Everyone knows that two people deciding to move in together is a huge next step that either solidifies the relationship or points to an eventual marriage.
But sometimes the process of moving in together is hard, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor angeleyes05 thought she had it all figured out, so that moving in with her boyfriend would be as seamless as possible.
But after seeing his reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she had the wrong idea.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for saying my boyfriend should live alone for a while before moving in with me?”
The OP and her boyfriend had different living arrangements.
“My (20 [Female]) boyfriend (24 [Male]) has lived with his parents all his life.”
“He does pay rent but his mum still does everything for him – cooking, cleaning, waking him up for work, the lot.”
“I still live with my parents half the time, but also live by myself when I go to university.”
“While I know this is different from living alone full time, I still know how to do things for myself and I tend to live pretty independently when I’m at home.”
The OP had a suggestion for her boyfriend when they thought of taking the next step.
“The topic of moving in together has been coming up more often recently because we do love each other and are both getting to the point where we will be financially stable enough to get our own place in about a year’s time.”
“I mentioned that he should probably get his own place or move in with a mate first, so he sees what it’s like living alone before we take the plunge together.”
“He pushed for an explanation as to why, so I ended up gently telling him that I want him to learn to do things for himself because I didn’t want to end up stuck with doing everything around the house when we live together.”
“He went really quiet and got upset, eventually saying it was cruel of me to suggest he wasn’t adult enough to fend for himself.”
Not everyone agreed with the OP.
“When I spoke to my parents to ask them if they thought the same, my dad said I was too controlling and I should be patient with him and teach him how to do all of these things.”
“So AITA for wanting him to live by himself for a period of time before moving in together?”
The OP also added more information to the post.
“I just wanted to clarify a couple of things. He does know how to do basic things, like cooking simple meals for himself, but his mum is such a kindhearted person who loves taking care of all her kids (even 30yo who still lives at home) so he never does anything for himself.”
“I’m more concerned that he won’t be proactive in caring for himself and the house, and more ‘complicated’ things (like which products to use for cleaning, what can/can’t be machine dried).”
“He’s the sweetest man I know and I don’t doubt he’d try, but I’d much prefer that he has experience of actually doing things before moving in, so as to avoid additional stress in what would already be a stressful time adjusting to this new phase in our relationship.”
“I’m going to suggest to him that when he’s visiting me on weekends at university that he can take on a portion of daily chores, so I can see for myself he can and will do these things, without him having to spend a load of money on his own place just to learn.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some reassured the OP of her idea of living alone first.
“It’s a very important life stage that it sounds like he should not skip. You’ve picked up on something very important and I commend you for recognizing it and acting on it. It will be hard to stick your guns on this but I think you need to, for the sake of your future self.”
“He truly is unaware of what it’s like to live without family and live with a roommate who isn’t family. He may think he gets it but I promise you both he doesn’t. Do not subject yourself to his ‘figuring it out’ period.”
“In fact, because you’re his girlfriend I’m going to take the leap and guess he’ll start filling in the now-missing mother role with you.”
“‘Leaving food out on the counter? I never think to put away because Mommy does it, and now OP will have to do it because I just don’t put things away and I’ve never learned I have to.’ ‘But I never cleaned the toilet in my last 24 years. Can’t you do it?’ ‘No, I don’t know how or want to do that. You’re better at it.'”
“And not just chores and responsibilities – the communication being a roommate requires as well.” – basilobs
“It’s important to tell your BF, and parents for that matter, that you don’t want to carry the mental load for the whole relationship. You want an equal partner. It’s not your responsibility to organize things, remind him to do this, or to teach him to do things.”
“Honestly, I’d stick with he has to move out on his own for at least a year, before you consider living with him. Monitoring him for a day or two here and there isn’t enough; that won’t show if he has motivation to live that way and not have to be nagged into it.” – Permit-Extreme-117
“You’re absolutely right for wanting him to live by himself for a year. He desperately needs that time to develop some life skills.” – pepcorn
Others agreed and said the boyfriend shouldn’t depend on the OP.
“Also keep in mind the things that seem small but really build up over time.”
“Does he remember what day the rubbish goes out and does he put the bins out without prompting? Is he capable of making a grocery shopping list for the house? Does he know how to use a washing machine/dishwasher?”
“How often would he wash his sheets without someone nagging him? Does he book his own doctor’s appointments even?”
“Just having to -ask- someone to put the bins out, do their dishes, change their sheets, etc. is a mental chore that you shouldn’t need to do. I’ve been there and I hated it. NTA. Make sure he learns to be an adult so you don’t have to play as his mother.” – Piebandit
“‘My dad said I was too controlling and I should be patient with him and teach him how to do all of these things.’ I’m still stuck on that.”
“You are not the ‘man fixing service.’ Too often, women are expected to teach, coach, cajole, and support men who are absolutely helpless because ‘it’s your job to take care of him.’ Bulls**t.”
“If a partner can’t bring his whole, grown-a**, responsible self to a relationship and shared living situation, then he’s not worth moving in with.”
“Girl, you have a wise head on your shoulders for only being 20. Don’t back down. You are doing the right thing. NTA all the way.” – chickenfightyourmom
“A lot of it is also just getting used to troubleshooting your own problems. It truly baffles me how many adults run into a problem and like give up right away, or look to the closest other person to fix it.”
“We have this thing called the internet now. Google ‘why is my garbage disposal not working?’ or ‘how to clean a bathtub.'”
“When I bought my home, due to extensive cheapness mostly, I learned to fix a lot of things on my own (fixed a clogged sink by taking it apart, a broken disposal, and even one time my dishwasher which included special ordering a mechanical part and installing it), and people ask how I was able to do it all. I just say Google.”
“It’s all Google and YouTube, and sometimes walking down to the hardware store and talking to someone there. I patched over holes, painted walls, cleaned off the mold. But if you were never in a situation where you had a problem and it just needed to be fixed NOW, you’ll never learn the resilience of figuring s**t out yourself.” – IstoriaD
“NTA. His mother still wakes his 24-year-old a** up for work in the morning. It’s fantastic you don’t want those responsibilities and you aren’t being controlling or cruel.”
‘It’s not your job to teach him any of those skills, it’s his responsibility to learn those skills, same as it’s your responsibility to have learned them for yourself, before moving out.
“Maybe he can talk to his mother about learning those skills from her so that he can live at home but be more independent.” – PJ_fan
Though the OP was questioning herself after her conversation with her family, the subReddit warned her against it, claiming that both members of the couple needed to be able to contribute.