On Life and Love after 50 Newsletter
Moving in together. Will it work?
Let’s say you are an older single and fortunate enough to meet a potential mate.
You spend what you feel is adequate time together before deciding that living together is what you both want. But, will it work? And where will you live?
Perhaps the where decision is easy because one person owns a home and the other lives in an apartment. Living in the home makes the most sense.
What if both own homes? Does one rent or sell and move in with the other?
One couple in an age 55+ community married. She rented her place, and moved in with him. Thank heaven she didn’t sell.
In six months, she moved out. He had been a chameleon, not revealing his true self. For example, after he had new carpeting installed, he didn’t like the color. She saw him secretly cutting the new rug with a razor blade, trying to make it look like the carpet company had screwed up, so he could make them put down new carpeting.
He pulled some other childish things as well. She didn’t want to be with such a sleazy character; she divorced him and moved back to her own home.
When both own homes, neither person should sell—at least until living under one roof together has a proven track record.
People should not be idealistic thinking that merging two households is going to be easy. As people age, they become more set in their ways. Accepting another’s mannerisms and habits gets harder.
And if there are kids, grand kids and great grand kids in the mix, be sure there is an understanding how that will go down. "But Bill, you didn't tell me I had to help pay for your granddaughter Susie's Harvard education."
Have "the talk" before deciding to move in
Have the talk even if over lunch
Before moving in together, the most important action a couple can take—as painful and uncomfortable as it might be—is to sit down and communicate honestly and clearly each other’s expectations, especially the financial arrangement.
Do not breeze over this lightly, fearing that this step could be a deal breaker. Put it in writing, just as you would with a prenuptial agreement. If this discussion breaks the deal—better to know now than down the road in a few months.
Include in the discussion, how each person is going to pursue their individual interests so you don’t drive each other nuts always being around the house. Having a life outside of the relationship (and outside of the house) is essential.
There is nothing like moving a mate into your home or moving in with someone and then realizing in a couple of weeks, months, even years, that a HUGE mistake was made.
What might be wrong? He sits around all day and watches too much TV, he spends too much time on his computer, maybe writing novels or a blog, or he doesn’t put the dishes into the dishwasher, or he leaves the toilet seat up, or he doesn’t put it up when he should—little things that might make life unbearable. Older adults need a little free air to breathe.
And once someone has moved in, they’re in. If it doesn’t work out, it may be hard to get him out. One woman I wrote about had to pay to get her ex-boyfriend to leave her house.
Another woman moved from Northern California to be live with her boyfriend in Southern California. She gave up a job, her home, and her friends to join him. But, the first week she was there, he was on the computer sometimes in the middle of the night and was secretive as to why. One day, she took a quick look on his computer when he was away. He was on an online dating site corresponding with women. She confronted him. He moved her belongings to the front porch and told her to leave. She had nowhere to go.
Another couple had a major exit problem after living together for only a few weeks. She ordered him to move out. As he was walking down the stairs, she whacked him over the head with a deck chair while he was carrying his pet parakeet. He filed charges. She was arrested.
Don’t move in together just because it makes financial sense. Your freedom and peace of mind aren’t worth saving a few bucks.Saving money should be an ancillary benefit, but not the major reason for moving in, regardless of whose roof you end up under.
Have that talk before moving in.
Part 2 – One of our Champs asks for help
Related to what was written in Part One above, one of our Champs explained her dilemma.
She said,“I just turned 68, he will be 72 in May. He invited me and I moved into his house in mid-January. I was going to be broke and homeless in January and needed to be rescued.
“He rescued me - as he knew my whole situation, and we both thought we were building on an eventual romantic relationship. We knew each other for 3 ½ months when I moved into his house. He never asked questions about how things would go.
“Before I moved in, I told him my routine (for waking. eating sleeping, etc.) and I knew his, which was the total opposite of mine- and I was ok with it.
“I brought all of my furniture and moved my whole bedroom set into one of the two extra bedrooms. A few pieces we brought into the main room, like my recliner and a desk. This is an unfinished house he built.
Not a bad house to live in (not the house he built)
“Instantly (without him saying it but acting huffy when it didn't happen), he expected (assumed) I was going to clean his house, be the master of the kitchen, make a meal for him every night and sleep in his bed.
“Why would I have my bedroom set up here if I wasn't going to sleep in my own bed?
“Anyway, things are not well here. He's not polite or thankful - when I have made a meal he never says thank you, when I keep this dusty unfinished house clean as I can, he never says a word of appreciation. But, if I don't make a meal he goes into a sulk and is even more quiet.
“He moved me, my dog, all my furniture (half of it is in his garage and some of it I already sold- when I thought things were working out). My couch, fridge, washer, and dryer, kitchen table and chairs were sold.
“I am 'disabled' with arthritis and now get only $895 a month from SSI. I expected this to be my last forever home. I have no means, money or ability to move out and go...where?
“A person can't live on their own on less than $900 a month in California. That amount won't even get you an apartment. Section 8 is closed. I've checked out all avenues, there are none open.
“I am, as the old saying goes, between a rock and a hard place. Maybe I can get some feedback or solutions on how to make the situation more livable.
“I had no choice moving in with a man I didn't know very well at that point. It was either move in with him or become a squatter in a house I could no longer pay for and then get evicted and become homeless, out on the streets or living in my car with my dog. I chose the safer, smarter one."
Any thoughts, Champs?