For anyone living in a city where the housing market means having roommates well into your 30s and 40s if you’re still single, the idea of coupling up just to get your own place may have crossed your mind. It did more than cross mine—I was sick of being pushed around by the housing market so I went out and got a boyfriend.
I can’t even afford a one-bedroom apartment. This is the source of the problem. I work in a city in which my salary is barely enough to get by. I was living with roommates in a rundown house somewhere at the far end of the bus line. I was young, single, and had few expenses. I wanted a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city and I’m probably the demographic that would make the most of it. However, I wasn’t even close to being able to afford it, which was really disappointing.
I’m ready to settle down anyway. The idea of moving in with a boyfriend actually excited me. I loved the idea of coming home to someone who gives me butterflies, cooks dinner with me, and flops down on our cheap couch for a movie at the end of the night. I was ready to have a boyfriend and I was excited to maybe make him my last.
I was upfront about what I was looking for. I was no longer going out looking for a flirty evening, a one-night stand, or a summer fling—I was on a mission. I wanted to go on dates with people who were serious about entering a long-term relationship and I was in a rush. I needed to move out, I couldn’t afford to live alone, and hey, I’d been single for a while. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one.
I found a guy in the same situation. The fact is that I’m not the only millennial trying to live in an expensive city. Within the first couple of weeks, my new guy and I found ourselves bonding over how we hated our roommates and couldn’t afford rent. We talked about friends being “reno-victed” or kicked out and replaced by Airbnb. I knew if I pitched the idea of moving in together, he wouldn’t think I was crazy.
Not everyone was on board with my plan. My family and friends thought I was crazy when I said I was moving in with my boyfriend of three months. Now imagine telling them it’s because you’re entering a semi-business deal with a man you’re sleeping with! I was confident in my decision and I knew I’d discussed it enough with my boyfriend that we were being smart about it. Once my parents knew I had a firm understanding of the legality of my decision, they were happy for me to follow my heart.
We were sensible about it. I’d thought about things and I wanted to make sure my partner had as well. We were taking a risk and I had to be confident that we’d done our research. We discussed things like whose name would go on the lease, how we’d handle becoming common-law, and how we’d sort the finances? We wanted to set ourselves up for success to not only help our relationship but to save us if it went belly up.
Deciding to live together gave us more options. There’s a massive savings when you share a place meant for one person with someone else. It turned out that half of the new rent would be, on average, less than what I was paying when I lived with roommates but had my own bedroom. This allowed our housing budget to go further, and we were happy to find a place that we liked more than where we were living before. Plus, we were saving money!
It made our relationship grow faster and stronger. There’s nothing like getting to know someone when you spend every day living with them. We also knew that for our own sake, it was important to maintain a welcoming home environment. We had to be compassionate as we got to know each other’s struggles, be patient while we learned each other’s living habits, and learn to compromise when it came to sharing space.
Instead of roommates, I now come home to the love of my life. I’ve never been attracted to the idea of living alone. I grew up with a big family in a small house, so I appreciate the feeling of coming home to lots of energy and life. When I realized I couldn’t afford to live on my own, I truly didn’t mind the idea of living with others. However, my roommates were more like co-habitants. We saw each other sometimes, we cleaned up after each other, and we would mumble a few words in passing. They weren’t like coming home to my family. I have that now (and more).
I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out. Although it seemed crazy to move in with a new boyfriend so soon, it’s worked out really well. We were both happy to take that leap with each other and we’re both serious about settling down in a relationship and investing in our life in the city. We both wanted the same thing, we just needed each other to make it happen.
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