Big decisions: Who to live with

Why it took five years and a 750-mile move to decide to live with my boyfriend.

Who to live with: Choosing a roommate - Kari Smith According to my alma mater, I am a “woman of influence.” I graduated from a small women’s college in upstate New York and knew from the get-go that I did not want to move back home with Mom and Dad. So, with a stubborn independence and the world at my fingertips, I moved to Boston on my own to begin my publishing career. It wasn’t easy, but I found roommates on Craigslist to help make ends meet, and I was excited to explore a new city. At the same time, my boyfriend, Michael, moved to New Hampshire to begin his career in engineering and later started an MBA program that consumed his evening hours. We were grateful to have found great career opportunities in a troubled economy and spent the next few years focusing on our jobs. During that time, I tossed around the idea of changing jobs so we could be in the same place and potentially move in together; but no opportunities arose, so we maintained the status quo and kept our noses to the grindstone.

We made our relationship work by seeing each other on weekends and traveling together to see both our families at every holiday and special event. We each had our own routines and enjoyed our independence — spending time with coworkers, exploring local areas, playing in softball leagues — but also savored any time we could share together.

However, when our relationship reached the five-year mark, we were presented with a big decision. His employer was relocating him 750 miles away, to North Carolina — a state I had never even visited before. Would I go with him?

Within days of the relocation news, Michael’s father passed away suddenly. In the hazy days that followed, we relied on each other for strength, love, and support as we tried to make sense of our new reality. His father’s death put many things in perspective for us and made us value our relationship even more. Instead of fears about what could go wrong if we took the leap, we were filled with hope and excitement for an unknown future. Would I go with him? Absolutely. So, a month later we jumped in with both feet and began our adventure south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Sometimes the universe presents opportunities, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you have to make decisions using reasoning and logic, and sometimes you have to make decisions using your heart. Sometimes things just click. Soon we developed new routines — we have guys’ nights and girls’ nights (because we still value our independence), but also spend time with coworkers together, explore local areas together, and now, after seven years of dating, are planning a wedding together … all while living under the same roof.


Sometimes you have to make decisions using reasoning and logic, and sometimes you have to make decisions using your heart.

Financial factors: living with roommates

Whether living with your significant other or a roommate you discovered on Craigslist, there are a number of financial considerations to agree on before moving in together. 

  • How you’ll split rent, the security deposit, utilities, and renters insurance.
  • Whether you’ll share food costs, or just keep your own food on separate shelves.
  • What to do if one of you wants or has to leave before the lease ends.

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