Stage 1: You Think This Is A Great Idea
When you decide to move in with your boyfriend, you think this is a great idea. He thinks this is a great idea too. It feels like the next step. No big deal, you practically live at each other’s place anyways. You think about how you won’t need two yoga mats and two sets of makeup anymore. This makes you happy. Sure, you always said you wouldn’t live with a guy until you were engaged or married, but this just feels right. He makes you a better person. You’re in love. You’re also sick of lugging that goddamn overnight duffle bag back and forth on the L Train.
You insist on getting a new place together because you read an article somewhere that said it was a terrible idea to move into a man’s apartment. They’re territorial or something. But after looking at apartments for two days, you agree to move into his Williamsburg loft. Fuck apartment shopping. You’d rather be stuck in Times Square with a thousand tourists in that Forever 21 that burns your eyeballs with its fluorescent lights than apartment shop.
You subtly announce that you and your boyfriend are moving in together to your best friend the next day. You anticipate a gasp. She shrieks! You’ve revealed the most exciting gossip for her to share with the rest of the friends in your group. You like being the center of attention. It feels good. You are happy you don’t have to compete with them over hot boys at bars anymore. This is great!
Stage 2: You Change Your Mind
Two days later you change your mind. You don’t want to move in with your boyfriend. You notice things you didn’t notice before. You notice that he tries to do the dishes but can’t quite clean all of the food off for some strange reason. You notice he has expired food that you’re pretty sure you accidently ate last week. And then there are the unknown questions: Why on earth does one person own four different toothbrushes, all of which need to be replaced? Why are there quarters and dimes and nickels and pennies on the floor, in the cupboards and behind the toilet? Why doesn’t that half-eaten melted sticky tub of ice cream sitting on the kitchen counter bother him as much as it bothers you?
You don’t want to move in with your boyfriend. This was a terrible idea. Why on earth would you give up your independence and your space? You start to cherish the moments you once took for granted, like talking about your boyfriend on the phone with your friends. You miss dancing in your underwear while singing along to Pandora and watching the Bachelorette (which you claimed your roommate had TiVo’d, not you). You can’t do this stuff in front of him. What will you do? You start to hyperventilate when you think about having someone around 24/7. You get in a fight that night because he suggests putting your ping-pong table in storage. The nerve, you think. You find sanctuary in your apartment. Thank god you have your own space. You start to cry because you remember you already turned in your notice to give up your apartment. It’s too late. You’re screwed. You’ll start looking immediately for a new apartment. He doesn’t have enough closet space for your shoes. You hate the L Train. You don’t want to move. You want to live alone forever. Foreeeeverrrrr.
Stage 3: You Change Your Mind, Again
The next week he suggests shopping for new furniture, his treat. You don’t want to live with him, but helping him shop could be fun. So you go with him. He splurges on a gorgeous wood cabinet. It’s your first big purchase together, he says. You both will keep this no matter where you move in the future, together. You cry. You’re so happy. You’re starting a life together. This is wonderful. Why would you ever second-guess anything? He says he doesn’t want the apartment to look like a bachelor pad anymore. He’ll even get rid of the cardboard moving boxes he still hangs his clothes in because he thought cardboard was a “cool” closet. Jesus, he is serious about this, you think. He wants to paint the apartment for you. He says he’ll buy you a big closet, a dishwasher and get TiVo like you had at your old place. He wants to make his place our place. He’s not territorial! He’s so flexible, so giving, so wonderful. He really does love me, you say! You start to make big plans. You’ll redecorate the apartment. You can’t wait to look for more furniture. You start mapping out the rooms and where things will go. You’ll get a maid. You want it all done before you move in. Oh, and you want a puppy.
Stage 4: You Drive Each Other Crazy
He eats all of the ice cream you buy before you even get to eat any, unless you buy a flavor he hates, like Pistachio. But you’re stick of eating Pistachio! The move is not fun. The movers ripped you off and charged twice what they quoted you, saying you had more stuff than you said you did. He’s gone way over budget and there are still more things you need for the apartment. He wants things done slowly and over time. You want them done now. After all, you want the place looking spectacular for your housewarming party. You’re obsessed with these oddly shaped plates from CB2. He says he doesn’t like them because plates shouldn’t be oddly shaped. You buy them anyways. You want to use your new dishes, so you decide to do something you think couples who live together should do: Put on sexy lingerie, light candles and cook a delicious meal using an actual cookbook that you’ve never opened. It takes you 2 ½ hours and you’re miserable afterwards. He’s stuck at work and you don’t have a dishwasher yet so you leave the food and dishes out and sulk in the bedroom. He didn’t get TiVo so you missed another night of the Daily Show. This upsets you greatly. You don’t want to watch it online because you hate the online commercials, you scream! He tells you you’re too demanding. You don’t know why he’s so moody. You hang up on him. You go out with your best friend and stay at her place. The next morning you’re furious because he hasn’t called you. I can’t believe he isn’t worried about me, you think! How did you two get to this point? What is going to happen?
Stage 5: You Are Happy
You get a text message from him. He’s been at your old apartment all morning patching up the holes and painting the walls white. He wants to know if you want to get lunch when he’s done. Your heart melts. What were you worrying about? He’s so thoughtful. He’s so kind. You found one of the good ones, you think. That night you make love. It’s wonderful. The kind of love you can only make with someone you live with. The kind of love that’s comforting because you know he doesn’t have to leave in the morning to go home. You don’t have to leave in the morning to go home. You are home. This is a nice feeling. You promise to stop bothering him about getting a puppy (for a week at least). He promises to call about TiVo the next day. You want him to call about the dishwasher first but you stop yourself – you’ll ask about that after the puppy next week. You look around the apartment. It’s so much better than your old place, you realize. It’s actually unbelievably awesome. Like a real decorated adult apartment, somewhere in between an Architecture Digest spread, a Lower East Side art gallery, a West Elm catalogue and a Williamsburg coffee shop. We did good, you say to each other. You love your new place. You love living together. You love him. You make love again. Moving in with your boyfriend is the best thing you’ve ever done!