So, there’s this girl you can’t shut up about. She totally understands you on a level that no one else seems to, she knows how to console you when you’re upset and, quite frankly, you can’t get enough of her. Suddenly, you’re staying at her apartment all the time (or she’s staying at yours), to the point where you’re basically living together. So you think to yourself, “Why not make it official and move in together?”
We all know the old joke: What do lesbians bring on the second date? A U-Haul. But where does the U-Haul lesbian stereotype come from—and is there any truth to it? We’re here to give you the truth on why you might be so set on moving in with the girl you’re dating, how to handle it and what you should be thinking about before moving in with your new boo.
The science behind the label
When you’re first connecting with someone, it’s only natural that you’re going to want to spend every single second of the day with her. You don’t want to leave her side, and when you do, you’re only thinking about the next time you can both be together again.
Mary Gorham Malia, the founder of Gay Girl Dating Coach, says that a lot of this has to do with how women are made up biologically.
“As women, our number one thing is that we are so much more focused on relationships and connection than men are,” she explains. “Gay men don’t have the U-Haul stereotype because they have different DNA and different hormones.”
Malia goes on to explain that after sex, the female body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which is an attachment hormone that encourages trust, relaxation and psychological stability. That chemical connection makes you want more of the person and makes you not want to let them go.
“The other thing is, you don’t see this play out in heterosexual relationships, because men tend to go slower,” Malia says. “So when you have two women, they both have the urge to create connection, create relationships, and then you add sex on top of it, [and] you have this chemistry experiment catalyzed by orgasm. This is really a false sense of intimacy because when we have sex, we think we are now intimately connected, when [love and lust] are two different things.”
However, sexually active women aren’t the only ones prone to this fake love bug; kissing can also release oxytocin.
It doesn’t matter how old you are; this infatuation hormone is here to stay. Whether we’re in our early 20s or in our late 50s, when we have sex or even just kiss, we feel so wrapped up in the person we’re with that we feel like it must be love. When you have that kind of connection, why wouldn’t you want to live with that lovely lady?
How to handle the urge to merge
If you’re really trying to fight off the burning need you might have to move in with your girlfriend, have no fear; we’re here to help! Relationship specialist Christina Spaccavento, who often works with LGBTQ+ clients, says that you need to take things step-by-step in order to build a strong relationship.
“If couples feel the need to move in together after only a short period of time, it is always helpful to remember that the dating stage is an essential part of building a strong relationship,” she says. “It’s about getting to know each other, organizing fun and exciting dates, learning about each other’s sexuality and falling in love. There is plenty of time to settle down and nest, so take some time to enjoy the dating process.”
You might think that you know your girl well enough that you’re practically mind twins, but trust us, if you’ve been dating for anything less than a year, you still have plenty to find out about each other. Come up with creative ways to create intimacy in other ways, like keeping a couple’s journal.
Still feeling the urge to merge? Try setting a check-in point for another time in the future. Malia suggests waiting six months into the relationship to move in together.
“If it’s really a relationship that can last, six months is not a long time to wait,” she says. “In six months, you don’t have to blow up your whole world over it.”
What to consider before making the move
You might feel like you’re totally ready to take the next step and move right along with the move-in process. You and bae are in it to win it, and you are so ready to pack up and start this new life with her. Good for you! However, there are a few things you should do before you go ahead and call our good friends at U-Haul.
Expect the fireworks to fizzle out
As much as we’d love to tell you that your whole living experience with her will be one huge, sexy slumber party, after a while, the novelty of it all will eventually slip away. The honeymoon phase always ends, especially when you’re seeing your partner almost every waking second of the day. Your life together will become routine, and it won’t have the same thrill as you running out in the middle of the night just to snuggle with her.
“Moving in together is just an everyday experience on how to deal with just the boring stuff of life,” Malia says.
Make sure you’re ready to go from Sex and the City to just another night in about a few weeks flat—and be content with it.
Come up with creative date-night-in ideas
Coming up with creative date ideas that you can do at home is a perfect way to keep the romance flowing throughout your relationship. You’ll probably end up having a lot more of these now that you’re living together, it’s important to keep each other on your toes when it comes to new ideas.
Try to play off of different things you already know that you’re both interested in while still catering to her specific interests. Whether it’s cooking dinner together, having a movie night or even trying out a new hobby together, this will encourage the bonding process and increase spontaneity as you learn to live with each other.
Ask what it means for each of you
People move in together for different reasons, whether it be to advance the relationship or to just test the waters. But do you have a completely different reason for moving in that she does?
Malia says these are things you need to be talking about and considering. Many people get heartbroken because they assume that their partner is just as invested in the relationship as they are.
“In a lot of relationships, one person is more committed than the other,” she says. “So if it [ends], you’re the one who’s really going to be heartbroken, because you’re probably not going to be the one to end it; it’s the other girl. Really be clear on … where you are on the same page and where you’re not on the same page.”
Be prepared to deal with her quirks
You know all of the cute, weird things she does, like the way she fidgets when she’s nervous or how she absentmindedly bites her nails. But those cute things can become really annoying, really quickly.
“Things that you may not know if you just rush to live together are that you might be neat, but she’s a total slob,” Malia says. “It’s going to make you crazy, what are you going to do about things that you don’t know? You might pay your bills on time and she doesn’t. Does she show up late all the time and you’re an on-time person?”
Malia emphasizes that you need to find a way to live your lives in a way that won’t disrupt each other’s flow too much. Make sure you take note of the things that annoy you, and have her do the same. This way, you can both try to work on ways to accommodate each other and make it a lot more bearable to live with each other.
While the U-Haul stereotype continues to plague queer girls everywhere, you should never let it push your relationship in a way you don’t want it to go. You have your whole life ahead of you to test the waters when it comes to living with your significant other. However, if you do feel like it’s the right time to move in with your partner, college is the perfect experimental time to try it out.
Whether you decide to keep your toothbrush or your whole life at her place, we wish you the best in strengthening your relationship on this brand new journey!