Screw Timelines: Why We Bought a House Before Getting Engaged
posted on July 24, 2018 | by Amanda Holstein
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m not a fan of rules. Especially when it comes to relationship timelines. I don’t like the idea of doing something because I have to do it or because everyone else does it that way. As we know, what’s right for one person might not be right for someone else. And that’s the beauty of being an individual!
So when people question our choice of buying a home together before getting engaged (or ever living together, for that matter!), I’m not bothered by it. Because I know it makes sense for us and our unique situation. And here’s why.
First, we moved to a new city together but chose not to live together.
Jacob and I met in NY. I was only there for a year, knowing my plan was to head back to San Francisco. Luckily, he was also planning a move to San Francisco. By the time we were ready to move, we both knew we had found the one (I think we both knew within the first few weeks!). But, Jacob had never lived in San Francisco and I wanted to make sure he had his own experience of the city. If we lived together immediately, he would rely on me and create a life very influenced by me. After some back and forth, and not wanting to hurt each other’s feelings, we both agreed it’d be best to live apart.
We were able to live in separate spaces yet still share a life together.
And it was great! I lived alone, as I like to do, and enjoyed that time, knowing we’d eventually live together. And he lived with a roommate, in a different neighborhood, truly creating his own experience of the city. After about a year of this, we discussed moving in together. I was personally really enjoying living alone and knew that once we moved in together, I’d never live alone again! Once again, we didn’t want to hurt each other’s feelings, but yet again we were on the same page. We enjoyed having our separate spaces and felt like we were already sharing a life together that we didn’t need an address to signify that. When I say sharing a life, I mean we were so involved in each other’s lives. I took on his stuff and he took on mine. We were in it together.
We talked about getting a home and getting engaged.
After about another six months, we were both sick of going back and forth to each other’s places and wanted to create a home of our own. Our leases weren’t up yet so we waited it out. During this time, our vision for the home we wanted to create changed a bit. We assumed we’d move into a rental apartment in San Francisco as our first place, as most do. But as time passed, we were both itching to get out of the city. And becoming more curious about the idea of not wasting our money on rent.
So, just for fun, we started looking at places to buy. The more we looked, the more serious we got about buying. During this time, we also talked about when we wanted to get engaged. Yes, we were very open and deliberate about that topic. We were so excited about this idea of buying a home that we agreed we’d rather do that first and get engaged later. We went with our gut. If we were being pulled in the direction of a home, then that’s where we should go. We knew we’d get engaged, it was just a matter of when.
Six months later, we found a home in Mill Valley that fit everything we were looking for. We’d have a yard for the dog, be surrounded by trees, and have some fun projects to make the place our own. So, we made it happen. The transition to living together was pretty natural because we talked about it a lot before it actually happened. We discussed our expectations, what we’d do if we got annoyed at each other, how we both would want our own space within the house, etc. This made the transition must smoother. And it was the best decision EVER because it was right for us. We’ve absolutely loved living in a place together that we can truly call home.
And the engagement? Well, turns out that happened a year later, when it was right for us.
You go guys! You would fit right in in Canada (the French-speaking part, at least)!
We usually move in together in a rented apartment for a couple of years, eventually buy a house together and then at some point we get engaged. We often don’t get married within a year of being engaged. Some couples even get engaged as a sign of ”seriousness” but never get married. And we have kids at the time we think is best for us, married or not.
Americans seem clueless when they learn we’re not engaged after 5 or 10 years of being together. It’s because marriage is not an accomplishment or social standing for us anymore. We do not define ourselves by our marital status. A lot of us twenty and thirty something were deeply hurt after our parents divorce (not me personally, but you get my point). It left some of us wondering what’s the point of getting married and not wanting to rush into being married and having kids. We figured out non-married couples can be happier and more committed to each other than married-couples.
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