So, my partner and I just moved into our own place — and it’s (high octave) a pretty big deal. Not least because I was once convinced the closest I’d come to a romantic relationship would be drunk platonic spooning with my semi-attractive, lightweight (and adamantly heterosexual) second cousin in the dank basement of his Katoomba home.

As a gay couple in Australia, signing a joint lease form is essentially the closest we’ll ever get to a legally-recognised relationship short of adopting a three-legged pomeranian-shitzu (true story) called Frankie. So, we basically just got married. Real-estate gay-married. Mazel tov!

Now, not to get dumped.

Moving in with your lover can be a daunting prospect for a number of reasons. Spatially, you’re condensing two adult lives into the one over-priced studio apartment. And not everything’s going to fit. You might have to surrender a portion of your embarrassing Vogue back-catalogue to make room for their (even more embarrassing) Japanese bonsai collection. In turn, it might be sayanara to their prized 90s surround-sound stereo system, freeing up valuable space for your vinyl.

There will need to be compromise in basic living routines, too — specifically in cleanliness. Perhaps your partner drip-dries their tupperware, while you’d rather it be hand-towelled and put away. Are you expected to rinse dishes and cutlery before stacking the washer? How many days before a bathmat becomes untreadable? It’s important to ask these questions if you’re to avoid the most passively notorious of all relationship killers: the hygiene hierarchy.

Trust me. Get your various washing cycles in sync, stat.

Now remember, you’re not just signing up to share a postcode. You’re signing up to share your ugliest moments with another real-life human being; to live un-edited lives, perhaps for the first time. Once blissfully shacked up, there’s no more rolling shit in glitter. No more Valencia-filtered dick pics. No more hiding embarrassing creature-comforts.

It’s love: ingrown thigh-hairs, backne, constipation and all.

Perhaps the most poignant implication of living together, however, is the unspoken understanding that you and your partner will now share an indefinite future. I mean, you’ve just signed a 12-month lease, a 24-month broadband internet plan — you share a wifi password and landline number. That’s about as validating as a modern-day relationship gets. Where once your relationship was set on the fertile grounds of free-will, it’s now set in concrete. Your love becomes (both socially and to some extent legally) contractual.

Now, this is obviously great if (like me) you’re “dating-up” and want to seal the deal before they inevitably come to their senses. It’s not so great if either you or your partner isn’t 100 per cent down with the whole long-term, boring-nights-in, sharing-socks-and-underpants relationship thing. After a while their snoring won’t be cute; their flatulence, no longer funny. Endearment will grow slowly into resentment — and it’ll be back to Gumtree searching for another bedroom in a “heaps creative, queer friendly, and affordable” inner-west share-house.

So if you and your other-half just aren’t there yet, please don’t rush into it. After all, when it comes to moving in with your lover, I think TLC said it best.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Or you’ll get dumped, hard.

Samuel Leighton-Dore is a Sydney-based writer and director. His best-selling eBook Love or Something Like It is available now and his forthcoming children’s book I Think I’m A Poof will be released in February. Click here for details.

Follow Samuel on Twitter via @SamLeightonDore

**This article was first published in the January edition of the Star Observer, which is available to read in digital flip-book format. To obtain a hard copy, click here to find out where you can grab one in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and select regional/coastal areas.

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