The Living-Together Transition

Q: My girlfriend and I are moving in together next month after dating for one year. It's the first time for both of us. Our relationship has been great so far: we have fun together, keep the lines of communication open and still get hot for one another. Still, living together is a big step. Any advice on navigating this new level to our relationship? --John, 29

Dr. Susan: Living together is a big step indeed. It's a lot like marriage but without the commitment and the vow to work things through no matter what. You've dated for a year. When you've lived together for a year, that will be two years of being together. That's just about when the shininess of many relationships seems to wear off (if not sooner). I'd suggest talking with your girlfriend about expectations, yours and hers. She may see this step as getting closer to marrying and having kids. When might you see that happening for you, if you've even thought about it? Also, talk about the realities of being roommates. Is one of you messy and one neat? How do you plan to manage expenses? My advice is to continue to be honest with each other, no matter how things pan out.

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