Moving in together is a big step. Does it make things better or worse? How soon is too soon? Does it lead to breakups — or worse, the D word? Well, a recent study shows that premarital cohabitation isn't linked with divorce — at all. In fact, the research out of University of North Carolina, Greensboro shows that two-thirds of new marriages in the United States start with cohabitation. Phew.
But that doesn't mean it's all hearts and roses. I came from the naïve school of thought that believes moving in with your significant other is solely an exciting adventure. The next stop in the forever journey. And looking back, how silly it was for me to think that moving in together — and adjusting to my partner's schedule, his quirks, the fact that he doesn't know what dish soap is — would be every ounce the cookie-cutter fun bonding moment I'd envisioned. Oh, how wrong I was.
The first two months existed a phase I'd like to call the Pre-War Happiness. I was Churchill, assuring everyone peace had been achieved and crises averted. My partner was a ticking time bomb that I was doing my best to overlook and ignore, lest I explode first. Shortly after the Pre-War Happiness period fizzled into a full-scale war. It came on hard and fast and never let up.
A word to the wise for all you newbs out there who so falsely think moving in together will be fun. Here are the biggest facepalms I learned:
1. Guys don't understand what soap is.
Soap? Why are we buying so much soap? Honestly, when my boyfriend asked me that question, I contemplated sleeping on the street. You need soap, moron, because you need to wash things. Because there is no magical fairy that swoops down into apartments in the middle of the night to wipe down your cheese-crusted plates and dust your coffee table. You need soap because things need to be cleaned.
2. There is no such thing as "order."
Unless you're moving in with your graphic designer boyfriend who just has to have it his way or the highway (real life: I know someone like this so yes, these men do exist), forget any and all notions that men know how to keep a tidy space. They don't. Which means, by default, you won't. Which means you have to work harder than ever to get anything to stay in its place for more than five minutes. Which means, yes, you should absolutely threaten to take sex off the table if he doesn't reserve his stack-of-dirty-dishes for the sink — and only the sink.
3. Everyone poops.
Get over it. Seriously, the sooner you let go of that outdated notion that girls fart roses and poop daffodils, the better. You do poop. And you do fart. Especially after you eat a ton of broccoli or when you scarf that Indian curry without ever looking up. When you move in together, all bets are off. The real you will come out. And guess what? The real you is a lady in the streets but a freak in the bathroom. He'll get used to it.
4. You'll clean — and then clean again.
Do you remember when you much younger and your mother would follow you around with a Swiffer pad as your sorry self attempted to "clean" up after a mess you'd made? Surprise! Your boyfriend's adorable attempt to clean up the living room and the bathroom will end this way: He'll be screeching at you for having so many products (men will never understand the importance of conditioner), and then you'll be following-up his lackluster efforts with yellow cleaning gloves and a bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles.
5. You'll get bored.
Living with your SO is a lot of fun, despite all the challenges and adjustments. You'll have a new appreciation for your parents (and his parents) and you'll start to value the time you spend apart (trust me, you will). But here's what you probably aren't ready for: You'll get eventually get bored. It doesn't mean your relationship has fallen to pieces of that you're doomed for a rocky ending. You'll just get bored. Do yourself a favor and have a list ready of ways to spice it up — beyond your four walls.
What did you learn from moving in with your significant other? Tell us in the comments below.
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