Should college couples live together?

It’s that time of the year when apartment hunting is at its peak, and you are moving in with not just your best friend, but your significant other. The question is, have you called your mom yet?

Love is in the air at the University of Iowa, and most students have never lived with their significant others. Some of you may come to college with a high school relationship. Even with the transition, you find college won’t come between you and your love interest. If the relationship is not extremely fresh and has been baking for a while, maybe it’s time to take the next step of moving in together. Cue the screeching brakes. Yes, I said it, living with someone that is not just a friend. Now some of you might think, there is absolutely no way I could live with my partner, I need my own space, and don’t get me started on sharing food. Surprisingly, some might think the exact opposite. For them, this is a dream come true: “I cannot wait to spend every second with the person I love. Oh, how wonderful it’ll be to finally be alone together.”

Whichever tickles your fancy, this is a question many students face: Should I live with my significant other? How do I tell my parents? Is the bathroom situation going to be a little awkward? These are all questions that could be circling through your mind, but there is no need to fret! There are many ways to go about this big decision, and whichever path calls your name, do what is best for yourself.

Like I mentioned earlier, have you spoken with your parents yet? Now, most of you are considered adults, but some parents do not see being 18 as meaning you can do whatever you please. When it comes to living with a boyfriend or girlfriend, at an age such as 18 or 19, parents might find it a little absurd or totally taboo. You might get the old, “You’re too young,” “You guys aren’t married yet,” and how could we forget the classic “Well, you can’t sleep in the same room.” Although when all you can think about is living with your so-called “soulmate,” that is the last thing you want to hear.

Nicole Stark, a freshman at Iowa, explained that her parents were not fond of the idea. “They didn’t necessarily tell me no, but I knew they would rather me not,” Stark said. Nicole eventually decided to hold off on signing a lease with her partner.

“I know I’m 18 but I still do want to respect my parents and while I’ve dated my boyfriend for three years, I think it would be better to wait a couple more,” Stark said.

 Often, when parents say what they think is right, the kids will almost always find a way to say they are wrong. But, maybe they’re right this time. Is living with your significant other in college beneficial?

(from left to right) Bethie Walker and Maeve Rice. Photo by Isabella Cervantes.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. When you think of living with your partner, what is the worst that could happen? “The thing you have to think about is, what if you break up,” said Braden Ernst, a junior at Iowa. Yes, a breakup is never fun, no matter how it happens. But when you and that person are living together, there are going to be a lot of elephants in the room. Yes, you can throw their clothes out to oncoming traffic, but that’s probably not the best way of handling it.

University of Iowa freshman Nathan Smith said, “If one of them is hesitant, I do not think they should live together.” There are many downsides when it comes to living with a significant other in college. To name a few, not having enough alone time, having to always accommodate your plans with your partner, and learning the bad habits of one another. These factors could land you in the eye of the storm: a breakup.

“What if you have completely different lifestyles?” Ernst asked. University of Iowa freshman Tahirah Den Beste echoed the concern, “It could really show they have different ways of living and cause more conflict and drift.” So, is this a sign to not live with your significant other, or is the option still on the table?

While it can be a big step moving in with your significant other in college, it can also be one of the best decisions you make. That might be baffling considering the above concerns, but if you go about it right, and you both are on the same level, the chances of it going south are very slim. “I think it depends on how long they have known each other and their relationship bond.”

Some benefits include seeing a different side of someone you want to potentially have a future with, creating convenience, aiding mental health, and allowing you both to become more responsible. “If the couple is comfortable enough to live together and think it will benefit their relationship, there is nothing stopping them,” said Ernst.  

Overall, living with a significant other can be perfectly fine, but it can also be risky if you and your partner have not taken the time to communicate before taking this big step. As always, communication is key.

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