Moving in with your girlfriend can be an emotional, physical and financial challenge. However, if it's the right time for both of you, it can also be heaps of fun and a great experience.
Things to consider
Some things you might consider when deciding whether or not to move in together include:
If you are moving out of your parents' home you need to have a regular income to pay for a range of ongoing costs such as bond, rent, food and utilities such as gas and electricity. If you haven't had to pay for these things in the past, it is easy to underestimate how much everything costs.
You might decide it's not a good time to move when you're in the middle of exams or coping with other major stresses.
Moving in with your girlfriend will change the dynamics of a relationship, so it's important that you don't feel pressured into it and are moving in for the right reasons (e.g. that you want to share your life with someone, not, for example, because you're sick of sharing the bathroom with your sister).
Coping with disapproval
Although you might be happy with your decision to move in with your girlfriend, you might find that your family or friends do not approve. This might be for a number of reasons, a common one being they might feel that you're too young to move in together.
Some ways to deal with this situations:
- Try to remember that your family and friends usually have your best interests at heart.
- Listen to and think about any concerns. Parents and friends are often speaking from their own experience and might raise some important issues you might not have thought about.
- Talk about their concerns calmly and honestly. Depending on your parents, it might help to get them to write down their concerns so you can both go away and think about them, and discuss them with your girlfriend. Returning to your parents and addressing their concerns might relieve their fears and help them to feel it's the right decision for you.
- Talk to someone outside the situation, such as a MensLine counsellor.
- If your family or friends suggest that you don't move in with your girlfriend because they are worried for your safety or your health, think about why they are concerned. You might want to talk to a friend or get a second opinion. If you do decide you don't want to move in with your girlfriend, remember it is okay to change your mind.
Adjusting to new conditions
Living together changes the dynamics of a relationship as you spend a lot more time together. While this is generally good, it can also make you a lot more aware of your differences and each other's annoying habits. If you don't address them early on in a sensitive way they can really start to eat away at you and cause a lot of tension in the relationship.
Suggestions for adjusting to living together:
- Talk about your expectations of living together, as they might not always be the same. This might include expectations about cleaning, having friends over and money.
- Continue to see friends outside the relationship and take time out for yourself.
- Make sure you get out of house and do fun things together (other than shopping). It helps to keep your relationship from feeling routine and getting into a rut.
- It's important to talk about any issues that come up. If something is bugging you, there is probably something bugging your girlfriend too.
- Work out how you are going to handle finances. E.g., are you going to divide costs equally or pay for some things separately?
- It's important that you both have your own space, be it for study or games.
- Work out who's going to do what cleaning around the house, so one person doesn't end up doing all of it.
- No matter how good your relationship is, there is always potential for change and, although it might not seem possible, things might not work out. For this reason it is usually a good idea to keep some savings in case you need to move out. It might also be a good idea to keep receipts of purchases (as sharing the costs of large items might lead to disputes if you separate).
MensLine Australia has professional counsellors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing confidential and anonymous information and support for all relationship issues. Call us on 1300 78 99 78 or register for online counselling.