Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dear Brookey...Shacking Up?

Happy Tuesday!

Dear Brookey,

I have a dating dilemma I'd like your opinion on. I've been seeing a guy for about 6 months now and he recently brought up the subject of living together. Since we've met, we've been inseparable. I'm always at his place or he's always at mine. We both have VERY high rents (living in NYC will do that to you) and he said we should consider it for "practical reasons." We've never even gone on vacation together, so would moving in after only 6 months be too soon? We have both expressed our love for one another, but is that enough to move in? What say you?

**Disclaimer: I've never lived with a man and I'm not a relationship expert**

That being said, I think you should wait a while. There are a couple reasons why I say this. Even though I don't know you personally or any details about your relationship, two things struck me - 1) "for practical reasons" and 2) "we've never even gone on vacation together."

Let's start with number 1. Living in NYC, I understand completely the financial reasons why a couple might want to consider living together. One rent/mortgage, shared utilities, more money to do other things together (like go on vacation) are attractive reasons to want to shack up. However, when most people decide to live together, it's more about seeing if the relationship is ready to move on to the next level. You've told each other that you love each other, but is that enough? I've never lived with a man, but I'd assume moving in together would symbolize a commitment to each other and plans for the future. While I agree that living together is a practical option finance-wise, it may not always be the best thing for a blooming relationship if you aren't on the same page about the reasons. You might think he wants you to move in because it means he's leaning towards marriage, when really, he just wants to save money for a new flat screen TV and an XBox. Not cool. Sometimes saving money isn't worth falling into the toilet late at night because he didn't put the seat back down, listening to him snore every night or any other annoying habit you discover you can't live with after you've move in...which brings me to number 2.

2. I'm not saying going on vacation with someone will tell you all that you need to know about a person, but I DO suggest going away for even a long weekend just to see how that goes first. Diving head first into living together might be overwhelming, so I'd say take baby steps. Not everyone's vacation-with-their-boo experience is the same, but I'll clue you in to some things I've discovered while on vacation with a dude.

- Everyone poops. You can't avoid it if you're on vacation with someone unless you're just walking around toxic. We all KNOW that everyone does it, but you don't have to see (or smell) it when you each have your own place. It's more than that though. There are just some things that are left to the imagination when you're seeing someone but don't see them everyday. We never see him shave his chest hair, he never sees us wax our mustache...or any other body part. He's not around to see us in the fetal position when we have cramps during that time of the month, and we don't see him sitting on the couch scratching his balls. We only show our beautiful, clean- shaven, charming selves when we go visit. But when you live together, there are just somethings he or she will see...and I think getting a glimpse of that on vacation gives you an idea if you can stomach living with someone.

- We might get sick of each other. It rarely happened, but there were times I just wanted to say "can you please go somewhere...away from me?" When you're on an island and can't get away from someone, that'll give you an idea of what sharing an apartment is like. Okay, maybe not an apartment, but you know what I mean. If they get on your nerves and you live apart, you can simply go back to your place and not answer the phone. You can't do that when you live together...you just have to go into another room. At least if you go on vacation together and you can't escape, you'll be able to determine if he or she is someone you can stand being around ALL the time. Spending time together 24/7 can either make or break you. However....

- If you don't get sick of each other, that's a GOOD thing. Because you didn't fight or get tired of each others' company (depending on how long the vacation lasted), it can move the relationship needle a little farther. If the vacation brought you closer together rather than becoming a vacation-turned-torture trip, it can reinforced your compatibility...making moving in together more attractive of an idea.

- We might not bone every day. I mean...most times we DID bone everyday, but that's just me ;-) But spending a week together made me realize that when you live together or you're married, it's inevitable that couples stop doing it every single day. While I dread that thought, it's totally OK not to have sex every day all day long, so long as it's still done on a regular basis. Usually when we got back from vacation, we didn't have sex the next few times we saw each other - because we were too damned tired! It wasn't because we were tired of each other or not attracted to each other, but rather because we were exhausted, or busy with work...or just didn't feel like it. I like to cuddle and hug and kiss...and I realized it's OK to skip a hump day once in a while. Just one though ;-)

When you live together, you probably will see some things you wish you hadn't, you'll probably want your own space sometimes, you probably won't have sex every day, and you might not like each other ALL the time - and BOTH of you need to be cool with that. I say all that to say, manage your expectations and be realistic about what you think living together means. If you both love each other and have discussed where your relationship is going and you're both on the same page - then go for it! But if money is the sole reason you're considering shacking up, then I'd say think it over some more...and have the discussion again in another 6 months if you feel the same way about each other. And go on vacation already!

Again...I am not a relationship expert, so feel free to weigh in. Go!

-b

19 comments:

Latinegro said...

first bitches!!!!

Annamaria said...

Don't live together right now. Those are not reasons to live with your boyfriend. Those are reasons to get a roommate. See where the relationship goes.

Latinegro said...

That chick needs to wait. 6 months is way too soon. The relationship will then become one of eventual convenience instead of attraction.

Trust me...I know.

The Fury said...

She shouldn't even consider it until they're engaged and planning a wedding. Living together is not only a big jump in commitment and trust, but very messy if the breakup happens. They'd be better off getting roommates like Latinegro said.

Rameer The Circumstance said...

THANK YOU for posting this, Brooke-Ra.

The issue recently came up in my situation. I WILL be showing this blog to my girl tonight.

Yolanda said...

Dude sounds like he's trying to stack paper (*ya'll like my BK speak, don'tcha*). He sounds very fishy to me and his reasons don't come from a place of love.

Anonymous said...

Hell to the No!!! Don't do it girlfriend. As my granpa use to say why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. Unless you are on the verge of marriage get a roomate. As the fury said if a breakup happens it could get messy.Whose home do you choose yours or his? If you break up does the other person HAVE to move out?There are to many ?'s that could cause you unnessary heartache.

Jay said...

I don't think there's much more that needs to be said. While I know you don't truly know someone til you live with them, I agree with Fury that you shouldn't take the step until you're on the verge of getting engaged and close to marriage and had that "talk." If you weren't in the picture, would dude still be worried about saving money? If not, then moving in for "practical reasons" shouldn't be his motivation to live with you - commitment and planning a future should be.

Brooke said...

Rameer, your girl wants you two to live together? Let's hear THAT story :-)

Rameer The Circumstance said...

Meh. Long story that basically amounts to "not gonna happen". I actually was more in-line to do it than she was at one point, but then my common sense kicked in for many of the reasons you wrote. Now she's kind of hinting at it strongly...no. Things are fine as is, and I'm not gonna rush into anything crazy.

Suffice to say - your blog is well-timed.

Brooke said...

maybe she wants to buy an XBox :)

Stef said...

I lived with someone once and it was a disaster. We thought because we were all lovey dovey that we'd make good "roommmates" - which is exactly what we became. Tell dude to get a part-time job to help with the bills...not YOU! In my case, we never discussed expectations, our future or marriage. Like Ant said, after the passion wore off and the realities of everyday life kicked in, we discovered that we barely liked each other, let alone loved each other. Moving out is the WORST! Don't do it til you get engaged!

The Cable Guy said...

That nukka just wants an XBox! Leave that joker alone! LOL!

It takes alot to share space with someone, I don't care HOW much you love each other. Give it some time just so you're sure...cuz moving out is a BITCH! Trust me, I know!

If you both are doing well financially alone, then keep things the way they are. I know it's hard out here, but nothing is worth all the headache of breaking up and looking for a place all over again. Stay put and keep your eyes open with this dude.

Anonymous said...

you need to do a few things first - IF you DO decide to do it.

1 - make sure he has good credit and is currently paying his rent ON TIME

2. go on vacation with him to see if you can stand being around him for a long period of time

3. work out a contingency plan in case they move in but the relationship fails

4. meet his family

5. discuss your goals for the relationship - are you thinking of marrying me or living with me to save money?

Ms. Penn said...

I have a friend who was in a similar situation, but they decided to live together SPECIFICALLY to save money. They both knew it would be temporary if the relationship didn't work out, but if it DID work out, then they would stick with it.

It was very business-like at first. Her lease was up at around the time they'd be dating for about 4 months. Plans fell thru the cracks with the place she was going to move to, so she was scrambling to find a place. She needed to save a little more money to get an apartment since the ones she was looking at were more expensive. The guy she was seeing had a HUGE apartment with the bare essentials in it, so he offered to let her stay there while she looked and saved money and allowed and to move her stuff in rather than putting it in storage.

She was skeptical at first even though they had been really hitting it off. They drew up a plan, set a time limit and then decided that if things didn't work out in that time limit, they'd continue as roommates until she could move out.

They made a financial plan as well, split bills, and they both banked the money they were saving from their arrangement. She continued to look for places to live, but their relationship was blossoming the entire time. I think because they sat down and discussed expectations and guidelines, they developed a new level of respect for one another. And they still continued to "date" each other while living together and getting to know each other.

They are now engaged and have lived together for 2 years. They're using the money they saved for the wedding. It CAN happen, but just make sure that you're honest about the reasons you're moving in together and keep the lines of communication open.

Brooke said...

Great story Ms. Penn...it sounds to me like they really used their heads in that situation, and managed their expectations beautifully. Good for them!

Serena W. said...

I'm crazy late! Sorry everyone. I agree with the blog. Either wait it out to see what he's about OR have a rock hard plan in place.

I've shacked up twice and needless to say it didn't work for me.

It takes more than vacation. You gotta ask your self, "is he spiritually in tune with me? Am I with him? How does he treat his mother? The women in his family? Do we have the same goals in mind? Where do we each see each other in 5 years."

These are all questions to consider.

Now I'm at a peaceful place and steadily healing from the loss of my mother. I made a vow to myself to not settle any more. If Mom were here she'd say the same thing.

I know I'm not ready for a relationship. Between healing, praying, trying to pick up the pieces...I'm not ready.

I say all of that to say that some people don't even know whether they are ready or not and if they don't and you shack up with them it can turn into a disaster.

My 5 cents at 10:15pm lol. Take your time, get a part time if you need too and enjoy learning about one another.

Anonymous said...

dont do it! 6 months - 1year is the standard bliss season for any relationship....see what happens in the second year and then maybe third year if marriage is in talks...naw..just wait.lol...it's your booooooy!

Bledsoe said...

I know this post is late - however, it is still worth posting.

Many people shack up quickly after meeting. It works for some and others it does not. Your reader should evaluate what her deal breakers are for certain situations and then poise them to the guy that she is dating and see what he thinks and what his deal breakers are well to see if these are things that she can live with.

In addition she should do the following:

1 - make sure he has good credit and is currently paying his rent ON TIME
2. go on vacation with him to see if she can stand being around him for a lengthy period of time
3. work out a contingency plan in case they move in but the relationship fails
4. meet his family
5. discuss her goals for the relationship - are you thinking of marrying me or living with me to save money

After going through the list above she will have a better feel for how to move forward.

Best Regards,

Cuz

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