Have you ever wanted to move in with your boyfriend? And I know what you’re probably thinking: “Oh my God, it’s going to be so fantastic living with him, like, how hard can it be when you live with someone you love so much?!”
And yeah, no one is negating the loveliness of sharing a home with your significant other, there are many benefits and moments to look forward to. However, there are things you should be aware of before making that key-binding step.
It’s a big deal, and for most couples, it means a whole lot to decide to live together and share physical space. But I can assure you our point of view, meaning us girls, is far different from theirs.
And no matter how your relationship generally is, a lot of things change once you move in together. In other words, it is usually the woman who takes a lot of house-related responsibility and beyond. I’ve seen it happen, many times. From my childhood home with my mom and dad, with girlfriends and their boyfriends, and well, from my own relationships too.
So for this blog, I decided to ask some of the closest women I have in my life for advice, and whole and behold – they delivered. Here are the best tips for living with your boyfriend for the first time.
What is it really like to live with a man?
Moving in with your boyfriend is no joke, so to kick things off, I, of course, asked my mom first, and she had a lot to say on the subject.
For context, my mom and dad have been divorced for 8 years now, but have been together 20 years prior to that.
We were sitting in the kitchen, eating my mom’s bomb broccoli salad when I randomly asked what’s it like to move in with your boyfriend for the first time ever. She looked at me and laughed a bit, all while rolling her eyes. After that cheeky chuckle and a glass of white wine, she said: “Do you remember when you were a kid, how you always wanted to be a therapist and a cook? You even wanted to be a house cleaner for a while.”
I was confused but said yes, as I did want to be in every profession under the sun.
She continued, “Well, you get to be all of those things while living with a man sweetie.”
I laughed but I didn’t think she was joking. So I asked her to elaborate a bit further, and she did.
She said it was very exciting at first. You love to make him breakfast and go out for surprise coffee runs. You even think it’s cute he doesn’t know how to use the washing machine or dryer. At first, it’s cute, but the more years go by the less cute it is because your mother role gets more screen time, year after year.
It’s no longer a helping hand, but a one-woman show. Wake the kids up, make breakfast, get ready, take the kids to school, go to work, stop by the grocery store, get home and start making dinner. Feed the kids, and your husband, clean the dishes, ask the kids about their homework, do the laundry and pray for just a little piece of alone time.
And even without the kids, or before them, the house was all her responsibility. I suppose it was a different time, so the women were expected to keep the house clean and feed their men. But just because it was tradition back then, doesn’t make it any more okay looking back at it how.
“Both of us worked, but somehow, I was the only one whose shift didn’t end back at home. And even when he did do a chore, it would be so poorly done that I’d have to re-do it, taking up twice as much time. To make things short, he was pretty much useless.”
There were nice times, sure. A movie night here and a wall painting session there – but it’s hard to relax when you feel like you’re “living with a child”.
It just seemed kind of disappointing to me that complaining about a man is one of the first things women told me when I asked them what’s it like to live with a man.
So, I kept digging.
TikTok’s take on living with your boyfriend
I went straight to TikTok for some more dating answers on living with a partner, sorry mom but thank you! And not to my surprise, I found MANY women sharing the exact same experience as my mom. One girl even commented, “I miss living with women!”
@authenticauburn_ It’s the little things ya know? #drivesmecrazy #livingwithaman #husbandsbelike #marriage #married #men ♬ original sound – Becca Jones
@kaisocal Why are men like this?😐 #tellmewithouttellingme #coupleproblems #rant #relatable #boyfriendproblems #comedy #fyp #foryou #stitchthis #wtf ♬ Sneaky Snitch – Kevin MacLeod
@olyy_g Morning routine 🙉😂 @grzegorz.piotrowicz93 #livewithaman #man #couple #morning #fypシ #tiktok #cleantok #viral ♬ Sneaky Snitch – Kevin MacLeod
I mean, let’s just take a look at some of the comments that these videos have gotten. Probably from fellow girlfriends who also live with men:
From what I can see, most of these are related to the sentence ”you really don’t have to be his mother”, and you absolutely don’t! How to stop mothering your boyfriend should probably be one of your priorities if you can relate to a lot of those TikToks that were listed above.
No one is saying you can’t prefer “gender stereotypical” chores or roles in the relationship while living together, but everyone can take care of their own mess? You shouldn’t settle for less, no matter what he says or how bad he is at cleaning up after himself. As a man, if you can’t do something, learn it? It’s really not rocket science.
Women’s take on living with men
Next, I asked my colleague who’s been with her boyfriend for about 7 years, what it’s like to live with him. I often consider moving in with my boyfriend, so I want as much advice as I can get. She said they have been living together for about 5 years.
I showed her the above-listed TikToks for a couple of laughs, and she just went: “It’s exactly like this! Everywhere I turn, every damn corner in our apartment has a sock, boxers, or an empty pack of chips. Like how hard is it to throw it in the trash, only 5 feet away.”
I laughed, (despite this not being funny but rather sad that most men act like prepubescent teenage boys whose mothers take care of everything around them), and asked her to tell me more.
She said it depended on the day. When she would tell him to not leave boxers on the floor he’d listen…For about two days. “It drives me nuts because I feel like such a bitchy soccer mom whenever I nag him about these things. But at the same time, I shouldn’t have to nag him, that’s what I hate the most.”
That got me thinking, yes, we shouldn’t have to act like the parent when it comes to house chores and, I don’t know, common sense? But we do because if we didn’t, they’d just keep going with their bs.
Even my editor had a lot to say about the subject.
It would really annoy her how he’d leave plates on the dinner table after a meal. Just left it there, as if they had a maid to clean it up and wash it. The funny thing is, men probably do see us as maids of sorts, which is why they have this freedom to just assume we’ll take their plate and wash it ourselves.
And even if he would take his plate to the dishwasher, that would be it. It’s like he isn’t even aware there are other plates or utensils on the table, like the pan or salad bowl. No regards for the bigger picture, lol.
And again, I’m 99% sure that if your average man would read what I just wrote, he’d probably laugh and say “What’s the big deal, y’all just like to argue and make up problems…Women.”
Well, maybe we women are sick and tired of your shit? Have you ever thought about that? Or are you incapable of thinking of anyone else’s perspective for the life of you?
I don’t recall any wedding vowels going like: “And I promise to clean up your shit and treat you like a child, as I, the wife, am not just your lover, but your maid, therapist, professional cook, and cleaner.”
Speaking of which…
The stigma of the wife
Unknown to most of us, but very close to home for our mothers and grandmothers, and God only knows how many generations further down the line.
Today, although the social climate and gender roles are quite diverse, a trace of harmful tradition still lurks between certain kitchen walls. It’s expected for the woman to cook and clean, to feed and make sure to pick up after her man, due to most of their incapability to pick up after themselves.
And not only that but we are depicted as bitchy and cranky when we speak up and say “please take care of your shit, I’m sick of it.”
On the other hand, if you don’t clean up and live amongst his standards and way of living, you’d probably be living in a swamp. Additionally, a woman who cleans and cooks is seen as, well, just a woman. But when we see a guy cleaning or cooking, we call him extraordinary and amazing. “Wow Jessica, where’d you find a man who can vacuum and turn the dishwasher on!? Such a keeper!”
Our standards are on ocean floor level, I swear.
It’s all about compromise and going 50/50. Be his girlfriend, not his mother, and make sure he understands you won’t be there to fix any loose ends whenever he needs it. These men are too used to us finishing what they started when it comes to chores, it’s actually offensive.
Living alone first
I think we can all agree that this is the healthiest approach. Live alone first, and see what’s it like for you before moving in with a man. You’ll get to know and meet yourself on a whole new level. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for in a romantic roommate, or if you want one to begin with.
I’m very glad I experienced living completely alone, paying for everything alone, eating dinner alone, etc. I figured out how I function, my daily processes, and how often I clean, purchase new things for the apartment or, I don’t know, plant new flowers for my balcony.
And here’s the thing, when you move in with a man, you shouldn’t have to expect to spend more time on the house! For example, I don’t want to sacrifice my journaling time, just so I could wash his clothes before he goes to work. Yes, you could do so out of love, sometimes here or there, but don’t make it a standard!
Yes, I too love to make him tea or buy him his favorite drink on my way home, but so does he! It’s 50/50 because there are no gender-specific chores, please remember that.
And lastly, keep your standards where you want them, never lower them for anyone.