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15 Things Couples Should Do Before Moving in Together

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Yesterday, we had a letter from a young woman who had some concerns — mostly financial — about moving in with her boyfriend of a year. For those of you who are also considering a similar move forward in your relationship and hope to avoid some common pitfalls and a potentially disastrous living situation (and even a breakup), here is a list of 15 things you and your significant other should do before shacking up together, after the jump.

1. Articulate at least one reason besides convenience and finances to move in together.

2. Save enough money for three months’ rent (security in event of a breakup).

3. Reach an agreement on how rent/mortgage and household expenses will be split.

4. Discuss your financial situations in detail.

5. Be in agreement about potential future steps in your relationship, like marriage and kids, and when you’d like for those to happen.

6. Discuss how household chores will be divvied up.

7. Clean out your closets and get rid of all the crap you no longer want or need.

8. Celebrate a one-year anniversary together.

9. Go on a trip together.

10. Poop in each other’s homes.

11. Spend a whole week together.

12. Introduce your pets.

13. Decide whose furniture you’re keeping.

14. Pick out some new sheets and bedding that complements both your tastes.

15. Have an exit strategy (Who keeps the apartment in the event of a breakup? Will the person moving out find a new roommate for the person staying? What about the deposit on the apartment? Etc., etc.).

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{ 97 comments… add one }

theattack theattack April 25, 2012, 12:14 pm

Good list! I’m putting an end to the distance in my relationship this year, and we’re considering moving in together.

…But seriously. Do I really have to get bedding that he likes? The boy currently sleeps on a cot six out of seven days of the week just for fun. And he doesn’t even have proper sheets on his bed. He throws full size sheets onto a queen size bed (not tucked in) and just lays on top of them.

avatar GatorGirl April 25, 2012, 12:20 pm

I just did the long to short distance transition last year. I would recommend getting a short term lease and live separetly for 6 months. It was a bumpy transition and it was awesome to have a tiny bit of personal space. Yes we did spend every night together and it could be argued we threw away a lot of money on rent…but 6 months is long enough to work out the bumps and then move in together.

theattack theattack April 25, 2012, 12:28 pm

Thanks for the tip! I kind of like that idea and will definitely consider that. I sort of want to be engaged before we move in together anyway, and though he keeps hinting that he’s going to propose this summer, there’s no way of knowing for sure.
Can you give any specifics of why living separately helped you guys?

avatar GatorGirl April 25, 2012, 12:59 pm

I originally signed a full year lease…and regretted it like 2 months later. In hindsight a 6 month lease would have been much better. Spending 24 hours a day together (I work from home and he is working on his Phd) was very overwhelming at first- since we were used to only a weekend a month. It was nice for us to be able to work in different apartments and transition to the 24/7 togetherness. It also helped us figure out our standards of cleanliness, what we liked to do in the evenings, how to balance friendships…a lot of things. I also viewed it a safety net that I had my own place in case something happend (we broke up, had a knock down fight etc). By the 5th month we were over the space and lived at my apt while his was a “storage unit”.

(Thankfully a series of unfortunate events including a swat team and a convicted felon sex offender moved into my complex and I was able to get out of my lease at 7 months and we now live together and are engaged)

avatar SpaceySteph April 25, 2012, 1:38 pm

Wow that sounds scary!
It’s usually so attractive to sign a year lease, because they give you a break on rent usually. But I think it’s worth it to sign a short term lease and pay a little more in order to have the flexibility. We can’t always count on a registered sex offender getting us off the hook!

avatar GatorGirl April 25, 2012, 2:00 pm

Yeah…it was pretty unpleasent. It also involved me moving out of my apartment in the middle of the night and almost having to go to court with the complex. It was a really stressful and scary situation. I just found out there was a homicide in the complex next to my old one this weekend…glad I got out of there!!

But a 6 month lease with the option to go another 6 (or 9 or 12) months would be what I recommend!

avatar LolaBeans April 25, 2012, 12:48 pm

I did the same thing a few years ago.. I would also recommend a short term lease, or even one year. just so you can establish your own self in a new city.

CatsMeow CatsMeow April 25, 2012, 1:37 pm

Ugh, my ex had ridiculous bedding too. When I first met him, he was sleeping on an air mattress. In his defense, it was a really nice air mattress, plus his other bed was still in his other apartment that he had not fully moved out of because he was still paying rent there (long story). THEN he brought his old bed from his old apartment, and couldn’t figure out hwo to put the frame back together. So it was just a mattress on the floor. He never really had sheets on it either.

SO we spent most nights at my place, haha…. with my California king and high thread count sheets. :)

BriarRose BriarRose April 25, 2012, 2:20 pm

My ex had ridiculous sheets too. Like black, slippery ones that just skeezed me out. He said he bought them because they were soft. I just slid around in bed and thanked my lucky stars I had a dog and therefore we spent the night at my place most of the time.

CatsMeow CatsMeow April 25, 2012, 3:29 pm

Ohhh yeah! I hate the slippery ones. I’ve tried them. If I don’t slide around, my comforter definitely does, and ends up on the floor by morning. definitely not practical.

avatar Ani Nani April 25, 2012, 5:20 pm

My fiance wanted to register for black, skeezy sheets because “they feel nice.” That was pretty much the only thing I nixed of his choices. A little too leisure suit larry/dudley moore in foul play for me.

avatar Resullins April 25, 2012, 2:21 pm

You’d be surprised. Get him into a Macy’s and he’ll likely pick something out.

Mine slept on a loveseat with dirty clothes as a blanket… and he picked out a 400 thread count beige brocade set that I love!

Jessibel5 Jessibel April 25, 2012, 2:34 pm

For 3 years when staying at his place I had to sleep under his comforter/sheet set that his ex picked out, meh. I wouldn’t have minded except she would always send him text messages trying to get him to go to her place and sex her up because she just couldn’t fathom that he didn’t want her anymore, and I hated the reminder of her. The second we moved in together, I dragged him to the store to buy a new comforter set telling him it was a fresh start. However, when I had him at the store I tried to pick out mostly gender neutral things (no flowers or girly colors) and got the “Baby, I want whatever makes you happy!” response to whatever I held up. We ended up with a pretty sage green comforter set that goes really well with the cherry furniture. However, I do have to school him on the fact that 200 TC sheets are NOT the same as 600 TC sheets, as he claims.

avatar Vanessa April 26, 2012, 2:27 pm

Sheets are pretty intimate, so it’s totally understandable that you wouldn’t want to keep using the ones she bought. I, being perhaps slightly crazier, replaced a spice rack that my guy’s ex bought for him. He once (stupidly) told me that she had bought it, and then whenever I looked at it, she’d come to mind and I’d get the slightest bit grumpy. PROBLEM SOLVED!! (and the spices are now fresher and actually smell like something.)

JK JK April 25, 2012, 12:20 pm

I guess I lucked out. Out of the 15 things we´d only celebrated an anniversary ( I moved in with him at 1yr 4 months).

avatar GatorGirl April 25, 2012, 12:24 pm

Awesome list Wendy! I love how the first 4 are money related. Living together isn’t all rainbows and sunshine- money is by far the most difficult topic and should definitely be discussed in advance!

The only thing I would add is to amend #6. Discussing who will do which chores is important. But so is establishing a level of cleanliness that is expected. Some people don’t mind dirty dishes pilled up in the sink, some people do. I want the bed made every single day….others not so much.

avatar Addie Pray April 25, 2012, 12:25 pm

And after you poop in each other’s toilets, put the lid down before flushing so you don’t get poop particles on your toothbrush. Apparently that’s what the lid is for.

avatar cowsaysmeow April 25, 2012, 12:37 pm

Heh…I thought it was so that you don’t drop your toothbrush in the toilet. That’s why I always keep it down. :]

call-me-hobo call-me-hobo April 25, 2012, 12:45 pm

I did an experiment in Micro class about that very thing- Seriously, it is DISGUSTING.

avatar Mainer April 25, 2012, 1:23 pm

# 10 is why you should ideally get a place with 1.5 baths. Half bath should be dedicated as “pooping room.”

avatar lets_be_honest April 25, 2012, 1:48 pm

My boyfriend jokes that his favorite thing about me is that I lack a sense of smell.
Never fails, when he walks out of the bathroom after apparently stinking it up he has a huge smile on his face like he’s thinking ‘Hahaha I did it again and you don’t know.’

bittergaymark bittergaymark April 25, 2012, 10:44 pm

Ah, now THAT’S romance!!! ;)

avatar rachel April 25, 2012, 1:52 pm

I also think 1.5 baths is important just for privacy. I mean, sometimes when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go, but your boyfriend is in the shower. I would rather have another option.

avatar lets_be_honest April 25, 2012, 1:49 pm

Putting my chinese food down now. Thanks Addie.

avatar Samantha April 25, 2012, 1:58 pm

YES! I had to explain this to my dude the first couple times he stayed over at my place! So gross…

avatar jlyfsh April 25, 2012, 12:26 pm

good communication is the backbone to most of those items and so important if you’re going to live with someone and have a good, solid ltr. i would also say be sick in front of each other once, it’s nice to know how each other reacts when you are blowing your nose every 5 seconds/projectile puking/etc. because after you move in together they get to see you at your best and at your worst. and you both need to be prepared for it!

Kristina Kristina April 25, 2012, 12:37 pm

I agree with the whole being sick at least once. I was very sick for the first 3 months of my relationship with my boyfriend and the way he stuck by me showed he was definitely a keeper. But of course, when he has a simple cold, he whines about it–but I’m used to that.

Jessibel5 Jessibel April 25, 2012, 2:41 pm

Haha, one would swear the world is ending when men get colds, I think. In my experience (dad, brother, male friends, significant other) all they can do is mope around and whine about how sick they are and give you the “will you get me such and such….” with the puppy dog eyes.

I hope you’re feeling better now!

My mom had cancer last year (in remission now, yay!) but you wouldn’t believe how amazing my dad was and how well he took care of her. When she couldn’t lift her arms to bathe herself after her surgery, my dad took showers with her so he could wash her hair. He changed her bandages, did housework (which he rarely ever did before) cooked, and went to every single appointment with her. You would think that as their child I’d be like, eww, gross about the shower thing but it brought tears to my eyes, knowing that my dad loves her that much.

Kristina Kristina April 25, 2012, 3:06 pm

Men are so crazy about colds–my dad is the worst since he hardly gets sick. My boyfriend and I are long distance now but whenever I am visiting and he’s sick I kinda enjoy taking care of him after all he did for me. After going through months of testing, I found out my severe hypoglycemia I was born with had turned into a pre diabetes sort of thing, but it’s under a lot of control now so I am doing much better :) He did everything for me at the time. There was a point when a few doctors thought I might have MS and when I told my boyfriend that, he was calm and didn’t ever think of leaving me. Which I commend him for because it was so early in our relationship.

honeybeenicki honeybeenicki April 25, 2012, 3:04 pm

My husband becomes a giant baby when he gets sick. And my friend’s husband claimed his migraine was “so much worse” than hers ever were.

CatsMeow CatsMeow April 25, 2012, 1:40 pm

Aww.. me and my ex were sick together toward the beginning of our relationship too. I mean, REALLY sick. We stayed home from work for about a week. The way he took care of me was what made me realize was starting to fall in love with him.

Now I miss my ex, dang it.

avatar jlyfsh April 25, 2012, 6:54 pm

aww i’m sorry! is this the one you may potentially be talking about getting back together with?

SweetsAndBeats SweetsAndBeats April 25, 2012, 3:42 pm

I agree about the being sick thing! If you’re a woman who has germ phobias and your SO is a man whose mom seriously babied him when he was sick… Things might get a little sticky, both literally and metaphorically.

avatar LolaBeans April 25, 2012, 12:45 pm

I’m moving in with my boyfriend of 3 years on MONDAY!!!! eeeeekk!!!!!!!!!

avatar Addie Pray April 25, 2012, 3:32 pm

Lola, out of curiosity, how many of the 15 things have you done?

Kristina Kristina April 25, 2012, 12:47 pm

I think all of these are important (especially the ones concerning finances), but #8 and #9 are also important. I simply don’t get why anyone would move in with a boyfriend they have been dating less than a year–I mean most people sign a one year lease on an apartment, so what makes you think it can last a whole year if you haven’t been dating for a year yet? And going on a vacation is important too. I went on a road-trip to my boyfriend’s hometown with him after only dating for 2 months. We stayed in hotels together along the way, and while it was fun, we also learned a lot of how it would be like if we lived together because we were together 24/7 (and it was stressful at times).

avatar vizslalvr April 25, 2012, 1:33 pm

I moved in with my now-fiance after four months. Every relationship is different. We’ve been together for four years now. What “made me think” it could last a whole year was that we trusted one another, had open lines of communication, similar values, and were on the same page as far as the goals for our relationship.

avatar camille905 April 25, 2012, 1:40 pm

I moved in with my now fiance at 3 1/2 months. We didn’t take a long trip together until we had been together for 8 months, and now we’re about to celebrate our 1 year anniversary and get married in 6 months. I know it sounds cheesy, but when it’s right you just know. Both of us had been in enough bad relationships previously that we were able to recognize someone awesome.

avatar evanscr05 April 25, 2012, 7:37 pm

If you don’t count trips to visit family every year or to the beach WITH family, we never traveled together until 3.5 years in, and half way through our engagement. Oh well!

avatar HmC April 25, 2012, 1:50 pm

Not a comment on your relationship, but just from a logical standpoint, I’d venture a guess that for every couple that co-habitated after 4 months knowing each other that ended up happy long term, there are many more where co-habitating that early was a mistake (Hello Jessica Wakeman!). I mean, even with you, do you think it would have *hurt* to wait and get to know each other more first? Probably not. So that’s sort of why I think waiting is good. If it would have worked out at 4 months, it would have worked out at 1 year. And if it wouldn’t have worked out at 4 months, maybe waiting for at least 1 year would have enabled you to either decide this person wasn’t for you, or alternatively, learn enough about each other to feel more comfortable taking that step so that you don’t look back and feel like maybe you took things too fast (which is basically impossible to undo). Basically, you don’t have anything to lose by waiting, but I think you do have more to lose by rushing. All the quick-moving relationships that do work out notwithstanding, of course.

avatar lets_be_honest April 25, 2012, 1:55 pm

Maybe some people don’t think there is much to lose. If a couple did everything on this list (aside from the anniversary, obv), they would have enough security and a move-out break up plan in place that other than the inconvenience of moving, they don’t see much to lose.

avatar HmC April 25, 2012, 2:03 pm

I personally see waiting as providing more security than not waiting (and it’s up to everyone to decide what is “enough” security for them). But it’s true, if you don’t view the loss of a live-in partner as that much greater than the loss of a non live-in partner, and you highly value living together right away as an ends in and of itself, then it would theoretically be worth it for you.

avatar vizslalvr April 25, 2012, 2:27 pm

I would certainly view the loss of a live-in partner more seriously than a non-live in partner, but I refuse to live my life based on the fear that something is not going to work out in my favor. If I have done everything in my power to prepare myself on a rational level for something, sometimes it’s extremely rewarding to just to jump close your eyes and jump.

avatar HmC April 25, 2012, 2:33 pm

I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, and I know that every relationship is a risk, but I don’t think that waiting more than a few months to live with someone equates to living in fear of something not working out. I see time as one necessary step to help with security and get to know each other and help to minimize the chances that important decisions are being made based on hormones instead of logic and real love- but time, or a marriage certificate, or anything else do not guarantee anything, of course. So I agree with waiting being on Wendy’s list, is my point. But anyway, I think I’ve explained my stance as best I can at this point. Glad it worked out for you though!

avatar camille905 April 25, 2012, 5:06 pm

I definitely thought of it was more “what do i have to lose”? The thought of waiting to move in together was excruciating- and there was no reason for it. It’s not like I’m 18. I’m 28. Not saying that people my age don’t make bad decisions. I had never lived with anyone I was in a relationship with before so you better believe I gave it A LOT of thought. I was scared for a while. But because we have a great relationship, I was able to talk with him about that stuff and felt totally confident by the time we moved in together.

avatar vizslalvr April 25, 2012, 1:58 pm

Well, obviously, HmC, there are plenty of couples who might have benefited by waiting. But there are plenty of couples do wait and stay together a lot longer than they might have otherwise, or wind up divorced because they don’t have a true picture of the nitty-gritty details of their spouse-to-be by holding off on moving in together. I can think of about an equal number among my friends in both groups – moved in too soon or waited forever to move in and then had it crash and burn, sometimes after a marriage. At the end of the day – the relationship was not going to work either way. And since we had discussed what would happen if we broke up on the financial end, it was unlikely to be an earth-shattering, give me back my fucking copper pots but I’m keeping my shoes debacle. Because, you know, we communicate like adults.

avatar vizslalvr April 25, 2012, 1:59 pm

Sorry, to clarify … they wait forever to move in together, and when the do two or three or four years down they line, they realize they are totally incompatible with that much time together and break up shortly thereafter. So they stay together longer and waste a lot more time by not moving in together sooner (not that four months is a great timeline for everyone, but my point is that it works both ways).

avatar HmC April 25, 2012, 2:08 pm

That’s interesting. It has not been my personal experience that people who wait to move in together end up not knowing each other as well. I don’t think that is true for myself, anyway. Nowadays actually, I’d be hard pressed to even think of couples that waited “forever” to move in. But we’ll have to agree to disagree on that point.

avatar lets_be_honest April 25, 2012, 2:11 pm

Good call. Seems like couples who are great un-married for a long, long time, quickly fall apart when they do finally marry.

avatar kerrycontrary April 25, 2012, 2:19 pm

Aw I hope this isn’t true…My boyfriend and I have been together a little over 2.5 years but haven’t had the chance to live together because we’re long distance due to his job and my grad school (and now current job). He’ll be moving to my city this summer (hopefully) but we are pretty set on not moving in together until we get married because we think the adjustment of living together is one of the special, albeit more trying, parts of the first year of marriage. We don’t plan on getting married until 2-3 years down the line but I feel like we won’t fall apart when we do. It’s just that our lives have been so transient and uncertain that adding the pressure of a new marriage/moving in together isn’t a good idea.

mandalee mandalee April 25, 2012, 2:30 pm

I don’t think that’s always the case kerrycontrary, so I wouldn’t worry. I think if people are living together for years unmarried, they may sometimes think getting married is the next practical step, rather doing it because they are in love/want to make a lifetime commitment, etc. I think it’s hose couples that end up unhappy and fall apart.

I moved in with my husband after dating 11 months (almost a year! I tried! haha) and we lived together for about 3.5 years before getting married. However, we moved into together with the intention on getting married if we still loved each other after sharing our space/time/finances with one another.

avatar HmC April 25, 2012, 2:36 pm

“I think if people are living together for years unmarried, they may sometimes think getting married is the next practical step, rather doing it because they are in love/want to make a lifetime commitment, etc. I think it’s hose couples that end up unhappy and fall apart.”

Couldn’t the exact same thing be said for couples who live together? And in fact, they may be less likely to break up because it’s more of a hassle?

But I agree, anyone, co-habitating or not, who takes the next step because they simply don’t know what else to do probably does not have a very good shot at long term relationship happiness.

avatar kerrycontrary April 25, 2012, 3:08 pm

Yeh I once read in an article that people who “fall into marriage” are those most likely to get divorced. Like one couple could be together for 5 years and say “I guess it’s time to get married” while another purposefully approached marriage after 5 years saying “it’s the right time to get married because of x/y/z” and they had reasons for not doing it earlier. I hope that makes sense…

avatar HmC April 25, 2012, 2:37 pm

Bah, sorry mandalee, I misread what you wrote as “I think if people aren’t living together for years unmarried”… Disregard my last statement. :)

mandalee mandalee April 25, 2012, 2:40 pm

haha that’s okay! Yes, I was definitely focusing on those “living together”, but I’m sure it can happen in any relationship really.

Kristina Kristina April 25, 2012, 2:08 pm

The whole copper pots/shoe argument was hilarious and pathetic.

SweetsAndBeats SweetsAndBeats April 25, 2012, 3:43 pm

Emphasis on the pathetic.

Kristina Kristina April 25, 2012, 1:59 pm

Exactly! For all the couples that do end up getting married after moving in together after less than a year, there are many more where it does not work out, and it can be pretty messy, especially if you haven’t talked about breaking a lease or the other finances when breaking up.

avatar evanscr05 April 25, 2012, 4:01 pm

I disagree. Moving in after 4 months for us was the right thing for us. We spent every single day of those 4 months together, had met each others families, were seriously discussing where our individual finances stood and what we were doing to improve them, what our educational pursuits were, our long-term and short-term career goals, how many kids we’d want, etc. Hell, we’d started a savings account together so we could afford the wedding we wanted, and even had a date picked (and we kept to it and ended up married on that date). It was one of those cliche “I just knew” relationships where we became attached at the hip immediately and that feeling has never once waivered. It’s very easy to assume that it’s too short a time for such big commitments, and for the most part, it’s probably true, but not everyone needs a significant amount of time to be sure someone is right for them. Always have a contingency plan in your back pocket in case it doesn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to jump in with both feet when it feels right.

avatar lets_be_honest April 25, 2012, 4:48 pm

WOW! You seem so young too. The two of you must be very mature to have discussed all of that so soon. I could see this from an older person, but crazy in-a-good-way for you. How long have you been married now?

avatar evanscr05 April 25, 2012, 5:54 pm

haha yeah, we’re still young. We met at 24, will be 29 this summer, and got married this past September. Still newlyweds, but I feel like we’ve acted like an old married couple for years now, though.

avatar camille905 April 25, 2012, 4:52 pm

Exactly!! My fiance were the exact same way. I have truly never met anyone else that I connect with on this level in all aspects of my life.

avatar TECH April 25, 2012, 12:51 pm

Here’s a novel idea . . .
One thing couples should do before moving in together
Get married!

BriarRose BriarRose April 25, 2012, 12:58 pm

Even if you are married/about to get married, the items on those list should still be discussed/adressed. Being married doesn’t automatically make living together magical and problem free.

avatar jlyfsh April 25, 2012, 1:04 pm

i just typed the same thing you did before i saw it, haha. being married definitely doesn’t make the issues wendy listed above any easier to deal with.

avatar evanscr05 April 25, 2012, 1:02 pm

We moved in together after dating 4 months. It was the right time for us. Our relationship, from the get go, has been always been strong, even through some lows, and it’s a decision we have never once regretted. If I had to do it all over again, I’d have moved in sooner. In fact, I think our first year of marriage is strolling along quite amazingly since we’d already worked out the kinks of sharing a space together. To each his own. It’s not about when, it’s about the particular relationship and how solid you are as a team.

avatar jlyfsh April 25, 2012, 1:02 pm

unfortunately being married before moving in doesn’t mean that it’s going to any smoother than someone who is just dating. people need to go over the basic things like wendy has listed above whether they are moving in with a bf/gf/husband/wife/partner (whatever word you want to insert from last week’s letter).

avatar GatorGirl April 25, 2012, 1:17 pm

Just because your married doesn’t mean living together is easy…you should still discuss/do all of these things first. People aren’t magically more compatable because they got married.

avatar HmC April 25, 2012, 1:36 pm

Tech- I’m waiting to get married before I live with a significant other, for various value-based as well as practical reasons. It’s the decision that works best for me based on what I believe and where I’m at in my life. So, I agree with you, in terms of what I’m choosing.

Other commenters are correct though, that many of these items could be applied to couples who are moving in and getting married at the same time.

But, to address this idea that marriage doesn’t magically make all issues go away… speaking for myself, and others who I’ve talked to about the issue, I don’t think many mature adults who are choosing to wait are doing so because they think there is any “magic” going on, or that having a marriage certificate eliminates problems. I fully expect the moving in problems to happen at the same time as my (theoretical) new marriage begins, and I’m prepared to deal with those. I’m waiting, like I said, due to personal values, beliefs, and the practical context of my life.

Ha, I always say that I don’t want to debate the whole moving in prior to marriage issue because I feel like it inherently comes across judgmental/insulting, and also because I feel like the right choice for me isn’t necessarily the right one for other couples. I freely admit it is very possible to have a healthy happy relationship where you co-habitate prior to marriage (though I do think that communication about what moving in means seems to be vital if you do choose to do so).

BriarRose BriarRose April 25, 2012, 1:57 pm

I didn’t live with my husband before we got married, so my comment above certainly wasn’t meant to look down on anyone who chooses to wait (like I did). I said it because I think there are some people who view the seriousness of marriage as a somewhat guarantee that living together will go smoothly, or at least smoother than it would for a couple who was dating. I myself was a bit naive thinking that we loved each other enough to get married, so surely everything would go smoothly. We discussed several things ahead of time (money, chores, etc) but it was still a bumpy transition. I encourage all couples, married or not, to really taking moving in together seriously, as it sounds like you will when the time comes.

avatar camille905 April 25, 2012, 5:10 pm

It’s always going to be a bumpy transition sharing personal space with someone that you haven’t before whether you’re married or not. I personally am glad my fiance and I live together now so that as we’re adjusting to married life, we won’t also be adjusting to sharing space.

avatar bethany April 25, 2012, 2:10 pm

If I had a child, I don’t think I’d want them to get married until they’d already lived with someone first. There’s so much you learn and go through as a couple when you live together, that you wouldn’t know had you gotten married first.

**This is coming from a non-religious person who views marriage as a strictly legal committment, not a “God” one**

JK JK April 25, 2012, 2:14 pm

I totally agree with you. My mother has the same opinion (the other day she was actually telling me she thinks getting married is pointless: my parents are divorced), and I´m definitely going to encourage my daughters to live together with their future SOs before getting married.
I am also a “non-religious” person.

avatar lets_be_honest April 25, 2012, 2:16 pm

Ditto, so long as she followed this list.
Except I am religious.

I was thinking of you the other day JK. My daughter taught ME how to do a fishtail braid. You and your daughters popped in my head for some reason, imagined them teaching each other.

JK JK April 25, 2012, 6:17 pm

What´s a fishtail braid? Is it what we proper english speakers call french plait?:)
If it is, I can only do them on myself, never been able to on someone else.
And my 4 year old barely lets me do her hair for kindy (she HATES getting her hair done). And the baby (turns 1 tomorrow!!!) is completly and utterly bald. Maybe in a few years?

avatar Bethany April 25, 2012, 8:16 pm

Happy Birthday!! (to the baby!)

JK JK April 25, 2012, 9:10 pm

Thanks Bethany!

avatar jlyfsh April 25, 2012, 2:19 pm

My mother who is divorced as well and very religious told me she didn’t want me to marry anyone I didn’t live with first. And personally I’m very glad I did.

mandalee mandalee April 25, 2012, 2:35 pm

Yes. I would go as to encourage them to move into together if there was even a hint of an engagement in the future. I moved-in with my boyfriend (now husband) and my mom told me to go for it if I thought this could be “the one”. Her exact words: “Honey, you don’t know he’s the one until you want to ring his neck after he doesn’t clean the bathroom for the fifth time. If you can deal with each other after that and still love each other, I’ll be the first one dancing at your wedding.” Four years later, she was!

SweetsAndBeats SweetsAndBeats April 25, 2012, 3:45 pm

I will be moving in with my SO before we get married, but after we get engaged and go through prenuptial counselling. Waiting to move in after you get married is like not adjusting your mirrors before driving a car… maybe you won’t need to know what’s coming (after the wedding), but I sure as hell want to know before I sign a lifelong contract.

avatar camille905 April 25, 2012, 5:00 pm

I had never lived with someone I was in a relationship with so before I was willing to do that, I wanted that person to be serious about me- in other words, marriage. My now fiance didn’t propose before we moved in together but we did agree that we wanted to get married in the neat future (within two years). We also met each others families, best friends, discussed finances, what would happen if I got pregnant, etc. He proposed 6 months after we moved in together and we’re getting married six months after our 1 year anniversary. We’re both pretty mature (I’m 28 and he’s 31) and really knew what we wanted out of a relationship which helped a lot.

avatar Bethany April 25, 2012, 8:18 pm

That is almost exactly what happened with me and my husband (except we’d been together longer). I made it clear that I was moving in with the expectation of being engaged within 2 years- He proposed 10 months later (took him a while to save for a ring!)

avatar cowsaysmeow April 25, 2012, 1:39 pm

As difficult as #15 may be to discuss in an early head-over-heels relationship, it’s a necessary conversation. My ex and I are now friends, but I’m still bitter about how my rent doubled and my apt. ended up as a defacto storage unit for his stuff for a couple of years, while he arranged housing weeks in advance without telling me anything was wrong until the night he left. I did end up with the deposit when I eventually moved, and I have some stuff in his storage unit so it wasn’t completely lopsided, but there are many things I would have done differently in hindsight. I could go on and on and on, but I now have something somewhat cheaper with a shorter commute, it has hardwood floors and it’s totally cat-legal for my kitty furball fuzzpants (yeah, I said it) so now it’s not so bad.

avatar Morgan April 25, 2012, 1:55 pm

I hope to need this list very soon *fingers crossed* if my boyfriend is able to find a position in the city I’ll be moving to in August.

If we do move in together the one I won’t have is saving 3 months rent, but I’ll be close enough to where my parents live I’d have an emergency place to go anyway. Well, and I guess the only trips we’ve really taken have been to family houses, but his parents live in New Orleans and his grandparents live half the year at their ski house and half the year at their lake house, so those all make sense as places to take mini vacations cuz we’re young and broke and not having to pay for somewhere to stay is a big sell. And if our relationship survived 5 days with his grandmother, it can survive anything.

avatar bethany April 25, 2012, 2:05 pm

I have to admit we didnt’ do everything on the list before moving in together (namely, exit strategy and saving the extra money), however in the back of my mind I knew what I would do/where I would live if things didn’t work out, and I think he did, too.

I think every point on the list is very valid, and don’t disagree with any of them!

mandalee mandalee April 25, 2012, 2:25 pm

We didn’t have an exit strategy either! The closet we got to that was me saying “if we break up I’m keeping the dog!” during an early argument about closet space. lol How mature of me!

The list is a great idea though! If you follow it, you definitely set yourself up for a good start!

avatar jlyfsh April 25, 2012, 2:30 pm

oh my gosh deciding what you are going to do with pets. that should definitely be on the list. someone i know recently broke up and i think that’s one of the hardest things they’re dealing with what to do with the dogs, who gets them when, etc. it’s terrible. i would be devastated if someone took my dogs and i never got to see them again!

mandalee mandalee April 25, 2012, 2:47 pm

Yes, it’s almost like figuring out custody! I have friends who still have “joint custody” of their two dogs even they are now married to other people. It’s pretty strange to people who don’t know the situation, but I understand!

mandalee mandalee April 25, 2012, 2:45 pm

I love how my phone autocorrect put “closet” in there twice. I meant to say the “closest we got to that”. time to kill autocorrect. haha

Jessibel5 Jessibel April 25, 2012, 2:23 pm

#10 has me DYING. Thank you for that! If you move in with someone without being able to do that, you’re going to live all bound up, and that’s no fun!

When I moved in with my SO, I got rid of 37 pairs of shoes! I swear I’m not a hoarder OR a shoe horse, but they added up throughout high school and college and the years after. I was so proud of myself for getting rid of them, and he was appreciative that my stuff that didn’t fit on my side of the closet wouldn’t encroach onto his side!

I have to add, if you’re moving to a different city, and will have to commute to your job, check out what the commute is like before committing to a lease and decide whether you can handle it.

avatar AmyRenee April 25, 2012, 2:35 pm

I’m surprised this list didn’t include the financial scenario from the original post: discuss what would happen if one of you lost all or part of your income and how the two of you could weather it financially. Would one partner be able to pay all the rent? And would that be ok? Should you consider a cheaper place or shorter lease in case this happens?

avatar Dennis Hong April 25, 2012, 3:18 pm

Oh, I’ve mastered #10.

cmary cmary April 25, 2012, 3:21 pm

10 is a tricky one for me. I have Crohn’s disease and my life basically revolves around poop. It’s tough having him stay over, since the bathroom is directly off the bedroom and I have privacy issues. We’re discussing moving in together, and my only requirement is 2 full bathrooms. He’s being very understanding, because he’s almost completely perfect. I swear, that’s my only requirement. Icky linoleum? Whatever. Outdated kitchen with avocado green appliances? I don’t care. Actually, that would be kind of cool. Window to a brick wall? Mm-kay. But separate bathrooms is a must!

cmary cmary April 25, 2012, 3:22 pm

And PS. I kind of think #10 should have been #2 on the list. Because I’m childish and overwhelmed at work right now and I need a giggle break.

avatar Temperance April 25, 2012, 4:35 pm

Mr. Temperance and I did literally none of those things before moving in, except maybe talking about our financial situations, which didn’t mean crap because he still had a semester of college and I was working at Denny’s and a hotel for cash. 6 years later, we’re still quite happy, but we may be outliers.

avatar Eagle Eye April 25, 2012, 6:32 pm

Well, just to be difficult, we waited until we had been together for a year (although not like we were actually together for most of that year, he was living abroad in Asia for 1/4 of it), we did discuss finances in that “I have nothing” and “I have less than nothing” and we sorta kinda moved in together for convenience and our finances.

HOWEVER – we are absolutely still together (and extremely happily at that) because we moved in together when we did. That first year was brutal for him career wise and had I not been physically in the same space that he was day in and day out, he would just have ghosted out of my life. Instead, we both learned how to live together and I do believe that we’re happier for it. Honestly, we both learned how to be a couple together in that rather painful year.

Although, I do feel as though the key for us getting this far is that we don’t treat this living situation as a ‘trail run’ but instead treat it like an important and serious relationship. Not all important and serious relationships necessarily end in marriage (although this one very well might) but marriage isn’t always the end all be all of relationships but you still must treat your relationship with the gravity it deserves if you’re living together…

anyways, there’s my 2 cents

bittergaymark bittergaymark April 26, 2012, 12:48 am

Actually, the bedding one best NOT be underestimated. For I can’t tell you how many straight guy friends bitch to me about the hideously feminine bedding (and sometimes — GAG! — entire master bedrooms!) they find themselves stuck with. I’m sorry, but there simply ISN’T a tackier or less sexy color for the bedroom than pink. Trust me, it is just GHASTLY!!!

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