Moving in together is the new black. Seriously, it’s all the rage—everyone is doing it! But do we understand it? Not so much.
People are getting engaged later and later, even within relationships. I can’t tell you the number of girlfriends I know who say “in two years we will move in, a year later get engaged, and then we’ll get married.” That sounds harmless enough, but what is implied there is a whole lot more. The meaning behind moving in is new. It’s now the pre-engagement. We aren’t really putting that term on it, but let’s call a spade a spade. Moving in is now a thing. Well, at least for the ladies. When you hear a girlfriend talk about moving in she beams, because to her it signifies a milestone, a commitment. Or is it?
Well, generally in her eyes it is. And that’s where the danger occurs. “He asked me to move in!” That is often monumental news shared over a mimosa brunch with the girls. We ooh, ahh, and congratulate her. ”Oh my gosh, Ashley, that’s ah-maaazing! When do you think he’ll propose?!” But wait—you are moving in…not getting married!
Our partners are not always in the loop. They’re in their own world, where moving in is not always a thing. Sometimes it is a test, or worse, an appeasement. Try living with her for a bit and see if you can tolerate her. Or she wants to be engaged and I’m not ready so I’ll buy some time by moving in with her. Little does he know she is announcing to all of her lady friends that she has locked down the rock. And that just makes my heart hurt.
Before I moved in with my husband, I was clear about my expectations in terms of what it meant for me, and why it was an important step. I just chatted with a girlfriend who said that when she moved in with her now husband she laid it out there too: I am not doing this if you are not serious about the relationship, and if you aren’t, by all means, tell me now. It might sound like a tough topic to broach, but it is a decision that should be made by both partners who understand what the commitment really means to each person.
I know of too many situations where this discussion never happens. Moving in is the compromise – she wants a ring and he wants another year of just dating, so they move in together. It is not a mutual decision, but a consolation prize for both members of the party.
This New York Times article sheds light on our changing times, recognizing that millions of twentysmomethings are living together in environments loaded with ulterior motives and fraught with a lack of communication.
Whether you decide to move in together is personal, and I think it can be a wonderful step. But if it is a symbolic first step for you down the aisle, it’s best to clear up that as your partner should feel the same way about it too. Have a thoughtful conversation (or ten) about it, and be sure that you both are on the same page together.
For more sex and relationship advice from Kristen, see her other posts on Vixely and check out her awesome blog, BouquetsandBJs.com.