Moving In With Your Beau

After two years together, my boyfriend and I are finally moving in together. Any tips — i.e. how to combine styles, what to bring, what to store, what to expect?? Anything I should be prepared to bite my tongue about? How can I get him to wash dishes? Help.

so happy together

so happy together

Dear Lady in love and need,

Tips for moving in with your boyfriend. Another question with a completely situational answer. I have to say that this completely depends on two things: the degree of control your boyfriend likes to have in his environment and what premium he places on his own space. Take me for example, I TOTALLY trust my girlfriend to contribute knick-knacks and family heirlooms to our perfectly curated, mid-century industrial loft (much of which I designed and built myself because the developers didn’t get it quite right), we just like to maintain an open forum of debate on a case to case basis. Public forum is how anything new enters the house. My old roommate on the other hand, basically lived in Z-Gallerie because it seemed to speak to his girlfriend on a deep spiritual level, and his previous apartment was the unused kitchen of a studio apartment in the basement of his futbol team mates flophouse where he literally used kitchen drawers as a dresser. Point is, some of us care, some of us don’t.

Try to love their moth-eaten rug the same way you love their crooked smile and liberal position on gun control.

In either case, the important thing is to set some ground rules going in, because playing it by ear just increases the possibility of someone losing it over a crowded shower caddy (AHEM-AHEM). I would suggest deciding up front who is going to be responsible for which household staples, and just let them have creative control within their own assignment. In addition to simple aesthetic principles, sentiment and pride are deeply rooted in the furnishing of a home, so you have to consider both when settling style disputes. If you like someone enough to move in with them, you’ve got to accept your differences in taste as well as personality, and try to love their moth-eaten rug the same way you love their crooked smile and liberal position on gun control.

Now in the matter of space, if your beau hasn’t already come to terms with the possibility (read: inevitability) that his closet space is about to be cut in half (read: tiny wee little pieces), then it might be time to sit down and divide up territories. I’ve found that my entire wardrobe can fit into a hallway closet if I fold everything tightly enough and stack my shoes three deep. My girlfriend also compromised by selling or donating what her parents wouldn’t let her keep at their house after she filled our double-wide bedroom closet, now converted laundry room closet, and attic. The reality is that girls have a lot of clothes for a good reason, and you can remind him of this imperative by starting the throw away pile with your lingerie collection. If you are for some reason dating a fashion blogger or a rapper, you might want to consider some seasonal storage options to reduce your collective collection. Nobody is going to miss wool this summer with the warmth of our globe these days.

Last issue on the docket: in the immortal words of the Smashing Pumpkins (90’s era Pumpkins, before they got all Bjork on us), “godliness is cleanliness.” As with decorating, assign specific chores that you can each be responsible for. That way you know exactly who to blame…

What to expect? A lot more of something you love, which is great. Less privacy, which can be hard. Some things that you didn’t need to know, which can be awkward. Communal deodorant. The warm fuzzy feeling of knowing someone is waiting for you when you come home late. No more running away from arguments. More make-up sex. Finding their stuff everywhere and having that intermittently make you smile and scream. Coed farting (more his, than yours). Building something together outside of yourselves that you’re both committed to. A taste of what it might be like to actually spend your life with someone, and not just your free time.

In closing, if you are thinking about taking the cohabitation plunge, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Because things are going to change no matter what and it’s more likely they’ll be for the better if you are really looking to take the next step than if you’re just looking for cheap rent and morning sex (both of which are awesome).–Chris Brown

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