Moving In Together

Relationship Timeline: What is “Socially Acceptable?”

Despite the fact that I spent about a year or so doing the online dating thing [, dating apps, etc.], I always envisioned myself meeting somebody in a more organic way – like in the grocery store or in a bar or something along those lines. And even though online dating is more the norm these days, I was still never able to fully let my guard down to anybody that I’d met online.

I actually ended up meeting my boyfriend at a restaurant [his restaurant (I’d link the website, but it’s undergoing construction and not quite up and running yet)], through a mutual friend. It was natural, not online, and through a trusted mutual friend of both of ours. It was perfect, and exactly the way both of us had hoped meeting someone would go.

After our first date, neither of us could wait more than 24 hours before seeing each other again, and this progressed as the months went on. I had rented my own apartment a couple of weeks after we went out, but it essentially became a [very expensive] storage unit for all my crap, as I probably spent a total of 30 days there in the five months I had the spot.

Every relationship develops differently. I have friends who sleep with a guy on the first night, and a relationship stems from it [highly unusual and generally doesn’t last]. I have a girl friend who moves in with a boyfriend the minute they start dating [literally, you guys – I’m talking within the first week they are living together. and no, these relationships don’t last long, either]. I have another friend who makes a guy wait 90 days before she will be intimate with him [mad props, GF, maaaaad props]. And I will admit, I have judged all of these women because I personally would never make those choices in my own relationships.

But who am I to judge? Is there really a rulebook on how to have a relationship? And a good relationship, at that?

NO, there isn’t. Because if there were, I would own it. We all would.

The reason I bring this up is because I moved in with my boyfriend after we’d been dating for six months. I’m talking officially moved – as in, terminated my lease at my apartment and was no longer living out of four overnight bags and a single drawer in my boyfriend’s dresser. We had both wanted it to be sooner [if I remember correctly, I believe we started discussing it around the three month mark], but I held it off because I was worried about what my family would think. Which, in retrospect, shouldn’t have mattered – they knew [and know] how happy I am with this guy. But another part of me was like, “how much do you really know somebody after only a few months?”

My first boyfriend and I were together for about a year-and-a-half. So, not that long, but at the time it seemed like a huge milestone. We were very compatible from the get-go. He was three years older than me, so of course I was feeling pretty damn good that I’d landed an older guy for my first real relationship. But around the one year point, he did a 180 on me out of nowhere. He started getting really insecure and treating me like crap. This could have been because it was around that time that I started to come into my own – I had started shedding the layer of shy younger girl – and he no longer had a doe-eyed girl under his control. He tried to manipulate me, he tried many different ways to break me down in order to gain back control, but as I started to see his true colors I decided I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore, and I let him go.

I personally knew this person for A YEAR, and I thought I really knew him, before he showed me his true colors. It’s scary, really, that you can think you know somebody so well, and yet not know them at all.

I semi-recently had a friendship end – a friendship with a gal I thought was my soulmate and BFFL. We talked on the phone every day, texted constantly – at the beginning of our friendship, she was unemployed, and would come visit me at the coffee shop I worked at every single day for almost my entire eight hour shift. We were as close as any friends could be. So you can imagine the shock and hurt I felt when out of nowhere she stopped reciprocating the friendship. I knew this girl for five years – FIVE! And in every inch of my mind, I knew her. And, yet, at the end of it all, I didn’t know her – not at all.

This was my hesitation when deciding whether or not I should move in with my boyfriend after only six months. And I am not the type of person to carry baggage from one relationship to the next. At least, I try really hard not to. I know that no two people and relationships are the same.

In the end, my parents were totally okay with my decision to move in with my guy after only being together for six months. They were happy that I was happy – and they could see how comfortable and compatible he and I were.

I still pose this question to all of you, though: is there an appropriate dating timeline? Do you think that people should wait a certain amount of time before they sleep together? Move in together? Get a dog together? Have a baby together? Are there time gaps that society deems necessary before taking the next step in your relationship? I want to hear your thoughts!