So you may have gathered by now that Shamrock and I live together.
This was not exactly my plan.
I know some people can’t imagine not living together first, and others wouldn’t dream of it. I just…preferred not to. Shamrock and I are in our thirties. Shamrock has been married before; I almost got engaged*–we both know what we’re getting in to.
So how did this happen? Shamrock decided to move when his lease was up, about seven months in to our relationship (his lease was up two months later, but you obviously make a decision earlier). After the lease was signed, he told me what he had really wanted was to move in with me, but he hadn’t asked because he knew I would say no. (He was right.) Lease in hand, he moved out of his downtown apartment on Michigan Avenue to be closer to me on the North Side.
There’s Shamrock’s apartment in the background–the tall white building. Photo by Caili Helsper
In the course of those conversations, I told him that I did prefer that we at least be engaged first, but that when his lease was up, I would consider letting him move in to my condo (I own) regardless of whether we were engaged.
And then he moved in to his apartment and his landlord was crazy. The place was pretty nice, or at least okay, but the guy downstairs smoked pot all.the.time and the guy upstairs liked playing music really loud. Especially when he got home at 2 am. And there was no lock on the back door, which the landlord said was totally legit and it would in fact be illegal to put a lock on the back door because of “fire code” (it did not make any more sense when he said it.) So it was sort of a mess, and Shamrock was traveling a lot and also staying at my place, and then the landlord offered to let him out of his lease early (I guess because he was “difficult” but really…no lock on the back door?!?).
Now we had some decisions to make. We’d been together almost a year at that point. He’d be moving 6 weeks after our one year anniversary. And although we hadn’t really discussed it, we were moving towards marriage. Was it so important to me to not move in together that he needed to sign a year lease?
I really didn’t want to let him move in. My friends backed me up. Don’t do it, they encouraged. But it seems so silly, I reasoned with myself. Practically speaking, did he need to have another place he could go to on weekends? Sometimes he travels a lot anyhow; he’d barely even live with me!
I went back and forth.
I could tell you my heart won out and my overwhelming romanticism got the best of me. Really though I couldn’t justify it. He was willing to do it, but he spent a total of 7 nights in that apartment he had for four months. Chicago rents aren’t cheap; I couldn’t stomach making him pay $20,000 (yes, really) so that I didn’t have to live with anyone til I got engaged.
And so I told him he could move in.
And then I told my friends, and my parents, and I was a little disappointed with myself. But everyone told me, “he could still propose before he moves in” which I knew but ignored. And of course, he did (although it was so last minute that it could just as easily have not happened). I have friends in a similar situation who moved in and then waited almost a year to get engaged–and I know how tough that waiting game can be.
I lived alone for almost ten years, so it’s been a pretty big adjustment to live with someone else. We put in a new kitchen floor and new counters and I wasn’t allowed to just choose whatever I want. Of course, on the flip side, I get to see Shamrock all the time (when he isn’t traveling that is) and he does some of the chores I hate (ugh, dishes). I guess I don’t have a big point here–moving in turned out to be the right choice for us even though I didn’t want to do it? But I wanted to share my own experience in case it helped someone else, I guess.
Did you live together before you got married? Engaged? It’s such a tough decision to make!
*We were together for over two years, he talked about marriage for over a year, he had a ring, his dad told him not to, he decided to move back home to his parents. Bullet dodged. The End! [Ok, and it was super traumatic and why I did not have any interest in talking about getting engaged with Shamrock since I was sure he wouldn’t mean it and also why the whole concept of deciding what to do freaked me out.]