When You Live With Your Significant Other
Most of us have lived with someone that’s not our parents. Nearly everyone had a roommate in college, and your first job out of school probably doesn’t pay enough so that you can actually live on your own. Roommates are a great way to save money and learn to get along with other people. But what happens when you take that leap with your person, your partner, your boo thang. Yes, you two have made THE big decision: to go from having a regular roommate to having a capital-R Roommate. This is a huge step for you and your SO. Living together is basically a precursor to marriage (or so I’ve been told). This is the time when you really find out if you’re capable of living with this person for a long, long time and lots of subtle difference can come out of the woodwork.
For starters, being passive aggressive is a distant memory when you move in with your SO. In a very scientific study of the people living in my apartment, I’ve come to the conclusion that it literally doesn’t happen. At least, not if you want your relationship to last. Let me run you through a classic example of passive aggressive behavior and tell you how it’s going to go down now.
The all-too-familiar sticky note on the fridge is option 1 for both veterans and novices to the passive aggressive game. Usually you’ll leave your roomie a note about a problem you have with them and it’ll either get fixed or you’ll make a short, 5-second comment about it later that night.
Now? You want your boyfriend to FINALLY take the trash out? Resorting to leaving a sticky note on the fridge just like you did with your lower case-r roommate? Guess what, you’re just going to keep piling sticky notes on there until the fridge door falls off from the weight of small adhesive paper squares. Read this carefully, especially if you’re moving in with your boyfriend, who I’m assuming is a fairly typical guy: YOUR MESSAGE WILL NOT MAKE IT INTO OUR BRAIN IF YOU LEAVE A PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE STICKY NOTE. Just don’t do it. Thank me later.
Okay, now what was the point of that? It’s to show that being passive aggressive can’t work when you live with your significant other. Passive aggressive behavior doesn’t really work out long term in relationships. More likely than not if you have a problem, you’re going to hash it out that night or send a series of texts starting with W and T and F. Living with your significant other basically means you have to start confronting your issues with people, or at least that one person.
The second way things change when you get yourself a Roommate is you both become acutely aware of each other’s finances. I mean like, AWARE. When you have a roommate, money and finances usually are kept relatively private, unless one of you needs to ask for rent money, hashing out who is pay what utilities, or who needs to Venmo who for groceries. And yes, over the course of your relationship, you and your partner will undoubtedly talk about money in this same way. It's just the way the world works. When you two become Roommates though, things are definitely different.
Usually the changes happen before you even set foot in your new place. I know for me and my significant other, our first real conversations about money started about two months before we even started seriously looking. Conversations will range from how much can you each afford to pay in rent to how each of your commutes will change (which will usually lead to an increase in gas payments for at least one of you). A big conversation that you’ll inevitably have with your uppercase Roommate that you probably wouldn’t have with your lowercase roommate is each others’ credit score.
It can be an awkward conversation for sure, but it’s essential to have it before you start looking for places to live. You don’t want to find out that your or your significant other's credit score is trash until it comes up on the background check that nearly all apartment complexes, property managers, and banks perform before you’re approved for anything. Do yourselves a favor and check it out for yourself. You can get one free from any of the three credit agencies, and some banks and credit card companies even provide them for free as well!
Maybe you’re a neat freak and they’re a slob. Perhaps she likes it on the cooler side when you crawl into bed at night and you like it hot. He likes the dishes to be done ASAP but you don’t mind them staying in the sink for a few hours. Maybe your significant other spends a boatload of money every month and you’re not sure where they get the money. Perhaps you've caught a glimpse of some of these distinctions between you and them during a weekend away together, but trust me, a long weekend away together is nothing like committing to living with someone long-term. After living with my significant other for about 7 months and observing other couples who live together, what I talked about above are just a couple things you need to know about if you’re thinking about moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
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