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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.
Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.
The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (https://www.davidtianphd.com/blog/), is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/manupcommunity/) and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.
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Should You Move In With Your New Girlfriend?
David Tian Ph.D. identifies the problem with cohabitation.
David Tian Ph.D. shares the questions you need to ask before moving in together.
In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D .explains when you shouldn’t move in together.
David Tian: Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD, and in this video, I answer the question: Should you move in with your new girlfriend? Welcome to Man Up 204.
Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Man Up!
Hey, I’m David Tian, PhD., and for over the past 10 years, I have been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness and fulfillment in life and love. Welcome to Man Up Episode 204. I’m in Toronto. The sun is setting. I usually like to film when the sun is setting, but in Toronto, in the summer, that means after dinner. I’m very full from a big dinner. But we got to film, so I’m trying to keep up with these. Once I get back to Asia, we’ll be churning out a lot more content so thanks for sticking with us. Anyway, let’s get into Episode 204, question from the private Man Up Facebook group which you should join if you haven’t joined it yet. A question here from Jonathan. I’ll just dive in there. It’s not too long.
“Hey guys, my girlfriend who is 22 years old and I 23 have been seeing each other for eight months now, and six months of that has been long distance. We live three hours away from each other, and seeing each other two to three weekends each month. We are both getting frustrated with the long distance and know it cannot last much longer. We both just graduated college and currently live at our parents’ house.” I assume that means in your respective parents’ houses.
“I work a full-time job that I don’t like, and I had been applying for jobs in a bigger city nearby to work and live. My girlfriend really wants to move in with me when I moved to this new city, but I don’t think I’m comfortable with that big of a commitment.” They’ve been seeing each other eight months now.
“She is not willing to get her own place in this new city and see each other multiple times per week.” That’s too bad. “She hasn’t said this directly, but it’s either we move in together or we break up.” She hasn’t said that directly. It just jumped out of me. I read this once before and I didn’t notice that part. So you’re inferring that it’s either we move in together or we break up. She’s my first girlfriend and I really like her. We get along very well. We have the same sense of humor and we both truly enjoy our time spent together.”
Okay, even though he’s 23, it’s his first girlfriend. He kind of sounds like a guy who is 18 and his first girlfriend situation, the kinds of things he thinks are important, like they have the same sense of humor. Okay, and they get along very well. That’s not the sort of thing that you generally hear, “Hey, let’s move together”, “We get along quite well.” And then he’s got, “We both truly enjoy our time spent together.” Well, I truly enjoy my time spent at the bookstore and at Starbucks, so maybe we should move into Starbucks, I don’t know.
“We are best friends, we were not before we began dating. She always tells me she loves me and she accepts me for who I am.” Well, if you are correct in your inference that it’s either we move in together or we break up, well, I don’t think she accepts you for who you are. “I am afraid of losing her.” You think? “And don’t want to break up with her.” Okay, but I feel like this is what will happen. I feel the same.
“I have this fear that I won’t be able to have this connection that I have with her with another girl.” Well, yes, you have that fear, right. “But then again, I have not dated around much, and she is the first girl I’ve had a serious relationship with.” I can see that. “I’ve entertained the idea of moving in with her, but I am afraid the relationship will be very different after moving in and don’t want to be stuck in a lease with a girl I don’t like anymore. But then again, it would be nice to come home to her and hang out with her every day.” It’s like, “I got this dog at home. It’d be nice for the dog to hang out in my house.” “What would you guys do in my situation?”
Okay, he’s looking for feedback. The bold question is: Should I move in with the girlfriend after eight months? But actually, that’s not the question that’s important for him. For Jonathan, he shouldn’t move in with her because he has the fear of commitment with this lease. He thinks if we get into this lease, then we can’t just break up and go our separate ways. That’s true. That’s a good thing to think about. There has been research that shows that couples who cohabitate, if they find it harder to break up, and sometime they end up getting married as a result of just going along with it. It’s more inconvenient to break up and move out than it is to get married, and then they have a horrible marriage and they get divorced.
In fact, there’s been a lot of research that shows cohabitation will result in 33% greater chance of divorce, but that’s confused with the age – it’s complicated. There are both sides of it. But for Jonathan, what’s important to notice is he has this fear that ‘I won’t be able to have this connection with another girl, and that I’m afraid of losing her.’ But at the same time, he is also afraid of being stuck in a lease with a girl he doesn’t like. All of those things come together, and he’s not mature enough yet to have a successful long-term relationship, plus it doesn’t sound like there’s actually that much passion in this relationship. It sounds like it’s more like he became really good friends and now you’re comfortable together, so you’re comfortable and you want to spend more time together, but it doesn’t seem to me like it’s the kind of thing that you’re running into and saying, “Yes, I want to do this.” It should not be a situation where you reluctantly move in together. I’m pretty sure that will just end badly for Jonathan.
Jonathan, I suggest that you tell this girl and get it out of her mouth, because you said you haven’t asked her yet – and she hasn’t said it explicitly yet, whether it’s move in or we’re over. That’s an important thing. You’re basing a lot of the stress in your situation here based on that assumption that she’s going to dump you if you guys don’t move in together. Get that clarified. That’s all of your fear, and all of this other baggage that you’re bringing into the relationship. Also, 23 years old and your first girlfriend, it’s going to be hard for you to have the objectivity to be able to have that distance to see the situation for what it is. I’m telling you the situation for what it is: The passion in that relationship currently isn’t going to be enough to carry you through the difficulties that will come from living together.
Also, all of the fear – it seems like you can’t afford the rent. It seems like you don’t have a good job. If you’re fully in love with a girl, if you’re fully in love and there’s a lot of passion, then throw all that caution to the wind and it’s sexy and fun. I get it. That’s not your situation though, Jonathan. You’re not fully independent yet. I think a couple should only move in together with – how do you get around the fear of ‘we’re going to stay together for the convenience because breaking the lease is more inconvenient than staying together.” Like, being in a bad relationship and just continue to live together.
Here’s the deal: If you can’t afford to carry the rent on your own, if there were to be a breakup, then don’t get into that. Don’t sign that lease. That would be the scenario. I mean, she might decide to take on the lease on her own and you move out, but you can’t assume that that’s going to happen. If you can’t carry the lease on your own for at least half the term of that lease, then don’t get a place that expensive, or get a better job, or make more money. If you want to learn how to make more money, there are a ton of ways to do it. Use the internet. That’s what I’m doing. To me, there’s no excuse not to just make more money, but a lot of people are looking for jobs and jobs are always – there’s always a limit. But if you have a good employer like me, that’s always negotiable and as always, we commission and reward good work.
But those employers that pay you for limited terms, those people and those jobs will always have limited lives. That’s a good way to put it, and that’s the situation right now. Jonathan is afraid, and the excuse that he has articulated is that he’ll be locked into a lease. Well, if you’re so rich that you can pay the lease without the fear, then this fear will go away. And maybe because you’re not actually in a passionate relationship, another fear will arise as a rationalization not to do this. But at least that one fear will go away.
I was answering that for everyone besides Jonathan. So for Jonathan, the truth is, don’t enter the relationship because you actually don’t want it to go that far with your commitment yet. Here’s the reason why: You’re not actually in love with her. You’re just in comfort with her, and it’s your first girlfriend, you don’t know what it’s like to have that big break up yet, so you’re really afraid of that. Get through it. I think you just have the big break up.
You won’t have the courage and strength to do it on your own, so probably she will dump your ass in about a year, and then you’ll take a year to grieve, and you’ll think that your world is over, and that’s a good thing. You will have gone through what most people who are now my age went through when they were 16 to 18 years old: that first breakup, that puppy love thing, that’s done. That’s good because that’ll make you mature, and then you will be able to actually put into practice a lot of the things that I’ve covered in my courses. So if it’s your first love, it’s going to be really tough for you to have that objectivity.
There you go, Jonathan. I’m answering Jonathan’s question, but I’m also answering the bigger question of whether you should move in with your girlfriend of less than a year. You should if you can and if you want to. If you really want to, you can. You should be able to remove the fear of the financial commitment by not entering into such a big lease, such a high rental lease, that you can’t handle it on your own if you do break up and she needs to move out.
There you go. Make more money if that’s the issue. Anyway, there you go, Jonathan. I guess there’s no more to say on that one. I will see you inside the private Man Up Facebook group. Join the group. That’s where Jonathan asked his question. It’s a very active group right now. We have almost 17,000 members as of recording this video, and I’ll be putting out more content, helping you guys out, looking for more questions. Ask your questions inside the private Man Up Facebook group. I will see you inside there. Until then, David Tian, signing out. Man Up!