Life After Dating: Trusting A Feeling, Taking A Leap
My boyfriend and I moved in together last July. At the time, we had been dating for just shy of six months.
If a friend had planned to do what I did, and had asked me for advice, I would have told her that it was too soon. “What’s the rush?” I would have said. “Moving in together this early is frankly insane,” I would probably have added.
And I don’t disagree with my friend-self. I have never been a risk-taker; in fact, I’ve always been very averse to change. I had never even come close to living with a boyfriend, although I did have a few year-plus-long relationships. My less than adventurous personality is also what kept me in Boston, my hometown, for almost five years after graduating college. Why would I leave when my friends and family were there? I didn’t understand why people kept moving away from our safe cocoon.
In August, 2012, a long-distance boyfriend and I finally broke up. It was a bad relationship, full of resentments and annoyances, and when it was over, I suddenly felt entirely free. I was immediately — as in, the very next morning — full of energy, working two jobs, staying up late to write and bounding out to bars on the weekends. I decided right then that, by the following July, I would move to New York City to really try to be a writer, no matter what. And then I met Dan.
It was January 2013 and we both lived in Boston. During our first three months of dating, I was honest with Dan about my plans to move, and he talked casually about the idea of moving, too (like me, he’d been in Boston since college, living with various roommates). By April of that year, we had decided that we’d both head to NYC in September. And then, in June, Dan was offered a job in New York, effective July 1st.
We had two options. Dan could find a friend to live with and move right away, and I could find some Craigslist roommates and join him in the city as soon as I could. Or we could move in together, after dating for only six months.
As I said before, impulsiveness is not in my nature. And yet, when Dan asked me if I would live with him, I said yes. We drove to Brooklyn on a Saturday morning in mid-June and spent the day looking at apartments, finally securing one by 6 p.m. On July 2nd, we packed his apartment, then mine, into a UHaul, and moved into our tiny Park Slope abode, featuring a living room, a small bedroom, and a section of floor that is kind of a kitchen.
At the time, I wrote an article about moving in with my boyfriend. In the article I described the lists we shared with each other in the days before we moved — lists of things we were worried about. Commenters on the article were not very hopeful that we’d make it as a cohabitating couple. “I did this, it was a disaster — never move in quickly” was the general tone of the observations.
But it has not been a disaster. I’m writing from the same tiny apartment, where we’ll be staying another year. We’ve found that in addition to being good at dating, we are excellent roommates, sharing almost the exact same tolerance for mess (high, but not insanely high) and the same ideas about what we should do on a night in (marathon TV, drink full bottles of wine, dance to Robyn songs). Dan loves to cook and I love to eat, and I’m fine with doing the dishes. Our taste in home decor is entirely aligned (and kind of weird). We celebrated our one-year anniversary in this apartment, and I’m confident that we’ll celebrate our second here, and our third maybe in someplace similar but hopefully with a porch. A porch is our ultimate dream.
Moving in together only six months after our first date was a big risk, although I didn’t think of it that way at the time. I didn’t consider the possible negative outcomes — we could have broken up a month in, we had a year lease, the rent was too high for either of us to pay on our own. Or one of us could have hated New York and decided to move back to Boston. Or we could have, more simply, hated living with each other. It would have been a disaster. In general, I don’t advocate making hasty decisions that can end so badly.
But I don’t regret my choice. For the first time in my life, I acted purely on a feeling and the risk was worth it — especially since the feeling turned out to be true.