Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I did something BIG: we moved in together!!! After being together for 3 years, meaning a lot of forgotten toothbrushes and contact lens solution — in other words, after tons of funky breath and dry eyes — we decided we were ready to take that step.
I lived with my ex for two years, so I’m not a total rookie when it comes to living with your boyfriend. I know how awesome it can be, but I’m also aware of the many traps on which one can trip over.
More so that, this time, it’s a bit of a peculiar situation. My boyfriend moved in with me, in my mini-but-cozy apartment.
My top priority: make him feel at home. So I got rid of a ton of stuff — like my tiny full bed… he’s 6’4” — so he could bring in some of his things. We also divided the storage space perfectly in half. You know what that made me realized? He’s got more clothes than I do. #HeShouldBeAFashionBlogger #Very Benoit
What I’ve found to be the cutest thing so far is that I keep finding some of his decorative objects a bit everywhere in the apartment, like a boot-shaped coin bank with his name engraved on it (clearly a souvenir from his childhood) or bull horns nailed into a wooden plank (clearly not a souvenir from his childhood). Right, okay, it clashes with my Palm-Springs-meets-San-Francisco vibe, but surprisingly enough, I love it. It reminds me that it’s our home. And I like that feeling.
For now *knocking on wood* everything is going wonderfully, like beyond my expectations! I do groceries, he does the dishes. I iron his clothes, he makes me coffee. I shave my legs with his razor and he moisturizes his hands with my moisturizing cream.
But, out of curiosity (and precaution), I asked a couple of girls around me about their biggest challenges when they moved it with their boyfriend and how they solved them. Honestly, if I can learn from other people’s mistakes and avoid doing them myself, I’m in. Here’s what they had to tell me:
Stéphanie Magnan | @stephmagnan
When I moved in with my boyfriend, the first thing I realized was that we had never discussed house chores or our lifestyle in general.
For example, some people can’t think straight in a messy environment (me) and others are not at all affected by it (my boyfriend). My boyfriend used to always let his bath towel lie around on our bedroom floor. It made me go crazy! Instead of talking about it like I should have, I didn’t say anything. Eventually, I snapped, obviously! For him, it was so not an issue, he didn’t even notice. He also wondered why I didn’t let him know before. Ever since, he’s (almost) always hung his towel back. It may sound like a silly example, but it reflects many types of situations.
Lifestyle-wise, my boyfriend likes to go to bed late and I don’t, like I need 8 hours of sleep to function. At the beginning of our relationship, I wanted to stay up late with him. Every time I’d fall asleep before him, I felt like I was disappointing him, as if I were lame for going to bed so early (fyi, it was my interpretation of the situation, he didn’t feel like that at all). I quickly came to the conclusion that I couldn’t change my entire routine, especially not for somebody else. I put way too much pressure on myself.
So yes, compromising is necessary, listening to the other one’s needs is important and an adjustment period is inevitable. However, at a certain point, everything seems to fall into place. You find your pace as a couple and you wonder why you didn’t move in together sooner!
Carolane Stratis | @carolanes
The most challenging part of when I moved into by boyfriend’s place was that we both had our own furniture. Aesthetic-wise, I was coming into an all-guy apartment! Let say the red wall in the kitchen with only two coats of paint was quite something.
After discussing together, we decided to keep most of my furniture and got rid or sold anything that was in poor condition. I paid for the paint, because I’m the one who was really annoyed by it, and I painted it all by myself.
We also drafted a cohabitation agreement and wrote down what belonged to whom. Everything we bought after that was also put in the contract and equally divided.
It took a while before it felt like home, but now, a few years down the road, I can say it went pretty well!
Laetitia Jallais | @mom_little_projects
I’ve lived with my husband for eleven years. Eleven years of happiness, but also filled with concessions, often about my take on interior design or the size of my wardrobe.
It’s simple, I’ve always imagined myself living a Pinterest-worthy house: decorative elements in pastel tones, a huge all-white kitchen with a really big canopy, lots of perfectly placed frames covering my walls… Doesn’t sound that complicated, right? Well to achieve my goal, I would have had to switch husband! Our tastes are TOTALLY different.
When we moved into our first Parisian apartment, he would work at night and I, during the day. We would have “dates” at 3 am so we could ask each other “how was your day, honey?” and have somewhat of a coupe routine. We also used a lot of post-its, which became a way to express our love and to keep our fridge full!
During the first five years we lived together, it was quite simple: we were on our own timezone and we didn’t have to negotiate the decorative elements — they would just be home when he’d come back from work. Same thing for my forever-growing wardrobe. He didn’t know if I had bought a dress two days or two weeks ago. I must admit, I took total advantage of the situation!
And then, he were are, married and living in Montreal, and oh, surprise, with very similar schedules! I think that’s when we understood the real meaning of “living together”. He witnessed my evening spent with beauty masks on, applying nail polish, eating ketchup pasta and talking to my friends all night long on the phone. Did he not know that I couldn’t cook? And now, he would see me come home with my shopping bags…
So I learned to cook, I sat down at our dining table when came the time to eat, I took some frames and shelves off our walls that he didn’t like and we picked other ones together to make our house feel like OUR home (aka: goodbye Scandinavian aesthetic). He found out that I didn’t magically wake up with a perfect hairdo and I noticed all of his little ways.
Regardless of it all, the most important thing is all those moments we spend together. Sharing our everyday life together is definitely the most precious thing I own!
Marie-Pier Lessard | @marieplessard
The most difficult part for me was realizing that we would ALWAYS see each other. Especially since we were on a budget and living in a teeny tiny apartment! Wherever I would look, he would always be there. Like if I wanted to read a book by myself, he would still be in the room with me. I learned the importance of having moments to myself and to not lose sight of me as a whole, rather than just the half of a couple.
The most important challenge we faced came from the fact that it was my boyfriend’s first time living with one of his girlfriends. I had lived with two of my boyfriends, both with whom I had been with for seven years. So I was a bit more accustomed to the “couple everyday life” reality, whereas my boyfriend had a harder time adjusting.
A good example would be how he lacked initiative when it came to house chores. He was used to having his parents clean up after him. I had to specifically ask him to do something for him to do it; it wasn’t automatic. In his opinion, a sink full of dishes wasn’t an issue, nor were stained floors or a growing pile of dirty clothes.
The other major issue was that, over the years, I became more of a minimalist and he grew into a collector. Right now, it’s not much of a problem because we live in a big apartment, but we’ll soon be moving into a smaller place. Unlike me, he doesn’t want to get rid of the stuff he doesn’t use. It’s a source of conflict between us, because I really can’t stand clutter. But you know, it’s life. We try to adjust as we go along.
Élodie Laetitia Parthenay | @elodiewrites
When my boyfriend and I moved in together, our main concern was that we were both super independent people and we didn’t want to sacrifice that. From the moment we started living together, we had a very pragmatic approach.
We split all the bills in half, except for the furniture and anything decor related. That way, if we broke up, everything would be easier! Who ever paid for that piece of furniture gets to keep it. It may sound harsh, but we were the first ones in our group of friends to move in together, which was 11 years ago (!). We didn’t have any landmarks to look up to.
Right from the beginning, we knew we were creatives, doing a lot of freelance work, which meant we were both at home very often. We needed our separate bubbles to oxygenate ourselves — we’re individual human beings before being part of a couple. It took us many years to find a good balance.
With all that said, my advice would be: organize yourself some space, either temporal or spatial, to have those “me” moments. Discuss each other’s needs and make sure you respect them as much as possible. Focus on your best assets. For example, I take care of the laundry and the overall organization and he does the dishes and the cleaning. And most importantly… Enjoy!
Samantha Grondin Fournier | @samanthagfournier
I’ve been with my boyfriend for eleven years and we’ve lived together for seven years. And it’s my mom who gave me the best advice: survive the first six months. She was so right! It’s a period of you two adjusting and really getting to know each other. These are the months when you might ask yourself “but who is that person”! But, generally speaking, after that, if your personalities are compatible, that kind of stuff goes away.
I also believe in not having too high expectations for your boyfriend. Guys often need you to tell them when you need help. You have to overcome your pride and just ask. It will make everyone happier.