Inviting Your Partner To Live With You: How soon is too soon?
By: Alissa Mangiacapre
It only took a huff and a puff before The Big Bad Wolf reduced the poor little piggy’s house to a pile of rubble.
Karen, a long time friend of mine, had often wondered how long it would take for her incompatible mate to do the same to her home. She eventually found out.
Karen’s ex-boyfriend, Danny, moved into her one bedroom apartment after only six months of dating.
She told me over dinner one night, that she was certain that they were in a “solid and loving relationship.”
Surely, they had built the kind of stable foundation needed to take the next step—marrying their socks together into the perfect disarray of a shared top drawer.
Two weeks after he moved in, she knew she had made a terrible mistake. She is an “early bird,” and he sleeps past noon.
She keeps a tidy home, while he tends to leave empty water bottles all over the house. The seemingly small things that he did to bother her never mattered before living together.
In the past, when they would engage in what she referred to as a “petty fight,” she would storm out, and retreat to her own home across town. But as roommates, suddenly he was everywhere.
We sat together on her stoop one night after their final fight. She had forced him to go sleep at his mother’s house.
“I just need space from all of this,” she said, pointing to the pile of cigarettes that Danny habitually flicked on the ground.
She had always avoided smokers. I was surprised when she started dating one, let alone moved in with one.
However, his smoking habit, and lack of ashtrays were the least of her concerns.
“He just irks me,” she joked.
I knew it was more than that. She complained about not being able to visit the ladies room without seeing his lanky body leaning against the door frame, toothbrush in mouth, towel slung over his arm, just waiting for her.
“The simple task of peeing is suffocating,” she explained.
Everything he did seemed to drive her insane. I asked her if she remembered the story of the “Three Little Pigs.”
“Um, yeah,” she laughed as she swept the cigarette butts into a tiny mound.
“The piggy with the brick house survived the Wolf’s attack, while the weaker structures that were built with straw or twigs, easily fell to the ground,” she replied.
It seems stability is key. Especially, when it comes to relationships. So, where did Karen and Danny go wrong?
In a recent study done for the peer-reviewed journal Demographic Research, Christine Schnor used data from the German Family Panel to gather information on thousands of men and women, regarding the connection between the amount of time they spent living separately, to the success of their relationship after cohabitation.
One might assume that couples that have been together for longer periods of time have stronger, and longer lasting relationships than couples that have only had a brief courtship. According to the study, that is a fair assumption.
If Karen had spent another few months dating Danny, she might have found out sooner that their relationship was not stable enough to withstand a sudden blow.
Moving in together is not what ruined the relationship between Karen and Danny, because the relationship was never strong enough to begin with.
Taking the time to get to know one another, learning about a person’s quirks, habits and even strong suits, only helps the relationship in the long run.
According to Schnor, “Those who take the time to gather information about a potential domestic partner should have much better prospects of union success than those who move in together fairly quickly.
Partners who discover that they are not well matched are less likely to form a household, and will presumably end the partnership.”
Categories: Sex and Relationships