I dabbled into a bit of co-habitation during my early 20s. It was clearly the worst idea that I ever had in my entire life and I will probably not ever live with a (straight) member of the male sex ever again unless I have a ring on my finger and my name is legally bound on a marriage certificate. Oh sure, there's a lot to be said for living with someone if you are planning on eventually getting married. But if you're dating, then honey, you're just roommates.
And if you thought living with roommates sucked, living with your significant other can be 100x worse.
First off, when you're living with roommates, everything is pretty much defined in terms of who is taking what responsibilities in the apartment, what spaces are off limits, whose food you shouldn't eat, who pays what bills, etc. When you are living with an SO, most of this goes out the window. What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine, right?
Your food is combined. Your finances (at least some of them) are combined. Your laundry is combined. You sleep in the same bed.
Of course, the honeymoon stage is fun at first. You're LIVING TOGETHER! That means, no roommates barging in, no commuting from one place to the other. You're together, in the same place at the same time, 24/7. Isn't it so great?
Wrong. This lovey dovey phase passes and then, the things that you used to love coming home to start pissing you off.
He left dirty dishes in the sink.
She left a tampon in the toilet.
He left the seat up.
Her hair is clogging the drain.
His beard shavings are all over the sink.
She forget to pick up milk again.
He forgot to take the garbage out again.
And more of that. Yeah....
Or, especially in the case of my former relationship - it was me getting upset at my ex for all of those things. For never giving me money for groceries, yet sure as hell eating everything in the fridge. Then, when I would complain about it, he would tell me "Well, I didn't tell you to buy all that stuff!" Then Asshole, You don't need to fucking eat it!
I tried to get him to do the dishes once and he cried and told me to never make him do it again.
He made me do his laundry, and then when the dryer "shrank" his clothes (aka he put on 60 lbs over the course of our relationship and was in denial), he blamed it on me.
He never cleaned.... except my car, which was apparently his main responsibility in the house. And so, that apparently admonished him from all household chores since he was "taking care of my car." (And by 'taking car of' he meant lowering it 2 inches from the ground so that it scraped while going over pebbles and installing a fart can muffler that had the decibel level of an F-15 fighter jet.)
Everything in that house I paid for. (Except the 42 inch plasma screen TV - which he stole from his old job.) And so, when I left, I took everything the fuck with me.
I am terrified of a repeat of that horrible past living experience. Obviously, I know that no one can ever come close to being as awful a roommate as my ex was. But that still doesn't make me feel any better about co-habitation. I just don't think people should move in together unless they are really serious and planning on being in a relationship for a long time - otherwise, yes, basically you are just roommates.
You have to get to know each other's highs and lows, respect each other's boundaries, learn how to respect your shared living space, work out detailed chores and schedule bill paying.Will you set up some kind of combined finances for all your household expenses? Who will pay what bills? What about furniture and grocery shopping? Will your tastes combine or clash - or will you create your own "couple style"?
Sure, living together seems great in theory, but it is a big leap to take and something that should really be thought out before you rush into signing a lease. Otherwise, you could get stuck living with someone you really can't stand. (and a bunch of IKEA furniture that you'll just end up selling on Craigslist.)