I was excited to move in with my boyfriend because I thought that it meant that we were taking our relationship to another level and my life was going to change in the best way, right? Wrong. Looking back, I wish I knew these things before I took the plunge—it would have saved me a lot of trouble when we broke up.
Who owned what was brought into the house
We never talked about it when we bought stuff for our place, we just went to Ikea or ordered stuff from Wayfair and split the costs. We technically owned everything jointly, but when our relationship started to fall apart and it was clear that we weren’t going to make it past a year living together, we had no plan for splitting up our belongings. We ended up fighting about who owned what and asserting our positions for why one person deserved a lamp or a table over something else. It drew out our breakup in the most annoying way possible and made me super bitter toward him.
What moving in together actually meant for our relationship
I assumed that moving in with him probably meant that we would get engaged and eventually get married. I found out months into living with him that he wasn’t interested in either of those things. Moving in with me was convenient and much cheaper than keeping an apartment on his own if he was going to be with me most of the time anyway. When he told me that, I was devastated because I thought that our relationship was going somewhere. Looking back, I might have decided against moving in with him had I known this. I’ll never make the same mistake again.
Who took over the lease if we broke up
When we broke up, my ex was experiencing some serious money troubles. The apartment lease was in his name but he wasn’t able to pay his portion of the rent anymore. I could have left him high and dry to pay for it, but I would have risked us getting evicted and that would have been problematic for me. It was really messy and I ended up footing the bill plus utilities through the end of the lease. If I could change things, I would have put the apartment in my name and made him pay me his share of the rent rather than rely on him to be the responsible one.
How we were going to split up household chores
I know that this might not seem like a big deal but it definitely is. I thought that the semi-cohabitation that we practiced prior to moving in with each other gave me a glimpse into how we would share household duties. I didn’t think we needed to talk about it. When it turned out that he expected me to do most of the chores, it created some tensions. I’m no one’s housekeeper.
My personal exit plan if things went south
I recommend that every woman, even if you’re married or engaged, think about and prepare a personal exit plan. No one ever never plans for the end of a relationship, but things can change fast. Devising a personal plan for yourself might sound ridiculous but I wish I had one. I wish I knew whose couch I was going to crash on when I was ready to leave my toxic relationship. I wish I knew what my next move was going to be. I’m pretty certain that if I had a plan, I would have walked away sooner.
Carving out personal time is much harder than it seems
People move in together thinking that they’ll easily be able to maintain their solo habits. For me, that was not the case. Before I knew it, my boyfriend was everywhere all of the time. I couldn’t escape him unless I was out of the apartment. Our place just wasn’t big enough to accommodate two people!
You need more physical space than you think you need
I remember wishing and hoping that I had an extra 100 square feet of space just for me to spend time in alone. Cohabitation doesn’t have to mean consolidation and that’s one of the biggest lessons I learned from living with a boyfriend. We should have talked about the type of space we wanted that would maximize our ability to seek personal time. Instead, we just found a big enough apartment to fit all of our things. We focused on the wrong stuff.
Arguments are worse because you don’t have any place to go
My ex and I argued a lot when we moved in together and the fact that I couldn’t really cool off unless I left my own apartment really sucked. In the past, if we had disagreements, I would just sleep at my own place for the night and take some space. Taking space in this arrangement either meant sleeping at a friend’s house or sucking it up and going to bed mad. Figuring out our communication style in our apartment was something we regretfully glossed over.
Moving in together won’t save your relationship
One of the reasons we moved in together was because I was moving onto a new work opportunity and it would make it harder for us to see each other. BAD NEWS BEARS. You should never choose to move in with someone based on fear about your relationship. You should move in together when you’re at your strongest when it feels natural and healthy. We were afraid our relationship was going to fall apart if we were apart. The crazy thing is that it fell apart anyway because living together exposed our weaknesses.
This is not a decision to take lightly
When I decided to go for this, I was naive and starry-eyed. I thought that just going with the flow and hoping for the best would bring me the positive experience that I wanted. I was wrong and I was unprepared. Moving in with anyone, especially someone you’re in a relationship with, is a big deal. We should employ the same tactics we use when vetting a potential new roommate in cohabitation situations with a significant other.
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