So, you’ve been very comfortable in your relationship, and you are thinking about taking the next step. It’s still too early for marriage, and to be honest, you aren’t anywhere close to that kind of commitment yet. However, the overnight bags, the late-night drives, and the desire to see each other more regularly are really weighing on your mind. Is it too soon to ask her to move in with you? Should you wait and move in with her? What happens if it doesn’t work out? All of these questions can make your “next step” decision stressful.
What About the What Ifs?
There are just as many unknowns with moving with your girlfriend as there are living together once you are married. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not you should make the jump to cohabitation, but you can be assured that there will be a significant adjustment period when you do. Two financially independent people coming together under one roof is going to bring some challenges. You find yourself facing the nitty-gritty details of life in a matter of moments.
For one thing, the sexual tension that built up as you waited for the weekend to arrive may disappear, leaving you feeling frustrated with where your sex life has ended up. Many of the problems with men's sexual health start with emotional or relationship frustrations, turning into a condition of ED. While you can take a medication like Mt. Everest to get past the snag when the time and mood is right, you aren’t doing anything about the long-term challenges your living arrangement is causing. Before you start worrying about all the “what ifs,” ask yourself a few questions before popping the “will you move in with me?” question.
What Condition do They Leave Their Home?
Your home is your safe space, and you have probably put some money and thought into arranging it just how you like it. More than that, you want your space kept clean and tidy, but without having to do all the work. Consider your partner’s cleanliness. Are they continually washing the dishes, picking up the clutter, making the bed, or keeping up with laundry? Do they leave it for you or someone else to take care of? You really don’t want to spend every night after a stressful day at work cleaning up a mess that you didn’t make.
What Are Their Finances Like?
Even if you are going to be staying at your place, there should be a sense of partnership with the finances. Is your partner maxing out credit cards or constantly paying bills late? You will need to have a heart-to-heart about finances and where the different areas of responsibility fall, but you don’t want to get stuck covering all the extras each month because your girlfriend couldn’t control her spending or be organized enough to make the electric payment on time.
What About Their Friends?
Sure, it will be you and your girlfriend’s space, but she is going to want her friends to come over and hang out every now and then. You don’t want to find someone staying on your couch rent-free and chowing down through your stash of Doritos in the pantry. Watch for clues in how your girlfriend talks about her friends or suggest a couple's date or group activity to see them together and get your own sense of their personality.
What Happens Next?
If you have thought through these questions and you are confident that these areas won’t be a deal-breaking issue, then you should follow what your heart says about cohabitation. However, there are still some things that you need to sort out once your girlfriend says yes.
- Divide up the cleaning. Not everything needs to be 50:50 in a domestic partnership, especially if one person works far fewer hours than the other. Cleaning tasks shouldn’t be divided on a gender-norm either. The less busy person should take on more of the housework, but there are other arrangements that work as well. Many couples use the “you cook and I clean” approach to keeping the workload evenly distributed.
- Be prepared for weird habits and annoying behaviors. Just like you would find out in a marriage, not everything you see on a four-hour date is what you get 24/7. If you love your girlfriend, these are things you will need to work on accepting, but also find ways to communicate about. Letting annoyance fester can turn into serious relationship troubles.
If you are willing to be patient, living and learning about each other together, then moving in together can be a big step forward in your relationship. Keeping an open mind about the process and being realistic about the transition it will to both of your lives can make you more prepared to take that step.
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