past boyfriends one or two times a week, tops, so this is pretty unique for me.

My lease is up in three months, so we're contemplating moving in together as we're both about to start graduate school on top of having full-time jobs and figure that not only will it be a money-saver, but we''ll have very little time to spend together otherwise. We generally know each others' habits pretty well and everything, so I don't think the "awakening to each others' personalities" is going to be the issue if it doesn't work out.

I have most of the practicals down already, like going over who pays what bill, splitting the groceries, who cooks dinner, etc. I just don't know if I'm rushing this because I'm not used to spending so much time with one person and don't want it to end. So, in your experience(s), did moving in together change the relationship drastically? Do you think you moved in too soon?

Thanks for the help!
posted by amiableamy to Human Relations (43 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you thinking of moving in together now or in three months?
posted by grouse at 5:44 PM on August 4, 2010


FWIW my husband and I moved in together in five months and it worked out OK :)

But do yourselves a favour: decide now, together, how you will manage this if you decide to split. My sister just went through this and on top of being heartbreaking, it was financially very difficult to deal with.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:54 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


My honest opinion? From an outsider's standpoint, it's none of their business. Do you and your man think it's reasonable? Have you had a good discussion on it?

In one of my relationships (the relationship didn't end up working, but for unrelated reasons), we moved in 6 months into our relationship.. and we made the living conditions work quite well.

Look for a book called "Shacking Up: The Smart Girl's Guide to Living in Sin Without Getting Burned". My then girlfriend and I read through it together (it was her purchase), and it made us think about and consider a lot of things we would have otherwise overlooked. It helped tons.

As much of a non-answer as it is, I think only you and your guy can answer the question. Sit down and talk it over, maybe even over this book.
posted by frwagon at 5:54 PM on August 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've been in a relationship with an awesome guy for about five months, and we're thinking of moving in together. From an outsider's standpoint, is it too soon?

5 months? I'd say that's a bit soon.

We both generally suck at the long-term relationship thing (both of our longest relationships lasted less than a year)

Actually, really too soon.

we see each other almost every other night .... but we''ll have very little time to spend together otherwise

Slow down, honey. You're moving too fast.


Sorry to be snide. On a more serious note, if neither of you have ever done the long-term relationship thing before, set the bar at a year *minimum* before you even start thinking about this. If money's an issue, and you're going to be forced out onto the street unless the two of you pool your money to pay rent, I might be able to make an exception in your case.

Your situation sounds quite nice at the moment. However, if things go south and you're living together, it will destroy you (and also possibly leave one of you with a partial lease on an apartment that you can't afford).
posted by schmod at 6:01 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Talking about how you would manage if the relationship does not work out sounds like a good idea. You'll never know until you try it, and nothing in what you describe is setting off warning bells from my perspective.
posted by kch at 6:01 PM on August 4, 2010


5 months? I'd say that's a bit soon.

8 months. Right?
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:03 PM on August 4, 2010


Anecdotally, my boyfriend and I moved in together after knowing one another for six weeks. We've been together for close to three years now.

Of course our relationship changed drastically once we were living together. Going from staying the night at someone's house to splitting household chores creates a completely different dynamic.

As others have said, make sure you both have exit strategies just in case. Make sure you've thought about bills, cleaning, and the like (it sounds like you have). We didn't really consider the cleaning aspect of things beforehand, which created some problems.

Don't worry about what other people say. Their opinions don't matter, especially if they don't have all of the information. Make sure you're solid in your decision and then go for it!
posted by Aleen at 6:09 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Honestly, my husband and I moved in together about two months after we met, a month after we got together. He kept his apartment for a few months after that, but he spent a grand total of one evening there. (Not even the night, just a couple of hours.) Moreover, we worked together for the first two years of our relationship...and we shared an office for about eighteen months of that.

We've been together for 3+ years, married for two of them, and it's still awesome. Too soon? Not so much.

You said you've already gotten most of the practical stuff worked out, so I assume that this is something that you guys have discussed. You've got three months, right? Call that a trial run--pick a place and decide that's where the two of you are living for the next two months. If, two months from now, you're still going "Yeah, we should totally do this!" then I think that you'll have your answer.

Regarding the "outsider's standpoint", fuck 'em. It's none of their business anyway. If you're happy and he's happy, they should shut up.
posted by MeghanC at 6:12 PM on August 4, 2010


My parents moved in together after two weeks. They're about to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Of course, YMMV. And it *was* the 70s.
posted by charmcityblues at 6:19 PM on August 4, 2010


I moved in with a guy after knowing him for 2 or 3 months. We've been together 14 years, married for the past 10 years.

It worked for us. YMMV.
posted by ellenaim at 6:22 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


My husband and I were effectively living together after a few weeks of dating and officially moved in together after about 2 months and got married after 6 months and everything is great! When you know, you know.

In your case it sounds pretty practical. If you're worried about things working out, put aside some money to fund moving out if necessary.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:26 PM on August 4, 2010


We moved in sooner than that, and we are still married quite a few years later. Make sure a) you are moving into a place with enough space for both of you (what that means specifically depends on your needs -- separate bedrooms? one bookshelf each?) and b) you both have an escape hatch if things don't work out -- you don't want one or both of you to feel trapped into living together for an entire year if things fall apart in the first week.
posted by Forktine at 6:27 PM on August 4, 2010


Not too soon.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:31 PM on August 4, 2010


The thing that jumped out at me is that you'll both be starting grad school and working fulltime. This is a recipe for stress. How much serious stress have you experienced as a couple thus far? Be honest with yourselves and each other.
posted by rtha at 6:31 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


We moved in about 6-7 months in and it was a complete fuck-up. It was AWFUL. We're still together and all that and quite happy sharing a tiny studio apartment but, brrr. It's stressful, in my experience, more stressful than getting married, by far.

Frankly, being busy makes me think it's a bad idea to move in together--the stress of jobs and school AND moving in together when you have no experience with it--it doesn't sound like something I'd do.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:33 PM on August 4, 2010


Met my GF on a dating Web site in December. We've been living together since June 1. We started discussing moving in around January and serious talks commenced in Feb. Too soon? We've both had friends who haven't met one of us say -- "Oh. Really? Really???" But we say, "Yep." And that's that. It's been pretty damn good.
posted by Buffaload at 6:48 PM on August 4, 2010


I notice something consistent about a number of people here stating they moved in together after what may be considered a short span of time: they're married.

Just something to think about.
posted by griphus at 6:50 PM on August 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


When it's right, it's right. I honestly don't think it matters whether you've been together for five months or five years - you're either both similarly-wound and similarly-committed to making things work, or you're not. Jump in with both feet! (But KEEP YOUR OWN CHECKING ACCOUNT AND MAD MONEY. Aside from that, go nuts!)
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:53 PM on August 4, 2010


Put me down for too soon. I'm a grad student and I've seen a lot of couples of other grad students move in together at 5, 6, or 8 months. They do it for the same reasons you're contemplating it: it seems like a good way to save money. Oh, and also, they've all since broken up, and the breakups were all intensely stressful affairs, involving frantic apartment-hunting and lease-breaking.

But really, what concerns me is less the time frame than your reasoning. From what I've seen, couples do well when they move in together because they love each other and want to make the relationship more serious without getting married (this is what my non-grad school friends do). They don't do as well when they move in together for practical/financial reasons.
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:03 PM on August 4, 2010


You are ONLY going to get anecdotes that say "yes, it's too soon, it didn't work for me" or "no, it's not too soon, worked for me." Sorry, but we just can't help you.

I am consistently AMAZED at how quickly folks on MetaFilter seem to move in with one another, truly, it baffles me and I think it's insane, INSANE.

Then, I think about the fact that I've been with my boyfriend for 4 years and we've never even MENTIONED living together, and I'm 40, and somehow I think that's normal (others will disagree).

It's all up to you and what you can stand. Do I think it's nuts? Yes. Do others think *I'm* nuts? Hells yes.

Do YOU think you're nuts?
posted by tristeza at 7:07 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I moved in with my wife-to-be after about 8 months. I guess it didn't work out as we just got separated after 18 years of marriage.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:09 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Griphus makes a very good point. My wife and I moved in together about six months after we started dating, but before I gave up my apartment, we had THE TALK, and I moved in with the understanding that just living together wasn't the end goal, marriage was the end goal. So our expectations of how things would be were probably different than if we were just going to stay boyfriend and girlfriend.

Is it too soon for you? Hard to say. But make sure that both of you have the same understanding of what each other expects the end result to be. If one of you is thinking marriage and the other isn't, there will be conflicting expectations of how the relationship should grow.
posted by ralan at 7:21 PM on August 4, 2010


I started seriously dating my husband in January of 2005 and moved into his house in March/April. I was 21. We got married when I was 23. I had my first child at barely 25. I'm now only 26, but expecting my second. Looking back on this, I could not imagine how any 21 year old could hold together a new relationship, moving in, and then being engaged in short succession. But it seemed natural at the time, and it worked.

What worked for us was keeping finances separate, because we're both frugal in different ways and it was a fight we didn't ever really want to have. Honestly, until we had our son and I lost my job shortly thereafter, we still had everything separate and split everything equally. I still have my own checking and savings, he has his, but now we just don't argue about whose turn it is to buy groceries - it really is all the same in the end.
posted by kpht at 7:38 PM on August 4, 2010


Its up to you whether it feels right. You really cannot ask us. We are not in your emotional shoes. Me personally, I know I could never move in with any man who isn't my husband. That's just how I flow. This could be something that works for both of you, and it may not. But you have to make your own decision. Asking friends doesn't hurt either. That's why they're there. Regardless...

"You must begin to trust yourself.
If you do not, then you will forever be looking to others
to prove your own merit to you, and you will never be satisfied.
You will always be asking others what to do
and at the same time resenting those from whom you seek such aid."
-Unknown
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 7:38 PM on August 4, 2010


I think it's a little too soon (I'd wait a year, minimum, personally and that's what I did), but I'm more concerned about the grad school and busy-ness. Moving in together did change our relationship pretty drastically. It was definitely in a good way, but it required a lot of time and energy, both of which sound like they'll be in short supply in your lives. Living with someone is not like having sleepovers every night. I don't know why it's different, but it is. We hadn't spent a night apart in a year by the time we shared a home, but it still changed things.

My sister told me that getting used to living with someone was actually harder than getting married to that person (they lived together after the wedding). She commended me for getting the hard part out of the way first. I see that someone else in this thread mentioned that as well, so I wanted to give it a little more weight. If you feel that you don't have the time or energy to devote to a marriage right now, then I'd say you don't have the time or energy to devote to living together. We dated a little over a year, we've been living together a little over a year and we're getting married next month.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:43 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


"We generally know each others' habits pretty well and everything"

I mean no offense here, but, no. You don't. Everything changes when it's not you staying with him in his space or him staying with you in your space. Once it's "our space", everything changes. Not always for the worse, but everything changes.

I've seen couples move in quickly and have it work. I've seen more fail miserably.

In my opinion, you're making a mistake. Grad school will be hard enough without having to go through the madness of a failed live-in relationship. On the other hand, if this relationship is going to last, there's no harm in not speeding it up right now. If grad school is important to you, focus on that.

Best of luck!
posted by 2oh1 at 7:58 PM on August 4, 2010


My now-husband and I moved in together after five months (though we'd known each other for a long time) and got engaged after eight months, so griphus makes a good point. As I hadn't lived with a partner before him and were in a long distance relationship for those five months, we talked a lot about it prior to moving in, including my fear of dirty socks being all over the floor- and even details like this helped, as we knew beforehand what some of our small irritants would be.

I very much agree with peanut_mcgillicuty that it's different living with someone, especially if you're both going from living alone to living with each other. One thing I am glad we did was pick out a new apartment together so it wasn't me moving into his space (which would have been the case as I was moving to his city), and so we could arrange furniture, organize closets, and decorate together without any of the territorial issues. This was really helpful for me, as I didn't feel like I was crashing as his place but really felt like it was our apartment.

Granted, this might not be feasible given deposits and leases, but the idea remains that making it feel like a shared place will be important given all the other stressors in both of your lives.

And definitely keep finances separate, work out bill payments and household chores ahead of time (with flexibility, but it'll decrease the stress given other responsibilities), and discuss expectations for the relationship as far as if this is a step forward or simply a practical move, in which case be honest about that fact and make sure you're both on the same page. Though if it's more of a practical move than a step forward, I'd advise against.
posted by questionsandanchors at 8:06 PM on August 4, 2010


Thing is, I really do think we'd be doing this whether or not we were looking at it being a money-saver, just to spend more time together. The financial benefit is just an added plus. I've done the moving-in thing before and it didn't work out, mostly because I moved into his place and he thought of it as his place, not mine.

I appreciate all the input. I realize I shouldn't put the whole decision onto the shoulders of MetaFilter's community, just figured it couldn't hurt. Thanks, guys.
posted by amiableamy at 8:38 PM on August 4, 2010


"Thing is, I really do think we'd be doing this whether or not we were looking at it being a money-saver, just to spend more time together."

I'm going to assume most of us knew that already.
I'm going to assume it wouldn't have changed many (if any) of our replies.
posted by 2oh1 at 8:44 PM on August 4, 2010


In the abstract, five months seems a bit quick. If nothing else, it's good to have a sense of the kind of roommate you're acquiring - you can get that secondhand while sleeping at one another's places.

But here's the Very Big Deal: you don't get to know in advance whether it's gonna work out. Stop trying to figure that out, stop sharing content-free opinions like 'I suck at the long-term relationship thing,' and ask yourself: am I gonna work hard to get this right? If the answer is yes, do what you want. If not, you just learned something. Act on it.

There's no way of knowing what the 'right time' is. Having a baby, taking a job, moving in together, starting a big project: the right time is whenever you're willing to work hard and stay balanced.

The better you know someone, the better-prepared you'll be when moving day comes. But you don't have to be prepared. Some folks do well to dive in headfirst. Some folks need to circle around a while, work themselves up into the right state.

You probably know nothing at all about live-in relationships, like any other youngish person, and the way you're going to learn - which you must do - is by diving into one and figuring things out for yourself.

You have a responsibility to make mistakes and learn from them. Go do that. From a thermodynamic standpoint the outcome doesn't matter anyway, so what the hell are you waiting for?
posted by waxbanks at 9:23 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Me and my boy moved in after 5 months. Things here are wonderful.

Things you should discuss -

*How bills will be paid. We decided to get a dedicated, bills only joint checking account. But you can do what's best for you. But this is something that should totally be discussed.

*What you'll do when you want alone time. We know that if we want to be alone, we can just say it. It's not an issue right now, since I work a crazy schedule and we relish our together time. But you get the idea.

Those were the big 2 for us, but YMMV. Good luck! :D
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:32 PM on August 4, 2010


Thing is, I really do think we'd be doing this whether or not we were looking at it being a money-saver, just to spend more time together. The financial benefit is just an added plus

I would recommend either:
  1. Spending the extra money to get a two bedroom apartment, so that, if one party had to live there alone, he or she could get a roommate.
  2. or
  3. Renting a place small enough that either of you could afford it on your own.
Honestly? I think that looking at this as a romantic decision (especially as it's one made while you guys are in the throes of falling in love, which will undoubtedly not be how you're feeling in a year or so--even if you still love each other) rather than a financial decision is a mistake.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:40 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, because someone has to say it (and undoubtedly will, so I may as well suggest it now)--I suspect you're in college. Many college relationships don't survive graduation. Many new relationships don't survive graduate school, either--of the 10 women in relationships in my incoming grad school class, only two of us were in relationships by the end; the other couple had a baby, and I'd been with my now-husband for five years at that point. That's not to say it's doomed--there are outliers--but grad school can truly test relationships, especially new ones. Just something to think about before you commit financially.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:49 PM on August 4, 2010


While these things can undoubtedly get messy... They can so be great. And for anyone to tell you that you DON'T know each other before moving in is a little presumptuous, no? I didn't find it made a huge difference. Yep, my partner is a bit disorganized and kind of slobby. I knew that. MAybe you will be surprised but there's nothing definative to say that you don't. I say do it, but do have those chores and bills and break up talks first.
posted by jojobobo at 2:12 AM on August 5, 2010


Knowing little about your personal relationship, all I can refer to is the science. And the science says: Don't.

A quick JSTOR search will turn up countless longitudinal research studies that show a clear correlation between pre-marital cohabitation and divorce. Correlation /=/ causation obviously, but even controlling for extraneous variables, the relationship's still there, even if yours isn't anymore.
posted by smistephen at 5:55 AM on August 5, 2010


I moved in with 'moonMan after three months. Three months of dating that were on the heels of both of us ending long term relationships. All of our friends thought it was too soon.

We're about to get married and we're due with our first child in March. Only you know if it was too soon. You're wise to get the practical stuff under your belt first, but what really matters is your chemistry. If you're happy together, you can make it work. If you make each other irritated, it'll be more difficult.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:43 AM on August 5, 2010


On a superficial read, you have just one question but looking more carefully, there is a lot more going on.

From an outsider's standpoint, is it too soon?

Outsiders can't answer such questions any better than people asking for answers to questions like what are the long term prospects of a libra man with a scorpio woman. It may be fun to find out just for the heck of it but not the best idea to figure out something serious.

We both generally suck at the long-term relationship thing (both of our longest relationships lasted less than a year), but we see each other almost every other night
In general, I've seen past boyfriends one or two times a week, tops, so this is pretty unique for me.

Maybe try not to make it a numbers game? Is it possible that its the quality of interactions and bond between the individuals involved that made them last less than a year, in which case you really don't suck at long-term relationships- you just weren't with the right person.

so we're contemplating moving in together as we're both about to start graduate school on top of having full-time jobs

Just based on this one statement, as an outsider in graduate school with a bias- moving in is a bad, bad, bad idea.

but we''ll have very little time to spend together otherwise.


You want to spend quality time together- when you are in school and stressed out, this will be an outlet. You will make time for this if you really want it. If you are living with this person and not getting along (lets just speculate the possibility), your stress levels will go off the roof! It won't matter then what caused the stress and what exacerbated it but the relationship may be affected in a not-so-positive way.

so I don't think the "awakening to each others' personalities" is going to be the issue if it doesn't work out.

There will be some sort of awakening, rest assured.


I have most of the practicals down already

But have you discussed these with him? Even if he said yes now, how do you know he is going to be able to keep his word or do all the chores as per your plan under the stresses of school and a full time job? What is his stress style- how does he cope with it? Your cut and dried plan may not have (and possibly just can't) accounted for all these things.

I just don't know if I'm rushing this because I'm not used to spending so much time with one person and don't want it to end.


Not moving in would end it?? That would end the relationship. On the other hand, if you don't get along or such, how is school going to be affected by it? Would you rather take a risk with the relationship or school?

You may want to use the Best/Worst Analysis from Ben Carson's book, Take the Risk. That might help you figure out what's the best option you want to go along with without outsiders making you more ambivalent.
posted by xm at 7:50 AM on August 5, 2010


A quick JSTOR search will turn up countless longitudinal research studies that show a clear correlation between pre-marital cohabitation and divorce.

How many of these studies state the acceptability of divorce in the cultures of the couples who do not move in together before marriage?
posted by griphus at 7:54 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Lots of folks have chimed in here, but one other thing came to mind. Only you're going to be able to effectively answer the question of "too soon" for you both, BUT I would strongly consider how this will affect the relationship. If you guys are really the bee's knees together, there can be an advantage in intentionally moving a bit slower, so that you can savor the stages a bit more. Things really do change when you live together, even if you were previously spending almost all of your time with one another. Seeing each other becomes less of an event, and it's far easier to get into a roommate sort of routine.

So, maybe consider waiting a bit simply because things are good, and it's not always a bad idea to just enjoy what you have for a little longer, before moving upwards and onwards.
posted by iftheaccidentwill at 7:55 AM on August 5, 2010


I moved in with Supercres after 6 months of dating, and we're getting married in 7 months.

We are in totally pretty different places in our lives. I'm still an undergrad (creative writing/lit major) who works a full time job, he's a engineering/neuroscience graduate working in a research lab at UPenn. It's amazing that we even worked out, but I swear. The moment I met him, I just knew. I can't explain it at all. I just knew I'd do anything for him, and I found out a short while later that he felt the same.

Previously, I had been in a long relationship in which I lived with that partner for about four years. It was clearly not right from the very start. After that, I vowed not to move out with someone again unless we were definitely getting married (the dude proposed or we made plans to do such a thing).

I don't remember how it came up with us exactly, but I explained my rule and he made it fairly clear that I was the lady with whom he'd like to spend the rest of his life. So, that was that. We made the plans in November, and I moved in with him in January. And then in February, he proposed.

It hasn't all been peaches and cream, that's for sure. But, it's much easier than any relationship I've ever been in, and even it it was hard, I'd want to do it anyway. Isn't that the point?
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:25 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Following up on this, I should point out that the non-peaches and cream points haven't really been domestic-issue-based. For example, we both have sort of the same laissez-faire attitude about the dishes in the sink or magazines on the bedroom floor. I think that's one of those important things that you don't learn until you move in, and we're lucky it turned out on the side of "compatible".

Practical reasons, like convenience or money, are not the best when it comes to motivating a move-in. I would just wait until you just can't stand not living with your boyfriend anymore. You'll know when that is. Fuck anyone who says it's too soon.
posted by supercres at 8:31 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to have an arbitrary rule that i would not live with someone unless i'd dated them for at least a year. I then met someone, things clicked, he needed a place to crash (or otherwise would have ended up in a dreadful 'room that was once something else now doubling as a bedroom without a closet' space) about three months into our relationship. It went fine, he went off to grad school a few months later, then a year after that, I moved to where he was located and eight years later, we're still living together and madly in love.

The important thing is communication, and respecting needs and boundaries. The fact that you're stopping to question if this is a good thing (or not) to me says you've got a handle on making it work, and it working well. The times where I've seen it fail among family and friends is when the move happens with utterly ZERO thought, or only passing thought.
posted by kuppajava at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2010


If you both have similar views of the future, move in. I moved in with my SO after two months, but we both had past long-term committed relationships and we both knew what we were looking for in a partner.

It was very stressful, though. But moving always sucks. Good luck!
posted by thebeagle at 1:52 PM on August 10, 2010


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