15 Things You Learn When You Move In With Your Girlfriend

There comes a point in every relationship when it makes sense for you to think about cohabitation. If you’re like most gaydies, within a few months of hooking up with a cutie, your toothbrush and spare underwear has slowly migrated to their apartment, and after all the nights of splitting Thai food and swearing their mattress is so much comfier than yours, you might as well throw in the towel and buy the (dog) farm. Moving in with your girlfriend, either to hers or yours or a whole new place you pick out together, can be simultaneously magical and terrifying. You’re about to figure out a lot of things about yourself and about her and about this crazy thing you are doing together. Here are a few things you’ll recognize if you have also joined the U-Haul Club.

1. One of you is inevitably the person running around the house turning off lights and heat. This person tolerates the same environment as a polar bear with sensitive skin. The other one wants to live in a Finnish sauna with enough lighting to perform pore surgery.

But actually...

2. Chores are about roles, not about the actual chore’s pressing need to be done. One of you is the dish washer and the other is the dish dryer and putter-awayer. One of you is the bearer of the vacuum and one of you will clean toilets because the other person makes a gagging noise. These roles are similar to the feudal caste system, unbreakable even in dire emergency. If there are dirty dishes but the dish washer is not home, the dish dryer will stare at the pile of dirty dishes and then serve their food on a frisbee or paper towel.

3. One person’s tastes in decor will slowly start to dominate the other’s. The former bachelor pad with its gig posters and dumpster furniture will start looking like a pastel-themed Pinterest board. The self-identified House of Femme will be invaded by leather accents and dirty work boots. If you moved into the house together, someone’s style will inevitably rise to the top as victor, and before you know it, there is a definitive theme in all the new furniture. Hope you like polka dots and nautical paraphernalia.

"Oh, um....sweetie, it's really...it looks so...nice."

“Oh, um…. sweetie, it’s really… it looks so… nice?”

4. If you don’t make a conscious decision to rotate who chooses the Netflix movie, plague and pestilence will befall your house. Woe to the partner who thinks they can get away with watching Rocky III for the ninth night in a row.

Can you spot the lie? You cannot, because there is no lie in this image.

Can you spot the lie? You cannot, because there is no lie in this image.

5. On that note, you have to make time so you can each watch the entertainment too decisive for you to both enjoy simultaneously. The one who likes Downton Abbey gets her private hour to watch Downton Abbey, and the one who thinks British class dramas have all the appeal of foot fungus can watch her teen soap operas on her own time.

6. When you’re first dating someone, it’s likely that you are seeing them at their manufactured best. You’re seeing the product of hours of painstaking personal grooming, which could include intensive hair removal procedures, the use of an actual iron, and vigorous washing of certain body parts that rarely see the light of day. When you’re living with someone, you are going to see that person leaving the bathroom in a dirty pair of sweatpants with last week’s chicken tikka masala stuck to their tank top. Sometimes you have to remind that person to shower. Sometimes that person will point out that you have gum disease. In spite of all this, you will somehow still want to have sex with each other.

meryl streep is all of us

7. One of you may be revealed as a blanket stealer. The other person might think that blanket stealing is a crime punishable on the same scale as manslaughter and corporate espionage, but a decent round of cuddling usually cures this orneriness.On that note, you will definitely find out who is the space heater and who is the living icicle. It probably is in direct correlation to the stealing of blankets.

8. How is it possible that one person can leave so many half-empty glasses of water around the house in a matter of hours? How is this a thing?!

9. It turns out that there is a limit to how many U-Haul jokes your friends can make, and the limit is one. Unless you two are making them about yourselves, then U-Haul jokes are hilarious and will be trotted out when your periods align, or when you’re making joint purchases of kitchen appliances, or when you accidentally use the other person’s toothbrush.

The creator of this ecard is a hilarious cutting-edge humorist!

The creator of this ecard is a hilarious cutting-edge humorist!

10. Learning how to share a bathroom is a lot like learning to drive: could be seamless, could be disastrous. Some of us will concoct labyrinthine plots to get the bathroom to ourselves. Giving your girlfriend a long list of pointless errands is a good tactic. You will learn who is the morning shower taker and who religiously showers at night. Even if you have to dance complicated dances around each other in order to coexist in the tiniest bathroom on earth, there’s something a little bit sweet about meeting each other’s eye in the mirror and laughing about how you both look like toothpaste monsters.

11. IKEA: High Temple of Moving In With Your Girlfriend.

When I'm done building this Flugelstrop, I'm gonna eat lingonberry jam and make out with girls!

12. Hopefully you both know how to cook. If all you’re bringing to the table is ramen and microwavable dinners, prepare for a shock to the system. Grocery store trips can become beautiful adventures full of bargain-hunting and pretending that this hunk of expensive cheese is an essential item. It’s also important to have someone who can keep you from eating an entire bag of Doritos for dinner.

13. Someone inevitably becomes the house DJ, usually the person with a paid Spotify subscription. Either you both were lucky enough to be born with an appreciation for Björk, or someone is going to have to suck it up and deal with it.

14. Money, money, money. Or, more accurately, bills, bills, bills. Having to be up front and honest about spending and sharing expenses can be absolutely terrifying, even for a generation of individuals who are so used to exorbitant student loans that debt is as much a fact of life as peanuts or death. Money isn’t always a fun topic, but learning how to talk about it with your partner makes you feel that much less like a stack of babies wearing an adult costume. At the same time, money seems to go away a lot faster when you’re living with someone. Whereas the single life may include choosing not to buy Kleenex because the napkins are free at McDonalds, sharing a house with your girlfriend means that your girlfriend may want to use real tissues. Being on your own means that when you make your own budget, you can choose to only eat cheese sticks for a week so that you can save enough money for a holographic backpack. Your girlfriend probably will not share this budgeting technique, and now you have to buy toilet paper and stop replacing meals with gummy snacks.

15. Agreeing to live with someone you’re in a relationship with is a huge big crazy thing. There are going to be really good times, and there are going to be times when you want to tear your hair out and cry in the corner for a few days. Learning how to deal with each other’s quirks and habits and broccoli farts is a journey, but it’s a journey that can turn out amazing in the end. Enjoy the journey, y’all.

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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. Great list, best two at the end.

    I guess after three years of being together, one of us living on their own and the other constantly visiting, then backpacking together, room-mating with my best friend, and now living at my mom’s DOES make moving in together an easier task. So the last two items on the list are the biggest things to deal with when moving in or living with someone, no matter how much times goes by.

    But I think eventually we can all learn to compliment eachother enought so that things like the chore system can be applied to everything else. Maybe I’m just hopeful, but it’s worked out for me so far. Patience and remembering why you love this person :)

  2. I just sent this to my girlfriend and said, “HOW DO THEY KNOW OUR LIFE?!?”

    Thai food and my mattress being better; SPOT ON.

  3. “If there are dirty dishes but the dish washer is not home, the dish dryer will stare at the pile of dirty dishes and then serve their food on a frisbee or paper towel.”

    So much nodding in agreement happening here.

    • Optional rule for differing work schedules: Your Girlfriend is gonna think it’s pretty cute when you fall asleep at 9 like a kid trying to stay up for new years. But waaaaay less cute the first time you both have the day off and you’re still up before 5.

      • This is the worst. The gf has an adult person schedule while I’m still on post-grad time, and sleep a lot less in general. So she always passes out early but then I wake her up on the weekends around 8am and I am 100% certain her first waking thought is “I will murder you” because she snarled it once and then tried to bury me in the blankets. I just want to be the cute sleepy one for once!

    • Sometimes I pretend that the fact that she leaves half-empty cups of water everywhere (and I always pick them up) makes up for the fact that I never ever ever do dishes, but in my heart I know it’s a lie.

      • At my house, they’re half-finished cups of tea. Which annoys my frugal side, because TEA BAGS COST MONEY WHAT A WASTE

      • I’m now incorporating this into my mental assurances that I’m not a total monster for hating to do the dishes.

  4. i am the space heater and the blanket stealer
    “a stack of babies wearing an adult costume” is a really accurate description of how i feel 95% of the time, spot on

    • And I am the icicle and not the blanket stealer. Stealing blankets, and general excessive movement while sleeping, is a serious pet peeve of mine. Luckily you don’t need to move in to discover that about someone.

      • (Though currently living alone. Note to future girlfriend – must be able to tolerate Finnish saunas.)

    • As a fellow space heater/blanket stealer, I personally think this is the best position to have, as the icicle/blanketless individual always stops whining once they find heat.

  5. This is all so very accurate, especially the latter half of the money paragraph. My money-saving strategies usually involve me eating less (which is easy for me bc I rarely experience hunger), but m’lady eats more fresh produce ($$) than any other human being I’ve ever met. She keeps me healthy though, I guess.

  6. Some of these things you have to relearn when after living with your girlfriend for a few years, you decide to move to a different country together and have no place to live but at your girlfriend’s parent’s house until one of you gets a job and the other gets a green card / work permit and leaving a ton of half empty water cups around is no longer even an option.

    Suddenly that coexist bumper sticker becomes relevant!

  7. Some of these things are things I wouldn’t move in with someone if we seriously disagreed about. Chores are a big deal for me. I am not on the level of can’t leave a cup on the table, but I’m on the cleaner side of clean and anyone who could fall asleep with a sink full of dishes on a regular basis isn’t compatible. It’s a set up for disaster.

    Same goes for hygiene and money management.

      • I take compatibility very seriously. I don’t get overly caught up in emotion. It’s probably why I’ve never U-hauled. Maybe my 30s will bring a sudden personality change, but I doubt it.

  8. Another lesson related to moving in together: If you can survive the horror that is packing boxes and moving to a 2nd place together…you can survive anything.

  9. 16. Your apartment will be covered in hair. Always. You shed like a Pomeranian going through a growth spurt, and she leaves a coating of long, shiny strands all over the bathroom every time she straightens her hair. Each corner in the apartment will be home to its own magnificent dust bunny, and you will get a lint roller specifically for your black couch. (You picked black because you reasoned, ingeniously, that it would be “less likely to show stains”) When you buy a vacuum, you will avoid cleaning out the filter for as long as possible because you’re afraid of the furry creature you’ll find inside.

    • This! All of this! And let’s not talk about the drain clogging or that weird draft excluder of human and canine hair that formed by itself under the kitchen door when no one was looking.

    • 16.1 Courtesy of said hair, one of you will resign yourself to repeatedly unclogging the shower while the other declares it broken and/or showers with increasing depth of water around their feet.

  10. 16. Play-fighting and real fighting are not mutually exclusive categories, but instead cover a spectrum, and you will not always be certain exactly where the current episode lies on that spectrum.

    • I just re-read that and realized I should clarify that by “real fighting” I don’t mean causing actual bodily harm. I’m talking about the spectrum between “Let’s have a tickle fight and then cuddle!” and “Even though we’re both laughing while I bop you repeatedly with this pillow, we both know I’m partly acting out my frustration about the dishes not getting done for the third day in a row.”

  11. Note to my hypothetical future girlfriend re: the thermostat: I absolutely cannot sleep if it is warmer than 68°F/20°C in the room. And considering that I have a history of severe insomnia I will always win that battle.

  12. My bf and I are both the blanket-stealer, a problem we have solved with careful sandwiching of 2 or more blankets, such that when I turn left and he turns right, we both end up with our respective favourite quilts. And then another one at the feet because we’re both tall and I hate having cold feet.

    • YES. Separate blankets that have their little overhang in the middle so you can still hold hands! This is one of the most important parts of my life.

  13. Cannot adequately express using acronyms the amount of laughs which I made out loud during the reading if this article. So accurate to my life. All of it.

    • 8 here :) and yes! 100% although we have fathomed the bathroom mysteries and the TV programme sitch. I watch procedural crime at 7.a.m. When she is on her way to work.

  14. I seem to have struck gold by finding a wonderful creature who shares the same level of cleanliness with me, same thermal environment preferences, loves the same music and TV shows and movies as I do, and is willing to do the dishes for me when I’d rather set the kitchen on fire than lift the scrubbing pad. In return, I just have to sigh and memorize the last location of any item she could ever possibly need (because she won’t remember), and accept that those stains on her clothes are just extra colours on the fabric.

    Considering we UHauled within a few weeks, I can’t imagine a relationship with her when she’s not stealing my pillow the moment I get out of bed.

    • Hooray someone else whose job it is to locate all belongings! I am not alone. 2 weeks ago my gf cancelled her phone because she put it down when I wasn’t in the room and we couldn’t find it after 2 hours of looking. She became convinced she had lost it on the way to the shop. Seconds after she cancelled it I picked up the wii u remote and found it. I thought she’d looked there. Fail.

  15. Dear future girlfriend,

    I’m sorry in advance, but Mean Girls is going to be a weekly thing. I also hope you like holiday movies.

    Sincerely, with love,


  16. My fiancée class me the space heater all the time! I’m definitely the house DJ! Great article was nodding along the whole time!

  17. Where do all of the glasses of water come from? Honestly. Honestly.

    For people with the blanket issue, try buying king-sized or king-plus-sized covers. It’s a life-changer. We used to have a double/queen bed but with king-sized covers, and it made all the difference. We’ve even shared a single bed using bigger covers and it was terrible, but way less terrible than trying to fit two people under single covers. Everything is better when you have massive expanses of quilts.

  18. Ooo, I got one: differences in class and economic status growing up will become apparent, possibly regardless of current income levels. Each partner’s ideas of reasonable prices and necessary items will differ. Hopefully over time, the partner who grew up with more will learn to tone it down and live within their means, and the partner who grew up with less will learn that sometimes the cheapest thing doesn’t do a good job, and it’s worth it to get the second cheapest thing.

    • And each partner will be stunned, confused, and likely passive aggressively angry about the other partner’s ingrained socioeconomic habits. This will lead to silence, exclamations of “bwha? I don’t even… How is that rational?” and quietly just buying what you’ve always bought when you are shopping alone.

  19. Oh I have one.
    A longer haired partner and their hair getting everywhere.
    In your food, in your clothes, in between your sweet cheeks, under and a part of everything that comes in contact with the floor. Someday even murdering the vacuum.

    If I’m just an over-nighter or LDR it’s a bittersweet reminder in your bed of how close I was to you. Longer than 24 hours its like tribbles.

  20. Bathroom habits can be discovered well before the u-hauling, which is how I discovered my gf is a toothpaste terrorist. I mean, who the hell squeezes from the middle of the tube AND leaves the cap off?!?! Needless to say, she’s not allowed to use mine anymore.

  21. I showed up at her work today with a bag of stuff from Bed, Bath, & Beyond (BECAUSE HER WORK IS RIGHT NEXT TO BBB) and she was all, “Why haven’t we gone there together?” But I think at the end of a BBB visit, they give you a lease, so maybe not.

  22. gf is the primary offender of leaving water/coffee/wine glasses around, which is doesn’t bother me except when she leaves her coffee cups in the bathroom. For some reason, this makes me so aggravated. that being said, I am often thirsty and lazy and late at night when couch gravity is powerful, and I lean over and find a glass that is half-full of water and enables me to stay the fuck on the couch, I have very quietly been like “I love you so much” to my girlfriend. But I don’t tell her, because then she will forever leave her shit everywhere.

    Also, I am the netflix dj, because I have a film degree, and she only watches depressing shit, so I strike the middle ground and find us cool documentaries to watch and don’t make her watch Richard Linklater films with me. Word to the wise: you think Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are sexy, brainy films? They are. Before Midnight, however, is a movie about two married people bitching at each other. Don’t go see it after you’ve been fighting, imagining that the cerebral sexy chemistry happening onscreen will dissipate your frustrations with each other and you will leave the theater holding hands, because hey, romance, right? No. This will not happen. You will sink lower and lower in your seats pondering the horror that is several more years arguing about petty bullshit and whether your insecurities are insurmountable geographical terrain that will never be scaled and mastered, not you, silly mortal, if Julie Delpy cannot tame her anxiety and need to say everything that comes into her head, then neither can you.

    So, don’t do that. Stay home and watch Maidentrip instead on Netflix and spoon your girlfriend but only start making out after the movie ends because it’s interesting, and also you both feel weird making out while there’s a movie on that’s about a 16 y/o sailing around the world, because hello, underage.

    And the next morning she will make you waffles. You two will be fine. Aren’t you glad you didn’t see Before Midnight.

      • hurray! these are both things we have done on separate occasions. also, you like pan’s labyrinth- I like that movie so much but ohgod, it’s so scary!

  23. And yet it’s amazing how every single one of these becomes a non-issue or sorts itself out when you’re so incredibly, amazingly, over the moon CRAZY in love with each other! Not that they disappear, but suddenly they become so… inconsequential when compared to the mere, overwhelming wonder of actually having her THERE. Every single day.

  24. me to girlfriend: hey did you see that autostraddle article? at least we don’t do the half-empty glasses of water thing! L.O.L.!
    girlfriend: UGH YES YOU DO

  25. Oh my goodness. It’s not often I come across an article where every single item is true!

    It has, however, reminded me that my wife still hasn’t got a new toothbrush head out of the pack (after she lost hers) and has been using mine for 1+ month. Ew.

    We’re now nearing a year and a half post-u-hauling and mostly we’ve adapted to each others quirks but every so often our work-rest balance changes (she was a permanent teacher, then supply, then permanent again and I’m a student) and suddenly it becomes a battle of the chores again, lol.

  26. Speaking as a bisexual-identified person, I don’t think U-hauling applies only to girls. I U-Hauled with my boyfriend in college for 6 years. We were poster cases for U-Haulers. Therefore, I don’t think the concept is exclusive.

  27. Perhaps my only knowledge of the term stems from The L Word or friends of mine who made fun of me for “U-Hauling” with a guy. So in other words I merely feel confused about the “moving-in-together-too-soon-and-basically-becoming-twins” concept, since it occurred with him and also a girl. I guess we all just really like combat boots and american apparel shirts.

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