I Moved in with My Boyfriend During a Global Pandemic and It’s Going… Fine?

updated May 6, 2020
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Over the course of our relationship, my boyfriend and I have discussed the eventuality of moving in together. And, because we are both practical people who each have our own little spot on the sliding scale of anxiety, much of that talk has centered on what issues might arise from it. I like stuff, and having more things makes me feel prepared and able; he dislikes clutter, and having much stuff around makes him feel like he’s being crushed. I am uber-conscious of germs; he generally abides by the “if it looks clean, it is clean” mentality. We were both prepared to make some concessions when it came time to move into the next stage of our relationship together. We did not realize how relevant those two topics would be.

Let me back up: Many years ago, back in March of 2020, we were both living in separate boroughs of New York City. The commute was killer, but the process of moving is stressful and expensive, so we were putting it off. Plus, I liked my apartment and my roommate—I found both on Craigslist, which feels like winning the lottery. I was not willing to sacrifice my good fortune.

Later that month, though, everything changed. Once the reality of coronavirus hit, NYC—like much of the country—went into quarantine. We decided pretty quickly that for however long we would need to, we’d hunker down together. Moving is supposedly one of the most stressful things in life; and even though it’s a happy, exciting thing, moving in with a significant other is stressful, too. Doing both? During a global pandemic? No one has rated this yet but I give it five cartons of ice cream and three stress cries out of 10.

Our predicted clashes have manifested, as we’d guessed—but we never could have known that they’d happen against a background of a pandemic. We argued over how much cleaning stuff was too much cleaning stuff to buy, whether it was OK to set grocery bags on the kitchen table before unloading, and how many weeks’ worth of anything we needed to keep on hand. It all felt higher stakes than it might have at any other time. Blame the pandemic. (I do.)

At the same time, it’s a comfort to have my favorite person with me every morning. When we lived apart and just visited each other, it felt like we needed to spend every second of that time doing something together. It’s nice to just exist in the same room, doing different things, but getting to pop in every now and again to tell each other stupid puns.

I’ve heard plenty of stories of couples moving in together during a crisis; I bet you have, too. I have no way to say how often it works out versus not, but I have a theory. Our editor-in-chief, Laura Schocker, had her now-husband move into her apartment during Superstorm Sandy, when he lost power in his place. The practical necessity prompted her to do something she’d have been too nervous to do otherwise, she said. I think that’s probably the cause for success for relationships like hers, and mine, that progress during a time of crisis: They were headed in that direction anyway. It might be a faster and rockier journey than expected, but the path’s the same one you had in sight all along.

My boyfriend and I are no less stressed about the current state of the world than we were before. The news is still scary, but there’s comfort in navigating all of this together, with our lives in one spot. So: Can I recommend moving in with your significant other during a pandemic? Mmmm…. maybe. But only if they have A+ puns.