Moving in with my girlfriend, what should I know?
May 24, 2013 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I am moving in with my girlfriend this weekend and would like to know what to expect. What are some things I should keep in mind to help everything go as smoothly as it can?

We have had our ups and downs, but we are both crazy about each other. I have had my reservations about moving in with my girlfriend and have gone back and forth for months. I realize that I definitely have some commitment problems that I have realized come from my fears of getting older and missing out on stages of life (different topic altogether). I am in my mid twenties and am trying to remember that being in a relationship with someone I love can be a significant part of life. In the past I have had relationships fall apart from under me because of my fear of moving forward in a relationship and opening up. I am working on this.

At this point I have decided that one great way I can work on this is to put aside my fears and just go for it, so we are moving in together. She is moving into my apartment and my current lease is up in August. At this point, I can evaluate how things went and if we want to look for a new apartment together or apart (is this a good mindset going into things?). So, I would like to ask those of you who have a similar experience, what are some things I should keep in mind? What are some things I should think about to get rid of some of these irrational fears? How can I keep some of my independence while co-habitating? Thanks in advance!
posted by *lostatsea* to Human Relations (47 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should also let you know that we have known each other for about 2.5 years and have been dating for 1 year and 3 months.
posted by *lostatsea* at 11:12 AM on May 24, 2013

Plan time where you are doing your own things. Have hobbies and activities that are entirely your own.

Plan time that you are together and doing entirely novel things, like taking a class or traveling.

Talk about things that annoy you or are difficult early on in neutral terms, before they grow big and emotional.

A big part of long term relationships is being a team. Real love is stuff like being able to get two cats to a vet visit and back with a minimum of injury, or making a nice meal for your partner when you know they really need it.
posted by poe at 11:17 AM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]

OH! I almost forgot! Have fun! You are doing this because it is delightful.
posted by poe at 11:19 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Put the toilet seat down.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:19 AM on May 24, 2013 [15 favorites]


What are some things I should think about to get rid of some of these irrational fears?

They're not irrational, they're perfectly legitimate and valid, and very, very common. Each new chapter in your life means the end of "what was" so even if your future looks awesome, there's always something left behind. Ambivalence is ok.

The best thing you can do is communicate with your girlfriend. Fear of opening up/intimacy is going to cause more trouble in the long run than fear of getting older. It doesn't have to be a heavy conversation all the time. Just "yikes I'm excited but kind of nervous about this!" or "your stuff is taking over the bathroom, I'm going to claim this drawer for my stuff." If you hold it in and avoid it and try to push it down, it will come out in unhealthy ways, that's where the big heavy unpleasant talks come from. So just say what's on your mind in a timely manner, and ask her to do the same.

How can I keep some of my independence while co-habitating?

Plan separate time into your routines. Get up before her if you crave quiet morning time. Have poker night at your place and she can have a regular night out.

But make sure you do fun things together, and plan adventures. You're moving in together because you enjoy each other's company more than anyone else's. That feeling will wax and wane but keep it in mind.
posted by headnsouth at 11:21 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Remember that all of your behaviour is on display. One of you is going to watch more TV than the other, play more video games than the other, sleep in longer on the weekends than the other, drink more beer than the other, eat wonderbread and nutella instead of dinner more than the other, waste hours on wikipedia more than the other.

All of these things that you're used to thinking of being nobody's business but yours are suddenly going to be hanging out there.

I mention this for two reasons. First, you should prepare yourself at least a little bit for her to occasionally say something like "You're playing that game again tonight?" (or whatever your individual leisure activity might be). It's not an attack on you and, truth be told, most of us can gain from having someone to push us from our path-of-least-resistance at least a little. And secondly, you should try to remember that she's not used to having to justify her behaviour to anyone else either. So keep your mouth shut at least some of the time when she pours herself a drink at two in the afternoon on a saturday or whatever.
posted by 256 at 11:22 AM on May 24, 2013 [23 favorites]

Be prepared to adapt. I know you've heard that, but I still want to stress it. You are going to be living with someone with entirely different habits. Where they put the toothbrush, when they shower, when they want to watch tv. If they talk during tv shows.

These things are not important. That you love her is important. You both will get used to it, after a few months.

Nthing planning time alone. If you spend too much time together, you'll start to go nuts. And then you'll feel bad for feeling nuts since you love her.

You're going to have moments that make it perfectly 100% worthwhile. Many of these moments, hopefully. You get to share your intimate life with her, your insecurities, and your weird weird quirks. Like changing your underwear twice a day. These things are okay for your partner to know, and these things are okay for you to be insecure about the first time you share them with your SO. But stupid things like that enrich your relationship so much. At least in my experience.

You're going to be freaked out about moving in together. I was. I was so scared I broke up with her. I got smarter, she took me back when I came crawling back a few weeks later, and now I'm very very very happy with all of it. So be scared. But realize that you want to do it, and that's part of why you're scared. You're scared of new things, no matter how great they could be.

Don't expect to have control. It was your apartment, but now it's both of your apartment. She is going to have an equal amount of control. It's going to be annoying at first. She'll move your stuff. She'll put the groceries and dishes in the wrong spot. Personally, don't mention if at first. Nitpicking isn't what you need in that first x amount of time. And really, those things don't matter, do they?
posted by trogdole at 11:28 AM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

what are some things I should keep in mind?

Expect to discover new things about each other—and about the general condition of cohabitation, if this is your first experience—and expect that you won't like all of those things. Take a breath and say to yourself, "I'm smart, and I already knew that. Yet even knowing it in advance, I will nevertheless be surprised. I will try not to be shocked when I am surprised." Expect that you'll discover new things about yourself, too, especially about emotions and reactions that you will exhibit.

Generally speaking, people's cohabitation habits are formed in family settings. In some ways this is good. In others, you'll need to adapt. She isn't your sister or your mother or your grandpa; and your habits are probably conditioned to live with those people, not your girlfriend. It's very much like—in fact, it is—learning a new skill. Approach it that way, tailor your effort and your expectations accordingly, and you'll be five steps ahead of anyone else in a similar circumstance. Good luck, and have fun!
posted by cribcage at 11:29 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

If there is anything you've been doing for her on a regular basis, like bringing her flowers, writing her poems/songs, surprising her with small gifts, etc. DO NOT stop doing them now that you've moved in together.
posted by Brody's chum at 11:29 AM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

At this point, I can evaluate how things went and if we want to look for a new apartment together or apart (is this a good mindset going into things?)

Does she know that you're considering this a trial run that may end in August? If not, I think you owe it to her to be honest with her so that she can decide whether she's okay with that. If she considers this to be the next permanent step in your relationship, and you're looking at it as a sort of audition, then I think it's likely that this is going to end badly.

The bottom line is that the two of you need to communicate clearly about your feelings and plans. That's the advice I would have both for strengthening your relationship and for, if you decide to move in together, living together harmoniously.
posted by decathecting at 11:30 AM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

She is moving into my apartment and my current lease is up in August. At this point, I can evaluate how things went and if we want to look for a new apartment together or apart (is this a good mindset going into things?).

This seems like a very rational plan but both parties must be as rational as androids to actually decide to move apart without breaking up and/or lots of emotional discussion. Given your previous questions about your girlfriend's depression and suicidal ideation I would strongly caution against this move. Decide if you want to renew your lease or get a new apartment, then move in and know that it's for the long haul.
posted by bleep at 11:32 AM on May 24, 2013

The best advice about cohabitation I ever got is the acronym HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If either of you are any of these things, there is probably going to be a fight. If there is a fight, it stands a good chance of being kind of nasty. In short, watch your blood sugar. Low blood sugar can have catastrophic consequences when you live with someone.

Figure out where your boundaries are and which ones you absolutely can't compromise on. Encourage her to do the same.

Buy bedclothes (except the fitted sheet - that should be the same size as the bed) one size larger than your bed. If you have a full-sized bed, get queen-sized sheets and comforters and such.

If this is the same girlfriend who struggles with depression and threatened suicide, please make sure she has a long-term plan in place to keep a handle on that. I mean something firm, something very concrete, not just vague and noncommittal changes. You said she has periods of months when she's okay and then months-long periods of extreme depression. That can be difficult enough when dating someone, but when living with them - especially if you've never tried cohabitation before - it will kind of be an atomic bomb.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:34 AM on May 24, 2013 [6 favorites]

Put the toilet seat down.
This is really a stand-in for all kinds of things you both need to do to be considerate of each other. Part of moving in together is doing things that let your relationship grow. But the other part is just plain practical: who is going to do what in terms of housework, shopping. If one of you has a higher tolerance for clutter, the other is going to get upset. So if you're the clutter-tolerant one, you are going to have to pick up after yourself more often. Establish early on that each of you will communicate to the other about those kinds of preferences and tolerances, kind of on a no-fault basis, and that you will each listen and adapt.
posted by beagle at 11:36 AM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

You are going to fight, probably about dumb things. It can fuel the panic of "oh god what have I done?!" Every couple I know has done this.

Recognize when you need time to be alone, and take it.
posted by inertia at 11:40 AM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

She is moving into my apartment and my current lease is up in August. At this point, I can evaluate how things went and if we want to look for a new apartment together or apart (is this a good mindset going into things?).

Oh and also, this should really say "we can evaluate how things went". From now on you have to think of the two of you as a team who makes decisions together; not as a project that you're the manager of. If that thought gives you pause, do not move in together. Also think about if you're doing this so you can grow as a person more than you want to take this particular relationship to the next level. Be very honest with yourself. If you find it's more about your own issues than about the relationship, do not move in together.
posted by bleep at 11:40 AM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

1. Discuss IN ADVANCE how household chores are going to work. Who does what when. Trust me, this saves many fights later on.
2. Discuss IN ADVANCE how groceries are going to work. (I recommend opening up a joint account that you each deposit x$ in to it each month, and that is where you purchase all the groceries from. If you need more $ you both put in the same extra amount.)
3. You've probably been in your apartment for a while and have "places" for things and specific ways you do stuff. This goes all the way from the silverware drawer to your bedtime routines to how you fold the sheets. Understand NOW that she might not put things the same places or do things the same way. This doesn't make her right and you wrong, nor does it make you right and her wrong. You get to discuss and decide together how those things will work in your now-joint home. Try hard not to do a lot of "No, the sheets get folded this way" and more of "I'm used to folding them this way. How do you usually fold them?"
4. The habits and expectations you two set NOW are likely to be the ones that stick around for a long time. If something is seriously pissing you off, don't just let it go. Have a discussion.
5. Frankly, get used to an increase in silly little disagreements (but also expect an increase in a lot of good stuff too.)
6. Still do things outside the home. Go on dates. It is really easy to spend way too much time together, alone, in the house when you first move in because it is exciting and you love each other, but you need to keep doing things outside the house too.
7. Make a point of taking note of the awesome things that come with living together. For me it is that I get to fall asleep in my fiance's arms every night, and every morning he gives me cuddles before I go to the gym.
8. It has been my experience that often the fights are harder because you can't escape (if you know what I mean). You can't leave and go to your separate houses to cool off. It is easy to feel forced in to staying in a cranky emotional house, making you feel worse, when all you want is to just have a bit of space to cool down. For that reason discuss in advance that if an argument is going in a bad direction and you need a break that either of you is allowed to say that and then go for a walk or something to cool off.
9. A couple small gestures would probably do a lot for making this a much easier transition. Stuff like already having a couple of her favourite foods in the fridge. Maybe do something cheesy like hanging up a "WELCOME HOME". Have a "His" and "Hers" toothbrush holder. Those small things will do a LOT for making her feel welcomed and like it is her home too.
10. Find ways to have some alone time. For me, I go to the gym at 5:30 every morning before work. It gives me some solid "me" time, and it gives him some alone time every morning. We also have the same sort of in reverse, where when we have custody of his step son (which is half the time) he will take him to Beavers and I stay home. That is MY home chill out time, and that is when he can putter about town (until Beavers is done) doing whatever he wants. These times are important. Carve them out early.

Be excited for this! It can be a super fun, amazing, exciting thing! Get a bottle of wine, order in your favourite food, and celebrate!
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:41 AM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Yes, this is the same girlfriends who struggles with depression and threatened suicide. This is probably also one of my fears about moving in. Last winter was ROUGH. She has gotten help and the medication is working well. What's the worse thing that can happen though? We have a nasty breakup and things end terribly. I will never know unless I try, we have to move forward at some point in the relationship.
posted by *lostatsea* at 11:41 AM on May 24, 2013

You're asking "What's the worst thing that can happen?" regarding someone who's threatened suicide?
Please think about this very deeply before you go through with it. If you wait until your lease is up you will have given yourself plenty of time to think and it's a good way to bring it up with her too.
posted by bleep at 11:45 AM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

Everything above of course. Carve out alone time, share chores, and don't let things fester. If either of you is upset about something, better to have a small fight over it sooner than let it fester and become a big fight later.

On the upside, you'll probably both save money by sharing rent, utility bills, etc. Squirrel some of it away for fun travel on Valentine's day or your birthdays or what have you.

And if you like to entertain, do it. Planning and executing cocktail parties and such is good team building.
posted by vrakatar at 11:46 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

What's the worse thing that can happen though? We have a nasty breakup and things end terribly.

Which will be nastier because there will be sharing the same space while broken up, the logistics of moving your things out and dividing up any shared property, etc., etc.

Do you ever intend to marry this person? Is that even on the table? Have you talked about it? Are you thinking about that at all, or is moving in together just the "next step" you figure you should take, and you figure you'll think about the other stuff when it comes up later as the "next step" after that?
posted by deanc at 11:49 AM on May 24, 2013

Response by poster: @bleep Believe me, I have thought about this for months. I didn't mean to sound flippant with my 'What's the worst thing that can happen?' comment, sorry about that. I am aware of how serious this is.
posted by *lostatsea* at 11:51 AM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

In addition to being considerate (e.g. the toilet seat), don't take each other and the little things you do for granted. My boyfriend and I have lived together--quite successfully!--for about two years now (together for 4.5) and I credit a great deal of our harmony to this kind dynamic: if he takes the garbage out, I notice and say thank you. If he normally feeds the cat and I take care of it because he's getting home late, he acknowledges it and says thank you. If he's using my laptop, he always takes it back to the other room to plug it in to make sure it's not dead the next time I go to use it--this makes me happy because it shows he cares enough about me enough to respect my stuff and I've made a point to TELL him that. If one of us is emptying the dishwasher, the other will say, "You go relax, I can take care of that," and the first one says, "Oh no, you sit down, I can take care of it", and the other says, "Then I'll help and we can do it together".

We're hyper-polite to each-other, and it may seem weird to some people but I've observed in some of my friends' relationships that sometimes things get stale when you are in a serious, long-term relationship because you get TOO comfortable with each other and you get lazy about how you treat them--probably because moving in together IS a big step commitment-wise and something in the back of your mind tells you that you don't have to try quite as hard to impress the other person. Don't fall prey to this. I think when people get lazy--physically AND emotionally--that chips away at a relationship over time.
posted by lovableiago at 11:53 AM on May 24, 2013 [17 favorites]

Response by poster: @deanc We have discussed marriage and both on the same page with that. Whether or not I intend to marry this person is a question that I don't think I can answer right now. Marriage is something that we are both unsure of in life in general at this point.
posted by *lostatsea* at 11:54 AM on May 24, 2013

You are going to develop some new rituals, so you may as well craft them deliberately. This is a precious opportunity to shape your long term future together. Dream big. What makes you happier than anything else? So our moving ritual was Chinese takeout and screwing on the living room floor the first night.
posted by okbye at 11:54 AM on May 24, 2013

Are you prepared to live with someone who may not be doing well this winter too? Just think on it.

I'm the one like your girlfriend in my relationship, but I'm not as bad imho. My girlfriend was not prepared to deal with my emotions in that kind of situation. I got bad, and despondent, and lazy, and bedridden. And the worse I got, the more helpless + annoyed that she felt. And that made me feel worse. We almost broke up because of it, before I managed to get better.

You will end up having to deal with living with someone who is NOT happy, and who is not getting better quickly, and who you can not cheer up. It will suck energy out of the apartment. You will feel like you're walking on eggshells. It will suck.

I still think that if you love her and you think this is right, definitely do it. But please be prepared for ALL situations, not just when you guys are happy and things are rainbows and butterflies.
posted by trogdole at 11:54 AM on May 24, 2013

I didn't mean to sound flippant with my 'What's the worst thing that can happen?' comment

To my ears, you didn't come off as flippant. There are some people who minimize, brush off, or ignore mental-health issues as if those issues are merely posturing or "drama"; and there are other people who treat mental-health issues akin to leprosy and treat people who have/had mental-health issues as irreparably broken (at least, with respect to being relationship material). The former are rare on MetaFilter, the latter are pretty common.

Don't move in blindly with someone who has mental-health issues. Don't move in blindly with anyone, ever. Otherwise there's a boatload of middle ground and various ways to navigate it, and in all likelihood you'll be fine like the many, many, many other people around you who do this every day, some with mental-health issues and others not. Beware the hysterics.
posted by cribcage at 12:03 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Clean" means very different things to different people. Make sure you each know what the other person wants and expects of himself/herself and the other person in regards to cleanliness and other household tasks. Examples:
  • How often will sheets be changed?
  • How often will the bathroom be cleaned and to whose standard?
  • Does "doing laundry" include folding it and putting it away?
  • Does "doing dishes" include putting them away?
  • Does "cooking" include grocery shopping?
The person with the higher standard must be able to articulate their standard of cleaning (e.g., "No streaks on the shower door" rather than "The shower door needs to be clean. No, better... like... cleaner."). Sit down and write out all of your expectations like you're leaving a list for a housesitter (not a housekeeper, because a housekeeper knows the job). Negotiate what each of you is willing to do. Live up to your half of the list scrupulously, and utterly ignore any shortfall on her side unless it becomes chronic, at which point don't talk about how well you adhere to the arrangement.

Which leads into the big one: Don't keep score. She will annoy you in myriad small ways. You will also be annoying her at the same time, sometimes for the same things. Don't save these annoyances like relationship credits that you can whip out defensively. Learn to love them, or ask her to stop when she does them.
posted by Etrigan at 12:11 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Living with someone involves an agreement about the fairness of task responsibilities. You will be happier if you agree on how to split the household assignments.

When one of you cooks, the other cleans up. Who pays for food, utilities, rent, fixing the things that break? Perhaps the answer is that one pays the rent and the other pays the bills. Get an agreement.

How is the cleaning of the bathroom taken care of? How about all of that stuff that piles up on the table, and the end of the couch? In general, one person is more bothered than the other by these things. It is not fair to make the neater person do the cleaning up. And you should not play the waiting game, to see who blinks.

On preview, what Etrigan says is valuable.

To improve communication, I suggest a regular walk together, to talk about anything. Leave the electronics behind.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:13 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pick your battles.
posted by scratch at 12:16 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think that's an excellent step, you know that you're in it as long as the summer and then you can both re-evaluate.

Here's my take on it, don't move in with anyone who isn't marriage material. If you don't envision this relationship continuing on a trajectory towards the altar (or permanant committment of some sort), there's no good that will come from moving in together.

Decide how bills will be split. I think fair is proportionate to each person's income, so 50/50 if that's how it equates, but 60/40 if she makes more than you do. Another issue is does the person who watches 1 hour of PBS per day have to pay for the U-Verse 450 assortment of channels? I say yes, but it may be a point of contention, so talk early and often.

Decide how clean you each like it. If one is slobby and the other is a neat freak, anticipate friction and decide what the visual indicators are for when things need a clean. I want the right to keep my glass out on the counter until bedtime. But once 11:00 PM rolls around, it needs to be in the dishwasher.

Decide about food. Do you each buy whatever, do you grocery shop together? How much do you eat in versus go out or take out?

Sort out the small stuff first, the big stuff will take care of itself.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:22 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

One of the biggest things that I found helpful when my girlfriend moved in — and that I could have done better — was giving her an explicit space that she had control over and could be just her stuff. I had a lot of accumulated clutter, and clearing something out to say, "This is just yours now and I won't mess with it," gave her the ability to feel less like she was a roommate in my house and more like we were partners.
posted by klangklangston at 12:41 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Put the toilet seat down.

Ask your girlfriend whether she cares about the toilet seat being down.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:48 PM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

Put the toilet seat down.
This is really a stand-in for all kinds of things you both need to do to be considerate of each other.

In my experience it's not a stand in for anything besides one's girlfriend not wanting to fall into the toilet if they need to pee in the dark in the middle of the night and the seat was left up.
posted by aught at 12:53 PM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

Avoid the stress of last minute decision making by planning ahead. "What do you want to have for dinner?" asked at the end of a long tiring day is a relationship killer. Plan you week's meals in advance and make sure you have the groceries and booze required.

Always call when you are going to be late. ALWAYS and AS SOON AS YOU KNOW.

Share a google calendar.

Keep your music collections separate.

Allow alone time and private spaces.

Know who to call in an emergency.

Work out how the lease will be handled if one of you bails. IN ADVANCE.

Maintain some relationship independent friendships and experiences so you have somethings from outside the relationship to bring to the relationship.

Pay your relationship taxes without grumbling about them. Everyone pays them. Jerks whine about it. My wife and I constantly joke about the little taxes we each impose on each other. Usually with something like an imitation of Napoleon Dynamite ("Whatever I want") or Princess Nikki from UK Big Brother ("You're ruining my life"). It is an affectionate little micro-protest tension diffuser that communicates that a demand is being both made and met. Make sure you are clearly joking though. Passive Aggression is a super annoying.
posted by srboisvert at 1:30 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

When we moved in together, my now-husband and I agreed that "I'm going to the bookstore. You're not invited," was always an option for each of us if we needed alone time. (Remarkably, we've needed much less alone time than we thought we would!)

Also, when dividing the chores each chore should go to the person for who the not-done state bothers more. For instance, I don't mind leaving dishes out for a day or two or more, but it bothers my husband if any dirty dish is out at all, so he does the dishes. On the other hand, he is incapable of seeing dust or cat hair even when it's formed inch-thick felt on every surface in the house, so that's my duty.
posted by telophase at 1:30 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

She is moving into my apartment and my current lease is up in August. At this point, I can evaluate how things went and if we want to look for a new apartment together or apart (is this a good mindset going into things?).

What you do is up to you but frankly I think this is a terrible plan. Moving is a serious life stressor and very hard on a relationship. (I remember the week after my now-husband and I had moved in together, sobbing down the phone to my best friend, convinced I'd made the worst mistake of my life.) You are now pondering doing this twice in three months as some sort of test of your relationship or your commitment to it, and I think it's pretty predictable that if you're standing there with one foot out the door fully prepared to flee, the relationship will fail this test.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:36 PM on May 24, 2013 [9 favorites]

Try get a short lease (6 months might be the shortest possible) that converts to month-to-month after that time, that way if it doesn't work out it will be easy for you both to leave.

If you can get one with 2 bathrooms that really does help, having your own bathroom rocks.

Don't assume you can use your partner's stuff, some people freak out if you use their toothbrush or coffee maker. Always ask first.

Each of you should be out of the apartment for one night a week, this will let the other have some space. You should also have a date night where you could have dinner and watch a movie or something together.
posted by meepmeow at 1:48 PM on May 24, 2013

Especially if she's moving into your place you need to keep in mind that the way that you do things is not the only right way to do things and if other people do them a different way they are not wrong they just do them differently and you need to be accommodating of that.

Also, you want to avoid having her feel like she is a roommate in your apartment and you should do things so that she feels like the apartment is both of yours. This may mean getting rid of some of your furniture or taking down some of the things you put on the wall to be replaced with her things. If you're not OK with that then maybe it's not a good idea to move in together.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 1:51 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

she needs to know that moving into your place until august is only a trial run. she isn't going to give up her place until after you decide in august, right? because asking her to give up her place and move in with you and then deciding not to live together a few months later would be a really bad move and leave her without an apartment. please don't do that to her.

having an escape hatch like your august plan also does show you are not really 100% on board with living together. to be honest i don't get the sense you really want this and that is perfectly okay. you are young and living together is serious business. if your gf has abandonment issues or has, god forbid, borderline personality disorder in addition to her depression then definitely rethink this.
posted by wildflower at 2:03 PM on May 24, 2013

... if you do this and then are moving by August, do not start the whole couple-cocooning-'nesting'-process-of-accumulating-a-crapload-of-"things."..
posted by jkaczor at 3:03 PM on May 24, 2013

Ok, so i've been living with my girlfriend for over 2 years. I also constructively lived with a previous person i dated(that whole "i have my own place in theory, but i stay at your house nearly every night of the week, and have multiple clothing items/things in your bathroom/stuff in your fridge" routine).

The most important thing i haven't seen specifically covered here relates to the friends and activities outside the relationship thing, especially as someone whose dated multiple quiet/introverted and somewhat depressive people(and can be one of those people myself, but that's another can of worms).

It's a lot like the threads on poly stuff or open relationships have discussed with relation to sex. You don't just need those things in theory and the permission to do them, you need equal opportunity to them. For example if she just moved to a new city and you already have a ton of friends here, but she has none, it will breed incredible contempt when you constantly have things to go out and do and people to meet up with whenever you feel like it, but she's stuck being a homebody or tagging along with you.

You may need to give her a push in this department too, and make plans where she can hang out with friends of yours it seems like she would get along with. I definitely feel like this is part of a good relationship too. Tending the other persons fire when you see it dying down, and notice they're standing there with no more wood to throw in.

There's obviously a line here between giving them a push on the swingset and taking over managing their social life, but you'll realize over time that an unequal opportunity to do things independent of eachother will breed contempt against the person who constantly has things to do and friends to meet in the other person who has neither.

Another good way to approach this is to make plans with friends you want to hang out with 1 on 1/separate from being a couple sometimes on nights your partner is going to bed early anyways, or gone, or can't hang out, etc. They made plans to do something, or have to work at 5am? go out and do something!

There's a lot of sage advice in here in general, but i hadn't seen that attacked head-on yet.

Oh, and yea, there are no real trial runs with this. I tried that and we had both agreed to it beforehand and were completely on the same page. After a couple apartments fell through on me, and various other plans screwed up, life events happened, etc we had already been living together for 6+ months and it became a "you don't just step a relationship backwards, do or do not, there is no try" thing and we've been living together ever since.

I definitely don't think that people are fully aware of what they want when they agree to a trial run like that. It's like the opposite of thinking with your dick/heart, you're mind is writing checks your heart can't cash. Do not try and do a qualifying/shakedown lap on this unless you are FULLY prepared to nuke the relationship at the end. And absolutely not without talking about it first. It seems like you don't want to bring it up because you're afraid of the conversation itself, or how she'll react(understandable, i've been there). These however, are shitty reasons not to have this conversation even though they seem legitimate to you. Going in to this is like joining the army or something. You either commit, or you get a dishonorable discharge. I'm not saying it's tantamount to marriage or anything, but it is a serious longterm commitment that you don't get givesies backsies on.

And if you do go for it, you will have days, and moments when you're sitting there thinking "why the fuck did i do this, what the fuck". That doesn't mean you failed, that doesn't mean it's a shitty idea, that doesn't mean you don't love her even though you'll be questioning that a few times whenever you have a fight over something silly(or maybe something serious) or any kind of serious conflict, especially if it's "i wanted XYZ thing in the house but you wanted the one you already have/YZX thing" kinda stuff.

Honestly i think that very few people who haven't done this before are 100% on board with it, unless they're fairly naive and haven't seen how it played out/are just blissed out and blissfully unaware of what might go wrong. Having anxieties and being unsure isn't an automatic sign this is an awful idea and shit.

So to be clear, i'm not saying don't do this. And don't feel bad if you do end up not wanting to do it anymore when your lease runs out, because this shouldn't be some growth experience you have to force yourself through to be a real adult. What i was saying is that it might not feel perfect, and you might have doubts in the midst of it and that's perfectly normal. Just feeling like it's a slog is not.

Just be prepared to break up with her if you want to undo moving in with her.
posted by emptythought at 3:16 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

She is moving into my apartment

This is different from "moving in with my girlfriend." That is when you both move into a place that is new to you both.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:01 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Please don't forget to flush and brush the toilet bowl after going no. 2.

Don't leave your fingernails all over the place.

Try not to just hangout on the toilet for an hour reading your iPhone. Your girlfriend may need to pee.

Not having to deal with my ex partner's inability to flush or put his clippings in the trash can were two of the best things that came from breaking up with him.

Clean up after yourself so she doesn't have to clean up after you all the time. It's exhausting.

If you're unsure about moving in together and advancing the relationship, don't do it. It's selfish and you'd be wasting her time.
posted by discopolo at 1:23 PM on May 25, 2013

If you can afford it, get a cleaner. You'll still have to keep the place tidy, but it'll be spotless.

Plan dinners for the week, buy the food together and cook it together. If one of you is running late at least the other can start cooking.

Accept she is probably going to have more clothes and shoes than you do. You'll have to give up more than half of your space.

Try to go on a "date" at least once a week. Doesn't have to be anything fancy (cinema, drink at the pub, walk by the river) but get out of the house together.

Make sure she has a set of plugs on her side of the bed for her mobile phone, hair dryer, hair straighteners and other such stuff.

Invest in a tall mirror if you don't already have one.

Clear a space for her jewellery.

Above all, living together is supposed to be fun and generally very easy. If it stops being that then you need to break up as early as possible - it gets much much harder the longer you leave it.
posted by mr_silver at 1:55 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

She's moving into what has been your space, right? How long have you been there solo? We get awfully attached to how and when we use the space, and tend to think of all of it as "mine" - which it is/was until now.

One of the best things you can do for her is to move your stuff out of the bedroom and bathroom, or at least out of the closets, cupboards, etc. onto the bed. Divvy up and re-pack your stuff together, as if you were both moving into a new space. She'll feel much more included and welcome than if you pre-decide what spaces to clear out for her. Ditto for the kitchen and other spaces, adjusted as necessary for spaces like the kitchen, that would too unwieldy to unpack physically. Also plan to adjust your routines like morning bathroom schedule to accommodate both of your needs.

Just the fact that you'd thought of these things on her behalf will make a big difference to how much/how soon she feels at home in your now-shared space.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 6:52 AM on May 26, 2013

In my experience it's not a stand in for anything besides one's girlfriend not wanting to fall into the toilet if they need to pee in the dark in the middle of the night and the seat was left up.

I've never understood this bizarre logic.

If you (male or female) can't see the toilet seat well enough to determine what position it is in, why on earth would you attempt to pee without first putting on the light?

(personally I'm a toilet seat and lid down kind of guy - so I need people to see to be able to put up the lid, irrespective of gender)
posted by mr_silver at 3:33 PM on May 26, 2013

If you (male or female) can't see the toilet seat well enough to determine what position it is in, why on earth would you attempt to pee without first putting on the light?

When you wake up in the middle of the night (or even first thing in the morning) and need to go to the bathroom, you might not be awake enough to be thinking things all the way through. If you are the sitting-down type and you haven't woke up enough to remember to check, the consequence is that you fall in, which is gross and can be injurious. If you are the standing-up type and haven't woke up enough to remember to check, the consequence is that you're pissing on the seat, which is merely gross.
posted by Etrigan at 4:32 PM on May 26, 2013

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