Moving in with my GF. What to keep in mind? How to prepare for and avoid the worst?

Two ways to handle expenses...and there is no "right" answer. I've lived with four partners, and I'll be damned if there's a simple answer.

First is the "communal" approach. You share expenses totally. It's a pooled income, and both partners draw upon it as needed. The person who buys the groceries is whoever happens to be by the store. The advantages are evident. You don't care about who eats the last of the cheese, and you don't waste time bickering about every line item. The problem is that then you feel guilty every time you spend on yourself, since it's a combined income. You buy a nice bottle of scotch, and it's an issue because the cable bill is due.

The other option is the "line item" approach. Everyone knows what they have to pay for rent, and what they need to pay for bills. Food and drink is considered the property of the owner unless shared. The advantage is that you're left with money that is yours at the end of the month. The drawback is that you wind up bickering over the dumbest things. "You drank the last beer!" is countered by "I paid for the theater tickets last night". Even worse is when one person makes less than the other. You have lots of money left over, she can't even buy a new pair of socks. (Or reverse the positions.)

Only advice I can offer is that whatever you choose, it needs to be agreed upon by both parties explicitly before moving in with each other.

As for the know, lots of people will talk about the stupid arguments you're going to get in. Who washes dishes, who broke a glass. That's just life. The bigger issue is one of isolation. It's easy to stay in and put on sweats and watch Netflix. It's easy to take the other person for granted. It's comfortable to be together instead of special...and that's what really kills a relationship.

Once again, no easy answers...but you will need to make sure you're stoking the fire of the relationship. Don't let the coals burn out. Take her out for dates. Hang out with friends. Make sure both people have alone time. Treat her like a date, not a family member.

Good luck. It's not always easy, in the long run.

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