I wanted to take a few minutes today to talk about living with your significant other!
I do want to start off with a disclaimer though, because I am absolutely not an expert on this. This is just my experience, which has honestly been overwhelmingly positive. Living together is a huge thing and thankfully for us, it worked out very well. I definitely don't think that everyone should do it, or do it as fast as we did. We had a lot of external circumstances (which I'll get into!) that lead us to where we are. Its worked out well for us, but definitely don't do anything before you think you're ready!
So first and foremost, I think evaluating the relationship is the single most important factor when thinking about living together. Everyone is SO different, and it's okay to not feel ready after a long time, or to feel ready right away! As long as you're on the same page (both for the present and your future) that's all that really matters. There's no "one size fits all" timeline, and that's okay!
Harley and I definitely moved in together really quickly. Before we started dating, we were both considering moving out of Chattanooga. I had actually applied to a few jobs in other cities already, but I put that on the back burner when he and I first started dating. Once I found out he had done the same thing, we had to discuss the concept of doing that together. We were both comfortable with the idea, and since his career path as an engineer is more set he continued to apply for jobs in cities we had agreed on being prospects. As my lease ended in Chattanooga, I moved into the apartment he was living in as we focused on deciding where to move next.
Again I want to clarify that I don't think this would be the case for everyone, but I do want to be honest and say it wasn't as big of an adjustment as I was expecting! One thing that helped is that I think we both did a great job at maintaining the sense of having our own space within the apartment. He has his office area which I basically never interact with, and I have my book collection and decorations that make the place feel more comfortable for me. Even though for our move to California we had to get all new things for the house, I still think we maintained this pretty well. If anything, it's been more exciting because now we're establishing a place together!
Another thing that I think is just as important as compromise is being able to share what's important to you. This is something that I have to work on, because it's so easy form me to say I don't have an opinion just because I want Harley to be happy! Sharing what matters is super important and the only way to foster good communication. On the flip side of that, you also have to be attentive when your partner shares things with you. Living with someone is basically just balancing out each other's needs and wants, and the only way to do that is to be on the same page!
Finally, I think making time to hang out with each other should be a big priority! We watch a lot of the same shows together which is great, but it can make it all too easy to eat dinner and zone out in front of the tv. Doing something that prompts you to interact often requires a little more intention when you share an apartment, but it's worth it! We break out our N64 sometimes, or we'll watch a show that prompts us to talk instead of just sit side by side (House Hunters, or any show where the audience makes a decision is perfect for this!). It's is a great way to have "quality time" without having to make it a full on date night and turn into an exhausting endeavor. Sometimes you just want to hang out in your pajamas together and play Mario Kart, and that's totally ok! As long as you're doing something that prompts you both to have fun, that's all that really matters.
If you've made it this far, thank you! I feel like this was mainly ramblings, but I really hope that it helps someone who might be needing some reassurance. I think as long as you keep these things in mind and you have a partner that's willing to do the same, living together can be a great way to have a built in best friend to help with dishes / late night pizza deliveries. I'm a firm believer that if you're ready and open things will fall into place if you let them, and I don't think that this is any different! When the timing is right things will work out just as they are supposed to, and you can start your own adventure together!