My boyfriend and I de facto live together now because my current roommate moved in, then promptly got a boyfriend and I haven’t seen her in months. He and I spend six nights a week together, cook and clean at my place, he has a key, etc. We’d like to live together, but he’s committed to moving into a big house with 3-4 other people. He wants me to come with him and there’s a lot of good reasons to go (including the house being nicer and in a better neighborhood than any place I could afford on my own), but I can’t shake the feeling that our first official living-together experience shouldn’t be with a bunch of strangers. However, I have no real concrete reason for believing this, and I know I could just be fixated on living alone because that’s been my goal. So I’m wondering, am I making a big deal out of nothing? Is this a common arrangement for other people? And are there other things you think should be on my mind before we make this decision? — An Unsure Roomie
Yes, there are a lot of things you should consider and questions you should ask yourself before moving in with a significant other, but one that should not be of any concern is: “Is this a common arrangement for other people?” You aren’t living other people’s lives; you’re living your own life. Don’t worry about what other people do or think. Worry about what’s best for you. If you feel uncomfortable having three or four other people living with you and your boyfriend, then that’s what you should focus on. Who cares whether other people would have an issue with that kind of situation or not? You aren’t other people. Other people aren’t living your life.
You are making a personal decision and the only factors you should consider are those that affect you, your boyfriend and your relationship. To that end, here are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you reach a decision that is best for you:
1. If money were no object and you could afford to live anywhere you wanted, would you still want to live with your boyfriend?
2. If you knew that this was your only chance to ever live by yourself, would you want to spend a year or two on your own or immediately move in with your boyfriend?
3. Are you willing to sacrifice independence and personal space to live in a nicer neighborhood?
4. Are you willing to put your relationship in a potentially stressful situation to live in a nicer neighborhood?
5. Would you rather regret not moving in with your boyfriend sooner or moving in with your boyfriend too soon?
6. Do you and your boyfriend have to share a lease to enjoy the benefits of sharing space and spending time together?
7. What benefits would sharing a lease with your boyfriend grant you that you don’t have already?
8. What potential drawbacks would you face by sharing a lease — and space — with three or four other people?
9. What are your fears about living with your boyfriend in a house with other people?
10. What are the potential benefits for your relationship — not bank account — that you’ll have by living in a house with your boyfriend and several other people?
I would never recommend moving in with someone you can’t envision a future with because it’s a total bitch to break up with someone you live with. I’d also recommend that if you ever have a chance to live alone — to have a place you can call yours and yours only — you should take it. But this is your decision to make, of course, and you need to do what’s best for you. So take a look at those ten questions and see where you heart — and your head — lead you.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.