Despite The Price Of Rent…


This is a post we’ve been hanging on to forever, trying to find exactly the right week to run it, because it holds a special place in my heart. Why? Well, just like Jessica and Jeffrey, David and I didn’t move in together for forever. I talked him into moving to my neighborhood in Brooklyn (near me, but not say, in my actual house), and we lived like that for years. We spent most nights in the same apartment, but always knew we could pick up and go to our own place if we wanted to. If we hadn’t moved together to San Francisco, where he told me it was “absurd” and “impractical” and “insanely expensive” to get two apartments, we might still be clinging on to our own places. (Which: will someone write a post about being married and choosing to live apart?) And while when we finally broke down, we loved living together, like Jessica, we stayed separate for years despite the price of rent. In a culture that urges us to rush, rush, rush: to hurry to get engaged, to hurry to get married, to hurry to move in together, I love Jessica’s story of the slow process of letting yourself discover what’s next. Even when that discovery is an impractical pain in the ass.

Despite The Price Of Rent... | A Practical Wedding

Jeffrey and I are in what Manhattanites consider a long distance relationship; he owns a co-op studio in East Midtown, and I rent with a roommate in West Harlem. It’s only about four miles, but it takes at least forty minutes by public transportation, and it includes a crosstown bus ride. I actually know a couple that broke up because of a commute similar to ours.

When I tell people about our current living situation, they are universally shocked. The boy I babysit for questioned me about it the other day. He asked when we were planning to move in together. I told him I didn’t think we would until after the wedding, and he stuttered, “With the price of rent these days?!” Did I mention he’s ten?

The truth is, I’m ready to be living with him. We spend about six nights a week together. One of the only fights we have is when we’re out together and we can’t agree whose place to go back to (because neither of us likes parting at the end of the night—me especially). Jeffrey keeps urging me to find a subletter and move in with him already. He says he gets embarrassed explaining our living situation because it just seems so odd to everyone we know.

But something is holding me back. I try to explain it to him. I come up with all sorts of logical explanations. His place is too far from school; the kitchen’s too small; it doesn’t get enough light; I hate living next door to Bloomingdales; I’m a West Side girl; I’d miss the culture of my neighborhood…

None of that is true, though. I mean, it’s all true, a little bit, but there’s a huge part of me that wants to move in with him so badly that none of those things matter. I am not someone who needs her alone time. Nor do I need my own space. (Jeffrey and I often end up sharing his side of the bed…) I know that moving in with him is the practical thing to do, and I know that we’ll be perfectly happy living there together once we’re married. I feel super comfortable in his place, and despite my complaints, I actually like it a lot.

But I chose my apartment. My roommate and I searched the city for a place we could afford, painted the walls despite the no painting clause in the lease, and carried Ikea furniture home on the subway in order to furnish it. I planted vegetables in the community garden out back, and I made friends with the man at the corner deli who sells me OJ. My roommate and I started out together completely broke, living four girls to a one bedroom apartment seven years ago. This latest place, with enough space to cook for dinner parties and enough light to keep my plants alive feels like a major accomplishment; it feels like a home.

I am so excited to be Jeffrey’s wife and to build a new home with him. I have no doubt that I want to fall asleep every night with him by my side. But the thought of giving up my own space to move into his is one that I haven’t come to terms with yet. It feels a little bit like giving up a piece of my self, which is not something I plan to do in this marriage. So I’m working on it.

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  • http://www.acastoftwo.com Leah McGregor

    Even though you say you aren’t the sort of person who needs her alone time, maybe you are a little worried about giving up your independence and personal space completely. I think it will be super important for you to create a little haven for yourself when you live together, where you can curl up and have peaceful time doing whatever you want to do. I have moved in with men too quickly in the past and admire that you take it seriously, although I am sure that once you have made the move (if that is what you decide to do!) then before long you will not remember it being any other way :-)

    • meg

      Oh, SO not true. We’ve lived together for 5.5 years now, and I totally remember it being another way. As much as I love living together, I also still miss having my own place. I think that’s why I love this peice so much. The cultural message is that living together is the perfect thing, the final goal. And for some of us it’s simply a practical final solution, not the thing we always wanted.

      • http://byjacki.com Jacki

        “The cultural message is that living together is the perfect thing, the final goal. And for some of us it’s simply a practical final solution, not the thing we always wanted.”

        A few weeks ago I was thinking about this very thing … after being told by a friend who has never lived alone that I’m “spoiled” and “lucky” to have had the opportunity to live alone (one which, to be fair, I created for myself and very purposefully pursued and have sacrificed other things to be able to afford). I’m grateful to have had a few years to live on my own, regardless of what anyone wants to label it for me, and I think if I lived alone forever, I’d be happy with that. That said, I think I’ll be happy living with Matt, too, but I really do see it as more of a practical eventuality – one that I’ll embrace and enjoy and grow to be comfortable with – than MY DREAM. Until your comment I hadn’t seen it phrased that way, so it’s nice to see that feeling summed up so succinctly.

  • Laura

    These are the exact thoughts that have been going through my mind. My fiancé asked me to move in with him back in February, before we were even engaged, and I told him no, I don’t want to live with you before we are married. I was totally ready to be married to him even then, but I wanted a clearly defined period of time in which to say goodbye to my single self, a woman I really like.

    It does sound like you are a bit reluctant to give up your independence, which I totally understand. I agree with Leah that it may be a good idea to keep a space that’s totally your own after you get married. Also, it may be worth it to search for a new apartment you could move into together, rather than one of you moving into the other’s place. Then you can think of it more as your own coupley space instead of one occupying the other’s turf.

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

    Giving up an apartment to move in with a love is hard stuff. It’s one of those first really concrete pieces of adulthood that many of us have – that independence, our own space, the responsibility and the freedom – and I think that even if you’re sure about the person that you’re moving in with it’s still not an easy step to be ready to move from that to the next step in the journey together.

  • Margi

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years and everyone thinks it is SO bizarre that we are not living together before marriage. Just like Jessica, we do tend to argue about whose place we might be staying at that night. Although unlike Jessica, I do need my own space and we have discussed me having my own space after marriage but we don’t know how we can afford having a condo and an extra apartment. I’m trying to build my own home by myself and don’t know if I’ll be ready to build a home with someone else until I build my own home. I would LOVE a post about being married but living apart!

  • EE

    It took me what is considered a long time to be ready to move in with my now-husband, too, and I understand a lot of the doubts people may have when they are just not ready. I started developing almost a complex about my friends who moved in with their S.O.’s fairly early on and seemed deliriously happy about it. (I kept thinking, why are they so excited about giving up their own places?! But does that mean I don’t love L. as much?!)

    Up until a few weeks before our wedding last July, we lived in separate houses but would spend 5 or 6 nights a week together. It seemed a lot more logical for me to move in with him since he owned his house and I rented mine, but I couldn’t imagine not feeling like a boarder at his place. We were lucky to eventually be able to buy a place together and make it our own.

    My advice (although you seem pretty content and may not need any advice!) is try to stop questioning your motives (or comparing yourself to others, as I did) and just see how time unfolds. If you count the time that people spend living with their parents and then living with partners, the time spent living on your own (even with a roommate) usually makes up a much smaller chunk of life! So, enjoy the separate homes for now and don’t worry about rationalizing your choices.

  • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

    Long-distance NYC relationship fist-bump! (Astoria and Prospect Park, here. No crosstown bus, though. :::shudders::)

    I think the sense of accomplishment that comes with finding a place that feels like home in New York (with enough light! And a decent kitchen! And the best corner bodega!) is so much larger than I’ve felt when finding a place to live in other cities. When my roommate and I finished moving into what would be MY* last apartment in New York, I dropped the final box on the floor at my feet and declared loudly, ” I am going to grow old and die in this apartment!” I meant it, too.

    And then I met David. He asked me to move in to his studio in Prospect Park after only four months of dating. Though my heart thrilled (I’d never lived with a significant other before, or even had the topic broached), I said no. He eventually left Brooklyn when his rent went up and moved to Astoria a few subway stops down from me. After a year of dating, I asked him to move in with me. This time, he said no.

    Due to a family emergency, David decided he needed to move back to his home state: Minnesota. Permanently. We decided I’d go with him. To save money for the move, I packed up my things, sublet my apartment, and moved into his tiny, cramped, one-window studio apartment for a month, where we lived among boxes and tried not to panic at the enormity of quitting our jobs in 2009 in the shittiest economy we’d ever seen to move out to (what I, an East Coast girl forever) thought of as “the middle of nowhere!” with no jobs or place to live.

    We stayed with family for the first three months, until we’d found (less than ideal) jobs and could scrape enough together to get an apartment of our own (*living in his apartment for that last month in NY, it still felt very much like HIS apartment, and not my own shared space). Three years later we’re still in that same apartment (though I can’t WAIT to move out!). The mechanics of living together are of course more nuanced. But that’s the journey we took to get there!

    • meg

      Astoria to Prospect Park? OUCH.

      • Kristinyc

        Yikes! I live in Astoria now, and I NEVER go to Brooklyn. Too far!

  • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

    One of the things I frequently lament is how much cheaper is was for us to live separately. When we each had a room in a shared house, our combined rent was $1350. These days, our one bedroom is $1700. Plus you’re not splitting utilities 4 ways. I love living with my wife and lord knows I don’t want more roommates, but man, we could save some cash if we did.

  • http://twitter.com/itsradishtime Taylor

    I had the same struggle when I moved in with my guy, and to make it even more absurd, we lived in the same BUILDING. like I was one floor above him. Yet I had such a hard time with the idea of giving up MY space. My space that I could decorate however I wanted, and keep it minimalist like I wanted, and I could dance around in the middle of the floor at all hours and there were no video game controller cords to trip over. It felt like giving up my independence. Heck, it was the first apartment I’d ever rented. I moved there straight out of my college dorm.

    When we got engaged and I finally agreed to move in though, we came up with an arrangement that worked pretty well. He was going away for the weekend that I was moving in, and during that weekend I was allowed to do anything I wanted to the apartment. I know lots of people would want help moving, but A. I was only moving down a flight of stairs, and B. I was trying to regain my independence, here.

    I could rearrange furniture, Hang up my art, stake claim to my shelves in the closet, whatever. I got to have the time to make the place my own, without any pushback from him (because even if he was saying “I like the couch where I had it, it kept feeling like “you must give up your life to live in mine”)

    So I got free reign. When he came back, a few things did get put back as they were but mostly he just cared about me feeling like the place was mine too.
    I suggest a similar approach, if you can wrangle it, to anyone else who is going through the same.

    Or even better, if you can, find an entirely new place together, so that BOTH of you move, and BOTH of you can make it your own as a family

    • http://katerees711.blogspot.com kate

      Or even better, if you can, find an entirely new place together, so that BOTH of you move, and BOTH of you can make it your own as a family

      Yes, this. And this post as a whole. Thank you.

      It’s incredibly timely for me right now. Me specifically, because I’m the one struggling with the idea of moving out of the home I bought before my SO and I started dating. It’s a home with a lot of character, but a jerk neighbor that’s annoying the crap out of us if making us consider a move, A move that would give us the opportunity to purchase a new house, our home together.

      I’m hesitant about the move, I thought I’d stay in this house for a long time. It’s a scary change that I wasn’t having to expect to have to make right now. Yet if I focus on these comments and this post and know that everyone finds some struggles in it and it’s truly a joy to create a space together then it makes it easier.

      • kayakgirl73

        I think an entirely new place is a great idea if you can swing it. I very sadly and reluctantly sold my condo, I had done a lot to it and bought it the right time so it was a wise financial decision to sell it, even if it was tough emotionally. I moved into my husband’s condo because it was bigger, closer to both jobs and unfortunately way under water on the mortgage. Damn bubble. We hope to move sometime next year, but we have to see how things work out money wise with the baby were expecting in January. It just felt weird moving into someone else’s space. My sister moved into her husband’s townhouse and said that even after five years it never felt right. They are finally in a home that they chose together and love it.

    • KW

      Years ago, I unofficially sublet an apartment for the final 2 months of a lease when the original tentant moved away and I needed a place to live. He had a roommate who was engaged to be married and her fiance lived right next door in the same complex. She spent most of her time there but did not give up the apartment until after the wedding (the lease was up just after). I never asked why they didn’t just live together officially, but since I knew everyone through the Catholic church, I thought that may have been the primary reason. Reading through the responses here (and being 15 years older and wiser), I can see that the reasons were quite possibly more complex than that.

      For myself, I was in a long-distance relationship with my husband from the start of our relationship until nearly 2 years later when he moved across the country to be with me. We knew we were on the path to marriage and it did not make sense for him to rent his own apartment, especially since he did not have many household items or furniture of his own (he had previously lived with others who had most of that stuff). My own apartment was too small for both of us, and so we rented a bigger place together within 2 weeks of his arrival here. He has said more than once that he felt my old apartment was my place and that even had we been able to stay there, it would never have felt like “ours” the way our current place does.

      I do wonder, though, if we would have moved in together prior to marriage if we had lived in the same city from the beginning. I don’t know.

    • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

      I agree with this, “Or even better, if you can, find an entirely new place together, so that BOTH of you move, and BOTH of you can make it your own as a family.”

      However, I wanted to say I had a good friend whose husband owned his house. And what they did was both moved EVERYTHING out, and then put the whole house back together room by room. It gave them a chance to sort through stuff and make it more ‘their’s as opposed to ‘his.’

  • Steph

    Love. This. Post!

    Reminds me so much of the early years of my relationship with my then boyfriend now hubby. I met him when I was still living with my parents (after moving back home post grad school) and I know he would have loved it if I would have moved in with him right away, but I wanted that time of living on my own, in a place of my choosing. And even two years later when I was ready to move in with him, I was again adamant that it be for a one year lease before we got engaged. I needed that smaller level commitment before I felt comfortable enough to commit to Forever. I definitely felt strange to be both the woman and the one who needed to take things one step at a time before eventually knowing I was ready. It’s so refreshing to read about other women like me.

    Also, as a former manhattanite, the concept of a manhattan long distance relationship cracked me up!!
    (I lived off 7th ave in the village and rarely ventured farther east of 5th ave, despite traveling vertically up and down the island. Crosstown bus probably would have been a deal breaker for me back then lol)

  • Amy March

    Highlights how there is such a difference between one of you moving in with the other, and both of you moving together to some place new.

    • meg

      I’m not totally sure about that. Had we stayed in New York, we would have eventually moved into David’s place (look: in NYC, one does not voluntarily give up a good deal on a good place and throw ones self on the rental market again, OMG), and it would have been about the same as moving into our own place. We were both attached to his place, it would have been fine. But for us, just like for Jessica, I think the issue was simply that we didn’t want to give up our own places, exactly. Or I didn’t. Outside the cultural narrative, but ok.

    • Anneka

      I want to ‘exactly’ this a thousand times. I don’t think the issue of moving in together is so much about losing ones independence, it’s more about losing your ‘home’. My boyfriend owns a house (and rents out 3 of the rooms to cover his mortgage). I rent a room in a shared house with four other people. We spend about 80% of our together time at his place and we have been asked a thousand times in the last three years by various friends/parents/colleagues why we are not moving in together (read: why I’m not moving in with him). The reason is quite simple (and hard to understand for a lot of people): I do not want to move into someone else’s home, no matter how big the house or how convenient the location. My boyfriend’s house is lovely but it’s full of HIS stuff and though we have a very similar taste when it comes to decorating I would always feel like a guest, even if he gave me half of his wardrobe space and allowed me to hang pictures on the wall. And so we shall be moving in together early next year but into a NEW place we can make OUR home. And suddenly ‘losing my idependence’ (which I am fiercely protective of) isn’t a daunting prospect anymore :)

      • MDBethann

        Exactly. Except for us, we were the flip – I was the one who owned my own place(Germantown, MD) and my then BF, now DH, rented an apartment in Fairfax, VA. First off, getting to each others’ homes was a logistical nightmare, involving 3 of the heaviest traveled roads in the DC area – I-270, the Capital Beltway, and the dreaded I-66. After a year of knowing each other, 6 months of which was as a serious couple, we decided to move in together.

        Could he have easily moved into my condo? Yes, since it was 2 bedrooms and my sister had previously lived quite comfortably with me. BUT I knew from experience with living with my sister, it was hard to share MY space with someone. I know myself too well and there would have been a lot of “Well, but that’s not how I had it.” Also, moving his 3 cats into the condo would have been tough with both of us there, especially since he works from home full time – it would have felt small really, really fast.

        So, much to (I think) everyone’s surprise, we bought a house outside of Baltimore, a good hour from our previous homes but closer to our friends and family and the same commuting distance from work. Was I stuck with a condo that I’ve had to rent out for the last 2 years? Yes. Does that suck? Yes. But our house is perfect for us and I feel like having a place that was OURS from the start rather than “mine that he moved into” helped ease the transition because we had to figure things out together, not separately. And we got a house that we can see ourselves in for the next 30+ years, so despite the fact that owning two properties in a bad economy may have cost us some financially, I think it was worth it for our overall happiness and relationship health.

  • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I’m currently at the beginning stages af getting ready to move into my fiance’s house. It will be a huge change from the bachelor apartment! I’m trying to start thinking of it as ‘our house’ or ‘our home’, rather than his place. I’m avoiding moving in right this moment, because of the insanity of renovating a 150 year old farm house. Nobody needs to see those tantrums. However, I am getting more comfortable thinking of it as ours, because we’ve been making renovation decisions together for months. So it will feel like my house as well. It helps that he really doesn’t have it set up as a household yet, so it’s a partially blank slate for me to play with. The last thing I want to feel is like I’ve become a renter in my new home. We’re working on it though!

  • KB

    The other day, out of the blue, my fiance turned to me and said, “I love living with you.” To which I said, “I love living with you, too.” Then he said, “I love living with you…but I kind of miss it when we had two places and we were going back and forth.” I think he liked the romance of it, that we had our own spaces but were choosing to be together instead of being smushed together like we are now. And I totally agree with him.

    I do have to say, though, that living together IS pretty great – having that combined “our space” instead of his and her’s. This is also why we chose to get a new apartment instead of moving into his old one (that and his landlord was horrible, but that’s another factor). All of our stuff combined in a new space gave us a fresh start, like a blank canvas. I think that’s why I might hear something different in the author’s voice than “giving up my independence is hard.” It’s hard to give up that space that you found yourself and crafted and just looks like you. And since your partner owns his own apartment, it decreases the likelihood that he – or even you, really – would want to go out and look for a brand, new place all over again because it’s more practical to just move in with him. I totally get that.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      I agree with your point about the romance of living in two separate places. I’ve encountered that myself and have seen friends encounter it as well: as long as you’re technically living in separate spaces, when one visits the other, it’s definitely together time. Once you start living together, not all time spent under the same roof is together time- your partner may, for example, spend several hours of his free time playing computer games.

      Even though my partner and I have never been a gushingly-romantic couple (we err towards the playful and silly instead), it’s difficult to hang on to the magic of a date night when he’s watching me take forever to get ready. I love living with him, and I have never considered myself a person who needs space in relationship, but sometimes the physical space creates more room to grow together.

      • 39bride

        So true about the romance. Three weeks into cohabitation, I find I really miss those amazing hello/goodbye kisses at my front door. Trying to figure out how to get that same feeling when we live together (e leaves for work at 6 a.m., so bleary-eyed and stink-mouthed doesn’t really do it for us, haha!) So far we’re settling for some awesome morning snuggles. :D

        • MDBethann

          I leave the house at 6:30 each morning, and sometimes my teleworking hubby isn’t even up yet. But whether he knows it or not, he gets a kiss on the cheek each morning before I leave, whether he’s awake or not and he gets a big “I love you” as I walk out the door. I also give him a kiss when I get home (whether it’s his night to make dinner or mine). I hate starting my day without giving him a kiss.

    • meg

      Yes to this. EXACTLY EXACTLY EXACTLY.

  • Ali

    My boyfriend and I didn´t live together before we got married and yes I got several people questioning our relationship and thinking it was strange. We took things slowly and did them each in their own time. First, I move to his country to be with him (in different houses). Then after one year I moved to his neighborhood (5 minute walk away). Three more years later we got married and he moved into “my apartment” which has been great. Next year we are moving to the US and I can´t wait to start our first adventure totally together as a team.

  • http://www.armyamy.wordpress.com Army Amy*

    If I could, I’d kiss this post on the lips. My husband and I are a month into living together following a year and a half separation. (Basic training followed immediately by deployment.) And where our new home is in a new country (Germany).

    Nobody wanted to live with her guy more than this girl, but when it came time to actually pack up my stuff, it was hard. I’d lived there for 5 years. I’d gained my independence there. I made it through a spouse’s deployment there. And where was I headed? Somewhere with food I don’t like, a language I don’t speak, and people I don’t know. It’s been a tough transition. And it’s something I’m still working on, as you say.*

  • cartascartas

    I’m not sure whether this is a part of the issue for Jessica but for me, I didn’t feel comfortable “moving into” somebody else’s home–even if it that somebody else was the love of my life and his place was the place I spent half my nights (or more!), even if that place also held half of my things. In my eyes, when we were ready to “build a home” we would build a home from the metaphorical ground up, together. We would pick a place that worked best for us, we would chose together what things from our past/current lives we would take with us into this new home (and there were a few things that were vetoed–beds that had been shared with other people, items with particular significance), we would make it 100% his and 100% mine from day one. This meant that we had an across the city commute for the first year of our relationship, and a few block walk (with high rents) the second year. I also wanted this home to be our HOME. As in, not just the place we referred to as “our apartment” while our parents’/ childhood houses remained our homes. Our permanent place. After we were engaged, and we moved to a new city together, we did and I’m very happy with how it’s turned out.

  • http://www.sarahhoppes.com Sarah

    Fellow Manhattanite here, and I totally agree about the euphoria of finding a place that has all the elements to be a HOME here, while not being terrified of going bankrupt over the rent. I moved here in 2010, and I had moved SIX times by the summer of 2011. I was trying very hard to find places I could call home, but for various reasons (terrible random craigslist roommates; an “art commune” that turned out to be a really dangerous, totally filthy hostel; loss of employment; unexpected expenses from another random roommate) could never find that balance. The closest thing I had to some semblance balance was when I stayed at my now-fiance’s tiny studio apartment in East Harlem.

    He asked me too move in with him as I was packing for move #4, but I just wasn’t ready yet. In retrospect, I would have saved time, money, awkwardness, and hassle if I’d taken him up on his offer, but I wasn’t quite ready. When I did finally “move in,” it was more of a temporary stay. Most of my stuff was in storage, and I brought a laundry hamper of clothes, my camera, and my toothbrush while we looked for apartments. The studio was too small for the two of us (and the cat I brought home off the street one day!), but the bigger thing was that I needed a place that was ours. I didn’t want to feel like I moved into his space. It was important to me that we find a space we both loved, and we built into something that was ours together. I’m happy to say I’ve lived at one address since July 2011, and I have zero intention of moving for many years.

    I think if circumstances had been different, and I’d been able to make a space my home within that first year in New York, I would have struggled much, much more with the concept of moving in together and giving up something beautiful I carved out for myself.

  • http://turningtoward.blogspot.com Kara H.

    I can relate so much to this. I’m currently living in my apartment which I’ve had since moving out of the dorms, and I’m about to be married in three months. I am really excited to live with my FH, but the thought of leaving my apartment tears me up a little bit. It’s my home, my place that I’ve decorated and struggled to keep clean, and even though it’s old and often falling apart and the roommate situation isn’t ideal, every other place we see just isn’t the same. There isn’t the same light or the same airiness or the same feel. We’re going to look together for a new place, but the process of saying goodbye to the place I’ve called home for the last few years is much harder than I expected.

  • http://byjacki.com Jacki

    Interesting post! I can see not wanting to give up the place you found and have built your life in. Maybe finding a new place together is the way to go – rather than leaving “yours” for “his” to create an “ours”.

    We live apart for now for various reasons, not wanting to completely throw his son for a loop being one of them. Four nights a week he stays with me, three nights a week he’s at home with his son. I think we’ll move in together before marriage, but probably not much before, and probably not when people expect us to. Well, people already expect us to and we already haven’t, heh.

    • meg

      Oh, all you guys saying to find a new place… I feel like you haven’t been face to face with brokers fees and the Manhattan real estate market. Finding a new place is like voluntarily throwing yourself into a pit of hell (most of the time). I say that as a former rental real estate agent in Manhattan, even.

      But yeah, I don’t think that’s exactly the issue. For me the issue is (or was for me) giving up MY home, not where I was moving to. I loved my home.

      • cartascartas

        See, for me it was both. I had a hard time giving up my home–and an impossible time with the idea of trading it for his. Finding one that was new for everyone felt different. The physical act of starting a home helped us emotionally build one home as well. That is not to say that I don’t miss living alone sometimes.

      • Steph

        @Meg, i think you are spot on about trying to start from scratch in NYC being not as/not at all feasible. But I do think in other places where it is doable it might feel easier to move into a neutral new “our place.”

        For us it was also a lot easier on our two cats, since neither cats was coming into the other cat’s “territory” :)

        • Jen

          Also, on the finding a new place (when possible!), that sense of accomplishment that I got from finding an apartment was something that I got to experience with my fiance. I never felt like his place wasn’t mine, or my place wasn’t his. But that sense of “we did it” was a great feeling to have together (and almost as good as the firt time I did it as a single lady).

      • Dana

        There is definitely a unique-to-NYC element to this. I agree with Meg. Just finding a new place together in this city is much much easier said than done. But again, I don’t think that’s even the point.

        It’s about tradition vs. the current cultural norm (?).

        It’s about choosing to spend time together and still having your own space.

        It’s about having the courage and determination to not like the price of rent in this amazing, but expensive, city push you into moving in together before you are really ready to make MY space into OUR space.

        My fiance moved into my apt on the Upper West Side of Manhattan about a year and a half into our relationship. I already shared this (technically) 1-bedroom apartment with a roommate and two cats. He moved in because we wanted to be together, but probably more so because we had just finished grad school in a terrible economy and he was unemployed. His (relatively) cheap rent of $600/month was a burden and the last thing either of us wanted was for him to have to move home to TN because he couldn’t pay his rent. We are now finally engaged and currently in our 2nd apartment that is just “ours.” Oh NYC….

      • http://www.sarahhoppes.com Sarah

        Oh, Meg, I have totally been face to face with brokers fees, HORRIBLE brokers, and the hell of Manhattan real estate. It’s brutal, and not an experience I’d ever, ever, ever want to repeat! (I remember the broker who brought us to a former housing project. The landlord was trying to evict the low-income residents who were there before the ownership changed by not doing anything to keep it up. Rats, grafitti, broken windows, zero security, etc. The place was beside an elevated train at 145th st on the west side, and they wanted $2,500/month for a one bedroom there. I think that’s the point when the apartment finding situation seemed it’s most dire.)

        It’s a matter of every circumstance being different. If my significant other had a great place for a good deal, there’s no way in hell I’d ever suggest finding someplace new. However, his apartment was a 320 square foot studio, with his rent about to increase. There wasn’t enough room for his stuff, let alone my stuff, and we were trying to run a business together and I was trying to get my photography business off the ground. Living there might have been possible, but finding a place with a designated work space, somewhere to entertain, and actual doors was really helpful for us. The fact that logistics dictated we really needed a new place meant we got to enjoy building our space from the ground up, which we both enjoyed.

      • Jessica

        Exactly this, Meg. It was never about not liking his place (even if it’s not what/where I would have picked, I still LIKE it), nor was it about needing my independence… I was just super attached to my home. (And as for selling his place to make me feel better— HA!!!)

        Happy to report, though, that while it’s not perfect, living together *is* rad :-)

      • MDBethann

        Meg, I loved my home/condo too – even though I’d had a small studio in grad school all to myself, my condo outside of DC was ALL MINE. I bought it, made some big improvements to it, stressed over it, been snowed in there, bonded with my sister when she lived with me there, had truly been independent there. When I moved out, I did have a case of the blues because I was giving up MY place and I really felt like I was leaving my single self behind. But what’s funny is, 2 years later, I can’t wait to sell my condo once and for all. Some of it is that I’m tired of renting it out, but I’m also no longer nostalgic for that part of my life. I love what I have at our home so much more than what I had at my bachelorette pad that I would never want to go back. We each have our own reactions to those things, but in some ways, I feel like our home together is more homey to me than my solo home ever was.

  • Katy

    Oh, I get it. When we met, I was renting a cute apartment downtown, and R owned a house in the suburbs. For many practical reasons, I moved into his house. It was hard because it was not the house I would have picked (location, layout, etc.), and he resisted changing anything because he had the house how he liked it. Three years later, we’re moving to a new house that we picked out together.

    • Elenka

      Thank you for this! We rushed into moving in because my living situation was untenable, but since moving in meant bringing my things into a space he’d been in for years it has never felt completely like “our” place – even after more than a year and lots of work on both our parts to make sure we both make the space what we want it to be for the two of us. (The fact that the apt. is about the size of a thumbtack hasn’t helped, but that’s a different issue.)

      I am still incredibly happy to have moved in and love coming home to my sweetheart every day. From the moment we moved in together I knew we’d made the right decision, despite the challenges. I look forward to coming home every day – something I hadn’t done in a VERY long time.

    • Emma

      This makes me nervous, even though I’m single at the moment. I’m in the opposite position of being very lucky to own my own house. I really don’t want to have to sell it, it’s really important to me. I hope that I can open it up to a partner moving in without them feeling this way. I will find it hard to let go of decorating too, having spent so long on it and loving interior design. But still, I’d want to make it our home. Argh! Do you have any suggestions on how to make it easier for the moving-in-partner?

      • Katy

        Emma – it sounds like you’re thoughtful and open to discussion with the partner moving in, and that’s the most important thing. The specifics will be different for everybody — I really wanted to unpack my books, get a new couch, and re-do the laundry room, and we did those things over a year and a half.

        The longest-lasting issue was his bed. R is tall, and his bed was also tall. As I got more and more pregnant, I had to heave myself up into it! Just before our baby was born, I convinced him to put the mattress on the floor. I am soooo glad we did this!
        R resisted until he talked to a coworker-mom. When she told him it was a good idea (especially for the healing process), he felt better about it.

      • One More Sara

        Somewhere else in the comments someone said that her partner left for the weekend while she moved in, and she could move/add whatever she wanted. When her partner came back, some stuff got shifted back to the old place, but I think being able to do her own thing with her partner in the background saying “I put the couch there for a reason! No that’s not where that goes!” (both are totally human things to say) helped to make her feel more at home in the space. And when things got moved back, it was a result of a discussion, not just because that’s where it has always been.

      • Dawn

        I was in the similar position of owning my own home and in our case my boyfriend was moving to my city and with the housing market there was no way to sell my house to get a place together (plus honestly in my mind we were in the moving in together stage but not getting a mortgage together stage if that makes sense) so he moved into my house. Only now a year and a half later does he seem to be claiming some ownership of it. What has helped is that over the last year and a half we redecorated the office where he spends a lot of time and the bathroom (thanks to a mold issue — not the room we would have chosen to tackle next). So now two rooms are ‘ours’ but thanks to the fact that he didn’t move in all that much stuff (his clothes, all of his computer/electronics, and a recliner and that was pretty much it), it’s still all my stuff. My paint colors, my couch, my artwork, etc. With his few things kind of scattered around. Really you’d almost never know he lived there.

        So in retrospect, and actually I think I’m going to talk to him about this tonight to see what he thinks we could have done differently so it didn’t take over a year for him to start feeling like he really lived there), I wish we’d gone room by room and basically thrown everything in the middle and then decided as a team what to keep and where to put it. It just occurred to me that I have a couple of really taste specific pieces of art hanging in one room that he might actually hate but he’s too nice to tell me. I do like the idea somewhere else in the comments about giving the new person a weekend alone to do whatever they wanted — because I think sometimes my guy makes suggestions for changes but I’ve got things where they are for very good reasons so I think I sometimes shoot him down and perhaps if he’d had the chance to just rearange stuff he’d either have come to the same decision I did (and thus I wouldn’t feel like I’m constantly rejecting his ideas) or he’d come to a different decision and I’d see that it really does work just fine that way when I got home.

        I think in retrospect I would have also bought one piece of furniture together that was ‘ours’ like a new couch. Something big and prominent that makes a statement. The first time we bought something together and put it up (a pot rack for the kitchen) we both just kind of stood there staring at it all gushy romantic because it was us making my home ours. I think a couch would have been better. Or maybe I just really want a new couch.

      • Not Sarah

        This stressed me out SO MUCH about buying my condo. I’m not a huge interior design person, but having to sell it not too long after making it my home would be really upsetting and annoying financially. I think it really depends on your partner and how you open your home to him. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend (we met after I bought my condo) likes my place too, even if there are some things he might have done differently had we bought something together, e.g. only the one parking spot when we both have cars.

        So far, I’ve let him acquire stuff for my kitchen (e.g. coffee maker), he has his own sink in the bathroom (there are two in the master), I quietly arranged all of my clothes onto one side of the closet, but really, if we fix the closets, he could have his own, and he has a few drawers of his own that I never use. And I have more than enough kitchen cupboards for him to stash his coffee stuff and his snacks. When I buy patio furniture next summer, we will go shopping for it, even though I would buy it since it’s my place. I don’t know his side, but it’s all of the little things, I think. (At least it would be to me!) I also say things like “We are out of orange juice, so we should get some from the grocery store” or “We bought groceries” even if I bought them.

        I dated someone who owned a house…and he owned it with a roommate. That was super awkward. I never felt like I could keep stuff in the kitchen and his bathroom was so gross that I would have never moved in with him there.

  • Amy

    We are going through the same but not because I am especially attached to where I live but because we decided not to live together before marriage. I am actually staying with some older friends of mine rent free while my fiance is living in the home we rented. Nights are hard and leaving is harder but we know how great it will be once I am there. We honestly can’t wait. Yes, some people think it is odd that we have out ourselves in this situation but who cares about them? The reason I am sharing this is because you mentioned that your fiance doesn’t like that people think it’s “odd” that you aren’t living together. Whose business is that? Enjoy your time in your apartment until you move in. You have made this choice and there is nothing wrong with it. Then when you move in, work on creating a space that is just yours in your apartment. Enjoy decorating together, moving furniture and so forth. Graduate to your next phase of life and in meantime, enjoy this phase of your life.

  • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

    I love this post so much! I just moved in with my fiancé about 6 weeks ago (2 months before the wedding). I maintained my own apartment for the last 2 years despite being in law school and having to take out student loans to pay for it. I think a lot of people assume we did it because our Catholic parents wouldn’t have approved, but the real reason we maintained separate places is because we both like our alone time and independence. The last 6 weeks have been an adjustment, and I can’t wait to move to a bigger apartment so we can have a bit more space. I think 2 apartments next door to one another would be ideal, actually. :-)

  • Katie Mae

    Interesting article – good for you for taking your identity and your independence seriously!

    I have never lived alone (I lived first with my family, then with roommates and now with my partner) and I really wish I had for a while. I don’t know how I would manage a household with only my own needs and habits to account for, and I think knowing would help me better negotiate living with others. My desire to have my own place was so strong that last year, when we moved again, I actually tried to find two apartments in the same building that we could rent. But on our single income (his new business = negative money, for now) it wasn’t feasible. If anyone has gone from one household to two, I would love to hear about it!

    • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

      I’ve never lived on my own, either, unable to afford in on my salary. Before moving in with my husband I always lived with roommates or family. He, on the other hand, lived alone for years, and preferred it. I do now grieve a little bit over the missed chance for that experience, but I wouldn’t want to live apart from my husband now if given the opportunity. (I do FULLY enjoy the weeks when he’s away, though. I miss him, but I also adore having the apartment entirely to myself).

  • Lia

    My fiance and I have been living together for only a year, with a roommate – we’ve been together for 4 and a half years, and everyone thinks it’s weird that we haven’t lived together on our own yet. We lived round the corner from each other for two years, because I thought, what’s the rush?

    Now that we’re engaged I finally gave in and we’re moving into our own place at the end of the month, and it’s taken me a lot of adjustment. Our roommate is my best friend, who I’ve lived with for 3 years, and while I’m undoubtedly excited to make a new home with my fiance, I’m going to miss my friend like crazy, because he’s been such a big part of my life. And that makes me a bit sad, even though I’m also really happy that I’m getting married and starting our new family.

    Plus, I do like having my own little bit of space – even if it’s just a cupboard or a wardrobe; I’m going to find it hard to share EVERYTHING. Maybe I’ll commandeer a cupboard in the new kitchen to keep as my baking cupboard, and that can be all mine!

  • Jashshea

    We both bought our condos about 1-1.5 years into the relationships and stayed in them until we were engaged. At that time I moved in with him and we rented my place out. It was completely impractical from a fiscal standpoint to live apart and for awhile we just blamed the economic situation – couldn’t sell because of the downturn, the rental fees wouldn’t have covered our mortgages, blah blah blah. We’ll be looking for an “us” home next year and selling his (fingers crossed), but we’re several years away from being able to recover the loss on my condo.

    I wouldn’t say I regret buying or regret waiting to move in – I wanted/needed to prove to myself that I could do it on my own. But it was a dumb financial decision for me to make.

    • KW

      My landlord bought the condo we are renting about 9 years ago when she was still single. She married a little over a year ago, and they bought a new house together a few months later. She can’t sell it without taking a huge loss (it’s an older condo that needs some serious updating too) so her realtor suggested renting it out. She is a former coworker of mine and they hoped to rent to someone they knew.

      I really lucked out. I had expected to do all the apartment hunting on my own prior to my guy moving across country, but my landlord is a former coworker and a chance comment I made on Facebook clued her in that I was going to be looking for a new place. We were able to see the place together when he was here for Thanksgiving, and their timeline for having the place ready to rent was the same our timeline for being ready to move out of my place. It really helped again with him feeling like it is our place, rather than something I picked out, I think.

  • Lauren

    Story of my life, Jessica. We’re pre-engaged and people are always asking us “Why don’t you live together??” Um, because we have the rest of our lives to do that. Right now it feels great to sprawl across my own bed some nights, and read instead of watch the news in the morning. I love C and some days I can’t wait to live with him, but other days I love my little half of a half of a duplex, my crazy-but-not-TOO-crazy roommate stories, and having a bedroom that is mine only.

  • Not Sarah

    Moving in is something that I worry about because I chose to purchase a condo while single. I’m trying really hard to make sure that my boyfriend feels like it is his home too, with a towel on the towel rack next to the shower, half of one of the closets, space to plug in his laptop, an account on my laptop, his clothes going in the same laundry bin, and not complaining too much when he leaves little trails everywhere. We spend a lot of nights together, but far more at my place – it is WAY bigger (I have a two bedroom, 1200 sqft condo with two bathrooms and he has a one bedroom).

    I’m planning on presenting him with a set of keys to my place soon (eee!), so that he feels like he’s coming home to our place rather than having to buzz outside and me let him in when I’m not always super close to my phone. That said, I don’t think I’m anywhere near actually moving in either, even though I feel like my place is partially our place and would love to have him live there with me. Moving in just feels so much like blending finances and I’m not ready to do that.

    • http://katerees711.blogspot.com kate

      One of my favorite memories is giving Matt the key to my place, it was his final Christmas gift and I just put it the back pocket of my pajama pants and told him to get it. He made a little joke and it was really sweet moment.

      • Not Sarah

        That’s a cool idea. I think I’m going to give it to him at our next planned fancy dinner, maybe wrapped in a bow? I’m still working on that one!

  • http://www.alacartealbums.com jeliza

    I tried very hard to convince the family, when we bought our house, to find one with a detached mother-in-law unit for me to live in. I am still sad we couldn’t find one. I suspect if my options for massive privacy and stuff-autonomy were higher, I would spend more time hanging out in “family space” and less time in my room with my door shut and music up loud. (Introverts Represent!) Separate bedroom/offices was Not Negotiable — actually for all of us, even though it meant moving out of the city to find enough a place with enough rooms we could afford.

  • Laura

    I love cohabitation. I also loved having my own place. What probably saved us from the anxiety involved in finally combining households (4 yrs into the r’ship) was a) we both didn’t love where either was currently living, and b) we were able to find a much nicer, much *bigger* rental in a new neighborhood. Guys, our current place has *stairs*! Like, we can get the space we need when we need it. But yeah, we waited until we were good and ready, too.

    Funny anecdote: when I broke the news to my mother that we were moving in together (before we were even engaged!) her reaction was “but… he hasn’t made a commitment to you yet!” To which (to my amazement) my father replied, “this *is* a pretty big commitment.” Hear hear, dad!

    • Not Sarah

      Your dad sounds awesome!

    • http://byjacki.com Jacki

      Good for your dad!

  • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

    I own a condo, so it wouldn’t have made sense to find a new place or to move anywhere else. I know he was a little concerned about the “my home” issue.

    Anyway, turns out to have been a moot point as he moved to a another city for a job around the time we were about to talk about moving in. And then we got engaged, and then married, and THEN both moved to a third city to get back together to live together for the first time.

  • Cali

    When the time eventually comes that you’re ready to move in together, I think it would be helpful to discuss looking for a new apartment together instead of you moving into his place. I moved into my old roommates’ apartment after they were already established there, and it never really felt like it was MINE. My fiance and I found our current place together, so it’s ours… I don’t think I would have felt the same way if I had moved into his old apartment. It would have already been decorated and set up the way he wanted it, and I would have felt like I was taking over HIS space instead of creating a new space for US. Just a thought, for when the time comes. :-)

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Very few things in my life have been harder than adjusting to my future husband living with me. For a couple of months, I had regular sobbing, screaming, wall-pounding episodes from the frustration. I was always obviously alone for these, or I’m sure we’d have gotten a domestic violence visit from the cops.

    We moved in together under close to the worst-possible circumstances. The only discussion lasted a few seconds, and was over the phone. Originally, he came with just an overnight bag, and very gradually brought things over from his old place. He still hasn’t brought over some things I consider basic – an alarm clock, his interview clothes. The colonizing drove me batty. It would have been easier if I knew early on the volume of stuff I had to incorporate into my one bedroom apartment and could have adjusted all at once, instead of new things appearing periodically when I came home from work. When I realized this, I told him to take a day and get everything, so the moving-in was done.

    In a way, I had spent a decade decorating that apartment. I have steady tastes, so when I finally got my own apartment, I furnished it the way I had dreamed of since adolescence. Now, even though my future husband wasn’t changing the decor, he was obscuring it with dirty underwear.

    Though I’m naturally messy, I had made a point of cleaning thoroughly regularly. It was hard that I couldn’t get the place perfectly clean whenever I wanted, because I couldn’t disturb his papers and didn’t know which of his clothes were clean and which were dirty.

    Topping it all off, he has a problem with his dominant arm, and can’t always help with the chores. I have taken in an unemployed invalid.

    And I couldn’t get advice or vent to anyone because our very religious communities would not approve of our living together.

    After a weekend of a lot of spats, he finally asked me what was really wrong. I broke down and shared my frustrations. I felt like a bad partner that I cared about decor and disposable income (gone with the tripled grocery bill) when he was in pain and discouraged from a job search lasting about 2 years. He told me I was not a bad person, and that I could choose to change the situation. We could skip our foreign honeymoon and put the money towards six months in a larger apartment. He could empty his savings to get an apartment of his own. We could get a larger apartment with a longer commute. Having choices, even if I don’t take them, has made the situation so much better.

    • http://peachyringsaredead.blogspot.com Ceej

      A while after we moved in together, and I’d been throwing stupid tantrums every day (that were secretly about not having a 100% mine space anymore), we were talking about marriage. And I considered us engaged at that point (long story) because we bought a house! We were financially committed for at least 30 years or for several hundred thousand dollars! Anyway, I said something about wedding planning, and he said, “Before I consider marrying you, you need to be nicer to me.”

      I don’t think I’ve ever felt like a tinier, shittier person.

      SPOILER: I chilled the eff out, remembered to be a considerate person, we got married, and now we’re nice to each other, like, 97% of the time.

  • http://www.againstthegraincopyediting.com Sandy

    I moved to my first apartment as a step away from my (then)husband. It was a bad relationship, complete with mental, emotional, and (occasionally) physical abuse. I took a job that required that we live separately, partly because of necessity and partly because it gave me my own space.

    That space, MY SPACE, gave me a lot of the strength I needed to leave my husband. I was strengthened by having a place of my own to go home to when I left, as opposed to a friends or my parents. I also had my own job, my own money, in a way that hadn’t happened before that in my marriage.

    Fast forward a year and I had a roommate and a new boyfriend in that space, MY SPACE. Even though I was spending most nights at my new boy’s apartment, in the same building, and even though my roommate had taken emotional control of most of my apartment, I needed that space. The boy and I were planning a move for 6 months in the future and I knew that at that point we would be living together full time. I was ready for it to happen then, in the future, but that wasn’t how it worked.

    When my roommate’s fiance lost his job, he moved in and I moved out. While it made the most sense, from every possible angle, it was still more painful that I can ever really explain. That apartment had meant so very much to who I was, who I still am today, that it was so very hard to leave.

    Jessica, while you need to consider common sense, as we all should, as I did, I want to reassure you that YOU need to be ready for it. You should take all the time you can and need to take to make this decision. I know just how much that space, no matter how small it is, or how inconvient it feels, or how stubborn you feel, just how much that space can mean. Letting go of that is hard.

  • Ashlie

    Jessica, you sound so much like me before I married Brad. We dated for 7 years before we were married and only moved in together 10 months before our wedding. I had a darling little house in a crappy neighborhood, but it was mine. I poured my heart, soul, and hard-earned money into that little house. While I hated the neighborhood and wanted to get out, the idea of compromising with someone else (I’d lived on my own my entire adult life) who would have opinions and ideas about what makes a home was not an easy one to swallow.

    It sounds to me like you, like me, feel so attached to your place because you’ve worked hard to make it yours. I’m not going to lie to you and say there won’t be things you miss about it and your neighborhood. But, perhaps instead of moving into Jeffrey’s place, you move into a place that you chose together? Having gone through your near exact situation myself, I can say for me that was very important. Moving into someone else’s space will always have you feeling like somewhat of an outsider, thus magnifying all the reasons you didn’t want to give up your place. But choosing and furnishing a place together can make it feel like home for you both. Maybe he’ll want to paint a room a color you hate, or he’ll have to put up with a piece of furniture you can’t part with. But coming home to a space that belongs to you both is truly priceless.

  • Laura

    Augh, I love this post. Seriously, it’s posts like this that make me feel not-crazy.

    Moving in together was so. hard. Like one of the hardest times in my life, hard. And I had lived with people before when I was younger without it feeling like that. But I met and started dating my beloved after living in my own wonderful apartment for 8 years. And like so many of you, we lived in separate apartments (a convenient three blocks apart) for the first two years of dating. And then we didn’t decide to move in together so much as we decided to buy a house together.

    I know that sounds odd but it’s true. The state of the housing market in our area felt like such an opportunity and I had been saving and planning and looking on my own for a few years. In the end, he decided that he wanted to make the investment with me. It was all very exciting and ambitious and bonding. But then, when the chaos of closing on the house settled, there we were – moving in together.

    You guys, I too *loved* my apartment and living by myself. We were 32 and 40 when we bought the house and yeah, that meant we each had years of habits and preferences and patterns from living on our own. I even loved his apartment, and going over to it. It always felt like “vacation” to go into a separate space that was all his. I agree 100% about the romance factor of living separately. (Dan Savage’s brother talks about this in a way I really appreciate in The Commitment.) I could write a small novel myself just on this very topic.

    The first 6 months after we moved in to our house were so stressful to me. Needless to say, I was proud of us and I love our house and I love him very much, but wow – it really felt like giving up a lot. Even having been fortunate enough to move into a place with room for both of us to have separate spaces (important enough to us both to do some extra sacrificing financially), I felt like I had lost an entire component of mystery and healthy separateness. (And we have both a very loving union and very individual lives. Even with that qualification, I feel (still) like I lost something important.)

    Even in writing this epic comment, I realize how hard it is to talk about this phenomenon. It’s very complex and I think it might be one of the most important under-discussed topics in the area of relationships, marriage, commitment and cohabitation. I’m with Meg – someone please write about choosing to live apart (not for distance reasons) within marriage. I gotta say that even three years down the road from moving in together, I wonder often about whether we wouldn’t be better served by living separately. It’s hard to say that without feeling like it calls into question your love & commitment for the other person but I don’t think that’s what it’s about.

    Boy, talk about running counter to the dominant cultural narrative. I’ll leave it at that for now, but thanks APW, for running this and I hope it’s one of many conversations we can keep having.

    • CL

      What a great comment. I totally agree about the “romance” of living separately.

      I’ve been with my guy for 4 years and we are still living in separate-but-nearby apartments (each with roommates). We’ve talked about moving in together, but I love having my own place so much. The whole “my place or yours?” at the end of the night makes me feel like the relationship is fresh and new. When I’m in his place, he treats me like a guest. He cooks, he cleans, and when I walk in the door he asks if I’d like anything to drink. I do the same for him when he’s “visiting” me. I finish housework, TV, and emails *before* he comes over, just like I would if a guest was coming. And it IS romantic.

      If we could live apart indefinitely without friends and family freaking out, I think I’d do it. But, as you say… dominant cultural narrative indeed. People would go nuts and assume I like my roommates better than the boyfriend. Thanks for making ME feel like I’m not crazy.

  • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

    I was suddenly homeless when David and I had been dating for only 4 months, so I moved in with him. A month later, I rented my own apartment in the same building, because not having a place of my own seemed far to risky if we didn’t work out. Homeless twice in one year would have been just too much, plus at 5 months in we didn’t know if it was for keeps or not, and I was hardly going to get rid of all my furniture.

    We lived mostly in his apartment, my stuff had it’s own space and I had a safety net.

    It did work out, and when his lease was up 6 months later, we both moved in to “my” apartment upstairs, and we got to make it ours. Sure, “throwing away rent money” for six months wasn’t maybe the best financial option, but it certainly was the best emotional, mental and practical option.

  • Jessica

    This is such an interesting topic and post. I think a lot comes down to experience and perspective. I could not WAIT to move in with my husband (then-boyfriend). We had done a long distance relationship (2 hour car ride) for over four years and only got to see each other once or twice a month because of jobs and schools in different cities.

    I actually didn’t enjoy living by myself. I did out of necessity because I knew no one where I got my first job, but it got really lonely to day in and day out come home to an empty apartment and go to bed alone. I will say that when we eventually moved in together, it was a challenge at first to compromise on things like decor and chores, but for me, it was never a tough decision.

    I think it just shows that it really comes down to your perspective and previous experience with your living arrangement. It sounds like you thoroughly enjoy your apartment and roommate and they both mean a lot to you. For me, my lonely one-bedroom apartment was simply a place to lay my head each evening and I wasn’t very attached. I couldn’t wait to have some company.

  • Jessica

    What a fun New Year’s surprise to come home to my post!!!

    Speaking of home: Jeffrey and I have been married for a month, and I moved into his apartment three months ago, when the (2 year!) lease on my last place was finally up. It’s been…interesting. On the one hand, I wasn’t wrong, I LOVE living with him, and the new place is growing on me. On the other, I miss my old apartment (and my old neighborhood and my old roommate) a ton. I still occasionally slip up and refer to our place as ‘his’ apartment. So…still working on it, I guess.

    I have to laugh a bit at all the suggestions to find a new place together. It’s probably great advice, but as Meg mentioned further up thread, that’s MUCH easier said than done. The only thing less practical than paying rent on a second place would be trying to sell a co-op in Manhattan for purely emotional reasons. It’s great reading about how everyone else has made moving in work for them, though, and I’ve taken note of a few things to try that might really help me feel more at home here.

  • Jeffrey

    Yes, I am the Jeffrey with the now-famous wife, Jessica. I thought it would be funny to write a counterpoint to Jessica’s post, but I really liked it. Still, even though I am not an APW regular, I have a few thoughts:

    Jessica is messier than I am, was clearly (but not overwhelmingly) hesitant, and there was not enough space. Otherwise, I had no qualms of my own – I was excited to have her with me. Really, once I decided I wanted to live with her later and forever, I wanted to live with her immediately. Plus, right before her lease was up, she started working night shifts and we were both miserable seeing so little of each other. She still misses and visits her old apartment, but I haven’t heard any loud longing sighs.

    Now that things have settled, I am happy to say that living together so far has been great from my perspective, and I think hers. It was hard, but it worked! Good luck to those who are considering the change.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      So fun to see the updates from both of you! Congrats on your marriage! :)

  • Joanna

    “It’s only about four miles, but it takes at least forty minutes by public transportation, and it includes a crosstown bus ride. I actually know a couple that broke up because of a commute similar to ours.”

    Obscure reference: the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer’s girlfriend lives across town and he gets lost and has to call Jerry to pick him up; meanwhile, a pimp recruits him into a “maid” service.

    It’s a tough decision to move in with someone. My fiance and I moved in together after 7 months and people thought we were crazy. Everything worked out for the best, but we both confessed a couple months after the move that we each had an escape plan.

  • Molly

    I love living with my fiance, but he chose and decorated our tiny post-war bungalow before he met me. I pine for my huge, old, drafty, gorgeous bachelorette apartment and look at photos of it every so often. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I miss the architecture, not the lifestyle. Someday we will shop for a new home together, and I can appreciate the practicality until then.

  • Ashley

    this is interesting. I thought about this with changing my name more, but I do feel the same longing for my old place. I am proud of how I put things together, my style and my thought process in organizing a studio. I loved and miss my apartment. and it is a bit of a shocker to think.that I’ll never get that back.

    enjoy your place, and enjoy starting a new home with your husband later.