Are You Really Ready To Live With Her?
If you have been with a girl for, let’s say, a year, you may be thinking about moving in with her. This is not an unusual step to take, and you need not hear the clanging of ball-and-chain every time she brings it up. Even if she is the one nudging you toward this path you should be receptive to it.
There are some real advantages to moving in with your girlfriend. The one thing you must first straighten out in your head is that you do want to be in a committed relationship with her; that you have chosen monogamy, and you have every intention of sticking to it.
Once you’ve gotten that settled within yourself, you should consider some of the benefits of living together.
If you move in with her or she moves in with you or you decide to get a place together, you will save money on your household expenses. This is nothing to sniff at. The cost of living is not getting any lower, and there can be no fun in a life dedicated exclusively to working and paying bills. Indeed, you may have noticed that even if you are making pretty good bank it remains difficult to have a nice place, buy all the cool things you like, go out with the fellas whenever you want, and enjoy great vacations. With two incomes instead of one, doing all this becomes a lot easier.
You should also reflect on the fact that if you are in a committed relationship, you practically live together anyway. Most nights you are at hers or she is at yours. Simply setting up one household is the next logical step.
But be warned: practically living together is not actually living together. Moving in with her means complete co-habitation. Your respective habits, routines, attitudes, and general approaches to life must be harmonized if things are to work out.
Here are a few matters that the two of you should discuss and settle before taking the plunge:
Sleeping routines may sound trivial, but I assure you they are not. If you wake up early to run or to write or to get a head start on the day’s work, it might not make a bit of difference. She may be one of the few lucky people who can sleep through Armageddon itself without so much as a stir. But if she isn’t, if she is a light sleeper, or worse yet an insomniac who only manages to fall asleep just before dawn, then you will have a serious problem.
Your respective sleeping patterns were not a problem before because you may have done overnights only a few times a week. Now it will be every night together in the same bed. You want to make sure that is something that can be done.
Pets tend to be part of domesticity. After living together for a while, she may want to buy a cat or a dog. This usually just comes down to preferences and priorities. She may be a cat person; you, on the other hand, may want a dog. It is quite easy to come to some compromise on who gets what when.
However, if you are allergic to animal hair, then you must tell her straightaway. Some women are as determined to have a dog or a cat as they are to have a baby. There are even a few who view a pet-less house as a deal breaker. Do not think of settling the matter after you have moved in. It is serious enough to discuss now.
Opening a joint account will make it much easier to pay the bills. You need to work out how much the rent, utilities, groceries, and entertainment will be each month, and then decide how much each of you will put into the joint account.
If one of you works freelance and has unsteady pay (and this is becoming a reality for more and more young couples), you need to agree that the other will pick up the slack until things improve. It is important to note that most arguments and breakups are about money. You should go into this thing with realistic expectations about your partner’s earning power.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.