The year was 2012. It was my senior year of college. I had a job offer and a beautiful girlfriend. She happened to get a job 200 miles away from where we both lived, and I roared, “Fuck it! Let’s move together!” I dropped my offer, graduated, and moved to a strange new city a week later.
Fast forward a year and a half, and we are no longer together. It was a great relationship, but it ran its course. This could be a huge pity party of an article, but instead, I’m going to give you some insight that your lovestruck friends are too blind to see, and your heartbroken buddy is too cynical to say.
For starters, don’t be an idiot. Get a joint bank account. No, you aren’t going to be sharing all of your money with each other; that’s just stupid. Talk to HR and set up direct deposit and deposit an equal amount (or pre-agreed upon ratio) of money each month to only cover your rent, utilities, and groceries, and if things are going well financially, potentially money for a vacation. There is nothing glamorous about this, but it will prevent the “But I paid 2/3 of the rent,” “But I paid the entire water bill!” argument.
Don’t keep tabs on anything. Literally. Nothing. I have a habit of liking a really clean house, so I was cleaning a lot. My ex wasn’t. What I wasn’t noticing though was that she was grocery shopping every week. She also happened to make more than me, so she was also paying for drinks at the bar a little more than I was. The one time I pointed this out, I was bombarded with a ton of stuff that I didn’t even realize was always done (hint, she was the one making sure that it was). The point being that things even out in one way or another, so keeping tabs on what you do or what you pay for is just going to get you upset for no reason.
A lot of your personal time becomes “we” time. You know how you used to like playing video games or trolling the internet before bed? Good luck with that. Instead, it’s going to be binge watching something on Netflix, because Netflix is a two person sport. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as its something you both enjoy, so you should probably have similar interests.
Things get stale eventually. You know when you first start dating, and your privates hurt from using them so much? That disappears at some point. It sucks, but that’s when you need to be open with your significant other about trying new things.
Along with the previous point, you are going to bump heads. It happened with your parents in high school, your roommates in college, and it’ll sure as hell will happen with your significant other. You’re not going to win every argument, and half of the time the argument is about something you really don’t care about. Talk like adults and try to reach a compromise, unless it’s something that you ACTUALLY care about, then fight like hell for that. You’re going to fight, but you’re a fool if you continually go to bed angry at each other, so make sure you make up before the lights go out (or after, winky face).
Last point: know when things are over. My ex and I were great friends at the end of the relationship, but that was it. We probably dated 5 months longer than we should have. Yeah, it sucks, but breaking up is a good thing. The week before we broke up, we were talking to realtors about buying a house. I was going to propose this spring. Long story short, it saved a lot of resources and sanity. All that’s left afterward is dividing everything up (I got the dog) and starting a new chapter in your life.
Breakups are never fun, but I would have the experience I had 1,000 times before getting married without living with someone. Statistics say (maybe, idk?) that you’re more likely to end up divorced if you live together first, but I imagine there a ton more failed marriages that were never started because a couple lived together first..
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