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10 Things to Know Before Moving in With Your Significant Other

At some point, the thought of living with roommates for another minute sounds like a nightmare, let alone for another whole year. Shortly after, a light switch clicks on in your brain: I love the person I’m dating, why not move in with them? And then with hearts in your eyes like some goofy cartoon character, the fairytale idea of moving in together becomes a reality. But before you start packing your bags, there are a few things to consider.

1. It’s not all fun and wine nights

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It’s time to dispel the myth that on any random night your house will smell of freshly baked oatmeal cookies and you’ll be waltzing around in a floral silk kimono, sipping on expensive red wine with your significant other. Let me assure you, 99% of the time it won’t be like that. The thought of moving in with the person you’re dating, often comes with a lot of false expectations, like it’s going to be easy, for one. There’s this idealized view of what you think it should be (thanks a lot, Pinterest). Granted, you will have cozy Netflix nights, but there will also be nights when you’re tired, and dreading going home to make dinner, because there are dishes in the sink and laundry in your closet, and you know dang well it’s not your turn to tidy up. It’s important to realize when you move in with someone your living your daily life, the same mundane Mondays, waking up to the same beeping alarm clock, the only difference is you have your significant other lying right next to you (probably hogging the bed and the blankets).

2. Signing a lease: $3,000 dollars and a whole lotta trust

It may go without saying, but moving in together often means signing a lease together: a year-long, commitment to stay together. It’s one thing to be in a committed relationship, it’s another to promise it in a legal document. It’s like a mini-marriage, and it puts the whole thing into perspective. As you squiggle your name on the dotted line, reality sets in and you realize just how much trust is required in that commitment.

3. Your Pinterest home isn’t what you thought it would be

It’s time to address the elephant in the room—or rather the second-hand store, piece of “artwork” your partner insists on hanging on the wall. Before moving in with my boyfriend, I had several Pinterest Boards dedicated to my future home, what it would look like: color schemes, furniture, art, decór and so forth. It was not long after we moved our first few boxes in that I realized all the Romantic Comedies I’d watched had been lying to me. This idea that men don’t have opinions on decorations, or that they can’t be bothered picking out a duvet cover, proved to be false. I realized that my dream home didn’t necessarily account for another person throwing in their opinions. Living with the person your dating is different than living with a roommate. You quickly realize that compromising is your only option. There’s no yours or mine, only ours.  

4. Stepping into adulthood faster than your friends

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It’s 9 PM on a Saturday night, and you’re already in bed. Your phone is glued to your fingertips as you click through the wild snapchats your friends are posting, as their night is only beginning. Moving in with your significant other means moving into a different period of your life. While your single friends are out bar-hopping, you catch yourself making up excuses to stay home. You realize you have work tomorrow, rent is due, and grocery shopping isn’t going to do itself. Being in a serious live-in relationship changes your friendships as well, where you get caught in a sort of limbo—you’re past your crazy night out phase, but you’re not quite in you’re married, settled-down phase either. Finding a way to balance all the relationships in your life is key.

5.The good, the bad, and the ugly…side of you

In the beginning phases of your relationship, getting ready for date nights is this elaborate, ritual, where you spend hours getting ready, blending in your foundation and looking your absolute best (even if you are just going to sit in a dark movie theater). Slowly that newness, that routine, diminishes, and not always intentionally, but it does fade and before you know it, you find yourself in goopy face mask, greasy hair, unshaved legs, and stained t-shirt binge-watching a Netflix show next to your significant other. Now, trust me when I say, I never thought I’d see the day when I would achieve that level of comfort with someone, and it’s not all bad. It’s honestly really nice not feeling the pressure of being your best self 24/7. But when I say they get to see the good, bad, and ugly, I’m talking about seeing you on your bad days, when you’re in bad mood for no good reason, when your hangry, moody, passive-aggressive alter ego begins to peak out, and learning how to navigate conflict during these days becomes an essential part of making your relationship work.

6. Fighting in mutual territory

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Living together changes the whole dynamic when it comes to heated discussions, arguments and full-blown fights. You can no longer storm off when you’re upset, waving goodbye as you drive home because your home is now mutual territory.  In these times of conflict, you realize that there’s no escape and when you’re feeling especially dramatic, you realize there are only two options: you can either go big (and apologize first) or go home to your parents.

7. You forget to make time for each other

It may seem silly the thought of planning a date night when you brush your teeth together every morning and kiss each other goodnight each night. But in that same routine where you feel like you see each other 24/7 you begin to realize saying good morning and goodnight doesn’t qualify as hanging out.

8. Best friend or boyfriend?


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Living with your boyfriend is like living with your best friend: you can love them to pieces and still want to roll your eyes at the annoying things they do. Like finishing the milk and putting the empty carton back in the fridge, like really, dude? It’s difficult finding that sweet spot, where not only is the rent shared equally but the responsibilities are, too.

9. Lives get tangled

Moving in with your significant other means consolidating all of your belongings. Granted, most people plan on sharing a couch, but forget to consider you’ll be sharing a closet too. Personally, my closet is my happy place, where my clothes are color-coordinated and every item has a place. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is more of a “let’s shove everything into the closet and close the door,” type of person. Just as your clothes get mixed up, your lives get tangled too. When you live with the person you’re dating, your relationship is taken to a whole new level; people treat you as one unit rather than two separate people, your friends and families are so connected you only have holidays at one household, and within all of that, you come to understand that when you move in together you also move away from the “easy outs.” A breakup isn’t just a quick “it’s not you, it’s me” conversation. It’s splitting up all your stuff, it’s a process of finding a new place to live, it’s pulling apart the home you two created together.

10. It’s not all bad

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There are a lot of advantages to living with the person you love. There’s the obvious: saving money, feeling independent, getting to spend time with your partner. Then there’s the not so obvious: finding out the person you’re dating is someone you truly want to be dating, someone you’re choosing to be with rather than feeling like you have to be with them. When I moved to Santa Barbara I was terrified, I had no friends, no family, just a bunch of boxes and thankfully my boyfriend by my side. I can truly say I don’t think I would be where I am without his love and support. Moving in with him was at times a test of our relationship, and like any couple, we have our good and bad days, but living with a little slice of home next to me made transitioning to this new chapter of my life so much easier.

Takara is a third year student at UCSB, she is a Communication major, hoping to pursue a career in PR, advertising, or journalism. She is a fashion, beauty and skin care fanatic. Youtube make up tutorials and Netlflix are her guilty pleasures. You can find her on Instagram: @takarahepburn
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