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15 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Moved In With My Boyfriend

Welcome to Cohabitation 101, class.

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1. Bottling up personal issues is a recipe for disaster.

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There's nowhere to hide your emotional baggage when you move in with your S.O., so be honest if you're struggling with anything from mental health to finances. Hiding your problems isn't healthy for you or your relationship, and you'll wind up even more stressed if you keep it all to yourself. It can be hard or embarrassing to talk to my boyfriend about my anxiety, because I'm usually worried about some pretty irrational stuff, but it's even harder to ignore it and pretend everything's fine. If your S.O. truly cares about you, they'll be there for your during all of your ups and downs.

2. Like it or not, money comes up a lot.

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Sure, you probably already know how much your S.O. is making and if they "have so many loans lol," but once you move in together, finances become a much bigger part of the conversation. Not only are you now handling your rent or mortgage together, but you're also contributing to your household in all kinds of ways — groceries, utilities, cable, etc. Also, after I lost my job last year, I suddenly had to be very open with my boyfriend about how many months rent I had saved, if I needed him to chip in in little ways until I got back on my feet, and that I was applying for unemployment while I job hunted. Talk it all out so that neither of you is taking on more than you can handle.

3. They are going to find out that you poop.

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My boyfriend's least favorite topic of conversation is poop. But, when you live together, it's impossible to go on thinking that your S.O. is some kind of magical creature that never has to poo and smells like pine needles all the time. Slowly but surely, he's gotten used to the fact that if I'm in the bathroom for a while, there's only one reason why, and if I'm sick to my stomach, he is certainly going to hear me whine about it. So, pick out a candle for the bathroom together, and try to accept that you are going to see some shit — literally and figuratively — now that you live together.

(If the very thought of this gives you anxiety, here's a handy guide to talking about pooping and farting in romantic relationships.)

4. You should keep going on dates (even though you'll never want to leave the house).

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Why would I ever exit the sanctity of my apartment when I have a couch, snacks, and my boyfriend? It's a question I have asked myself literally every weekend for the past two and a half years we've lived together. But! If you want to keep things fresh and fun like they were when you first started seeing each other, you should still plan dates in the outside world. My boyfriend and I both love trying new restaurants, so we've made that Our Thing.

5. You'll probably still say "my room" — and that's normal.

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If you ask your S.O. where something is — like, say, their phone charger — and they say, "Oh, it's in my room," don't freak out and think that they're horrible at sharing or can't commit to living with you. I told my mom that my boyfriend and I still slip up and say "my room" or "my bed" when we mean "our," and she told me that after 35 years of marriage, she and my dad still do that. Old habits die hard.

6. You might have different ideas of what "clean" means.

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I've found that I'm more of a "tidy" person and my boyfriend is more of a "clean" person. You might not think those are different things — until you move in together. I'm more focused on having our apartment neat and organized: no clothes on the floor, coffee table items in their proper place, and toiletries put away. My boyfriend cares less about that stuff (there's a pile of his clothes by the bed as we speak) and more about doing the dishes right away, vacuuming regularly, and deep-cleaning the shower. Now that we have that sorted out, we've learned how to compromise and keep our place from becoming a pigsty.

7. Speaking of which, it's worth it to actually come up with a system for dividing the chores.

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I went into living with my boyfriend thinking, "A system for chores?! That's for nerds!" NOPE. I'm not saying you have to make a chart mapping out every chore for every day and hang it on the fridge (though, if that's what works for you, go for it), but you should at least talk about who will handle which ones — and how often each thing needs to be done — so that you're not constantly fighting about who's done the dishes more that week. Growing up, my ~assigned~ chore was taking out the trash, while my sister's was vacuuming. Why not have a similar plan with your S.O.?

8. But don't expect everything to be 50/50 all the time, because that's not going to happen.

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Try as you might, there are going to be times when you find yourself doing more around the house than your S.O. — and vice versa. Expecting that you're each going to ~pull your weight~ and strike a perfect balance of housework all the time will drive you both nuts. Unless it's becoming totally unfair — in which case you should mention it to them — know that this is completely normal.

9. You're going to discover pet peeves you never even knew you had (fun!), so be honest when they come up.

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If you suddenly realize you resent the way your S.O. doesn't push any chairs in after they get up, don't let that frustration pile up and up until it overflows (just like his pile of clothes on the bedroom floor!!! OK, OK, I'm still working on this too). Instead of letting little annoyances fester and cause petty (or huge) fights, be up front (but kind!) about stuff that bothers you so that you can figure out how to handle each other's habits.

10. If you thought y'all were weird before, JUST WAIT.

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My boyfriend and I have always been goofy with each other, but since moving in together, we've become weirder than ever — and it's honestly my favorite thing about living with him. We use strange voices about 90% of the time, we talk like we're in the shows we watch together (he'd be happy to tell you about my impression of Claire Foy in The Crown), and we randomly slow dance around the living room. Get ready for total freedom to be yourself.

11. Memorize each other's schedules so you don't fight for the bathroom or think they died.

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I work 10-6 and my boyfriend is in grad school, so our schedules, commutes, and routines are very different. It's super-helpful to figure out his plan for the day — what time he needs to get up in the morning, when he needs to be out the door, when he'll be home for dinner, etc. — so that I'm not fighting him for the bathroom in the morning, constantly asking, "When do you get out of class again?", or forgetting when he's supposed to be home and subsequently texting, "WHY AREN'T YOU HERE YET ARE YOU OK WHAT HAPPENED???"

12. Make sure you still get some alone time so you don't completely lose your mind.

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It's not the easiest thing if you live in a one-bedroom apartment like I do, but as someone who needs alone time to stay sane, I know that it's crucial. Be clear with your S.O. that you're not annoyed with them, you just need some time to chill ~solo~. I'll tell my boyfriend, "Hey, I really need some quiet time right now, so I'm going to read in the bedroom by myself for a bit!" As long as he knows I'm not secretly angry with him, he never cares if I need some time to hang alone.

13. And don't stop doing the things that make you you.

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It's easy to get wrapped up in your life as a couple when you move in together, and TBH, sometimes I just want to gaze at my boyfriend all night while he does mundane things like scroll through Instagram. But make sure you don't lose yourself in the process. If puzzles are your passion, don't pack them away just because you're afraid they'll take up space, and if you have a hobby like photography, don't stop just because you feel like you should be next to your S.O at all times. Stay true to what makes you happy.

14. People might pressure you into getting married, KAREN, but don't listen to 'em.

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Just because you share a place together now doesn't mean you have to get engaged immediately. Moving in with your S.O. is serious, which might prompt people to ask when they should "expect to hear wedding bells" or tell you how excited they are for "when you two get married," but don't let that cloud your vision for your future as a couple. Go at your own pace, and if it turns out that marriage isn't in the cards, that's cool too! You do you.

15. And you'll love calling your place "home."

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It's cheesy as hell, but after nearly three years of living together, I still love saying or texting, "I'm on my way home!" Having your own little shared corner of this big, bonkers planet we live on is the best feeling ever. It's your safe space to laugh at Parks & Rec for the 300th time, throw the perfect New Year's Eve party, vent on the couch every night about your coworker drama, and cuddle until you forget that there's even a world outside your home.

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