I lived with a man from the fall of 2004 to 2007. When we moved in together it seemed right, we were both working full time jobs. I graduated from college and I was the sole caregiver of my youngest sister. Shacking up worked from a financial and logical point of view. He was also over all the time anyways, so I figure let’s get an apartment together and make it even more official.
It worked for the most part; we were both folks who valued privacy and cleanliness. We both took turns cooking and bills were 50/50 split. It also helped to have someone else there to help with my sister.
There were many things that transpired between 2004 and 2007 that eventually led to me kicking him out–including him hiding money from me, but the one thing I’ll never forget is how dead my passion for life became. I moved in with him expecting security and growth, he moved in expecting a sexually attractive and morally upright version of his neglectful mother. Some days I felt like an emotional zombie caught in a dizzy rotation of monotony. The relationship was heading to towards marriage and I knew in the pit of my soul that I could not see myself with this man forever.
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Cohabiting or shacking up is not one of those black and white issues where there is only one working answer. For some couples shacking up has worked and continues to work, for others it has only left them with a wounded wallet and credit score. For more goal-oriented couples, they used the period as a warm up to the race and have gone on to marriage.
If you’re considering moving in together, have a conversation about expectations, have a conversation about finances and have a conversation about values. You are now running a household together and it’s not cool to have one person bear all financial burdens while the other cartwheels for hours on end. It’s not cool to constantly be borrowing from parents all so you can have a place to have sex in. And it’s definitely not cool to live with someone who is a slob or domestically defunct. When you sign a lease, that’s when sh*t gets real.
From a big sister point of view, I say hold off until you are both clear about what you want to happen with cohabiting. As cool as shacking up sounds, it does tend to mimic marriage to the point where marriage is no longer a priority. So if that’s your goal, make sure it’s put on the table and included in the conversation.
I will add that cohabiting is so much more meaningful when you have lived on your own. It is assumed that you are both aware of household responsibilities and how to budget. Remember, we date to learn more about ourselves, sometimes this enhances our life sometimes it does not. Where’s your head at? Do you think that both names on a lease will make the relationship more official or are you ready to experience life together as a unit?
What are your thoughts on shacking up/cohabiting? When is the best time to move in together? What are a few requirements your partner would need to meet before moving in together?
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