Moving in together is a massive deal for any couple.
Some do it simply for love.
Some to save money.
Others because they can’t be arsed trekking across town for a booty call and, anyway, their boyfriend has a bigger telly.
Aside from the clear benefits – shared bills, daily snuggling, theoretically on-tap sex – living together always throws up a ton of surprises.
Metro.co.uk sat down with six people at various stages of cohabitation to get their take on living under one roof with their partner.
Who’s on the panel?
- Craig, 32
- Rob, 37
- Rick, 24
- Charlotte, 30
- Sarah, 29
- Tash, 27
Thanks for agreeing to chat with us. Let’s jump right in. What most surprised you when you first moved in together?
Rob: Probably cleanliness. Hygiene even. There’s this myth that men are lazy and sloppy and women are neat. That’s a lie.
Craig: This. Make-up scum all around the sink, those hair clip things everywhere, flannels with God-knows-what smeared on them. And hair….
Rick: The hair thing. When I first moved in with my girlfriend I thought she must be unwell or something. She was moulting like a cat. Still is. The shower is always clogged.
Sarah: I think to be fair everybody reckons they’re cleaner and tidier than they actually are.
Charlotte: I definitely change my bedding less when I’m in a couple than when I’m single. It’s like… I’ve pulled. What do you want?
Tash: For me, it’s towels. If you’re both using the same towel it gets skanky quicker. I smelled mine the other day and it was gross. I gagged.
So what about toilet habits more generally? Does sharing a toilet or bathroom cause friction with your s/o?
Sarah: The whole cliche about leaving the seat up isn’t an issue. At least not for me. Maybe my parents’ generation gave a stuff about that. I don’t, neither does any girl I know. Like, who cares?
Rick: I always put the seat down out of good manners, but yeah that is something I only really hear about from Mum, to be fair.
Craig: I’ve lived with my girlfriend for nearly three years and I’m still a bit self-conscious about stinking out the bathroom. I wait until after she’s asleep, or try to get it out of the way at work.
Charlotte: When I first lived with a boy we weed and everything in front of each other. I wouldn’t do that again, I don’t think. After we broke up we spoke about it and agreed it sort of harms the mystique a bit.
Tash: There’s nothing sexy about s***ting, is there?
Indeed. So, while we’re on the subject of sexy, what about sex? Does it decline when you move in?
Tash: Only after a couple of years, in my experience, and by that time it’s usually for all sorts of other unrelated reasons.
Craig: Having kids is the number one nail in the coffin for surprise sex.
Sarah: I think it becomes a big source of arguments, but if one of you doesn’t fancy it the other should just get over it. Whinging is a turnoff.
Charlotte: I was surprised by how little it declined. There’s way more opportunities to get on it, like first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s just me.
You mentioned arguments, Sarah. What’s the main thing the rest of you guys argue about, that you didn’t before?
Tash: Probably money. Sharing rent and bills and shopping, trying to make it fair. He wants to go out, I want to buy new shoes or whatever.
Rick: Money is definitely the main cause of hassle. Even when you’re arguing about dishes, or who forgot to change a lightbulb, or anything, money is usually at the root of it.
Craig: I don’t know. Making time for each other is the big one for us. I earn OK money but my job [musician/sound technician] means I’m out the house a lot at evenings and weekends. So even though I’m making money, it doesn’t solve anything.
Charlotte: I’d rather have somebody around, and both be a little bit poor.
Rob: My partner says the same, but even when we are together she’s on her phone all the time. Being together isn’t just ‘we’re physically in the room at the same time’. When I say this to her it doesn’t go down well.
Let’s finish on a positive. Were there any pleasant surprises when you first moved in?
Rick: Sounds really boring, but learning that we can compromise. Sharing tasks doesn’t mean 50/50, cooking on alternate days, or both taking the bins out. One of you will be better at getting up and making coffee, so you do that. The other will care more about hoovering. Division of labour is the toughest nut to crack.
Charlotte: I’m really picky about what music I like. So is my fiance, in a completely different way though. When we find a new album or song we both like it’s the best feeling. Just sharing and discovering stuff like that day-to-day, generally.
Rob: Not going out with my mates so much doesn’t bother me, surprisingly. I’ve even got into watching soaps, a bit.
Sarah: I always had trouble sleeping before I moved in with my bloke. Now I’m out like a light every night. It’s like magic.
Craig: I love how amazing girls look wearing my clothes. Especially anything sports-related, like a football shirt. I discovered a whole new fetish the first time we did a load of washing together.
Tash: We have perfectly matched favourite temperatures. Do you know how hard it is to find someone who totally agrees, all the time, where the thermostat should be? That’s the definition of a keeper, my friends.