It’s time. You and your girlfriend are moving in together. Whether the lease is up on your man cave, she’s yearning for more closet space, or you’ve convinced her that splitting rent will give her more money to spend on shoes, congratulations are in order! Say hello to home-cooked dinners, fluffier pillows, and a toilet bowl that gets scrubbed more than once a year. Those dirty glasses in the sink? And the Tupperware containers doubling as drawers for your clothes? Say sayonara. Here's how to be a gentleman and live through the transition to cohabitation.
Nothing breeds domestic bliss like sniffing latex fumes together.
Find a place together and start a life together in a space that’s new to you both. If you move into her apartment, or she moves into yours, one of you will always feel like you're on the other's turf. She doesn’t want to all of a sudden share half the vanity in the bathroom just as much as you don’t want your jackets pushed to the side in your once spacious closet. Discovering all its nooks and crannies, meeting the neighbors—all the firsts of a fresh pad will bring you closer together.
Invite her over while you’re packing up your place so that she can help decide what stays and what goes. She might surprise you and actually like something of yours enough to use it in the future. Embrace whatever that is—even if it’s just your coffee mugs (and she doesn’t drink coffee)—and remind her of how excited you are to move in together. To further earn her trust, make a sacrifice to the new-roommate gods by getting rid of one of your prized possessions. Choose anything—a beanbag chair, a frozen-margarita machine, your fraternity sweatshirt you don’t wear anymore anyway. Make a big show of it: throw it in the garbage, dump it in the street, weep.
Then, be part of the planning. Offer to compare moving rates, set up cable and electricity, something. And run everything by her first. Nothing provokes a moving-in meltdown faster than these words: “Sweetheart, look what I bought at IKEA today!” Talk everything over, show each other what you like, and if you have time in the new place while it’s still empty, do a walk through/mock-up of what you think should go where. The less surprises, the better.
Get involved in the decorating by painting with her. Nothing breeds domestic bliss like sniffing latex fumes together. If you’re not good with a paintbrush, then get hammering to hang some art, put together the furniture you ordered. Whatever you do, don’t sit there on the couch with your hand down your pants while she’s unpacking every picture frame and T-shirt.
Speaking of furniture, an easy rule of thumb when shopping: If she loves it, get it. Nothing says you’re serious about her and your new place than investing in, say, a new couch. Go sit on them together, make an afternoon of it, and she will love you forever. Your time and attention to what she thinks is important for your home goes a long way.
Make sure to compromise. Maybe you never saw the need to spend more than ten dollars on a paper towel holder—heck, maybe you never saw the need for a paper towel holder, period—but if she wants the twenty dollar organic one from the boutique on the corner, then great, you think it’s a wonderful idea! The key to successful cohabitation is compromise. If she gets the fancy paper towel holder, you should be able to order the NFL Sunday Ticket and watch all the games in your underwear. Well, maybe.
Finding middle ground also goes for how loud you talk on the phone to your boys, and how often you dominate the living room playing Halo. Remember, she might not speak up every time she’s annoyed, or disgusted, by something you do. In other words, be mindful of your flatulence. The burping and farting may very well turn her off, big time. If you can’t help it, at least say “excuse me” after you’ve smelled up the place. Remember: You want her to want to make out with you when she gets in bed at night. Sometimes there’s no getting around it; I grew up with two brothers, so I get it.
Sometimes all you can do is tell her how happy you are, and how much you love her before you go to sleep. No matter what, don’t ever go to bed angry.
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