Relationship Advice: How To Deal With Moving-In Jitters
Setting up house with your partner is one of the most momentous and emotional steps you can take in a relationship…
By Adam Segal
I’ve been with my boyfriend for about three years now, and things only seem to get better as time goes by. We live about an hour apart and see each other most weeks. Often, he’ll stay with me for the weekend and vice versa – and I still get butterflies when I know Friday is coming up and I’ll get “real deal” time with him. Recently, we made the big decision to move in together. At first, I was super excited – less commuting and more spooning nights. But as we get closer to the big day, I’m getting really nervous. What if our relationship is so great because we actually have space from one another? What if things get boring and I start to feel like the lust is destroyed by domestic drudgery? I have had so many friends go through breakups recently, and I wonder if it’s because they’ve suffocated themselves in their relationships. How can we avoid that fate? — Pablo
Long-distance relationships, as you’ve experienced, can force a certain spaciousness and intensify the sense of connection through those constant hellos and goodbyes. Having limited time with someone we love can make us cherish them more, and often makes us intentional about the quality of time spent together. The LTR situation may be keeping things lively, but it could also be sustaining a sort of ‘dating mode.’ Once you are cohabiting and seeing each other is just “built-in,” it will be tempting to default to spending time together in ways that are less conscious. It’s okay to enjoy the relief of not having to make plans every time you want to see each other, but it will serve both of you well to make sure that dates still happen and that you don’t begin to take one another for granted. It will be equally important to allow for those more domestic moments where you are doing laundry together and nothing particularly intense is happening.
Your concerns aren’t silly ones, and there’s a wisdom in knowing that your relationship might feel different when you’re under the same roof full-time. I can’t tell you to suddenly drop your fears. In fact, it might be best to see your fears as a normal part of this process of moving in together rather than as a sign that something is off the rails. A lot of folks don’t even consider these challenges – so, guess what, you’re already ahead of the game. What you have going for you, already, is that three years in, you continue to feel more gratified by your partnership. The hope you can carry is that the rewards of having more time together will only work to enrich something you already appreciate so much.
ADAM SEGAL, writer and therapist, works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental-health questions at @firstname.lastname@example.org.