25 answers

Moving in with Boyfriend -- Need Advice!

Hi ladies,

I am a divorced mother of a toddler. I've been divorced for a while and have been dating a man who is also divorced, with no children. We recently began discussing the possibility of living together. This is not a relationship where I see either of us going anywhere. My SO is great with my child, and my child adores him. What I was wondering is, if anyone else had ever been in this position, and if they had any advice or concerns that I might not think of. I understand the gravity of this situation, and am not seeking replies judging me. Thanks for the help!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Okay, to clarify -- I meant neither of us is going anywhere, away from the other. Not that the relationship itself is a dead end. Sorry for the miscommunication. Additionally, we've known each other for about a decade, have been very good friends (you know, part of the others life regularly) and have now been together for almost a year. Thanks for the advice, it's really interesting to hear what you all have to say!

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When my son was 2 i moved in with boyfriend. He loved my son and my son loved him. We have been married now for 17 yrs. my son was crying at the wedding for me and as we walked pass my husband picked him up and carried him down the aisle. They have been close forever. My son was adopted be my husband and everything has been great.

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Long time ago when my children were very little, I did that, so I'm speaking to you from experience. Since you are not asking anyone to tell you to do it or not to do it, but rather insight into possible problems with the scenario, I will stick to that. Discipline can become an issue in that even in a normal married with children of their own situation, parents disagree sometimes about what discipline to give, when to give it and for what reasons, etc. It is only natural that no two adults will agree 100% of the time on these things. When it is a man who is not the real father of your child and he is adament that your child should be punished for something and you have a different idea of the way to do things, this can cause a lot of conflict in the home. Not only that, it can cause a lot of anger and resentment between the two adults involved. Although right now you are probably seeing this man through rosy love-tinted glasses, he will definitely not be perfect and there will definitely be issues to arise between you in the future, so you must decide whether to put yourself and your son into a situation where there is a (statistically) good possibility of the two of you not staying together forever. How you handle disagreements between the two of you now may not remain the same once you are living together. That said, it's always a risk to love someone and be with someone. If it works out, you could have a wonderful life ahead as a family; that's the plus side. If it ever turns ugly and you split up, it could be emotionally damaging to your son. Your decision to make and it could go either way. Just weigh the risks. Not every situation is the same. Just reading on here, you can see other people's lives have turned out just fine from the same kind of arrangement. Good luck to you and your son and your SO, no matter what you decide to do about living arrangements.

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I live with my boyfriend of over two years and we moved in together after 2 months because we spent everyday together anyway and we were head over heels in love. My 5 year old son now calls him daddy, but then his dad is not in the picture. It has been a long and hard road for us, but we have teenagers too who don't accept the "non-parent" as a parent and that is the biggest conflict. We are having a baby together now too.

I think that if you are both in love and share each day together anyway, you should go for it. The discussion should come up with his responsibility to your son as a father because that is ultimately what he will be when your son's father is not around and make sure he understands all that it entails and actually wants and accepts that responsibility no matter what arguements arise between the two of you. That is the biggest concern to me. Also, always talk to your son about the changes that will occur regardless of his age or understanding so he is prepared for it. There may be some stress issues regardless if it is a positive change. Children always have to adjust to change and preparing them makes a big difference. Things could occur like your son wanting more attention, falling back on potty training, etc., but he will adjust and be fine.

1 mom found this helpful

When my son was 2 i moved in with boyfriend. He loved my son and my son loved him. We have been married now for 17 yrs. my son was crying at the wedding for me and as we walked pass my husband picked him up and carried him down the aisle. They have been close forever. My son was adopted be my husband and everything has been great.

1 mom found this helpful

Ok, first I want you to know, NO judgements here!!! My question is, if he is not going anywhere, why not set a good example for your son, and yourself, and not move in together. If your SO is not going anywhere, then say to him (with your actions)that you are worth marrying first. You are worth it girl!!!! And if he thinks so, and if he respects you enough, he will marry you b/4 moving in. Just think about what you want to model to your son??? Good luck in your decision!!

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I don't think this is a responsible decision. You would be putting your needs and wants before your child's. Your child is already emotiomally unstable due to your previous divorce. You would be putting your child at risk again for another dad figure leaving. YOU are the mom that needs to be a positive influence in your child's life and teach him the right direction. I understand it is hard being a single parent in every aspect but you have to go with it and do the best you can and remember to put your childs needs and best interest first. If this relationship is that important to you, wait a while and see where you guys stand later down the road.
Good luck!

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I think you're saying that you don't see either of you walking away from the relationship (not that you don't see the relationship going anywhere as might have been misinterpreted by a few others). I'm a newly single mom myself and won't be entering into dating for awhile yet (still pretty new to this).

The big question is are YOU ready for this type of commitment. Is your SO ready to be a dad? Does your son have contact with his dad? If yes, I would think it's important to make sure that your son knows that your SO will not replace his father but will be an additional support person for him. I'd also make darn sure that your son doesn't think he'll be replaced by your SO and will receive any less attention than he is already getting.

I'm sure I'll be in your shoes at some point, so please keep us posted about how things are going.

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Wow, lot's of advice here. My husband and I moved in together after dating for a week. I have two sons and we have since had one child together. We got married after ten years living together only because our youngest wanted us to. We are heading for our 20th anniversary and enjoying our grandchildren.
We as a society have so lost our ability to love trust and expect the best.

Expect the best K. and do what is right for you - make sure the financial stuff is worked out in advance so there are no surprises later.


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Don't do it. Remember that you are a living example of what it means to make good choices. It is so important for children to see a model of good choices, even when it means sacrifice. The fact that you see no future in the relationship indicates that you already know the answer to your question.

Raising emotionally healthy children will be worth every sacrifice you make in the process. I speak from experience. Good luck.

I don't know what to say here... I lived with my husband for a year before we got engaged and married. It was just a timing thing... of course, no kids involved at that time. My brother has been with his fiancee for around 15 years. At the time they started dating she had two young girls (6 and 7y.o.) from a previous terrible marriage. They took it very slow... after several years moved in together and got engaged. Now the girls are college graduates and they have still not "tied the knot", but a more loving, committed couple you will never find. And the girls have benefitted greatly from having my brother in their life. I'm not sure why they aren't "married"... I think they probably will some day... but it really isn't my business. Who is to say that marriage is some guarantee of a great union or of a parent not leaving?! You know that already. I don't think living together without marriage is a terrible thing... as long as you think it's for good. You wouldn't want to play with your son's heart by getting him to accept this new man in his home only to have him leave later. Your reasons for not getting married are your own. I think what's important is to model a respectful, committed relationship for your son. Just don't rush it... you'll know what's right.

Hi K.. I think that if you really do not see your relationship progressing to something you think will last that you should hold off moving in together. It might be more convient with bills and for your relationship, but you have to remember that your child will only grow more attached to this man. I understand that the child already adores him but how will it be when you both part ways? The child will consider him a father-like figure if you share a home together.

I'm confused by something you said-I don't see us going any where. Do you mean in a future relationship together?? If that is the case, don't move in together. You'll only make it harder on your son when the relationship ends with this guy. And who is to say how long from know that will be, 1yr, 2yrs, etc. Your son is 2yrs old and you really don't have to give him much of an explination at this point nor try to get him to understand what is going on.

Now if you mean the two of you aren't going any where with other people, then I say go for it!! My daughter was 3 (almsot 4yrs old) when I moved from IN to SC to be with my now hubby. It was the only life she had known there and she adjusted well to our new evniroment. In fact, she had only been around my hubby a few times before we moved and she adjusted well. Now we've been a happy family for very close to 4yrs now!!

Good luck in which ever decision you make!!

ok here's my advice.
Don't move in.
You do not want to be put in a situation where God for bid something happen and you split, you don't want the legalitys of spliting up when you are living in the same apartment.
IE who keeps the apartment? and since your SO and son get along the split would be extra hard on your son if suddenly the SO isnt there living with you.That is quite a shock.

and the percentige of people that live together before they get married that split up are high.

You may not see you as ever spliting up, if this is true why not just get married, but sometimes you don't see it comming it just happens.

Be cautious. How long have you dated? How well do you know this man? So many young childen are physcially, emotionally and sexually assaulted by the Mother's live in boyfriend. Put your child first in making this decision. Make sure you know the real guy, not the representative you are dating.

Being that neither of you are going anywhere, why won't you get married? Don't settle for less or set below standards for yourchild. Having done it, with a partner ithought was 4 life, i'd highly advise against it. Don't make it so easy for him to have milk w/o buying cow...there is something to be said for old wives tales and the BIBLE.. question your fears and be honest w/ yourself

You didn't say how long you had been in this relationship. I think that is very important. Has it been a year or two months? Even though you don't see him going anywhere, how much have you been through? You don't want to hit your first major crisis and find out that he's going to flake out on you. My main concern letting your young child become attached to someone that may leave. I think it would be traumatic for him if you broke up while living together.

K., I know you have gotten alot of advice and mine may not be worth much, but there are still good legal reasons and protection in a marriage situation. If anything should happen to him(God Forbid) you have no say about medical issues, death issues, or family issues. Have you discussed your finances? How will things be paid, what will you be giving up? In this shaky financial time, are you going to keep the finances separate? How about a will? Theoretically if something happens to him, his family could swoop in and claim all his belongings and you have no say. Not to mention the emotional ties. I agree with some of the ppl here,if you are good enough to move in with you are good enough for the legal and financial protection of marriage. I think the woman has more to give up and lose in these situations....

I do not understand if the relationship is going nowhere why do you want to move in together

I am glad that you clarified this before I finished my comment b/c I was wondering how long you had been together. I was going to suggest waiting until the 1 year mark which is where you are. Now that I know you have known him for 10 years, too, I say go for it. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and I will not only support a decision to live with someone before she thinks about marrying them, but will urge that she do so(not every guy obviously, but if she is thinking about marriage, yes). Others may disagree, but times are different and I would rather her live with someone for awile, get married and stay married than never live together and get a divorce!

Obviously in today's economy, 2 incomes under 1 roof are a huge help. You do however need to ensure that you will be able to continue to support yourself and your son in case things don't work out. Additionally, as mothers, our children are always first and foremost in our hearts. Therefore, do what is in your heart and you and your son will be fine.

Good luck and let us know how it works out!

P.S. I would like to add that there is NOTHING wrong with living with someone with whom you have been in a committed relationship. This is 2008, not 1950. It is naive to think that not living with someone before marriage is the way to go or that it is the "right" example to show your son. Just my humble opinion.


I am sure you have received lots of responses to your request and you have probably already heard this but just in case:) One thing I would be cautious about is that alot of divorce decrees state that neither party can have overnight guests of the opposite sex while the child is in the home...this includes living together. Make sure there is no stipulation in your divorce decree stating this, otherwise you will be in contempt of court and you could lose custody of your child if your child's father wanted to push things. I am sure you already have thought about this as well but as a woman whose step child has gone through this I feel I must say it anyways. Make sure that your relationship is stable before you move your child in with this man. It's very stressful for a young one if things are on again off again. Best of luck to you!


Follow your heart. I did, we lived together first and now we are married. He loves my daughter to pieces. Good luck. SMILE!

Hi K.,
Are you describing me?? I'm in the same situation! The only difference is I do see ours going somewhere. I do have the questions like, what if??The fact of the matter is no one can perdict the future. If you feel this is best for you and your son then the 3 of you should move forward. Getting married and moving forward doesnt have to mean the same thing. If your divorce was like mine, I wouldnt want to hear marriage right away either! But you do have the right to be happy and so does your son. If this is whats right for you then do it. You'll never have all the answers. If you have fears bc of things that your boyfriend is doing or if its similiar to your ex, then dont. You know best and you'll make the right decision. Dont worry about others judging you, you and only you know whats best for your family:) Best of luck to you guys!

Well, I moved in with my husband and we are going on ten years now. We had both been married before and he had children when he was around age 20 they were about adult when we got together and that was his life before us. They of course are grown with their own kids living their own lives. As far as your situation as long as he treats your child fair and lets you call the rules for your child I say it's ok. Not sure what a SO is but if this child is not his just remember you call the shots as far as the child goes period. Well i can say this some folks after being divorced just plan don't want to remarry and that's fine there are many couples that live together and don't get married ever well here's a famous couple that isn't and have out lasted many couples dating, living or married Goldie Haun and Kurt Russell. I knew of old folks 20 years ago I was a private nursing assistance to from an agency and they didn't get married and I mean they were in their 70's and some in their 80's, you ask why didn't they??? some told me because they would lose their spouse's death income to them and it wasn't worth it for last name sake. Others told me it made them young again and that's how they felt even if they were in wheelchairs so I think marriage is a personal opinion to oneself. Oh, yes here's one that will curl the hair of some my Dad after my mother died didn't remarry Why?, the lady he loved so very much at the nursing home also loved my father they held hands were together until my father died she had altizimere and her son said no....so that's with all of that I'm not judging you as far as you and your son go if you move in together think about how an apt lease should read and they might make both of you put it in both names and if he leaves could you pay for it, most places with a notice will let you break the contact if their is someone waiting to take your place. make sure you inventory you things so that if you break up you can get your stuff and take it with you also check with an attorney to see ways to safe guard yourself about such a decision and if you are happy and not wanting this situation to go anywhere else then it's fine and up to you but don't do it thinking later it will make him change his mind and then end of disappointed, also a doctor told me something about relationships years back (wish I listened) let the honeymoon period of a relationship end and see what it's like in 6 months to 1 year then think about moving in with someone. Best wishes to you...personal opinion see how you fill in 6 months about living together then consider it and take action you fell is best.

If you have an extra room make it 'his room' and be roommates as far as your son sees. This way it negates any confusion for you son. Also, don't worry so much about what people are going to think. This is your life and being a parent is not a right or wrong choice it is the best one you can make. If someone has never been in your situation they will have no idea really of what you are going through.
Good luck

I would suggest that you and your S.O. talk about how things will work in this new arrangement. Please don't expect that things will just work out. You two need to lay out a plan of expectations that will work for both of you.

Talk about divison of labor between you and him and YOUR son (when he get old enough to do chores). for example,if you cook, he washes dishes. Or will you wash dishes together. What chores will your son do? Take out trash, mow lawn, what ever. But thats's when he is old enough to do something. He can do small stuff when he turns 4.

Money: According to the experts, how much of your incomes goes towards house hold expenses should be a ratio based on your income and not 50:50, unless you two make the same amount of money. If he makes 2x as much as you, he should contribute 2x as much. You both should have a join account for paying bills, a joint savings account for household emergencies or joint purchases and separate savings.

Debt: Does he have debt or you have debt? How will you pay that off?

Long range plans: buying a house, saving for a house, paying for it. Children, how many, when to have, daycare, verses staying at home. Public school vs private.

Discipline: Since it your child, you need to be the one that does most of the discipling. He should be able to do some, but that's really on you. He will be there to support you.

Growing a family. Since you said that you two plan on being together indefinitely, you'll need to consider family size. If you two have a child together, then of course discipline will have to be consistant between the children. I have seen where the boyfriend will just adore the step-child until they have their own child together and then he starts to favor his child over the step. He will be more critical of the step child than his own, or at least it may be precieved that way.

Please note that what ever plan you two come up with, it will change over time and your family grows and your incomes change. You both need to be willing to renegociate.

When a woman gets married her household chores go up by 8 hours a week and a husband's go down one hour. Even though you are not married, you can expect to do more work as you are auditioning to be his wife. Don't let him just come in and prop his feet up on the table and ask what's for dinner, while you work your butt off at home and at the office. I know chores won't ever be 50:50, but it shouldn't be 98:2 either.

I wish you all the best. Getting married does not mean your relationship will last longer. You two need to have the same vison on the direction you want your family and life to go and be willing to do what you say.

The only concern I would have is for your son. He already adores this man, should you move in with him, his little mind could see this as permenant. And you already mentioned that you don't see this relationship going anywhere. This could be a crushing blow to your son, when/if you move out one day. I did something similar a long time ago and although I didn't move in with my boyfriend (who had a daughter your son's age), I did spend a lot of weekend there and when our relationship ended, the little girl wanted to know why her "other mommy left us"? That was how she saw me, she never told me or her father this under I was gone. That haunted me for a long time. Please just consider your son. No judgements here, just a thought from someone who's kind of been where you're about to go. It's your life and I hope you make the right choice for you both. Good luck.

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