Couples move in together for a variety of reasons, whether they’re taking their relationship to the next level or deciding to do a trial run to see how it works. However, other
couples move in together to save money; while it may work for some, others then regret it. After all, on top of navigating this new level of their relationship, now they have several financial frontiers to deal with, too, from how they will split the rent to how they will divide up bills and/or repairs. Amie Leadingham, Certified Master Relationship Coach, tells Bustle that moving in together too soon, especially before having clear-cut conversations about how finances will be handled, can be a mistake. “Studies have shown that living together is can be more stressful than actually being married,” she says. “This is probably because most couples don’t have healthy conflict resolution skills and give up too quickly.” She says that this is why it’s important that couples move in for the right reasons — i.e., same life vision, commitment level, aligned core values — and that they talk about money, and how it will be handled, in advance. But, if money is the sole reason for moving in together, it may be problematic. “However, if your values are mostly aligned, there’s a higher chance of relationship bliss and less conflict,” Leadingham says.
Below, nine women explain how they
did move in with their partner for financial reasons — and they regretted it. 1 Amber, 27
“I met my now ex-boyfriend when he was a student and I was working. A few weeks after we started dating, my roommate moved out and my boyfriend dropped out of university, so we had to choose between him moving back home and having a long-distance relationship or him moving in. The relationship would have come to a natural conclusion if we’d just been dating, but now we were stuck with each other. Neither of us could afford to move out and we had a 12-month tenancy agreement. I had the idea to just ‘stick it out’ until I could move out, but he cheated on me and we broke up after a really big fight.
stayed living together for another six months because of that tenancy agreement, which was a total nightmare. It was a one-bedroom apartment, so he was on the sofa, but still bringing girls back with him when he went out on the weekends! We only went our separate ways when that tenancy agreement was over, which coincided with me starting to make an income from blogging online, and I was able to pay the entire rent by myself.” 2 Marisa, 25-30
“In 2013, I started dating a guy in the second semester of my senior year of college. A few months later, I accepted a job in Texas, moved out of state, and
we decided to do long-distance. I wasn’t making a ton of money, and rent always took a big chunk of my budget each month. Fast-forward to 2014: He graduated (a semester late) and decided to move down to Texas. We decided to move in together because A) things had been going (relatively) smoothly, and B) we both wanted to save money — what better way to do that than split the rent in half?
We lived together for about a year-and-a-half, and along the way I became really unhappy in our relationship. I no longer wanted to date him and regretted moving in together because I felt stuck with no escape — we had moved into a more expensive place, and I couldn’t afford the rent on my own if we were to break up. Ultimately, I made the choice to move back in with my parents rather than continue living with him and we broke up. THAT was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Now, I’m much more cautious in that aspect (moving in together) and, despite the fact that I’m now going on two years in
a (new) great relationship, I have been content living happily with roommates — and, more recently, alone. I would never rush into living with someone just to save some cash again.” 3 Donna, 39
“Instead of me moving in with my ex to save money, I had him move in with me — I made more and he freelanced as a photographer, so I felt bad for him and his apartment was overpriced. BUT — when you basically hand someone something for free, so to speak, they don’t always try as hard (i.e., for him to get a job since I was
paying the rent). At first, I was happy to help him out, but soon realized I was only enabling him and then I had to be the ‘bad guy’ and kick him out. Needless to say, all the stress broke us up. But, I learned many lessons — not only about money, but also that I wanted a more motivated partner.” 4 Anonymous, 30s
“When I was in my 20s, I moved in with my ex-husband because he suggested that it ‘didn’t make sense’ for me to live separately and pay rent. He turned out to be abusive, and then tried to silence me by getting me detained as an immigrant. I certainly regretted dating him, moving in with him, and marrying him. I lived with him/stayed married for three years — it was probably the most foolish thing I’ve done in my life.
Both of us were getting about the same salary (his was slightly higher, but not by much), and I was contributing to all household expenses. He kept demanding that I give him access to my finances (without gaining access to his), and the fact that I wanted a balanced approach made him angry. Overall, he sought total control over my decisions, and anything less than that made him unhappy.”
5 Holly, 38
“Looking back, I think
my ex and I moved in together just because both of us had roommates at the time, and were paying too much in rent, so why not merge our finances? But we had no financial plan in place; we thought we’d split everything 50-50, but our salaries were much different, so I became resentful and increasingly broke. For instance, she was more a Whole Foods girl while I was more a Trader Joe’s (or random budget grocery store) kind of person: It just didn’t add up — literally! Suffice it to say, I haven’t lived with a partner since!” 6 Mary, Early 30s
“I was 25 and moved in with my boyfriend at the time after only six-ish months of dating because rent was so expensive; we thought it would be best, financially, to do so. I learned right away that we shouldn’t have moved in together so soon like that. I felt obligated to stay in the relationship because I didn’t want to lose my portion of the deposit by breaking up and bailing on the lease early! Then, at one point, he lost his job, so I had to pay his portion of the rent, too… so that factored into the relationship going on longer than it was supposed to because he owed me money.”
7 Brooke, 36
“I thought my then-boyfriend and I were on the way to getting married, so moving in together made sense: he gave up his condo and I gave up my rent-controlled place on the beach! We got a house together and the problems began. He made more, so paid more of the mortgage, which he’d make offhanded comments about (which was not very nice, especially since we’d agreed on this plan in advance and he kept saying living together would benefit us both and it'd save me money — I could pay off my credit card debt). I really loved the house though, and
really thought he’d been ‘The One,’ so I didn’t want to give up hope too soon! When I moved out, I had to pay much, much more for a new place, as well as moving costs. But lesson learned!” 8 Anonymous, 49
“At 41, I was an entrepreneur living in New York City, but living in a $3000-a-month studio apartment. [...] I was tired of the battle of the bills — paying staff, office rent, and rarely paying me. My friends introduced me to an Ivy-league-educated lawyer who drove a fancy Jaguar and lived in a three-bedroom in New Jersey … he was dangling ‘the ring’ conversations, so I bit and moved in. Seemed OK at first, but then isolation began: excuses about why we should stay in on a weekend or skip an event. Then, within three months of meeting, we got engaged. Then eloped. Then pregnant. Within a 15-month timeframe, everything changed.
We moved further into the NJ suburbs; more isolation (and no car). Many times, I had to ‘ask permission’ for things from outside [...] Four months after the baby was born was the first time he put his hands on me, and I finally got the courage to leave after my daughter was almost two and we fled — back to a one-bedroom [...] His parting words after he returned to the house and found it empty of my belongings were: ‘I’m going to ruin you, your business, and your brand.’
I worked all the time; two years later, I was able to buy a home. Today, almost half a decade later, there is a final restraining order against him and I have three jobs that pay back all the legal bills and friends who helped.”
9 Ana, 31
“A few years ago, I moved in with a partner because we both thought it’d be a smart decision financially. We weren’t dating for too long, but both of us were looking for a place to stay and we also worked together — so we found a place near our workplace; in terms of finances, it worked well. We were able to get a flat in the city center, and since the day I moved abroad, this was the first time I wasn’t sharing a place with other flatmates. Since I didn’t know him that well, I got the chance to get to know him by living together. It ended up being my worst relationship, and never before had I felt so trapped. He thought the fact that we lived together meant I couldn’t leave. But I did! As soon as I could, I moved out and started renting my own flat — yes, it was more expensive to afford a place on my own, but well worth it!”
As you can see, the women above regretted moving in with their partners for financial reasons. Although there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to moving in with your significant other, the more you’re clear on the motivations for doing so, the better off you’ll be.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.
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