Oh boy. This one’s a biggie. Moving in with your significant other is the first major hurdle of any long-term relationship. And it’s a HUGE test to see whether or not they’re the real deal. Now, I’m definitely not old-fashioned when it comes to stuff like this (or um, at all). I’m more of a ‘test it before you buy it’ sort of gal, ya know? To me, it’s so important to live with your significant other before you choose to commit even further to the relationship. I would personally never marry someone I hadn’t lived with for AT LEAST 6 months. Not only does it give you an idea of what they’re like on a SUPER personal level, but you also get to know their real character…personality traits…quirks…habits….etc. You know the saying, ‘the true test of someone’s character is what they do when no one is watching’? Well, it’s true. It’d be pretty damn hard to hide your true self 24/7…unless you’re a total sociopath. The good, bad, and extra ugly is bound to be released at some point. And it’s crucial to know who your partner is, both inside and out, if you’re going to choose to spend the rest of your life with them.
Moving in with your significant other can definitely be a bit scary. I know that, for me, I was terrified of my boyfriend seeing me in all of my various states. And I don’t just mean being all dressed up vs wearing sweats and having no makeup on. Not at all. See, I was more afraid of him seeing me at my most anxious…or when I was reeeeally upset about something…or when I was stressed out and totally losing my shit. THOSE are the parts of us we try to keep hidden so that we can let people think we’ve got our shit together. And those are the parts of us we don’t want a romantic partner to see for fear of them thinking it’s unattractive. Wanna know a secret, though? None of us actually have our shit together. Like, at all. And in your lifetime…you are undoubtedly going to have endless amounts of freak-outs and not-so-pretty moments where shit hits the fan and you crumble. And that’s okay. It’s what makes us human. Allowing someone to see those parts of you is necessary if you’re ever going to have a future with them. You know the saying, ‘If they can’t handle me at my worst, then they don’t deserve me at my best?’ …also very true.
In the 2.5 years my boyfriend and I have been living together, he has seen me go through multiple jobs, financial stress, depression, fights with family members and friends, body image issues, severe sickness, and so much more. He has held me while I’ve sobbed about my relationship with my sister…rushed me to the ER for anxiety-related attacks…seen me in my most drunken state…coached me through shitty financial situations…and rooted for me in every single thing I’ve gone after.
And I would totally marry the shit out of that man.
However, living together isn’t just about learning to become vulnerable in front of your partner and letting them see the messy parts of you…it’s also about, you know, living. And by this I mean going about your day-to-day, buying groceries, paying bills, having a routine, etc. While things are certainly going to be exciting at first as you’re apartment hunting, furniture shopping, and seeking out the perfect gender-neutral decor…they will, in fact, become a bit mundane after all of the dust settles. And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a ‘life’ thing.
One of the most important things about living with your significant other, in my opinion, is setting the tone at the very beginning in regard to 1) money, 2) chores, and 3) boundaries. For example, it’s probably best to ask the following questions: whose name are the utilities going to be in?…when will the other party pay for their half of the utilities?…are we splitting groceries or buying our own?…are we sharing finances or keeping them separate?
At our house, the utilities (water, electric/gas, + internet) are in my name, and my boyfriend pays his half to me monthly. Every time one of us goes to the grocery store, we stick the receipts to a cork board in our kitchen and highlight the items we share so that we know one owes the other money. And we keep our finances completely separate. I personally wouldn’t want to share finances with anyone until I married them, but I do know lots of couples who share bank accounts and love it! Totally up to you.
It’s also important to chat about who is going to do what chores and when. Seriously. Don’t just figure it out as you go…make a set list! Not to sound sexist…but men (or maybe just my man - ha) can be lazy when it comes to this stuff. And ladies, I don’t know about you…but I am a huge neat freak and love keeping a clean home. This was one of the biggest struggles for my boyfriend and I when we started living together. To put it gently, he was very messy/dirty…while I, on the other hand…was a high-strung, type A, neat freak. Match made in heaven, right? Having those assigned chores made things a million times easier!
These are some chores you might want to consider assigning:
And then there’s the whole “boundaries” thing, which I feel like goes hand-in-hand with simply being respectful. If you’ve been living alone, it may take a while to get used to respecting another person’s space. Because when you share living space with someone, you are also sharing that space with their wants, needs, and desires. And more often than not, they may clash with your own. For example, my boyfriend plays a lot of video games and, when we lived in a 600 sqft. apartment, it was not always easy to fall asleep when he was shouting at his computer until 2am. On the flip side, I am the biggest neat freak that ever lived and, every time Albert sets a cup down that he’s using, it magically finds it’s way into the dishwasher. These are small examples, but can obviously be applied on a much bigger scale. Like, don’t snoop through your partner’s shit…don’t use their toothbrush (ew)….don’t invite a million friends over on a weeknight when you know they have a deadline to meet. Basically: be respectful, be kind, and don’t be a creep.
I would also like to mention that living together does not always mean being together. Just because you’re sharing space doesn’t mean that you need to be hanging out or talking to one another every moment. In fact, it’s so so so important to be able to remove yourself from your partner and be by yourself in your home while the other is there. I can’t tell you how many times Albert works on his computer while I read in my chair and we don’t speak to each other, sometimes for hours at a time. It’s so comforting to know he’s there, yet I don’t need his attention 24/7 to feel like we’re doing well as a couple. Independence is essential in long-term relationships.
I know it’s scary, but it is absolutely, 100% worth it to experience living with your significant other. Not only does it eliminate the annoying “overnight bag” phase of your relationship, but you also get to see the person you love every day. My favorite part of the day is when Albert gets home from work, gives me a huge hug, and we chat about our days. I know it might sound lame to some, but it’s pretty damn great to have your person around and know that their home is with you and that you’re building a life together. Not to say that there won’t be mucky waters you’ll have to navigate through, but it’s way more fun (and rewarding) when you’re doing it together.
Good luck and godspeed.
Tori Talks was created to inspire people to become the most authentic and empowered versions of themselves - a space where personal experiences, tips, and tidbits guide others to live strong, grounded, and powerful lives.