Ask An Adult: ‘What Really Happens When You Move In With Your Boyfriend?’

Clue: you'll need to establish bathroom politics pronto Illustration by Ellie Andrews


by Sali Hughes |
Published on

I am 39 and have lived with four men. Which means when it comes to cohabiting, I know a lot. This is what’s going to happen for sure as soon as you move in with boyfriend for the first time.

1. You’ll regret not being clear about precedents and expectations

One boyfriend went from totally chilled to needing me to ‘check in’ every hour after we’d moved in, as though he was my nanna unable to sleep until I got home safe. This stuff needs sorting early. When out separately (also important), resist the temptation to text each other your every movement (once or twice an evening is respectful and polite), because the moment one of you lacks the time or the inclination, someone will feel let down and pissed off.

Also find out from the start just how often he plans for Mummy to visit. Seriously, anything more than once a month for drop-ins, or every three months for overnights, is excessive and needs nipping in the bud. (The same applies to large groups of drunk men taking up too much room in the lounge). And agree to give keys to one friend in case of lock-outs; absolutely no more.

2. His books and music will upset you

When a man moves in his books, prepare for your momentary wobble over having ever allowed him over the threshold. Nothing leaves a person more naked to the beholder than a music and book collection, and it can be very hard to reconcile the cultured and sophisticated man with Robbie Williams’ Swing project.

Personally, I am deeply wary of men with free-form jazz and beat authors. If he has only five books to read and two are by Jack Kerouac and Hunter S Thompson, trust me when I say that even moving back in with your parents will be preferable to what lies ahead.

3. It is best to play to strengths

Chores are not the place to get political. May the best cook cook. Often that will be the woman, often not, but I guarantee you will no longer give a damn about gender stereotypes when he’s insisted on making you his ‘killer spag bol’ and you’ve had to swallow down a sick.

Living together is about knowing who’s good at what and allocating jobs accordingly (and evenly). I’m a good cook and launderer, but am useless at assembling flatpack, Hoovering and ironing. My skill set (and mood) benefits heavily from the presence of a partner who can grout, re-wire and catch mice. I’ll happily do spiders and clean the loo. Which reminds me....

4. You will need to make peace with his (and your) bathroom habits

Ninety per cent of living together is bathroom. Whether you’re a door locker or not, you are going to have to accept that you will now know too much about one another’s toilet habits. My first live-in boyfriend always sat down to pee. I knew quickly we had no future. My friend rightly got rid of hers when he wandered in on her treaty bubble bath, pulled down his jeans and sat down for a dump.

You will need to decide early on whether you will pee openly, lock doors, both fart, or spend your weekends in constipated agony, sending him on pointless errands just so you can go for a poo in peace. On the bright side, you will work like a dog and one day dangerously overstretch your borrowing capability in order to get two loos with his and hers washbasins. (Truly, at 39, I am living the dream).

Follow Sali on Twitter @salihughes

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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