OP: I think we are ready to live together...

We frequently hear about people living together who later find that one, the other, or both are not happy living together. Similarly, we frequently read a post in which a couple is contemplating moving in together and looking for a suitable residence. Here is an initial Check List.

Better to date more, spend more time together doing things, observing, and discussing how you will live together and what your respective priorities are that are important; and, listening to answers, thoughts, and opinions. Difficulties often develop because people believe that "love triumphs over all". Not necessarily. It is better to plan your life, first, then execute your plan instead of moving in and hoping things will just work out. This is a naive approach.

So, what sorts of things are important? Here are a few, why not add your suggestions to the list?

* Children, yes/no
* Children, how many
* Children, over what time frame
* Children, can we afford one, two, three, four, five and when

* Religious values and importance of being of the same faith
* Moral values and what is important to each

* Can we live on one income
* Will we live on one income
* Will we save some or all of the second income

* Insurance--life/car/death
* Health insurance
* Assisted living & nursing/rest home insurance
* Savings--long term, short term, retirement
(Premiums are lowest and most affordable when taken out at a young age.)

* Can each of you make out a budget and live within your means?
* How much credit card debt do each of you have? If more than $1000, pay them off, first, then cut them up. If you must have a credit card, put it in a safe deposit box for emergency use only. Make your relationship cash and carry.

Other than a college loan, or perhaps a mortgage, you shouldn't have any other obligations than maybe a car loan and even that is likely to place a strain on a budget especially if one or the other of you has a big expensive set of wheels to satisfy the ego and sense of self.

* Food--do we like mostly the same things, mostly different things, can we find a common menu within our budget?

* Housing--styling, size, colors, design, location

* Automobiles--how many, how often / new or previously owned


* Devote much of your dating time discussing how you plan to live together and interact.
* If you want to live together, now, begin planning today for this in the future by saving your money and maintaining separate checking and saving accounts, while establishing a joint savings account in order to begin storing funds for your future together. If either of you is not willing or capable of doing this, you definitely are not ready to share a bed, let alone a household. Ten percent of your collective income(s) should go into savings, minimum. Once you have worked out a budget, you should have a minimum of six months savings in the bank for a rainy day, loss of income, or other emergency.

If you are a guy, are you going to have a trophy wife that you woo'd, bedded, possibly got pregnant, and then leave to her own devices while you proceed to devote much of your free time to the truck, car, and their repairs and modifications, hunting or fishing, or just out with the boys, while your wife and child sit on the front stoop waiting patiently and anxiously for you to give them some of your precious time? Have you matured sufficiently to spread your wealth and divide it up among all of your interests, placing family first?

Very often women jump into home life only to learn that you fight and have disagreements that you do not know how to mediate, negotiate, or, solve. Learn these skills, first, before moving in together as it is more difficult to move out and find a new place than it was to move in together in the first place.

Test not only his ability to bring out the best in you as well as the reverse. Look for changes in his priorities. If he begins devoting more and more time to other pursuits at the expense of your relationship, then you need to decide what is important. While the two of you can have individual outside interests and hobbies, they have to be placed into perspective. Relationships once fought for and won continue to require nurturing. Guys often do not get this until it is much too late and damage to the relationship has occurred.

Wait. Do not be in a rush to move in together. Work on getting the ring first by making sure the two of you are devoted to each other and are ready to commit to marriage--then, you can move in together. Next, develop a life plan that you can both embrace. Unless and until you two can do these things, then living together should be as roommates with separate bedrooms, space in the refrigerator, and shelves in the pantry. Let him do his own laundry! About the only shared activity is housekeeping.

Bottom Line:

If he cannot keep the house/apartment picked up, clean; dishes washed and put away, without being asked, he is not ready to have a relationship at this level. He may think he is because by you moving in he might very well have the mistaken and misguided notion that you will be doing all these things even if you also have a job. Now, add a child to this mix and you find him out with the boys or working on his precious car or locked to the computer for hours, and then what? Oh, and can the lad cook? If he only knows how to eat out or use the microwave, he is not ready to live with someone. What about you?

* Time Management--As with establishing a weekly/monthly budget and sticking to it, a couple also needs to establish a time management budget. Begin with a daily planner and pencil in tasks to be accomplished daily, weekly, monthly and on which days. Next, pencil in each of your personal activities and time spent together.

If either of you are lacking skills in one or more of the areas above, learn how to do them, then place them into daily use.

I've said many times: Relationships are partnerships in which two autonomous adults join forces in order to share a life that is greater than the sum of its parts. Said another way, a relationship is formed by two people with a past who choose to join together to become one with a future. Explore and learn together, and live life as a team.

For you and others reading this who are contemplating this move, you have much homework to do before doing the "homework", if you follow my drift.


Posted: 04 Oct 22:27


Thank YOU Doc! Well Stated since too often people jump into residing together, when the relationship gets rocky, they find they have no place to go or no "How to"!


Posted: 04 Oct 22:27

Babies are cute
> So, what sorts of things are important? Here are a few, why not add to the list?
* Children, yes/no

Here are my thoughts on having children:

When the decision has been made to live together, what about children?

I belong to the school of thought that advocates living together as a couple for a few years before starting a family. Why?

1. Take some time to get to know one another as part of a couple under one roof. This relationship is going to be much different than it was as just two people meeting and going on a date, even if you've done it for years.

2. Take some time to build a life together. Use the time to get settled in.

3. Take day trips and weekend trips and go on vacations. Visit the places you've always wanted to see. When children come along, these can be tougher to do.

4. Concentrate on getting thru school and completing your education then becoming established in a job or profession.

5. Save, SAVE, SAVE. Build up your bank account and net worth. Set money aside for the future without the expense of children during the first few years. Begin saving for a down payment for a home. Begin saving for furniture. Begin saving for your children's education. Begin saving for retirement. Begin saving for whatever. While you are doing these things, build a life and a relationship together. When a child enters the family, your time and "our" time together will be strained.

6. (Care to add to the list?)


Posted: 04 Oct 22:28

Essentially the question is - no matter what may happen - do you love him/her?

I say this because the committment required to marry the right person the first time for ALL time has got to be just THAT strong if you two are going to make it. Come hell, high water, infidelity, and/or whatever - you have still got to be able to love him/her without reservation.

If you think that's scary - then you're NOT ready to marry anyone.


Posted: 04 Oct 22:28

This was kinda covered, but definitely make sure you observe their living environment before even considering moving in. If you are a messy person, and their room/house is spotless, there will be conflict, and vice versa. You both need to have a level of cleanliness that you can both accept and are comfortable with. My gf mostly lives with me and she is a very messy person and it annoys me to no end, has definitely caused a few fights and such. In hindsight, I would reconsider letting her live with me before some long discussions. Oh well, everything in life is a lesson.


Posted: 04 Oct 22:28

Ok so I have recently encountered a situation that I find myself in... I was talking to a really good guy friend about my schooling, and the school by where he lives (a good 200 miles away from where I'm at right now) has the program that I am looking for, and will transfer into many more major colleges in the state. The school I'm going to now dosn't, I have to take general classes and hope that they are good enough to transfer to a major college to compleate my degree.

He offered for me to live with him. I wouldn't have a problem as we both are vary open with our financial situations and how messy/clean we are. It would work in pratcial scence. But the thing is that we probably would share a bed (even if we had our own rooms and everything, we just love to cuddle when we sleep). Also it would have a huge possability of turning into something a lot more then what we have with eachother right now. Not saying that it's a bad thing, just saying the possabality is there...

I asked him if he was sure because he is the type of person who will offer if he thinks it's what I want, or if it will make me happy. And I generally (for like 6 years) I have taken it upon myself to look out for what he wants and what would make him happy when it comes to anything to do with me and him because I know he will be looking to make me happy. So I told him to think about it, that we have until December to decide because that's when I'll need to regester for classes and what not for next semester.

Also I think my aunt and uncle are ready to have me out of the house, but as a broke college student I have like no where to go. They (my aunt and uncle) are recently retired and are learning about eachother all over again. I feel like I'm kinda of an absest (can't think of the word so that one will have to do) to them. I can stay here if I have to though, I just don't want to. My mom dosn't have the room for me at all, and my dad and I are vary uncapatable living partners in every way except the food.

So good idea or bad idea? I'm stuck on this one...


Posted: 04 Oct 22:30

Since both you and he are very bad at setting boundaries, this plan of yours is not a terribly good idea. Also both of you are 'pleasers' who cannot say No. All sounds very sweet until you understand that being a Pleaser with boundary issues leads to Doormat. Not so good.

You must maintain separate beds - if you want to cuddle while sleeping get a stuffed plush teddy bear and leave the man alone.

Focus upon your schooling. Get it done and get on with your life.


Posted: 04 Oct 22:30

Talk with your aunt and uncle and discuss your situation and your plans. See what they are willing to do on your behalf and work out a plan if any. Similarly, talk to your friend and see what he is willing to do--or not. Thirdly, talk to the new school about student housing be it a dorm or as a roommate in someone's home. Many families living close to schools rent extra rooms to students. How able are your parents to help you financially, all or in part?

Lastly, as EEK stated, concentrate on your education, first. Second, have some fun along the way. Third, learn to become autonomous. Fourth, work on developing a relationship, last.


Posted: 04 Oct 22:31

I'd just like to point out that, subject to particular majors, it is usually much better in the long run to take loans and focus your energy and time on classwork and researching exact details of your potential careers. You can use that knowledge to land the ideal internship/co-op and subsequent job.

There are some work-study jobs such as computer lab assistants where you get to study 95% of the time and then replace ink toners or staplers the rest.


Posted: 04 Oct 22:31

First it wouldn't be rent free, as I do pay rent at my aunt and uncle's house and buy my own food and what not, but I cannot live on my own with the money that I make/have. Also the campus that offers dorms for students (there is two campuses) is a good one and a half hour drive from the campus that offers most of the classes that I need.

Second my mom is financially incapeable of supporting me at all, $50 here or there maybe if she has it so I can go and visit her. My dad made a deal with me that if and as long as I am going to school he will pay for my schooling (what ever isn't covered by grants and scholarships) and car insurance. He just wants me to go to school.

Third the school up by my friend's house is the one with the program that I want/need, not the one that I am going to right now.

Fourth I do think about myself more at all times and what I wand/need, I was just saying that he is the type to become the doormat, and I won't let him.

Fifth I have lived with him before, we lived in the same house but with about 4 other people, I was dating some one else at the time, not him. Totally diffrent situation.

Sixth most likely his best friend (whom is gay) will be living there also, I donno what that has to do with anything but it's information about the situation.


Posted: 04 Oct 22:31

Funny thing about marriage... Not trying to offend anyone, let me be clear on this! And really: I think it is great advice the doc is giving us!

I love it when I see a happy couple :) But frankly: I do not care if they tell me they've been married for 15 years, have 2 kids and live happily in the same house. Or if they tell me they have been devoted to each other for 15 years, have 2 kids and live happily in the same house... Call it husband & wife or boyfriend & girlfriend, whatever you want. I have the most respect for both of them and am happy for them. You catch my drift?

Tragic as it may be sometimes, 'will you marry me?' isn't just a phrase that will make it all work. Just as 'will you live together with me?' would. Marriages fail. 'Till death do us part' could easily mean: when the relationship 'dies'. Sorry, I know this from up close experience...

I'm not an expert and do not attempt to be. All I'm saying is: love with all your heart. See all the good and the bad. Make clear what you expect. So: also make sure that the significance of marriage has the same meaning for both of you. It is not a guarantee on itself; it's what you make of it!


Posted: 04 Oct 22:32

Well said RedRose! My boyfriend and I have been living together for a while (almost 2 years) and no problems yet! If you can talk about your problems with your "significant other", and not always fight about every little thing, you'll be fine. We decided not to get married, because to us, it's just a religious thing. We're not religious per se, but his Mum is, but even she says we're soul mates. We're also expecting our first child in August, and couldn't be happier!


Posted: 04 Oct 22:32

Congratulations, dear Sunnburst! Always nice to read such happy news before going to sleep :) And I'm glad you like my comments. O, and I see it's your first post, so: welcome to this forum :)


Posted: 04 Oct 22:32

Add a Reply!