The time has come. After months — or for some impulsive souls out there, weeks — the two of you have decided to combine your two kingdoms into one mega-empire of love. In other words, you are moving in together. While that is cause for celebration, it should also be a moment for you to apply some foresight and really look at what that implies.
Like with anything in life, moving in together will have its pros and its cons. What might seem like a good idea today, might not seem so good tomorrow — remember that time that you replaced your dining room table with a pool table? Before celebrating something that one or both of you might not be ready for, just look at the idea objectively. If after doing so you still feel like it is a good idea — then full speed ahead. If, however, after pondering over the possible consequences you cool off on the idea — better to step back now and not after weeks or months of agony.
PRO — You Become Acclimated to Each Other’s Habits
When you move in together the veneer that both of you put up while you were just dating vanishes. You will, from that point forward, see each other as you really are. From how you sleep, to how you look in the morning, to how you conduct your hygiene habits — all the way to how, yes, you take care of bodily functions.
In the process, you will become used to each other’s habits and routines. This can be a very big step in the process toward cementing what could become a lifelong relationship.
CON — You Discover You CANNOT Stand Each Other’s habits
While for some discovering each other’s habits increases their bonding, for others it will just drive them to madness. With each new habit or routine that you discover of your partner the magic just seems to dissipate drop by drop until the relationship starts to run on empty.
What, you put wet towels in the hamper? WTF, I thought women couldn’t stink up a bathroom? Who doesn’t rinse out the sink after brushing their teeth? Who thinks it’s OK not to shower for an entire weekend?
PRO — Shared Possessions
By combining your stuff you can suddenly go from living like a 17th-century peasant to a Rockefeller. Whereas before you may have had just one TV each, now you can have one in the living room and another in the bedroom — just like those fancy-schmancy rich folk on Park Avenue. It will also make your furniture setup more suitable for welcoming other human beings. With your couch and her coffee table, side table, lamps and everything else, you can finally get rid of the cinder block with 2 X 4 shelving and the old giant wire spool you found by a dumpster that you used as a table.
CON — Your Partner Doesn’t Respect Your Possessions
Shared possessions can also have its downside. Imagine that 19th-century vintage side table that has been in your family for generations all covered in Red Bull cans, Doritos bags and Cheetos dust when HE decides to have his fat, smelly, good-for-nothing buddies over to watch the game. How about when you come home and discover that SHE has donated your original life-size Han Solo frozen in carbonite replica to the Salvation Army. Yes, the serene bliss of your joint homestead can be breached if one disses the property of the other.
Sharing possessions implies sharing dominion and care over those possessions. When one partner believes that the other is not respecting their contribution to the joint-possession pool, trouble can arise.
PRO — You Both Save Money
It seems perfectly logical to expect that by combining forces and living under one roof the both of you will save money. Where there once were two rents and two sets of bills to pay — there is now only one.
The savings that this generates should be divided into two pools. One, the communal pool. This you would use to set money aside for something that you want to accomplish as a couple. The down payment for a house, wedding, vacation, etc. The second pool should be allocated for the personal and discretionary use of each partner. This way, the money saved not only advances the goals that you have as a couple but also advances your individual goals. Win-win all the way around.
CON — Your Partner’s Money Management Is Worth Sh*t
While you were living alone you managed to pay all of your bills on time, put a little bit away each month for a rainy day, and always had your pantry stocked with food. Now, late notices are piling up, you just received a text informing you that your joint checking account is overdrawn, and the only thing to eat in the house is a can of cat food from 2004. WTF happened?
The answer is simple. If your partner is not disciplined with money, the benefits of combining two incomes and halving your living expenses vanishes. The fiscally irresponsible partner is prone to view the added income and the lowered baseline expense as an opportunity to purchase things you don’t need. Suddenly, instead of saving and advancing toward common goals, you are in debt and regressing.
PRO — You Never Have to Sleep Alone Again
On those cold and stormy nights, there is now someone to cuddle with. On those nights when you don’t feel so well, there is now somebody who will make you a nice cup of tea. You can now fall asleep as you gaze at the face of the love of your life lying next to you — instead of dozing off while watching Colbert or Fallon as you used to do before.
CON — You’ll Miss Having Your Own Bed
While some will relish the joys of sharing a bed with someone, some of you will find it — apart from the sex part — to be annoying and inconvenient. You may even begin to understand why Lucy and Ricky had separate beds on “I Love Lucy.”
You may discover that the natural sleeping habits of your partner are just too much for you to bear. These habits — coming from him or her — can include loud snoring, uncontrolled flatulence, blanket hogging, food crumb dropping, kicking and arm waling — just to name a few.
Yes, while some will hail the virtues of slumbering in cohabitation, others will spend the night poking or rolling over their partner just to try and get some sleep.
— Results May Vary —
The important thing to keep in mind about moving in together is that — as many product disclaimers in commercials say — results may vary. Whether you have a good experience or not will depend on your partner, your compatibility, the stage that you are in your lives and a wide myriad of other circumstantial factors. It could be that you’ve had bad experiences living together with other partners in the past. That should not close you to the possibility that in the future you might have a partner with whom living together would be fabulous.
What is important is to enter into it with your eyes open, don’t do it on an impulse. Also, if it doesn’t work out, don’t let it get you down. After all, the main reason to live together is to test the waters and determine if you are compatible under full-time conditions. If it turns out that you’re not, at least you discovered that fact sooner rather than later.