MOVING IN TOGETHER?
I was recently asked the question, “Do you think moving in together is the answer?” The person asking me is a very young and dear friend who has recently begun a new relationship with a guy she is obviously crazy about. They’ve been dating for two months now, and live fairly far apart (but in the same city). My response to her question was: “I am very honored that you would value my opinion about such an important decision in your life. I am going to treat your question the same way that I would with one of my children:
I know that you’re really crazy about John. From everything we know of him, he seems like a really great guy. I’ve actually not done the moving in together fulltime arrangement myself. I have always wanted marriage, due mainly to my Christian values, faith and beliefs, so I’m probably not the best person to ask an opinion of.
That having been said, when there are no Christian values involved, I would have had nothing against moving in together. I do not believe that moving in together is really any different from marriage in any other way, EXCEPT for the fact that it’s a lot easier to get rid of someone you have no legal commitment nor obligation to. You are a very honorable person who deals with people from an integrity-based level. If I were in your situation, I would want to be absolutely certain that my partner is, too.
It’s completely natural to want to be together all of the time in the early months of a new relationship. So I can understand your wanting to at least consider the possibility of moving in together. I think I would want to take enough time to be certain (in my head, not in my heart) that my wanting to be together all of the time is not part of the infatuation phase of the relationship. That takes time. Time to get to know one’s partner in every area of a relationship, because some of your individual beliefs are bound to be different – i.e. you’ve both come from completely different backgrounds and we all have some baggage we carry with us into a new relationship from that background. This can cause problems in any relationship, and it does.
If you know in your heart of hearts that you are likely to one day want more than a moving in together arrangement with him (i.e. marriage) I must caution you, “Do not move in together!” There is, of course, the old saying, (and it’s crass but there is some truth to it) “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free!”
I would ask myself the question, “Should we realize two years from now that we’re not as good a match as we thought, am I prepared to be abandoned?” If you feel certain that should that happen, you’ll be able to deal with it without it damaging your life for more than the usual grieving period, you’re probably okay. That having been said, there is no “proper” length of time set for a couple to know each other before sharing their everyday lives with each other.
So, before moving in together, and in summary I would say this:
1. Be sure you know each other well, in good and in bad times. This takes time.
2. Make sure that you share the same values (i.e. cheating is unacceptable, etc.)
3. Be sure that you know yourself, and what it is that you want for your life,
4. Be sure that you’re honest with each other about where it is that you see (in your mind’s eye) your relationship five years down the road.
Whatever you decide know that you are likely to need a strong support system that you can trust with which to share your ideas, thoughts and feelings. (Doing this can bring about incredible amounts of clarity, insight and self-understanding.)