(404) 874-8536 johnballew@gmail.com

Setting Up House Together

There comes a point when dating becomes…something more.  It’s not just a matter of loving your partner , more than you did a few months ago.  You find yourself wanting to share more and more of your life with him or her.  And you find that the sharing includes not only big exciting times, but also the little day-to-day stuff.

Therapists sometimes call this the “nesting urge.”  You still enjoy evenings out, but the evenings “in” seem even more important.  Hanging out at one place or the other turns into living together.  Maybe you’re only thinking of being able to spend more time together naked, but sharing living space implies a certain commitment and raises all sorts of issues.  It’s a sign that your relationship is deepening.

Some people’s urge to merge overwhelms their common sense.  They move in before they really know who the other person is.  Suddenly they have their names on a lease with someone, and they realize too late they’ve made a big mistake.  Or what seemed like a simple and practical decision to save money on rent is understood by the other guy to be the functional equivalent of marriage.  Oops!  Take time beforehand to make sure you’re both on the same page.  Many gay relationships evolve informally, without the clear markers that signal changes in the status of the relationship.  Communication is key.

What’s important to you when you think of home?  It’s no big deal to some guys, who feel at home whenever they’ve got a place to dock their smart phone.  But others find that it makes a big difference if the shared place is yours, mine or ours.  Moving into someone else’s already-established home can be especially tricky.  If that’s what you’re doing, talk it over.  What does it take to make the place feel like home for both of you?  Some men find it’s enough to have equal voice in picking out the color to paint the living room.  Others could never feel a place is truly home unless it says so on the title to the property.

If one of you has a strong attachment to starting off fresh, it may not be possible to share previously occupied space and feel like it’s truly home for each of you.  You may need to find a new place that is “ours” from the moment you walk into it.  That’s understandable, although it can be an expensive option.

Indeed, the whole idea of home has both practical and symbolic importance.  How does it feel to be changing your residence?  Does it make sense and feel right or do you find yourself full of anxiety?

Talk it through with one another.  Try to separate the practical issues from those that are laden with lots of emotion, and give both areas ample airing.  How will you share the monetary issues that come with managing a household together?  And be aware that some practical issues may include talking with an attorney if the title to property is involved.

If either of you is feeling hurried into making a decision, resolve not to rush into a situation that may compromise the harmony of your relationship.  The pacing of when to share a nest is unique to the individuals involved.

About John

I have been  licensed by the State of Georgia as a professional counselor for more than 25 years.  My areas of specialty are relationships, intimacy, sexuality, anxiety and depression.  My passion is helping people build happier lives and stronger relationships. 

I know it isn’t always easy to talk about problems.  My approach to counseling is nonjudgmental and compassionate.  If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about working together.

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Whether you've worked with a therapist before or are exploring counseling for the first time, you probably have questions.  It is important to have the information you need to make a good decision when selecting a therapist.  I welcome your questions -- about your specific situation, about me or about my approach to therapy. Making things better can start with an email, or you can call me at (404) 874-8536.