Once upon a time, I lived with a boyfriend. It was a brief yet significant chapter in my life. Even though it didn’t work out, living with him taught me so much about who I am and what I have to offer as someone’s forever person, so I definitely don’t regret the experience. I’ve lived alone for many years since that stint and although I would live with a guy again, it won’t be until I’m engaged. Here’s why:
I need that level of commitment from my guy.
Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about a guy asking a gal to marry him that shows his level of commitment in a really sweet way. Although an engagement isn’t going to cure some of the nasties that arise in relationships, it does show that two people prioritize each other in their lives, are ready to commit in a demonstrated way, and really take each other seriously. I need that level of commitment before I begin to merge my life into one with another guy again.
Just because it’s convenient to live together doesn’t always make it the right move.
Even though my ex and I loved each other, I don’t think that was driving our decision to move in together. Honestly, it was cheaper for both of us. Sure, money is a legitimate concern, but if I could do it all over again, I’d just find a way to deal with the cost of living alone for much longer until we were truly ready—or, I’d find a roommate because by the end of it all, I basically had a roommate anyway and not a boyfriend.
I want to be ready to be comfortable.
The thing is, when you move in together, everything gets super comfortable really, really fast. You see your partner at their absolute most disgusting, you get annoyed with their voice and presence, and you see all of the gross stuff you escape by not living together. I misjudged how real that actually is, and before I make the move with a guy again, I want us to enjoy the dating life for all that it is worth first before we have to actually work on keeping the spark alive.
I refuse to give out wifey privileges as a girlfriend ever again.
If you’re like me, you simply give way too much in a relationship. It’s a beautiful thing, don’t get me wrong, but it’s really easy to be taken for granted. Once I established a pattern of doing traditional wifey like things, like washing his laundry with mine and preparing our meals, my ex just totally took me for granted and came to expect those things from me. I refuse to do any of that ever again until we’re engaged. Sure, I’m always cool with preparing dinner for date night, but I prefer that my current boyfriend and I do it together rather than me shouldering it all myself.
If we move in when we’re engaged, I know his finances are in order.
Call me traditional, old-fashioned, or whatever, but this is important. And yes, I know the history of the engagement ring—it was to secure the contract between the bride’s family and the groom. How romantic. That being said, if a guy can shell out a few grand (or more) on a ring for me, it demonstrates that he’s in a good place with his money. It’s not important to me because I expect him to support me, it’s important because I expect him to pull his weight financially.
I want to share a life with someone, not just an apartment.
I don’t need another roommate—if I did, I would get one. I want to create and share a life a guy I live with, and I want it to feel like we’re building something real. If we’re engaged when we move in together, I imagine that we’ll be planning a wedding and preparing for other milestones. Being in building mode is key for me when I move in with my guy.
I want to make sure we’re truly compatible first.
Some studies show that couples who live together before engagement or marriage are at higher risk of divorce compared to couples who move in together after. Couples who move in sooner than that might find that some of those things can’t be worked out or just make them less compatible. In my experience, this is exactly what happened. I discovered things about my ex that made me cringe and I feel like if I had pumped the breaks on the living together, I would’ve discovered those things sooner and realized he wasn’t my forever person.
I value my family’s opinion.
My family was shocked when I made the decision to move in with my ex, I think because we moved so fast. I don’t regret my decision because at the time it was what I wanted, but I do wish that I’d considered some of the things that my family was saying to me before I decided to do it. I might have made the same decision but I would have had more perspective.
My home is my sanctuary and I want to be taken seriously.
When you share your space with someone you’re in an intimate relationship with, you let them into a part of your life that not many people get to experience. For me, I view my home as a special retreat for me to return to when I can’t quite handle the rest of the world. When sharing that space goes from being temporary to permanent, it is important that I’m taken seriously by the person I’m choosing to let into my world. To me, engagement shows that I’m being taken seriously.
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