Living Together—Are You Ready?

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Thinking through issues and expectations

The topic comes up repeatedly. She is not so much pressuring you as pointing out the obvious: the relationship has reached a point at which major decisions that involve both your lives can be made. The fact that the two of you have been in an undeclared yet consistently monogamous relationship for some time pushes the issue even more to the forefront of conversation.

You need not think that your girlfriend is trying to manipulate and control you. Her willingness to be more willing to discuss living together may come down to a practical necessity?and it is one you should think about as well.

The lease she has on her apartment is coming to an end. And rather than renewing it or searching for a flat for one elsewhere she may believe it is much smarter financially for the two of you to share a space. If you practically live together anyway?you are at hers or she is at your nearly every day of the week?then formalizing the arrangement may not be such a bad idea.

Think carefully before you commit yourself. Here are a few things to consider before you make this move:

Giving up your space

Although you may spend nearly every night with your girl, you still have your own space. When you move in with her, you will give this up. That means you will not even have the option of taking a few nights for yourself, it means you will have to give up some of your in-home bachelor habits, and, perhaps most importantly, it means you are closing the door to dating other women.

If you are ready to make these changes, then you should go for it. But if there is any doubt whatsoever, then you should not do it.

Joint finances

Sharing an apartment or house means sharing the bills and cost of living. Until now, you have had no reason to pry into finances. You know that she earns enough to live comfortably on her own, and so you may take it for granted that she will be able to pay her own way. Before you commit to moving in with a woman you must sit down and talk about how the bills will be paid.

There are two options: you pay some of the bills from your account and she pays others with hers, or you take out a joint account into which each of you will contribute a set amount every month?enough to cover all the bills. You will probably want to save a little each month to do things together?vacations and so forth.

Don?t assume that she thinks as you do. The issues and expectations should be brought out into the open before you make this kind of commitment.

The danger of domesticity

You should also remember the old clich?: familiarity breeds contempt. You will wake up to, come home to, and spend evenings with the same woman every day. Even if you agree to carry on with your respective social lives, you cannot get around the fact that you are settling down to domesticity.

This will change your relationship and the both of you as individuals. After a while the fun, light, sexy girl you knew will become, in your eyes, a bossing, controlling, nagging, infuriating mother figure. You should speak honestly about the danger of domesticity?about the conflicts and tensions that inevitably emerge when two individuals decide to join their lives together.

Here is another article related to the subject:?

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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.

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