Tuesday, October 9, 2007

That Other Big Question

This past weekend, Mr. Boyfriend officially asked me the Other Big Question—no, not that big question, but a step in that direction—“Will you move in with me?”

We’ve talked about it a little in the past. We’ve been together for just over three years now, and amazingly, things get better with each month. This is the most secure and deeply caring relationship I’ve ever been in. This is also the first relationship in years that my family hasn’t tried to stage an intervention because they hate the guy. Both my mother and my sister (the two most important votes to me) have approved him for the longterm with my mom saying verbatim, “He treats you like a princess”.

So, yay! There are a lot of details to get out of the way.

First, we need to figure out when we’re going to do this. I moved only five months ago to where I am now, and it was quite expensive. My rent is the highest it’s ever been, I paid a broker’s fee which I won’t recoup, there’s a possibility I won’t get my security deposit back (do not live in a private home where standard tenant laws don’t apply!), and I bought a lot of furniture jointly with my roommate (note: this is a very bad idea, even if you’re good friends!). I am starting to earmark any spare cash I have towards this potential move and Mr. Boyfriend is too—but he has things that need to get taken care of first. He just started a job with benefits after several years without insurance, so needs to take care of dentist and doctor visits, and he also needs a new computer. Once those things are taken care of, we can figure out when this might be possible, but it looks like I might be in my current place until close to my originally scheduled departure date of next summer.

Second, we’ll be finding a new place together rather than one of us moving in with the other. There are lots of reasons for this (including that, actually, neither of us even have the option to move in with the other because of our lease/roommate situations), and I’m glad because I think it’s better to start such a step in a neutral location. I just went through finding a new place with another person in March, and it was difficult. I think Mr. Boyfriend and I will not have as hard a time compromising our needs and wants, as we are not coming from such different perspectives as Roommate and I did. However, this makes the entire prospect more than doubly expensive than it would be otherwise, as we’ll have to put money down up front for security deposit and first months’ rent, potentially another broker’s fee, moving costs, and decorating/furnishing a new place.

Third, we’ll be having some frank discussions about money in the coming months. We’ve been very open with each other regarding our finances throughout our relationship—we know how much the other makes, saves, and has in debt (which for both of us is a big fat ZERO!). Our philosophies about money are somewhat similar—we’re both savers, though I’m stingier than he is, we don’t believe in taking on debt unless absolutely necessary (and neither of us have found anything necessary yet), we both save a portion of our income. We do have some differences, though, including the fact that as of a few weeks ago, he’s making nearly twice what I do. I keep a written budget, balance my checkbook daily, and track all my spending, he’s more of the “this is how much I have to spend for the next two weeks but I can spend it on whatever I want—food, clothes, guitars, cab rides, doesn’t matter”. I’m not entirely sure what his planning for retirement consists of, though I know he has a few accounts left over from previous jobs. We have a great foundation--he trusts my judgment and asks my advice on many financial matters, and supports my decisions as well—but we need to ask some more questions and make sure this isn’t something we’ll be fighting about.

We’ll have to decide how to split rent and bills considering the difference in our income. We’ll have to decide whether to combine any of our money or act like roommates and pay our share of the bills separately online. We’ll have to decide whether to sign the living-in-sin equivalent of a pre-nup. We’ll have to decide who buys what for the apartment, and who gets to keep it if things don’t work out. I’m going to have to convince him to get a cat eventually (this is incredibly important to me), and might have to agree to take on all the expenses myself.

Of course, moving in together will focus on more than financial issues, like who has to take out the garbage and who will turn out whose socks before doing laundry, but I think our relationship is pretty settled in those areas just based on who we are (he already takes my trash out, and he doesn’t live with me yet!). It’s going to be an exciting, bumpy couple of months, I think, and I can’t wait!

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