The Ultimate Relationship Test – Moving In Together

My 5x10 Storage Unit

Moving isn’t new to me. Over the last 10 years, I’ve moved nearly every 12-18 months. However, moving in with and living with a boyfriend isn’t as common.

Ever since I moved to the Chicago suburbs, I’ve rented apartments. I haven’t lived in an apartment for many years as I would usually rent a room in a larger house or rent a larger house to rent out rooms.  I’ve increasingly felt the desire to purchase a house instead of rent since rent rates have gone up and I’m basically at the point where the cost or renting an apartment with comfort amenities is about the same as paying a mortgage every month.

The last place I rented was probably the smallest place I’ve ever lived. Well, I take that back. It’s actually slightly larger than the first apartment I rented at the age of 18 years old. So, here I am, fourteen years later, a professional woman living in basically the smallest apartment I’ve lived in throughout my adult life.  Literally Hell.

Let me break it down for you. This apartment was advertised as 725 square feet.  Subtract square footage for storage, closet, bathroom and unusable space, I basically had 400 square feet to live, work, eat and sleep. In addition, my boyfriend would share the space with me 7 nights a week.

Since I worked from home, I wouldn’t actually leave my house every day. Of course, I would leave my apartment a couple times per day to walk my dog but in the winter when wind chills made it unbearable a couple times per day turned into two at most. So you can see how living in such conditions would allow me to fantasize about new living conditions and ultimately decide on owning my own home.

I haven’t purchased a home, but, I did give notice as soon as the lease renewal notice was posted on my door. Nor did I decide to sign a lease for a new small apartment that costs the same as a mortgage payment. Instead, I moved in with my boyfriend and saving that rental payment for a down payment.

Moving in with a boyfriend isn’t without its challenges. Some of which were easier to overcome than others. But ultimately the hardest part of moving in with my boyfriend was just that. The decision to do it.

It’s difficult because once you make that decision, you can’t go back. It’s not like I can move in and then decide “hey, I want to live alone again but still date you,” ya know?

I’m an independent woman. Much of my adult life has been living with roommates and I have learned to like living alone. I’ve learned to like having my own space. I’ve learned to like making the decision how to organize my belongings, when to be messy, when to be clean and all the other times in between.

However, I also remember how I liked to live with someone. I like the company and sharing the responsibility of cleaning or other household chores. I like my boyfriend because he likes to cook. He cooks dinner most nights even when it’s just for me. And I love that about him. So making that decision wasn’t easy but it also wasn’t too difficult either.

Initially, I thought I could literally bring just a few clothes, my dog, myself and I’d be good. However, as the move date loomed closer I started to panic about not having XYZ and I started asking for space at my bf’s house. The good news is he was totally open to me bringing whatever I wanted to bring. If I needed my Excalibur food dehydrator although I haven’t used it for months, he was ok with it. And he made space for it.

After the initial panic, I actually found it liberating and exciting to not move all of my clothes. Let me break it down for you. I had this Ikea dresser full of clothes. I also had a 5-foot long walk in closet with containers for accessories, shoes, etc. full of clothes. How many of them did I actually wear? A fraction. I downsized my wardrobe considerably and so far, I’m happy about it. I now have five drawers, and about 12 inches of closet space. That’s it.

All it all, moving in with the boyfriend hasn’t been a terrible mistake although current circumstances are not ideal. My heart still wants to buy a place that’s “my own” where I can decorate, organize and live in longer than 12-18 months.

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