Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'm Moving in with my Girlfriend, what the f&*% should I do?

Congratulations!  You've met someone you want to co-habitate with.  Someone you want to go to sleep next to every night and wake up next to every morning.  I mean, that's the real American dream.

But you know what's not the American dream?  Splitting up your shit and moving out six months later.  Or kicking your lover to the curb and having some strange new person you found off of Craig's List move in.  It's basically getting divorced without the guidance of lawyers.  It sucks.  It's so much worse than your average break-up.  The H-Bomb and I dated for three years before we moved in together.  I know, we took things slow.  But I knew I never wanted to go through the experience of breaking up with someone I lived with, so neither of us wanted to take the plunge until we were sure we were going to live together forever.

But since there's no guarantee of that-- and since I'm a big believer in living with someone before getting married-- here are the top ten ways you can get through the first rocky couple months of living together:

10.  Find neutral territory.  Sure, one of you might have an awesome apartment and who wants to go to all the trouble of finding a new place BUT...if you move into your girlfriend or your boyfriend's place, there's always the danger of them feeling territorial about their space.  The apartment is always going to feel like THEIR apartment, because they lived their first. Finding a place together that you both really like can be tricky, but once you do, it feels like a huge triumph.  And if you can get through decorating an apartment together, you can get through anything.

9.  Don't try to test the waters on what you can get away with right out of the gate.  About a week into living together, the H bomb went out with his friends one Saturday night and they all stumbled back to our place at 5AM.  The bastard didn't even call me to warn me he was going to be out that late.  Turns out he was hanging out with pro-basketball players and Amanda Bynes.  I think I had to take a Xanax that night just to fall asleep.  I was pissed.

8.  Never go to Ikea angry.  What did he and I do the following Sunday morning?  We went to freaking Ikea.  Let me just tell you that the most unrealistic part of 500 Days of Summer is when they frolic through Ikea.  That is some bullshit.  It was like three hours of him asking me if I liked a piece of furniture and me saying: "I guess" while giving him the death stare.  I will say he got back in my good graces that night after putting together a giant Ikea bookcase all by himself.

7.  Don't get all excited about living together and get a puppy.  I mean, do get a puppy someday, they're great.  But they are super hard to take care of.  Baby steps, people.  Ease into things slowly.  Get used to living with each other first and then raise an animal together.  Otherwise, if things don't work out, you're going to have a custody battle on your hands.

6.  I've mentioned this on the blog before, but this was the best piece of advice I got before the move in:  Learn to be alone together in the same space.  This means that just because you are both home, it doesn't mean that you have to spend every waking minute together.  It's okay if he plays video games, while you're in the next room reading a book.  Just as long as that's not how every single night plays out.

5.  Living with a significant other isn't all that different than having a roommate.  All the same rules of common courtesy apply.  So, if you're having the girls over or he's having the dudes over, give each other a heads up.  There's nothing worse than coming home after a long day to be surprised by guests. And limit the overnight guests to seven nights max.  Preferably five.

4.  Find things you both like watching on television together.  75% of living with someone is sitting on the couch watching TV shows together.  Chances are: she's never going to want to watch Justified with you and you're never going to want to watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with her, but if she can get down with an hour of Game of Thrones, then maybe you can get down with The Bachelor. 

3. Hire a cleaning lady.   I know not everyone can afford to have someone clean their apartment, but I promise you it's the best investment you can make for your relationship.  Even if it's just once a month.  The majority of what you will fight about is that SHE cleans too much and YOU don't clean enough.  You will still have these fights, but you will have them slightly less with the help of your heroic housekeeper.

2.  Don't choose to live together by default or just because it makes sense financially.  It will always make more sense financially, that doesn't mean you should do it.  I also think it's a mistake when you do the sneak attack living together tactic.  You know, where you just start to stay at the other person's place every single night until you're practically living there anyway and why pay all that extra rent on that apartment no one is using.  First of all, if you are spending every single night with your boyfriend or girlfriend AND you don't officially live together, then you need to branch out and spend more time with your friends.  Second of all, when living together just sort of happens by accident, I promise one morning somebody is going to wake up in the throes of a full-fledged panic attack wondering when that girl they were dating suddenly became their live-in girlfriend.

1.  Avoid building a man cave...for now.  Nothing is going to make your girlfriend feel worse than you being more excited about your man cave than living with her.  I'm personally not a big believer in the whole man cave thing and think that us ladies deserve girl caves too.  I'm not saying don't have one, I'm just saying give it a few months before you start going to town on one.  And ladies, if you're not into the whole man cave thing, then guess what?  You have to let the guy have some say when it comes to decorating.  Unless they have like no taste.  Then, by all means, give them a man-closet.

THIS IS RIDICULOUS, except for maybe the part Summer shits all over poor JGL:


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