If someone told me I would be moving in with my boyfriend after only dating him for two months, I would laugh at them. I was on the cusp of my 30s, six years ago ,when I moved to a small town where I met a guy in a love story that started out like a Julia Roberts rom com. Our meet cue was actually at a café serving waffles and wonderful coffee, and had nooks stuffed with quirky antiques. There was a beat-up VW Beetle parked outside its vintage-y faded walls. Dammit, tell me that Julia wouldn’t feel at home here.
Mo was the first and last brown guy I’d dated. I remember not being able to place his accent (Singaporean with a touch of international school in the Middle East) or racial makeup (Jewish-Malay-Ceylonese) when we talked the first time. He was one of the early customers at the café where I was working and he quickly became a regular. He claims that he kept coming back because of the coffee and ultra fast wifi but come on, who’s buying that story?
Our friendship developed into a romantic one pretty fast. Within a week of meeting, we were seeing each other every day. At the time, my living conditions mainly consisted of a windowless storeroom on the café grounds where I could only shower before 7am and after 7pm when we were closed.
A big city girl who came to live in a small town, I was adamant that I was not going to move in with a guy I’d just started dating even though sleeping in a room that wasn’t a shoebox was very tempting. Not to mention, I longed to walk from the bathroom to the room instead of running in fear of someone seeing me in a towel. I can’t tell you how much I disliked getting dressed while damp, in the bathroom right after a shower, only so I could walk to my shoebox just to take my clothes off again.
How the ‘moving in’ with my boyfriend happened
One night, I climbed over the pretty brick walls (inebriated, lost the key to the café’s rustic reclaimed wood gate) and landed wrongly. In that minute, my ankle caved. Through my tears of agony, I thought, ‘Ah, this is the cankle that people speak of!’ and it made me cry even more. Needless to say, Mo swooped in like a brown knight in shining armour and insisted that I live my recuperation days at his place.
In those days of invalidity, I was treated like a true queen for the first time in my dating history. Because I couldn’t walk without crutches, I had ice cream brought to me and I never had to think about dinner. I entertained the idea of making this a long-term situation but when the subject of moving in together was broached, my sensibilities said no. It was too soon. We didn’t know if this would work out. My friends hadn’t even met him yet. My parents didn’t know you existed. What about pets? We hadn’t discussed that part. The answer was no.
In the midst of mulling, I caught up with an old friend. I told him I was seeing someone who actually asked me to move in. “Isn’t that just the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?” I asked. This gem of a friend looked at me blankly and said, “Why not? What’s the worst that can happen? You break up and one of you moves out. No big deal.”
I truly enjoyed the past month of servitude and being showered with love. Wouldn’t it be nice if that could continue? And my friend was right – what’s the worst that could happen? So I went back to Mo and said yes to moving in with him.
We survived moving in. What next?
As any long suffering housemate will tell you, living with someone is a true test of the relationship. Does the person replenish the ice maker when it’s empty? Are there used cups languishing around the house, crying to be washed? Who cleans the toilet, and at what frequency? To avoid developing a bad wine habit, be sure to iron out these details before duplicating the house keys.
Well, Mo and I skipped all that. I picked up many life lessons in those days, like how to unclog pipes, clear gutters, and drill holes because my housemate turned out not to be handy in that department – info that you can’t normally glean from knowing someone for just two months. Thanks to him, I also learnt the bliss of eating McDonald’s and the art of watching TV or even better, eating McDonald’s while watching TV. As for Mo, he quickly adapted to our home being turned into a mini animal shelter. Despite never owning a pet before, he has never complained one bit until today.
Yes, six years later and the who-does-the-laundry arguments are still ongoing. The only difference now is that we are married with five pets and a steady stream of strays coming through our halfway home for animals. My real advice for anyone who’s thinking about moving in with someone is this: There will be things that you’ll never know about your partner until you live together, and vice versa. The pettiest disagreement that you’ve had with a sibling? You’ll have more, pettier arguments with your live-in partner. But if you find that you can tolerate behaviour you never knew existed – like lying in bed with outside clothes on (what kind of monster does this?!) – then you’ve probably got yourself a keeper.
So you’re thinking of moving in with someone you’ve just started dating? If you’re both on the same page in the Book Of Commitment, I say go for it. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?