First-time cohabiter looking for advice on merging lives
January 2, 2012 7:31 PM Subscribe
First-time cohabiter with some questions on merging money/stuff/habits post-move. Advice appreciated.
posted by anonymous to human relations (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I am planning a move in with my boyfriend in March and have a few questions. I have had roommates before but never lived with a romantic partner and I want to make sure we have thought of everything and covered all the bases. It'll be almost a year together by that point and we have spent weekends together, either at my place or his, fairly regularly. We have also vacationed together. But living together is a whole other thing :) So, some questions...
1) We have decided against totally merging the money, since he has support obligations from a previous relationship and doesn't want to confuse things with my money being in his account. So we have worked out a budget where I hand him a cheque twice a month for certain shared expenses, and we each have some money for solo things (my phone, his phone, my bus pass etc) and personal money. Is it easier to open a joint bank account? Can we even do that if we aren't married?
2) Right now, I'll be left with slightly more in take-home pay than he'll have, and he has resisted efforts to even that out somehow. In a few months though, his situation will change and it's possible he'll have more. How do we plan for shared spending e.g. furniture and such given that there will be an income disparity? He does not want me contributing more just because I have it, but seems to think that once he's the one with more money, it's fine for him to spend it on joint stuff.
3) I think we have too many gadgets. We is set on keeping the Xbox and Nintendo (his) and Wii (mine) but we also have an Apple TV and three televisions between us. I have a DVD player. His Xbox can play DVDs. We can stream Netflix on five separate devices! What to keep? What to get rid of? How to best set up everything?
4) Lifestyle habits, we are pretty similar. He routinely works out at a gym in his parents building, so I am not worried about having alone time at home. And it's a big apartment in case I wanted alone time and he was home. But I am concerned about sleep habits. It's been fine while on vacation and weekends, but he is on medication which makes him tired and he goes to bed a lot earlier than I do. He sleeps like a rock and I don't think I'll wake him by going to bed later, but I want to make sure we get quality time together too. Should I go to bed when he does and just bring a book with me? Or is it okay to sometimes stay up after he's gone to bed?
5) I am pushing for a cohabitation agreement, given his support obligations. I want to make sure it's clear what assets I have and what money I have been contributing. And I want to make sure that if g-d forbid something happens to him, his ex can't take my stuff, or stuff we purchase jointly. Is this something we can DIY or do we really have to see a lawyer about this? Any tips on how to draft such a document from any mefites who have done this before?
6) Finally, any other tips and suggestions? For what it's worth, we are both mid-30s professionals. He has done this before (obviously). I've had relationships, but not any that got to this stage. Marriage is the end-goal; we've just moved up the living together timeline somewhat for financial reasons.