Why I Spend Every Day at My Boyfriend’s but Am Not Moving In Yet
I love almost every phase of the romantic relationship cycle. I love the initial lust and infatuation, when everything my new partner says is the sexiest or smartest thing I’ve ever witnessed. I love getting comfortable, when we both start testing the waters of burping in front of each other. Some small, sick part of me even loves the rawness and unencumbered pain that comes in the wake of a breakup.
But there is one phase of a relationship I abhor: the one where you are spending all your time at their house but not actually living there.
My boyfriend and I have been together only four months. We fell in love quickly, are still falling, and everything is wonderful.
It is far more practical for us to stay at his place than mine. He has joint custody of his toddler from a previous marriage, which makes his house a no-brainer for at least half the time, more when you consider weird scheduling quirks (ie, “We could stay at your place tonight but then I’d have to wake up pre-dawn to make sure I’m home when he gets dropped off.”) When he doesn’t have his kid, he still has two big dogs and a fenced-in backyard accessible through a doggy door. That’s far more convenient than the smaller townhome I rent with a roommate. My place has no backyard but plenty of nosy old neighbors who would love to tattle on someone for violating the HOA’s policy on dogs.
On those rare nights when staying at my house is possible, it is inconvenient because there is no food at my house. Why would I stock the fridge of a place I rarely am? On the flipside, I have had to buy a whole second set of bathroom accoutrements because I was tired of my hair smelling like man shampoo. I now have my own razor, shampoo and conditioner at his house.
Aside from the obvious annoyances of not having any of my stuff around, what drives me insane about this halfway-living situation is the finances behind it.
We could be saving so much money by living together.
This month I paid $700 to rent a place I’ve slept in maybe two times in the past month. I have also paid $147 for my half of the power, internet and gas bills. Meanwhile, my boyfriend has paid even more than that for his mortgage and utilities. (Also, his grocery budget has surely gone up because I keep eating all his son’s Go-Gurts.)
If he and I lived together, we would both save hundreds of dollars every month. That money would go a long way toward the principals of my student loans or his mortgage, or toward that dental work I have been putting off for years, or pretty much anything else.
But finances aren’t everything.
We’re lucky in that regard. My boyfriend and I are both gainfully employed and know how to live within our means. We can pay our respective bills and feel no financial pressure to move in together. For us, the decision to move in together can be about when it makes emotional and practical sense, not necessity.
For that I am grateful. Because there is a big difference between unofficially living together and officially living together.
And saving money now could so easily be undone in a breakup. (Breakups are expensive.)
I’ve learned these lessons the hard way. I moved in with a previous boyfriend after only a few months because he needed a new place to live and I was afraid my income was about to dramatically decline. It made financial sense, so I turned a blind eye to glaring red flags about our compatibility as a long-term couple. Needless to say, it ended poorly.
After that experience, I vowed to myself I would treat moving in together as seriously as a marriage vow. In a lot of ways, it is.
That is perhaps what is most frustrating about being in this living situation. It is a necessary evil. The limited clothing options I have at his house, the not knowing where he keeps his scissors when I realize I need them but he’s not around, the inability to use my fancy blender everyday… all of this is annoying to deal with, but it’s smarter, at least for me and us.
Money be damned.
At least until my lease is up next year.
April Corbin is a journalist and writer in fabulous Las Vegas. None of the aforementioned homes are located inside casinos. aprilcorbin.com
This story is part of The Billfold’s Money and Relationships series.