I Survived: Moving In Together Too Soon

Photo credit: Brooke Cagle

After three months of missing someone all day every day, I decided a long distance relationship wasn’t for me. Despite all the different ways to connect with someone 3,000 miles away, I was over it. I wanted a boyfriend — not a pen pal.

So I did what any lovesick, still-living-with-her-parents, 25-year-old would do. After spending maybe a total of 20 days together in person, I packed up my world and hauled ass to California.

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All worries that we were moving in together too soon were overshadowed by our excitement at the idea of spending every. day. together. No more countdowns. No more crying on airplanes. No more sniffing the last traces of his cologne out of a t-shirt.

But all of the excitement and love in the world won’t get you through the first year of living with your partner. Especially if you’ve only been dating for three months. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! It just means you have to be prepared.

One of the main reasons it worked for us is because I had more than butterflies and daydreams backing up my trust in this move, for all intents and purposes, to be with a perfect stranger.

Our mothers were childhood friends and my mom had known this young man since he was born. In fact, the first time we met I watched him dote on his mother at a level that I’d only seen in sitcoms. “How he treats his mother is how he’ll treat his wife,” was ringing in my head.

Knowing his background added on to my gut instincts and gave me a reassuring safety net. I knew he was a good guy. He was alarmingly thoughtful, caring, and positive.

But so many of us meet our significant other in, er… unorthodox ways. Whether you found your prince “charming enough” at a dive bar during last call or when scrolling through a dating app, there are a lot of unknowns when you get serious with someone.

If you’re thinking about moving in together after only a few months, then good for you! Love is amazing! But please, read this first.

I had a huge advantage in the level of trust in our relationship. I knew for sure that he wasn’t a felon or a lying jerk. I had faith, but mainly because I had character witnesses, background information, and years of solid proof.

This is a huge commitment, so make sure you know the truth about his past.

There aren’t absolutes in relationships. Every pair has a different story and what works for us may not work for you — but this is what has helped us stay obnoxiously, nauseatingly, happy throughout an undeniably crazy moving in together scenario. (Spoiler alert: we’re now engaged!)

Go On A Test Drive

The one good thing about starting a relationship living on opposite ends of the country is that you’re getting the best of both worlds. You’re getting to know each other slowly on the phone, yet when you are together you’re together.

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The irrational fears that plague regular relationships don’t apply. Early on he sees you barefaced in your coke-bottle glasses and you witness his daily post-coffee routine (read: morning poop.)

This was useful once we decided to move in together because some of the silly fears that cause anxiety were already gone. If you live down the street from your dude, plan a test drive.

Go on a week-long vacation and promise to be your true selves. Experiencing the unexpected together is going to be a part of your daily life once you’re living together so you might as well see how it feels now!

If you’re mortified at the idea of pooping in the same house, you’re probably not ready. But if you’re a tad weary of sharing a bathroom the morning after a gnarly night of pizza and beer, life has a way of forcing you to get over it.

Be Ready To Share EVERYTHING

I don’t care if you’ve been together for five months or five years, when you live together your relationship will change. You lose your personal space along with much of your privacy.

Suddenly, you don’t have your own routine, the collective “you” has a routine. He brushes his teeth while you get into your PJs, and then he picks at ingrown beard hairs while you apply a detoxifying mask. Then he bursts out laughing and compares your face to Wilson from Castaway.

But he tells you that you still look cute. And you believe him.

At first it will be hard to get over the little things. Especially when you’re used to having your own routine as an adult. But I promise the happy little things, like kisses goodnight and 6 a.m. snuggles, are worth the adjustment.

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Set Realistic Expectations

The idea of moving in together put a reel of picture-perfect scenarios in my mind. I was most excited to be waking up to my favorite face every day, but I also felt like this was going to be the turning point in my life. The beginning of a new chapter.

As soon as I crossed state lines I’d naturally be able to surf and hike. I’d conquer my anxiety and depression, and perhaps most importantly, I’d never touch snow again.

But somewhere around the week before I was leaving, I realized how scared I was about everything I was leaving behind. That was my reality check, so I’m going to give you one now.

WAKE UP!

Moving in together won’t fix the deep-rooted problems in your relationship or make your money troubles go away.

Sure, rent will be cheaper, and you won’t fight over which apartment to stay at for the night, but you’ll have a whole slew of new and intimate issues. When you share an 800 sq. ft. apartment there’s nowhere to hide your baggage. So go in with an open mind and be ready for anything. Shit’s about to get REAL.

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Pick Your Battles Wisely

I know this is the most cliché relationship advice, but there’s a reason it applies to everyone from toddlers to co-workers to your husband. It actually works!

That doesn’t mean let everyday issues slide and then have a massive fight once a month. Rather, think about what really matters, and if it’s worth an argument or if you’re just being stubborn.

If you can learn to calmly approach the smaller issues, like how he never replaces the toilet paper, you’ll be more equipped as a team to deal with the big issues with a level head.

Also, no one wants to feel like a child being scolded, so unless you want your man to feel like he’s living with his mom, ease up on the nit picking. Of course, if there’s a seemingly small issue that actually really bothers you, let him know. There are ways to communicate that you’re irritated about a habit without being insensitive.

Accept That He’s Human

We’re all stubborn, messy, selfish, gross people. Oh no, not you? You don’t produce fecal matter or mucus or have to clip your toenails? Face the facts, darling. We’re all gross in our own little ways.

But when you’re NOT grossed out by someone’s little quirks (oh my gosh, I make booger castles in the tub, too!) then that’s a good sign!

Even if you don’t think his habits are totally adorable, that’s no big deal. Since, as I mentioned, we all have our own weirdness to overlook. So if he snores like a dying walrus, that’s alright — he probably thinks your drool-stained pillowcase from 5th grade is repulsive too.

Love Will Keep You Together (Maybe)

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Will it work out if you move in after only three months? Who knows. But if you’re committed to each other and ready to put in some hard work, then it doesn’t matter if you’ve been together three months or three days. You’ll figure it out.