As we round the corner on the last stretch of the school year, it’s time for seniors to finally accept that the end of their college career is quickly approaching. On top of all of the other decisions to be made for post-grad life, collegiettes with significant others also have to decide what to do about their relationships. For all of you who are thinking about moving in with your boyfriend after getting your diploma, here are some things to consider before you make your final decision.
The cost of living in many popular post-grad destinations can be incredibly high, especially if you’re planning on living in a major city. If you and your boyfriend move in together, you’ll be able to split the cost of not only rent, but also utilities, food, etc. Halving the cost of living in a one room apartment is significantly cheaper than any other option.
“I moved in with my boyfriend after graduation after doing long-distance throughout college,” says Alice, an Emory University ‘12 graduate. “We've been living in NYC for nearly a year and so far it has been great. For us, it was a natural transition because we've known each other since high school and have been dating for so long. It's also worked in our favor financially, because splitting rent for a one bedroom apartment in the city is much cheaper than other options like paying for your own studio or sharing a two to three bedroom apartment with a roommate.”
However, involving money in relationships can make for a tricky situation. It’s never fun to have to ask for money from someone or vice versa, especially with someone you’re romantically involved with. Making sure that both of you are going to be able to afford your half of things is definitely a necessity before you move in.
“Since neither of us has a job lined up yet for next year, I'm a little worried about rent,” explains Ashley, a collegiette at the University of North Carolina who is planning on moving in with her boyfriend post-grad. “Hopefully we don't end up with a situation where one of us can't pay our half. I'm thinking of taking an AmeriCorps job next year, so I'm expecting to have some trouble managing my finances. Living with my boyfriend should help keep rent down, but I may have to be stingy in order to afford my half.”
Whether you’re a slob or he is, there’s usually one person in a relationship who has a higher standard of cleanliness than the other. Before you live together, the fact that his clothes are constantly all over the floor of his room might irk you, but once you’re sharing a small, confined space, it’s going to drive you up the wall.
“His room sometimes looks like a hurricane just came through, so how different we are when it comes to cleanliness will probably be our biggest issue,” says Andy, a student at the University of North Carolina. “But I’m hopeful we’ll both be able to compromise! When you’re sharing a place, you have to.”
Jasmin, a collegiette at the University of the Sunshine Coast explains that it annoys her when she has to clean up after her boyfriend after a long day of work.
“I am currently living out of home with my boyfriend in his brother’s house,” she says. “I do get annoyed when I clean up (e.g., the dishes mostly) because my current part-time job is a hospitality job and it’s very hard to do that after I’ve just done it at work!”
However, if you both agree to split the chores and commit to keeping your side of the bargain, it can definitely work out. Tell him the things that are non-negotiable for you and have him do the same. That way you know what you’re getting into beforehand.
“He’s more organized than I am, while I vacuum and use cleaning products more often,” says Ashley. “Hopefully we can strike a balance.”
Time for yourself
You know those nights when you just want to lie around in your bed and catch up on all your favorite TV shows? Well think about how annoyed you’ll get if your boyfriend insists you change the channel every time you put the new episode of New Girl on.
In a small apartment for two, it’s definitely difficult to take some alone time. This might not seem like a problem right now because you know you love spending time with him, but if you two are around each other 24/7, you might start to feel a bit smothered.
Liza*, a student at Skidmore College, explains this can also be a problem when you want to spend time with your friends without him.
“My (now ex-) boyfriend and I were planning on living together for the summer, just us two,” she says. “It was his idea originally and I was extremely hesitant at first. What if we got in a fight and needed space from each other to cool off or just alone time in general? What if we wanted to have a boys’ or girls’ night out on our own? It seems like it would be difficult to balance a life at home with a significant other with a social life that’s all your own, especially at our age when there are so many places to explore and people to meet! I was worried that I would feel guilty having to choose every single night.”
You both need to understand that wanting to spend time apart isn’t a personal insult, just a precaution to make sure you don’t end up wanting to kill each other.
You think you’re irritated now when he uses the last of your body wash and forgets to tell you that it’s gone? Just imagine how you’ll feel when that’s constantly happening and not just with body wash.
Annoying habits are just that: annoying. But they’re also much easier to overlook when you’re not together constantly. When you live with someone, their flaws are right out in the open for you to see.
“Your love has to be deep enough to be able to withstand learning about your partner's flaws - no makeup, food fetishes, annoying little habits and other tidbits of information that were hidden when you were only dating,” explains Carole Lieberman, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets.
Living together means figuring out ways to tolerate the aspects of your significant other that tend to aggravate you. You’re going to have to learn to pick your battles. If he’s doing something that really isn’t that big of a deal, just leave it alone. But if it’s something that’s really grinding your last nerve, you’ll need to be prepared to talk to him about it before it gets to the point where you snap.
You don’t want to move in with someone if you think you might move out in the future, so considering the type of relationship you two have before committing to living together is extremely important.
You need to evaluate what type of couple you are. Do you fight a lot about small, stupid things? Do you have a break-up/make-up dynamic? Will he be a responsible roommate and pay his half of rent and do his half of chores?
“Before moving in together, couples should consider: whether they want to make a long term exclusive commitment to each other, how they will divide expenses, who will do what chores, and many other house rules,” says Dr. Lieberman. “Fairytales just show couples walking into the sunset, not how to work out the details of making a smooth transition into living together.”
If you’re a couple that is constantly fighting with each other, living together is going to make your relationship even rockier.
“Fights typically surround one person being neat and the other messy, not liking the same foods, not wanting to take responsibility for cooking or cleaning, arguing about sharing expenses, and one person wanting to do things more independently while the other wants to cling,” explains Dr. Lieberman.
Moving in together with someone that you can’t picture being in a long term relationship with is never a good idea. You need to be very sure of what you want with someone before making that sort of commitment.
There you have it, some things to consider before you commit to moving in with your boyfriend. If you do decide to shack up, living together is a great test drive to see just how compatible you two really are. Good luck, collegiettes!
*Names have been changed.