Moving in together

by singlemomseeking on September 29, 2009

Quite a few single mom bloggers have fallen in love lately — and more than a few are now living with their new partners. (Congrats!)

Martini Mom is the most recent. She writes in her latest post, “Excuses,” about what she has been dealing with since “The Man” moved in:

“invading ants, an overstuffed washing machine vomiting water all over the floor, the start of the school year and soccer season for The Kid, the continuation of The Dog’s issues, an overflowing toilet, one solid week of going to bed angry every night, the overflowing toilet turning into a much larger plumbing issue, and – the latest – his oldest daughter contracting swine flu.”

Oh, and she adds: “That’s on top of the expected trauma of learning to live together without getting in each other’s way.”

What I love about Martini Mom is that after giving us the above rant, she ends by say that the transition is going “smoothly…Things are good. Busy and unfamiliar and involving a lot of peeing in the backyard, but good.”

I get it. (Well, maybe not the peeing in the backyard!)

Every now and then, I do fantasize about what it would mean to share a home with a real, genuine, loving partner for the long haul. (Do you ever think about that, too?) We’d cook together every week: he loves my salads, I love his grilled fish. He’d scrub the dishes — my least favorite chore — and I’d wash the dirty clothes. We’d share one big bed (he’s still working on my bed!) every night, and we’d talk late into the night.

Call me an idealist or a romantic, I can take it. But here’s where I pause: when I read Martini Mom’s post, it makes me remember how hard it can be to share your everything (with someone who’s not your kid) — and that’s when the fear kicks in. What would it really be like to share my space, my time, my motherhood….. all of it?

moving in

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Edgar October 2, 2009 at 4:40 pm

I’ve been living with my significant other and her 17 year-old son for a year now, after two years of commuting back and forth across the Bay to see each other, and it’s a continuing parade of negotiations, adjustments, collaborations and lots of fun and joy. We don’t have to make special arrangements now to just have a glass of wine together on the deck or to put on some Zydeco and dance in the living room. We do have to continue to discuss exactly which color we want to paint the kitchen and how often we need to dust and vacuum (I tend to do them more often).

We’re both in our early 50’s, and have seen marriages and relationships that didn’t work, so marriage before cohabitation was not necessary (although we have been discussing the M word recently). But the fears that many of your readers express – feeling impinged upon, not having time or space, etc. – all seem to be merely matters for discussion and accommodation. If she wants to go out with her son or stay up late, it’s fine with me. Conversely, she doesn’t begrudge me the opportunity to bike some trails with my buddies or see a movie she’s not interested in – as long as she has advance notice. Maybe the fact that I take care of the important things to her (making her tea in the morning, fixing the plumbing, lots of back massages and good sex, etc.) make all the other differences in our approaches seem insignificant.


singlemomseeking October 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

@Edgar: Thank you for the honest, open comment — you have one lucky girlfriend!


from the desk of October 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm

i enjoyed reading this post and feel blessed that the “transition” is going rather smoothly. manfriend and i have been living together at my house with my 2 year old son for about 2 months. while he hasn’t officially moved all his stuff in, he’s here every night and contributing financially (wow, extra money, i love it.) so far, so good…keep being a hopeless romantic…i am too!!!!
.-= from the desk of …me´s last blog ..All About Me =-.


Amber October 1, 2009 at 11:23 am

That’s a big step because living with anyone can be tough and you don’t want to ruin a good thing sometimes but eventually you need to take that step if you want to be in a committed relationship.
.-= Amber´s last blog ..Jacksonville Fl Personals =-.


Michele October 1, 2009 at 10:32 am

I’ve been a single mom for nearly nine years and I can’t imagine having my boyfriend (of six years) moving in. Maybe after the kids leave … but not now. We have our routine and a way of doing things and (I hate to say this) but his presence would seem … intrusive. Is that terrible?

It’s hard. I work during the day all week. He generally works in the evenings and every weekend. I don’t know how he would handle all of us up and moving by 6:00 a.m. or how I’d handle him getting home at 2:00 a.m. It’s just not a good fit right now. And believe me, that is okay with me.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..Azar’s =-.


lovebabz October 1, 2009 at 7:34 am

Mr. Love was half-way moved in. Then we fell out over a misunderstanding. I asked him to leave me alone…so he packed his things and left. We are making a way back to each other , but from a place of friendship with no pressure to join lives at the moment. ALL I KNOW is that there is only love or fear. As long as you are afraid the love you want will always be at arms length. We spend so much time worrying about failing at love that we forget to notice how successful we are at love.
.-= lovebabz´s last blog ..GOODBYE BLOGGING…FOR AWHILE…A GOOD LONG WHILE =-.


QTMama October 1, 2009 at 7:34 am

I think, for me, that I wouldn’t feel comfortable living with a man and not being married. And the odd thing is, I’d ONLY feel uncomfortable with it for one reason – my daughter. I don’t feel like it’s sending the right message to her. I want her to grow up knowing that I can give us a good life on my own; that any woman can. I want her to know that if I decide to share OUR lives with someone, it’s going to be done in what I feel, is the right way. Through marriage.

Now on the other hand, I have never seen a problem with any two people living together. *Laugh* I need to make up my mind!
.-= QTMama´s last blog ..It’s Date Night! And My Wingman is Comin’ To Town =-.


MommaSunshine October 1, 2009 at 2:09 am

It’s funny, but my situation with CBG being what it is, I currently have “moving in together” fantasies. I have a feeling, though, that it’s just about wanting what you can’t have…. 😉
.-= MommaSunshine´s last blog ..Dear Lenny =-.


kriz bell September 30, 2009 at 12:31 pm

it was the believing in love again that got me. I’m just not there. so far from it – and i recently moved in and have made a ‘commitment’- to a best friend and single mom with a daughter 9 months older than mine. our girls live together and go to school together. we both have long distance arrangements (right now calling him my boyfriend ‘again’ would be like touching a match i just blew out) we talk on the phone a lot with our friendly boys and have conjugal visits when one or the other of us visits town. part of me desperately wants to raise my daughter in a home where she learns the lessons of how to make a relationship work first hand- i just can seem to find that relationship- so here i am conjuring up what i need (and then some- this isn’t really settling, is it?) until somehow i can have what i want. this way my daughter and my creative / career life is the priority without forsaking intimate time with my best friend with benefits.
.-= kriz bell´s last blog ..$2 or two dollars! =-.


MC September 30, 2009 at 11:45 am

Oh! Possibly living with a man again/remarriage–these are exactly the huge HUGE issues that go around and around in my own brain!

Some things I’ve decided pretty clearly for myself, though. Marriage? I’ve been married twice before and I’m never going to do that again. Because being married has unfortunately nothing at all to do with how committed a man is to your relationship and/or your family. According to “the advertising” it’s supposed to, but in actual fact (my experience, anyway), it doesn’t. And I personally never again want to experience the pain of being in a relationship where I know he’s only with me right now because of a little piece of paper he signed years ago. If I was planning on having more kids I might feel differently, but I’m 48 so that’s not an issue.

Regarding being “an example” to my 10 year old twins–I actually think it’s doing them a favor to teach them that marriage isn’t a rose-colored Disney princess fantasy. I *want* my kids to move in with their boy/girlfriends after college or whatever –I would hate it if they got married young just because they felt that was the thing to do or they had no other options. I want them to consider carefully before they take the step and risk so much. I don’t want them to consider marriage as either the default in life or the perfect ending like in a movie.

Moving in together? I think I might only do it with a man who was extremely committed to our relationship (& also to my family–not always the same thing) and after we’d been dating for a really long time, like 5 yrs. Not because it would set a bad example for my kids (see above). Actually, I can’t figure out why living with a man for the rest of my life without being married to him would be a bad example for my kids. Obviously, living with a guy for only a few years would be bad, but that also describes many marriages that last only a few years. I expect having the piece of paper doesn’t neutralize the negative effects on your kids.

No, I’d hesitate to live with a man because frankly I like living by myself, and I enjoy being alone a lot with my kids. I like my space, I like things clean and free of clutter. I like hanging out with my kids, all the stupid and sweet little things we like to do together, and I like devoting a significant portion of my free time exclusively to them. When we’ve done things with various BFs it’s also been good, but it’s definitely a different kind of interaction. I’m not sure I’m willing to risk all those things by moving in with a man, even someone I loved and felt was committed. Plus I’m sure I’d end up having to do more cooking and cleaning and laundry, which isn’t exactly appealing. And what would I get out of it? I’d have to sleep on the edge of the bed again while Mr large male takes up most of the space, plus maybe he’d mow the lawn or something?

Probably I’d be perfectly happy with a committed lover who lived a few blocks away! Win-win.

Sorry so lengthy–just lots to mull over! Good luck with your own “mulling”, Rachel.


singlemomseeking September 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I love this @MC: “I’d be perfectly happy with a committed lover who lived a few blocks away! Win-win.”

But I can’t help but think about the double mortgages…. Sigh.

P.S. Would any other moms from above — or not — like to chime in re: “I can’t figure out why living with a man for the rest of my life without being married to him would be a bad example for my kids.”

Thank you!


debra October 1, 2009 at 5:51 am

MC makes a good point I hadn’t thought of. I WOULD want my son to live with a girlfriend before committing to marriage. So, perhaps the flaw in my thought process is that the issue isn’t being married, versus not being married, but it being a serious commitment with the intent of it being long term, as opposed to making a decision based soley on whim, convenience, or wanting to share expenses. I’m thinking the message I need to focus on is that for me, I would only live with someone who I had known for a significant amount of time, and I would only live with someone who I had plans of being with for a very long time to come.

Nicki September 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

This is by far the scariest thing I have ever done. I have already admitted defeat in relationships with the divorce, now I’m dragging the kids into a situation that could be better or worse. S, the man I live with and love, has never had children, never wanted children, still he likes and loves mine. He’s never lived with a woman before, so rather than sticking his toe in the pool, he dove into the deep end with a woman and two children.

We’re constantly having to adjust to each other. I don’t know what to do with a man around the house, especially at night. So, for a while I followed him around,expecting that we were supposed to spend time together. He has times he wants peace and quiet. Good luck getting that with all those extra people in his house.

And that, too, is a challenge. We’re trying to make a house that is technically his, ours. And there there slips, times he forgets that we’re sharing the expenses that it is our house, even if I’m not on the deed. So, how long before we decide to sell and find a place that is ours together, a place where we are on even ground.

He likes to discuss how many different variables there are to a successful relationship, how many variables there are weighing in that might determine the success of our relationship. I’ve said it before, love is a crap shoot. And I’ve told him he should learn to stick it out and make it work with me.

Any idea how difficult it is to find someone you love that loves you back. And then if that someone also accepts you as is without trying to change what makes you fundamentally you…and puts up with your BS…holy cow! That person is a keeper. Add to it that you share the same hopes and dreams, have common goals, respect and trust one another, and communicate well. Damn. That is rare!

So we’re adapting. We’re growing together. We’re working through our issues. (There are always issues.) So far, so good.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..Finding the heart of a home… =-.


Deesha September 30, 2009 at 11:24 am

I’m here to rep those who are getting married and NOT moving in together, lol! Not for a long while, at least.

But seriously, even if distance and two shared custody situations weren’t a barrier, my fiance and I still wouldn’t live together before marriage. That may be one of the few things I’m still “traditional” about.
.-= Deesha´s last blog ..Cross-Post: WeParent Wednesday – Co-Parents, Speak Your Mind! =-.


Single Mom Seeking September 30, 2009 at 9:25 am

@Kat, @Debrra, and @LEM: Thank you for bringing up marriage-before-moving-in-together.

Uh, yeah, I kind of skipped over that part, didn’t I? Thank you.

I figured this was another post altogether, but I should NOT have ignored this very important point. After all, my thoughts on this have changed so much over the past few years. (LEM has commented more than once about needing commitment before moving in together — and I’ve listened.)

And the truth is: today, I would only consider moving in with a man if we were married. I’m a bit shocked at myself for radically changing my thoughts on this one (I’m quite non-traditional in other ways), but experience does change us, doesn’t it?

I’d LOVE to hear from the rest of you on this one: is moving in together a “package” deal with marriage?
.-= Single Mom Seeking´s last blog ..Moving in together =-.


Kat Wilder September 30, 2009 at 7:24 am

Funny, when I wrote about couples moving in together with kids, My Space, My Way, I realized that what some of us are saying is that we value our “freedom” living alone more than the intimacies (and, yes, annoyances) of living together.

And, I have to agree with Debra: Moving in together without marriage sends our kids a message. Are we sure that’s the message we want to send?
.-= Kat Wilder´s last blog ..You don’t have to love his quirks, just him =-.


Cat September 30, 2009 at 7:04 am

There are so many factors. Like you said, the fantasy can be nice- I cook dinner, he takes out the trash- but that was my fantasy of marriage too, and that didn’t turn out so well. I’m not in a relationship so it’s hard to comment- I think, as PP have said, that it depends on your relationship, the guy, and his relationship with your child or children. It’s a really individual decision.
.-= Cat´s last blog ..Boy, Talking =-.


debra September 30, 2009 at 7:00 am

I’m struggling with this for a different reason. Though I lived with my ex before we were married (before children), now that I have an 8yr old son, I feel that living with someone without being married is not the responsible message to send. I’m beginning to realize though that my thinking here may be a bit off target. It’s a circular arguement with no answer, if I stick with my current theory. I’m not going to live with someone, unless we’re married, but, I’m sure as hell not going to marry someone unless I know it’s going to work and that we CAN live together. But, I want to get married someday. Sooo….yeah, interested in learning from those who have gone there and are living it!


K Nelson September 30, 2009 at 6:59 am

I moved in with a man one time and it was terrible. After I kicked him out, I sat my children down, apologized for putting my own feelings ahead of them, and promised them that no man would ever live with us again until we were married… that if a man lives with you it should be because the plan is for it to last forever.

I’ve stuck to that, and am so glad I did. I love the messages I am teaching them by doing so.
.-= K Nelson´s last blog ..Teacher accused of unecessary roughness with special education students retains job =-.


Legal Editor Mom September 30, 2009 at 6:22 am

I’ve seen couples who have children from other relationships live together and it can sometimes work, but it’s not for me. Any man who moves in with my daughter and me has to be making the ultimate commitment (to US) or I’m just not going to do it.


Martini Mom September 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm

First of all, thank you for the link love and the “feature.” I’m truly flattered.

It’s interesting, because when I think about living with someone in the abstract, it sounds scary and I nod my head along with everything you and your commenters have written. I’ve been living alone a long time. The last time I moved in with a man was my exhusband, and we’d both been living with our parents prior to that. I’ve never gone from living alone (with child) to living with someone. BIG adjustment. And I absolutely need my alone time.

But the idea never really scared me when it I thought about it specifically: living with *The Man*, as opposed to living with *someone*. It made me nervous; there were things I knew were going to be challenging. But the idea didn’t scare me. Instead it felt… natural. (But here’s the sign of a classic overthinker: the fact that it didn’t scare me? THAT scared me. Sheesh!)

Now that we’re living together, despite the expected adjustment issues (and the unexpected extras), it continues to feel natural. Most of the things I was nervous about have turned out to be far easier to navigate than I expected them to be. And the things I wasn’t expecting (the plumbing, in particular)? I don’t know how I’d do it if he wasn’t here with me. I know I COULD do it (I certainly have before). But I am so happy to have him with me, that even the crap we’re dealing with – even the crap we’re ONLY dealing with because we now live together – seems relatively minor.

I guess what I’m saying is this: scary? Sure. But you know those irritating people who say things like “when you know, you know”? I think they’re on to something. With the right partner at the right time, I’m finding this living together gig to be far more “bonus” and far less “personal compromise” than I ever would’ve imagined.

(Also? He usually scrubs the dishes – my least favorite chore too! …And he usually beats me to the laundry. But I help with the chores, I swear I do!)
.-= Martini Mom´s last blog ..Excuses =-.


BigLittleWolf September 29, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Obviously, the relationship your daughter has with your guy is a huge factor. Great relationship – it will make sharing the decisions about her (bit by bit) easier to take. And if you live together, my guess is he will feel some (reasonable) sense that he can partner with you in parenting, as well as in household chores, professional discussions, fun of all sorts, and in the romance department.

I think that’s one of the hardest things to deal with. When it’s been you and the kid(s) in a huddle for a long time, it’s very hard to fully allow someone else in. And a decision – a choice – to do so, or not.

As for the rest? It is hard living with someone. I considered a few years back, and looked forward to it, but with trepidation, expecting that if it came to pass, it would do so slowly, and with lots of ease-our-way into it time.

Funny how we change. Before marriage, I didn’t want to ever live with someone unless married. (That has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with daily compromises and expenditure of time.)

Since divorce, I have difficulty imagining remarriage. Live together? I’d figure that out – for the right guy. WE’D figure it out – together.

Good luck!
.-= BigLittleWolf´s last blog ..The AGE Issue: Older men, younger women =-.


singlemomseeking September 29, 2009 at 10:34 pm

@BigLittleWolf: Thanks for pointing out that “Obviously, the relationship your daughter has with your guy is a huge factor.”

So true, and something I need to write about. (They get along really well, and I feel so fortunate about that… so does he!)


Mike September 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Didn’t even cause a change in heart rate. I do look forward to a time when I can share space with some special just not now. I think I need to blog more about this.


Crazy Computer Dad September 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm

🙂 You got me too. Nearly broke my jaw it opened so wide. I might have let out some sort of exclamation that my son shouldn’t have heard.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. How do you combine the two households of two single parents/adults/children? I have put some thought into it with at least one other relationship, but I have not done it to date.

Honestly, I’m totally stumped. My girlfriend and I have such different parenting styles. While laying in bed talking every night sounds great, so does being able to pick and choose what I want to do, when I want to do it, and staying up until MY perfect moment to go to bed. Sometimes I’m up until 2am, sometimes I am in bed by 10pm. Sometimes I am reading, sometimes working on projects, sometimes I am writing, etc. My son is never in bed later than 9pm and he knows it is a VERY bad idea to bother dad after that time. It is MY time. Living with another adult means a lot of compromise on that time for both of us. It means having to meet someone else’s expectations to some degree. It means having to come to a common set of rules…and being held accountable for them. Right now there is space, so when we need to get away, we can. That is harder to do when you live together.

However, in the journey of companionships/relationships, co-habitation is a natural step. It seems scary and hard, but so did being a single parent 8 years ago and I have made it through that. It was harder than I thought it was going to be, many surprises along the way, but where there is commitment there is a way.

I think it may be a good idea to talk to a family counselor before you do it too. Someone that can look at your relationship, your interactions, and your children to make some objective suggestions. SGG and I talk all the time about what we’ve been doing etc, but I wonder if it will ever really sink in before we are around each other all the time. 🙂 Now I get to call her and tell her about the post and my response…and try to explain it.


singlemomseeking September 29, 2009 at 10:34 pm

@Crazy Computer Dad: thank you so much for the openness. I’m so curious to know what your girlfriend says about you two talk…. Please come back and add more.


MindyMom/Single Mom Says... September 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Living with a man again would be A HUGE step for me. I’ve been living as a single mom for almost 8 years and although I was considering it once nearly 5 yrs ago (with DBD – can you imagine!) I haven’t ever since. The idea of sharing my space with a MAN on a permanent basis seems so….foreign and far way at this point. Even when I was married my husband traveled so much that I enjoyed a lot of ‘alone’ time, which I need.

Having a boyfriend who can come over when I want him to and leave when I want him to seems like a perfect arrangement to me! 😉
.-= MindyMom/Single Mom Says…´s last blog ..Still Here, Just Busy =-.


Robynbeth September 29, 2009 at 5:42 pm

On the outside, I talk a good game about not wanting a new man, about how I have it covered, about how I don’t want somebody to mess up my life, but in the dark, when I am alone, I want a companion. I can do this on my own. I am doing this on my own for the most part, but I miss being a traditional family. I long for somebody to just have my back when it hits the fan. I gave up on dating almost three years ago, and it hasn’t bothered me until recently. Sometimes I wonder if I will be the crazy lady with all the cats. Then reality settles in again, and I put up my guard because I have been there, done that, and I really cannot imagine opening myself up again and disrupting my children.
.-= Robynbeth´s last blog ..Tuesday Night Mix Tape =-.


mamaramatv September 29, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I’m terrified of moving in with my boyfriend (and his son) of two years . I’m convinced that cohabitation will take all the magic and fun out of our relationship; and that we’ll sink into the mires of domestication. “You take out the trash; did you wash my socks; where is my DivaCup!” and so on. And how his son will interact with my girls on a regular “we live all together” basis is also a daunting thought. All that said, I yearn for a deeper level of relationship. I said recently, “I feel like we need a promotion. We’re not just girlfriend/boyfriend – we’re loving partners and we’re committed.” Sounds like the M word is looming but I can’t make that leap either. I guess it’s separate houses for a while still.
.-= mamaramatv´s last blog ..mamarama – film review & placenta-eating 05/07.3 =-.


singlemomseeking September 29, 2009 at 10:33 pm

I love that @mamaramatv: ““I feel like we need a promotion. We’re not just girlfriend/boyfriend…”

Yes, what would that “promotion” look like for you two? I’d love to hear about it.


T September 29, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Ok, yeah, you got me. And I even had a Twitter heads up that this post was coming and I still clicked thru! Ha!

I’ve been thinking about this too. And no, Rascal and I aren’t even discussing it but I have wondered if I could do it again. I’m not sure. There is A LOT to work around and I am much more settled in my ways now…
.-= T´s last blog ..Mi Favorita =-.


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