What happens when you live with your significant other in college?
You’ve been seeing someone special for a while. You’re not sure that this is the one, but you give this person most of your free time, and you don’t mind. You like giving your time to this person. Your minds work differently, and you like that. You’ve got things in common, and you like that. You want to share more time with them, and that makes you nervous.
You’re also acutely aware that you need a place to stay next semester.
I’ve found myself in this situation before, so I’m here to clear up some of the FAQs before you make the big move. Moving in with the person you’re dating makes perfect sense if they tend to take care of you when you can’t even take care of yourself. Plus, you end up saving money by splitting your living expenses. You get to have lots of sex. That being said, the way you live and date is about to change.
How do dates change?
It’s great that you can split the chores and have dinner together, but you could do that with any roommate. How are you reminding this person that they’re special to you? How do you speak to their love language? Pay them some meaningful compliments and remind them why you fell in love. Spend quality time together doing stuff you both like, or study. When you see something at the store that reminds you of them, bring them gifts. Service them, like doing their least favorite chore even though it’s their turn. When it comes to physical touch, remember that it doesn’t always have to be sexual stuff. You don’t have to get out of the house for it to be a date, but you do have to keep dating once you’re cohabiting.
What happens when friends come over?
When the girl I’m dating asked if she could meet my best friend my first response was like, “Wow.” That hasn’t happened to me before, and I told my friends about it and they all thought that was really cool that she wants to be a part of my entire life, not just the romantic side. That’s something I messed up with when I was living with my ex. I made her my best, and eventually, my only friend. Big mistake. Get you a girl who wants to be friends with your friends. That way when you’re living together and want to have somebody over, it’s not weird. It’s a welcomed guest that you can both hang out with.
How do I stay focused on my degree?
As much fun as it would be to stay in bed with your significant other forever, you still have a job to do as a student. Keep your priorities aligned, and include your significant other. I am not a morning person; I had a hard time getting out of bed one semester, but once my ex got up, that would be my cue to get out of bed and start my day. Sharing a morning routine with bae helped me to get my work done. I can’t count the number of Thompson fourth floor study dates we shared. Working from home was impossible, because we both knew how to distract each other. So I suggest getting out of the house and getting your work done. Maybe set aside some alone time if you really need to focus. A good partner will understand that you need space whenever you need it.
Will my sleep schedule get f*cked?
I definitely had some sleepovers with my exes before we moved in together. Bedtime routines from when I had a bunch of male housemates compared to living with just one girl was a big shift for me. We all do weird little things. For example, I brushed my teeth in the shower. These things can change and often assimilate to your partner’s habits. Don’t let that freak you out, it’s perfectly normal to adopt some of your significant other’s mannerisms. It doesn’t mean they’re changing YOU. It just means you like sharing that routine with them and you’re finding ways to do that. Sleeping together every night of the week means a twin mattress ain’t gonna cut it. Personally I like to sleep on the side of the bed with the wall, but I also toss and turn a lot in my sleep so cuddling is good to start off, but won’t be all night long. At one point I got a whole extra comforter because of how badly my girlfriend would hog the blankets. Some people snore, some people sleep naked. When you’re living with your special someone, expect for there to be some changes to your sleeping arrangements.
Where do I go when I need a good old- fashioned breakdown?
We are all emotional, and our emotions have varying degrees of depths. The problem with texting is that words only show the surface of emotion. Imagine winning the lottery and trying to express how excited you were to somebody via text. No jumping up and down or yelling. Emotions are complex, but communication is the key to feeling like your emotions are valid. You need to express yourself, and listen to and validate your partner’s emotions. I’m bipolar and my ex had depression. We took a lot of time to express our emotions, and validate the other’s emotions, and it was the best part of living together.
What happens if we…break up?
This is obviously not what lovers living together expect to happen. When it happened to me, it meant spending a couple nights in and out of Airbnb’s, crashing at my auntie’s over the summer, and holding onto a lot of resentment. Don’t “break up” while you’re living together. Live somewhere else for a while instead. Call it a trial separation, or whatever works for your head. Are you really sick of this person? Or are you going to miss them so bad that you wish you were dead? Emotions change, and can sometimes cause us to feel in over our heads. If you’re making a backup plan in case you break up halfway through the semester, you’re smarter than me for planning ahead, and you already answered the very first question.