The eight emotional stages of moving in with your girlfriend at uni

Wondering whether moving in is the crazed marathon of sex and junk food that it seems? It’s much more boring than that

It was around this time last year that my girlfriend and I made the huge decision that we would in fact be living together in the subsequent year. A chance meeting at a freshers week party had led us three months later to the paying of an extortionate deposit on a rather disgusting flat.

Now over six months in the matrimony of shared living, I feel comfortable in providing some insights into a life lived at uni with a significant other – and the emotional rollercoaster that you will both go on.

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t include nearly as many shag-fests or snuggly Netflix nights as you maybe hoped when you first moved in together.

Our flat’s guardian ogre

1. Money, money, money

Hunting for housing soon becomes a significantly pressing concern around January time for many. A well documented housing crisis in Edinburgh raises the fears of many a student who is forced to pay three times the worth of a flat with a toilet that has known the depressing embrace of thousands of arse cheeks. So, what better way to save yourself a few quid than by moving in with your SO? After all, you spend so much time in each others’ flats already that it would save you a fair chunk of time on top.

2. Making the decision

The build up to the decision is one that is highly wrought in the discussions of a future. Happiness at times can have a rather damaging expiry date. Of course, fears of a breakdown in the relationship are deliberated upon before being locked into a legally binding contract. So we came to the rather daunting realisation that we couldn’t simply break up like we could’ve had we not moved in together. Whilst the question has never really arose between either of us, it is comforting to know that in spite of anything I do, it would simply be too awkward for my girlfriend to bin me off. The feeling of toxicity in this idea that neither of us can simply leave is better left unsaid than acknowledged. It’s almost poetic in being both the trapper and the trapped.

3. Judgement from others

The fears of what would happen if you break up is echoed by parents who are then calmed by the fact that there is the failsafe of a separate room if the worst is to happen. Surely not the best, but a back-up all the same. Finally, middle-aged family friends lament at your lack of the “proper uni experience” in favour of a happily maintained relationship. But it must be noted that this lamentation seems mainly to allow the creepy old men I know to talk about how much sex they had at the same age.

4. Taking the plunge and moving in

The moving in/settling in period is probably the most testing period of your relationship. All the little things that you’ve managed to keep secret from the analyzing eyes of the person you love are out in the open. In effect, that idealised version of yourself that you have spent months trying to maintain is immediately shattered within days. A tragedy unfolds where the Greek god you once were falls into the shitting, burping mortality of being a common man. The same is true of the one you love. The perfumed Aphrodite that you met releases all pretense and becomes the sulphurous Medusa that has been lying beneath the surface. The first Dutch Oven is almost as important as the first “I love you.”

5. Self-reflection

It is during this time that you find out you are in fact a massive prick. The way you breathe, the loudness of your eating and the way you lie in bed become subtle reasons for hatred that you simply cannot understand. More confusing is the idea that jumping drunkenly into bed at 4:37 A.M is not welcomed by lovingly sober arms and instead a stern look and words thankfully left unsaid in the mornings. Learning to be self-aware becomes the most important trait gained through this experience. The uniquely male confidence in moral ambivalence is helpfully discouraged by the woman you have trusted to savage your worldly possessions.

Apparently this isn’t an acceptable state to leave the room in

6. Passive aggression

More material annoyances are picked up on casually and often. Discarded clothes, socks and mugs that once held tea a couple months ago are passive aggressively scrubbed. This soon becomes urgently screeched words that unfortunately can only remind you of being yelled at by your mum. This argument about cleanliness becomes somewhat Freudian at times, the girl you love resembling an annoyingly correct spectre of the mother she may become. It is best to bypass this disturbing vision and focus more on the woman she is.

7. Healthy debate

Yet despite all the discrepancies of a life shared together, it becomes remarkably rewarding once you emerge through the storm. Trips to Aldi and Lidl soon become majorly exciting parts of the week. Debates around where does the best sausages standing as an example you never thought would be included in the university experience (Most definitely Lidl btw). After these arguments/discussions you go about your day and maintain a respectable amount of separation from each other.

8. Calm at last

A hard day at work or an essay that just won’t begin to be written are both made much easier at having someone to playfully take the piss out of you for. The reality of living with your partner is simply a whole lot more boring than it would seem at first. The visions of a crazy sex-marathon every day and the fears that farting like a trumpeter will lead to a savage break-up are tossed aside. Instead, the reality resembles a much calmer sea than the maelstrom you expected.

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