Adapted from a recent online discussion.
I moved back in with my parents after college to save money and have been here ever since (three years). I have a good job and support myself, but I just haven’t felt motivated to move till now because of the savings.
But my boyfriend of almost two years says it cramps his style to visit me at my parents’ home. After some discussion, we decided I would move in with him. I’m especially excited because it seems like a great way to stake out some independence without paying exorbitant rent or having to live alone.
I am supposed to move in two weeks, but he’s no longer as excited about it as he was, and in fact has started saying there’s “no rush.”
I’m not sure what to do now. Getting my own place is the obvious answer, but that would be expensive (what I was trying to avoid), lonely, and seems like a step backward in our relationship. What do you think?
The biggest backward step is to move in despite his doubts, and now yours — especially since he’s not articulating them beyond a forehead-thumping, “Ah, er, no rush!” Plus, your primary motivator appears to be money, and that’s not helpful, either.
So stay put; suggest to your boyfriend that if he has second thoughts, then out with them already; and have another look at the whole independence idea you grazed in your question. Why not a group house, or a roommate? That was the obvious answer to me. Roommate roulette can turn out badly, sure, but when it works it’s a blast, and it costs much less than living alone.
Get your own place. Really. It will do you so much good in the end. I know it’s hard to see, now, and the number in your bank account makes you feel comfortable, but there are so many lessons in self-sufficiency. You really, truly, learn to budget, which means you learn what’s really important to you compared to what you like to have. You learn to look out for yourself, and that naturally comes with tiny but useful life skills like knowing how to unstick your garbage disposal or how YOU like to have things in your own space.
You learn, above all, that even if something catastrophic were to happen to the person you love, you CAN make it on your own, which makes you a much more stable partner in any relationship, and it gives you room to figure out whether you’re really with someone because you want to be with them, or because you feel you can’t be without them even if that might make you happier. Get to know you. It’s the best investment in a relationship you’ll ever make.
Yes, “having to live alone” needed to be challenged — thanks for stepping in.
I write often about the importance of establishing a baseline — a sense of what fulfills you outside of a relationship. It’s easiest to do while living alone, and nearly impossible, I believe, sliding from mom’s house to a boyfriend’s, or just reacting vs. acting.
Among roommates, though, it’s doable — and group living often has an expiration date as we calcify in our ways. Independence plus fun, while supplies last.