DEAR HARRIETTE: My partner and I have decided to move in together. We have been dating for five years and think it is time we share an apartment. Last week, we started looking online at apartments in Philadelphia. As we were putting in the criteria -- such as location, number of bedrooms, etc. -- I was totally blindsided when my partner wanted to find a two-bedroom place.
I assumed that because we were moving in together, there would be no need to pay for an extra bedroom. My partner's response was that the extra bedroom would be for her. Basically, she wants to move in together, but have separate bedrooms. I was completely shocked at this, and it made me realize that she and I are on different pages when it comes to moving in together. Do you think it’s abnormal for a couple to move in together, yet have their own bedrooms? -- Should We Live Together?, Philadelphia
DEAR SHOULD WE LIVE TOGETHER?: There is no blueprint for how couples should live together. What is important is for the two of you to understand your desires and needs and to agree on the plan. Find out why your partner wants to have her own room. Does she want it as an office, a place to chill or specifically as her bedroom? Talk about what “living together” means to you, and ask her to explain to you what it means to her. Essentially, the two of you need to be clear about what this step means for your relationship.
One of the challenges that couples face when they decide to move in together comes when they aren’t clear about what this step says about their bond. Get clear before you sign that lease.