So you’re in love, and it’s magical. She’s amazing — she’s smart, funny, and pretty, she loves all the things you love, and your sex life is great. You spend all of your free time together, and you still miss her when you’re apart. Why can’t you just be together all the time? The only logical solution is to move in together. I mean, that would be great, right? You can play video games together, and take bubble baths, and buy things to hang up on the walls, and you can cuddle and kiss and do grown-up things whenever you feel like it! I mean, that’s awesome, right? It’s the perfect plan. How can there be a downside to living with the person you love? Right?
But before you decide whose bed to keep, take some real time to think about whether it’s going to be a good move for you as a couple — and for YOU as a guy. Holding her in your arms while she’s looking up all doe-eyed at you, nuzzling your ear while she whispers “why can’t it always be like this?” is not the best time to make a life-changing decision. You’ve got a lot to consider. Are you mature enough? Is she? Do you see living together as a step towards marriage, or more like having an awesome roommate? How does SHE see it? Just for a moment, put aside how great she is and how much you love each other — because I’m sure she is and I’m sure you do — and think about the not-so-fun parts of cohabiting, and whether you can handle them. For example:
1) Those little habits that irk you are going to get harder to ignore
You know how she likes to pop her knuckles after she’s been typing a while? Or her neck if she’s slept on it funny? Or EVERY JOINT IN HER BODY ALL DAY? You’ve put up with it because you love her so much. I mean, she’s awesome in every other way. It’s just that one tiny, trivial thing. Why even bring it up?
And maybe you’re right. Maybe it won’t be that big of a deal. Or maybe you’ll end up screaming during an unrelated fight, “And you know what else? Quit cracking all your knuckles all the time! It’s gross!” And she’ll be like “that bothers you?” She’s not psychic. Neither are you. Here’s what you do: next time she does the annoying thing, tell her it annoys you. She probably didn’t know, and if she’s cool she’ll stop doing it in front of you.
It goes both ways, too. After you make your confession, ask her if you do anything that bugs her. You might find out that she HATES the sound you make when you eat soup, and how she wants to smack your spoon out of your hand, or just dump the bowl on your head, and this is getting too personal. Once you both know, you have two options: accept it or agree that you will both quit doing the annoying thing in front of each other. But that gets infinitely harder when you’re living together.
2) Seeing her naked will become less exciting
It used to be just for when you were getting intimate. Living together, you will see her get in and out of the shower, change into her pajamas, etc. and the majority of the time, it’s not going to lead to sweet lovin’ down by the fire. When you don’t live together and one of you is “staying over” with the other, taking your clothes off might be a signal for sexy times. Once you’re sharing the same bed and the same bathroom, it becomes an inevitable fact of life. When have you heard the words “inevitable fact of life” and “always super hot” in the same sentence?
If it’s that much of an issue, you’re kind of shallow, but you can keep it sexy–slow stripteases or ripping each other’s clothes off is still a few steps above pajamas.
3) Her definitions of “clean” may be different than yours
Do you care at all about whether you walk around inside with your shoes on? Do you let the dishes go until you’re eating out of Tupperware? Have you ever given a single thought to the base boards? Are you looking at your baseboards right now and just realizing they’re there and that they’re gross?
Or maybe you’re the clean one and she’s the messy one. Either way, if you live together, you’ll to have to agree on an acceptable level of cleanliness. This may mean you’re going to have to step it up. This place, whether it’s a new one or whether it used to be yours or hers, belongs to BOTH of you now. The argument “well if you’re the one who wants it clean, you do it,” is not going to fly. Neatness is a conversation you need to have before you start packing. Agreeing on 50/50 isn’t mandatory. For example, my husband is terrible with money and I’m laid up in bed most of the time, so he does the majority of the cleaning and I take care of the budget. Just decide on something that’s fair for the both of you. Oh, and if you have two toilets, for Pete’s sake get two toilet brushes.
4) Your bathroom space will get smaller
It’s a given. Even with a male roommate, you’re going to have less of your own space in the bathroom. It’s different with us, though. Fair or not, at some point in human history, women started being expected to groom themselves more than men. If we want a job in modern America, we have to shave our legs, keep our skin clear, and do at least something with our hair. And that’s the bare minimum — women often wear makeup, use multiple hair products, and do stuff to their eyebrows that I don’t understand. Unless she’s a total hippie, be prepared to make some adjustments. Keep your stuff on your side of the sink, and maybe let her encroach onto it a little bit. If you’re both really into grooming, see if you can find a place with dual sinks, or two full bathrooms if you want to get fancy. Oh, and remember that we have to wipe when we pee, so the toilet paper’s going to run out faster. Quit whining about it on the Internet; it’s simple human anatomy. Which brings me to my next point:
5) Everybody poops
When men talk about poop, it’s funny. When women talk about poop, it’s gross. So I’ll be brief. We do it too. Just leave it at that. I mean, if it’s really bad, put some air freshener on top of the toilet and she’ll take the hint. (We also have these things called periods, but that’s its own article.)
If you’ve made it to the bottom of this article and you still want to start shacking up, go for it. Just be aware that you’re going to face every situation non-coupled roommates face–and you’ll face them as a couple. Final note: make the lease 12 months at the very most. Oh, and if she has a cat, you now have a cat as well.
Now you’ve heard Beppy’s list; what’s your biggest cohabitation complaint?
Beppy Huls is a freelance writer currently residing in Overland Park, KS (and if you make a Wizard of Oz joke she will cut you). Her favorite movie is Bowfinger and her favorite food is falafel. You can follow her on Twitter at @beppy.