Not Moving in Together

(Photo source)

These are my personal opinions and what works for me. In no way do I think they are superior to others’ opinions, nor do I think what works for me will work for everyone, else. I am not judging anyone who has different opinions than me. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this topic as it has been on my mind for quite some time.

My BF is finally moving out of the frat house he’s shared with his college room mates for the last couple of years. His room mates have moved on, and ready to get places of their own or move in with their significant others. The thought of moving in together has no doubt crossed my mind, and BF and I have discussed living together . Of course, it’s a really big step. For us, we’d like to wait until we are “practically” married before crossing that road of our lives.

“Why don’t you just move in together?”

When people (co-workers, or some friends) find out that BF is moving out on his own, into his own pad and I am staying in mine, I get many shocked looks, with the above mentioned question. And maybe I am being sensitive, but it often felt like a “judge-y” question.

I felt like it’s an intrusive question, as if they were questioning my judgement as if our decision was not “normal”. Like it’s expected that all couples just move in together.

Maybe I am being extra sensitive here, but it’s a really personal decision and I don’t think it’s just something that’s expected. At the end of the day, it is a personal decision between the two people who are actually involved.

Learning to Live Together

I know many couples “test drive” living together before marriage to see how/if things work. Even though I was a firm believer of this (when I lived with ex), I’m now a believer in “just making it work”. Learning to live together that is.

I now believe that living together is not so much about “testing it out”, as it is “learning to live together.” To me, living together is about supporting one another, sharing (almost) everything, lots of compromising and, of course, accepting one another. Sometimes, it’s about changing a bit about yourself to accommodate your partner.
(Note: I know many couples fall into this category as opposed to the “test drive” category. Again, these are just observations from my experience).

I mean, look at my parents. They have been married 30 years and they never lived together before marriage. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I truly believe it’s more about making it work than seeing if it works.

I’ve Done it Before

Lived with a significant other, that is. And that experience is one of the main reasons why I don’t want to do it this time.

BF knows this.

I lived with an ex before and even though it was fun and exciting at first, it wore off quickly. I was also young and naive, and just assumed that by living together – everything will remain great. Which, obviously was not the case.

Living together was not the reason we broke up, but after the break-up I decided that living together before marriage wasn’t as important as I once thought that it was. I believe that relationships can work out great whether a couple lives together before marriage or not.

The Math

Of course, the PF side of me knows that the math is in favour of moving in together (usually) – for splitting rent anyway. But, as we all know, relationships are more complicated than numbers, and that should never the be driving factor of such a big life decision. What LC wrote in her Relationships and Money post really rung a bell with me.

My debt is my own. New guy’s debt will be his. And I probably won’t even move in with a guy again, unless there is a ring on my finger. That might sound bitter but part of becoming a more financially-sound woman is being smart with every dollar I have. I hope to attract a partner with similar spending behaviours and financial goals and not one who could eventually pull me back into my old patterns…

Other Personal Reasons

Can I add that even though I love spending time with BF, I also like my down time. My down time can involve cooking, cleaning, reading or blogging. I find it therapeutic. And I’m sure that BF likes his bed to himself once in a while – I’ve seen him sprawled across it when I leave for work ;)!

This might sound silly, but I like having dates with BF. Even if it’s just hanging out and watching a movie, cooking food, or going out for dinner – I like making plans and looking forward to them.

Another reason is that my parents would most likely freak out if we moved in together. They are pretty conservative and I can’t imagine their reaction and disapproval. I also agree with some of the reasons my parents have.

I think that’s it!

Readers, what are your thoughts on co-habition? Would you move in before marriage? And if you already live with your significant other, what are thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

P.S. Am I being too sensitive and taking (perhaps well meaning) questions the wrong way?




Filed under Personal

40 responses to “Not Moving in Together

  1. The fact that it DOESN’T remain great after living together is why I personally need to test drive it LOL

    BF and I moved in together pretty quickly after we started dating. About 2 months, mostly because we were living in 2 different cities and I visited him on weekends.

    Without living with him, I would have a huge learning curve to adapt (and vice versa)

    Glad it works out for you though πŸ™‚ Whatever works, you should do. Me, I need to test drive it. πŸ˜›

    • Yep, works for me! πŸ™‚

      I actually had a chat with BF of when I would think it would make a lot of sense for a couple starting out in a new city. And if that opportunity came up for us, then we’d re-evaluate.

  2. I moved in with BF before he proposes. I guess it just makes more sense that way? We plan on getting married and he bought a house and since we are working on renovations…. it’s kind of silly for him to live in a whole house himself and I am still renting and staying over almost every night.

    Staying over and living together seems pretty much the same to us… we didn’t have to do too much adjustment… so… it’s working out great for us so far ….. πŸ™‚

  3. I moved in with the bf, lived with him for a couple of years, and then moved out ot my own place after my student debt cleared. If you think you get a lot of questions, then imagine the questions (loaded ones at that) that I have gotten!

    I really like what you said about relationships being more than just math. I get really irritated when people question my decision to move in to my own place in downtown TO (something I planned to do for a long time) from a financial point. A gf of mine once said “it’s nice that you can afford it, I just can’t” – not true, she has a well paying job (~55-60k), and lives in a very affordable area. I think it’s like with a lot of other things in personal finace, you make you own decisions of where to splurge and save, and it’s nobody else’s business.

    oh and I’m totally with you on enjoy your own space. When the day comes I’ll learn to live with a partner or roommate again, for sure. But for now, it’s beyond awesome to have my own space where I can choose to entertain others or be totally alone. Worth everyone of my hard-earned pennies!

  4. Hey FF! I also am of the school of thought of not moving in together before marriage, but for religious reasons. I certainly don’t judge anyone/couples that choose to live together as it isn’t *my* relationship. I think the same goes for anyone who wonders why you guys aren’t living together: it isn’t their relationship, it’s yours. I agree wholeheartedly that it is a bit intrusive to even ask why/when and for that reason, I don’t even think you need to justify why you guys aren’t living together.

    That said, I love LC’s quote and am going to hop on over to her blog to read more!

    • Thanks, Investing Newbie!

      For some reason, I feel obligated to answer people’s questions when they ask. Silly, right? I guess if I feel like someone has crossed a line, then they have and I don’t have to answer their question.

    • Before I moved in with my fiance, I thought I wouldn’t move in with anyone without getting engaged. But then I just got caught up in the excitement of living together. Luckily for me, it worked out. And now that it’s been over a year, I still think it’s just really, really nice to come home to someone you love. The money saved is just gravy.

      • That’s so sweet Well Heeled! I think it would great to come home to BF every evening, and I agree that any money saved is just icing on the cake! Actually more like the flower icing that’s on the iced cake! πŸ™‚

  5. LC

    You know I couldn’t agree more… but I do think every relationship is different. I know couples who moved in together after a year, couples who bought homes together before marriage, and couples who didn’t move in together until after marriage. There are risks and benefits to every situation.

    I would say that, especially since you have lived with a guy before, you know what’s right for you this time. In the end, who cares what anyone else has to say. Whatever makes you both happy and makes the most sense right now. xo

  6. LC

    Oh, and thanks for the quote/mention. πŸ™‚

  7. I moved in with my husband when were were just friends. No intentions of dating but we ended up working out. By default we lived together before we got married but it certainly wasn’t planned.

  8. L.

    BF and I have not moved in together (even though it has been almost 4 years and we keep getting that intrusive question as well). I think I agree with you. I love having my own space. If I need to do hw, want to watch Lifetime, or just want to hang around and be messy, it’s great to have my own space to do that in. When I live with a spouse, I want it to be in a manner that still allows me to do that. Like, I would want to have a study with my things, because bf and I are very messy in different ways, and I need space to just work! But also, I think for a decision that is so entwined in your emotions, that it being cost-effective isn’t a good reason for me (and like you, I’m not knocking those who did it πŸ™‚ ). I love having my roommates to hang out with and have girls’ nights with, and I enjoy having a “date night” with my bf.

    I’m not sure of what we’ll do when we graduate (and go off to grad school/the work force), but that’s in a good while, so we’ll probably just talk about it in a few months. LC’s quote also resonates with me, so now I def. need to catch up with my blogroll haha πŸ™‚

  9. I agree with you 100%.

    I’ve had a few relationships where I’ve lived with the significant other with varying degrees of success. It works for some people, and that’s great for them, but personally I won’t be doing it again until I’m engaged at minimum. The Boy and I both own our own homes, so moving in together would likely mean selling one of them (which isn’t cheap), or renting one out (which has risks). If down the road it didn’t work out, it would mean buying another house again (as I wouldn’t be going back to renting from owning), or waiting until the renters moved out. Everyone has their own reasons for their decisions, if others don’t like it then that’s their problem.

  10. Red

    Don’t even get me started on personal decisions that people question as if it’s any of their business. What works for you two doesn’t have to work for everyone else. Yet numerous people have told me that we’re wrong for having separate finances. Or treated us like lepers for not wanting children (or worse, dismissed our desires as “something we all say when we’re young”).

    As for Mr. Red and I, I jokingly tell people he moved in on our first date. We went out for dinner and a movie, then went back to my place and battled it out on the N64. He said, “It’s so late, and I work closer to your place than to mine. Can I stay here? I swear nothing funny. I’ll sleep on top of the covers.” So he did. πŸ™‚ And I swear there weren’t three nights between then and when he officially moved in 6 months later that he didn’t stay at my place.

    Even so, having someone stay at your place every night and watching them move in are two different things. I had to adjust to knowing it wasn’t my place anymore. I couldn’t tell him to go home if I got tired of him. πŸ˜‰ I’m just saying… It’s an adjustment. It’s not the same as having sleepovers. By the way, he was the first and only guy I’ve ever cohabitated with, so I had nothing to compare it to.

    I say do what you two are comfortable with and tell everyone else to shove it.

    • That’s so sweet – about you and Mr. Red!

      I agree, it’s different staying over and moving in. Even though I stay over at BF’s and he stays over at my place, I still feel like his place is his and my place is still mine.

      And I agree now that it’s not anyone’s business but our’s. I don’t have to answer questions that I don’t want to and it’s none of anyone else’s business.

    • I get this too – “why aren’t you engaged yet?” “how come you’re not living together?” and people tell me that I’ll change my mind regarding the kids thing, too. I hate it. Like I said in a different comment below, it’s nobody’s business but your own, and you have the right to do what works for you!

  11. Go you for sticking to your guns!

    I am a big believer in living together, and know that’s been the right choice for me. But equally I admire those who go the other way.

    My fiance and I moved in after just a few months together (and we were really young – 18) and it wasn’t really much of a choice – it just kind of happened because there wasn’t a room for him at his mother’s new place. I was a bit wary of it, but it worked out well. It was definitely fun playing house in that initial stage, but equally it was a big adjustment as we are very different people. It’s still often a battle when it comes to chores!

  12. do whatever feels right to you. my fiance and i didn’t move in together until there was a ring on my finger (however, we had already decided that we wanted to live together for a year first before getting married so we’re having a long engagement – we got engaged in janurary 2011 and will get married in august 2012). i’ve “broken up” with roommates before and that’s hard enough – i can’t imagine having to deal with a seriously relationship break up and moving out at the same time.

    • I agree that I can’t imagine having to break up with a significant other and then splitting/ giving back possessions. I wasn’t living with the ex when we broke up, and I couldn’t imagine if had to face him after the break up and split up out belongings.

  13. My boyfriend and I lived with each other before we were dating! We were roommates (with a few other friends from college) when we started falling for each other. So, like Ban Clothing, we’ve been living together our whole relationship πŸ˜›

    We’ve been together for over 4 years, been living with each other for 5 years. Though as roommates, we had separate rooms, so it was almost more like dorm living in that way. We just moved into a place for just the two of us. And like you said, we’re still learning to live together. We’re splitting chores, and, I guess, “trying things out”.

    I also hate that people assume things about other people’s relationships. Like that it’s standard for people to move in before marriage. I don’t think I would have if we weren’t already living together. I guess the other assumption people make is that we’re all, er, doing it. But we’re not. I’m planning on waiting until marriage.

    But yeah. We all have our own personal ideas/plans. So I think people just need to butt out!

    I support your decision! πŸ™‚

  14. I love this post because it’s SO TRUE! My BF and I have been together for 2 yrs and really enjoy living separately. I also get the same stupid comment sometimes, where people just expect that moving in of course the next logical step. But I really like my space, and he likes his, so it all works out. We only live a few blocks apart, so it’s not like we can’t hang out lots.

    We’re going to a wedding on the weekend and I know there will be well-meaning but nosy questions about why he and I aren’t moving in, or getting engaged or blah blah blah. A lot of the time I think people ask questions like this because that’s what they did, and they expect everyone to be like them. But I like bucking trends! Doing something just because it’s expected is never a good idea.

    • Good points. Now that I think of it, everyone who has asked me has lived with their significant other before marriage. I think most of the questions were nosy but well meant.

      BF and I are going on 3 years in November. πŸ™‚ I still like looking forward to date night.

  15. I live with boyfriend. I have for three years, and it has it’s ups and downs. I couldn’t imagine having to live with a roommate. I do find that living together gives us a responsibility. If we’re fighting, we can’t just storm away, we have to work through it. It also makes my boyfriend more responsible – if he lived on his own, he’d never have to clean and his place would always be a pigsty (done that..) but with me, he can’t do that, so we take turns cleaning.

    But sometimes I wish we hadn’t moved in together so early. I have never been able to just live on my own. It’s definitely personal preference and nobody should be judging you for not living with your guy!

    • It’s definitely a personal preference! I will eventually need to learn to live with a partner, but for now, I like my independence.

      Good point about the fighting and not being able to just storm off. It forced one to work things out, and I think that is usually a good thing.

  16. My BF and I moved in together after the first month of dating. We were both in college and we just couldn’t stand being away from each other. Young love at it’s finest πŸ™‚ We lived with tons of roommates for 4 years though and after college we tried the long distance thing for a year and then finally moved in together. It’s worked out because we both wanted it to and put the time and energy into it. It wasn’t hard for us, it just seemed so natural. For exes, I would have to say I would have NEVER thought this. So it all just depends like you said. And since we’re saving up for our own place and wedding, it just makes sense for us to live with his parents right now haha!

  17. I 100% agree with you πŸ™‚
    My boyfriend wanted to move in together (well, we bought a house together) before marriage to “see if it will work” and “test it out”.
    I am a firm believer myself that it’s not IF it will work out, it’s how.
    We went through some pretty tough times with the transition, but we’re slowly getting used to it, getting used to compromise and acceptance and willingness to change.

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  20. I just found your blog, so forgive my lateness on this post, but you’re articulating exactly what I think about moving in together! Mr. Dollars and I have been together for three years, and I know I get the same shocked look when I tell people we don’t live together. Flat out, we just weren’t ready to merge households – we have our whole lives to live together, why rush it? We’re taking the plunge in August 2012, although not without a lot of thought and preparation.

    I’m an only child and have never lived with a significant other, so I hear you on the downtime. My one rule for living together is nothing smaller than a two bedroom for that very reason. Sure, we could save money by cramming ourselves into a one bedroom or even a studio, but I’m sure I would go nuts with the lack of me time. Currently Mr. Dollars lives with a roommate and I have my own place (and I luurrrve it, I’m going to miss it when I move), so I’m glad I got to live alone for a couple of years before moving in with him.

    Thanks for this post! I feel like the whole “why don’t you live together?!” question is akin to asking why you’re not engaged yet, or why you’re not pregnant. It’s none of anyone else’s business.

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