When you’re in a wonderful, healthy, happy relationship with someone you love, moving in together is a discussion that’s bound to come up sooner or later. But how do you do it? And when is it right? Are there even set rules or guidelines for doing such a thing?
The media has no problem advising us to avoid cohabiting, claiming that couples who do are bound for a lifetime of let down and even divorce should they ultimately decide to get married (see this NYT article on cohabiting here). With all of these claims flying around the internet, it’s hard not to be discouraged when you’re thinking of taking that step in your relationship.
So let’s take a moment and review this whole cohabiting thing. Can it be a terrible decision to move in with someone before marriage, even if you feel like the relationship is bound for marriage and a lifetime of happiness? Absolutely. Could cohabiting possibly cause a seemingly perfect relationship to fail? Of course it could. Any of these things are possible, but in my opinion most of the failures come as a result of not being adequately prepared to live together.
When I originally started writing this post, I wanted to focus on multiple steps you can take, steps that I have taken myself in my own relationship, in order to happily live with your partner. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there is only ONE key to successfully living together. While the little things matter, like deciding how to combine your furniture, what DIY Pinterest projects you’ll do to redecorate, or who will do what chores in the house, everything boils down to communication. Poor communication can 100% lead to relationship failure, and it can do the exact same thing to your live-in boyfriend situation. If you want your move to be a success, then talk about it. Talk about it again. And then, talk about it some more.
When John and I started dating, we knew that one day there would come a time in our relationship where we either took the next step and continued, or ended the relationship. We were 1,000 miles apart, and it was difficult to feel present in each other’s lives when we weren’t physically together. Naturally, the topic of moving in together came up. However, it wasn’t a one and done conversation. It was many, many conversations weighing the pros and cons and what it meant for our relationship. As a result, we’re happy, we love living together, and most importantly-we’re on the same page because we took the time to communicate clearly with each other about moving in together.
So this is where I feel the media has it all wrong: yes, cohabiting can have a downside, and it may absolutely lead to unhappy marriages down the road, but this could easily be avoided by clearly communicating with your partner about the move and what it means to each of you before taking the plunge.