Living together before you get married is a must. You never know anyone until you see their unabridged personal life. It’s hard to hide who you are when you sleep, eat and breath within 2500 sq feet of each other on a daily basis. Anyone can portray beauty, style and grace a few times a week, for a couple of hours. Case in point, many years ago I had been introduced to a sexy older woman that had an interest in investing in one of my fitness ventures. She had divorced very well and had money to burn so she asked me if she could be my silent partner. I needed a investor with deep pockets that would allow me to create my dream facility. I knew this was going to be a terrible mistake but I allowed my business greed to cloud my personal judgement. So the night we made the deal, we went out to celebrate and I somehow ended up in her bed the next morning (doesn’t that sound innocent?) Now I was sleeping with my investor. (aren’t I genius! this was probably one of the worst mistakes that I have ever made. It actually gets worse. This casual sex some how turned into a relationship that resulted in us moving in together after only 6-weeks! (And I’m a relationship expert???) Yes I am. From experience my dear reader. The point is that I was living with a virtual stranger. Her first order of business was to claim stake to the 12 by 12 cedar walk in closet. She did this changing the locks and NOT giving me a key. Her explanation was that the closet would by housing her diamond jewelry and fine furs and didn’t want any apartment building personnel to have access. Excuse me, am I apartment building personnel? Where the f**ck is my key? I let that one slide, wouldn’t want to upset investor/girlfriend. Then she announced that every other friday she had to fly down to Miami (alone) and model diamond necklaces at parties for some old guy that owned a jewelry store. What? Oh it was okay because he was going to pay her $2500.00 for the weekend. At this point I felt like I was living in a different galaxy with some freakish martian. She would come back late sunday night (mind you, she would not contact me or answer my calls the whole weekend) looking like she had been on a 3 day bender of hard liquor and narcotics. She would sleep till 2 pm on Monday and show up at “our” facility for work at 4 pm exhausted, miserable and exceptionally demanding. Our fledging business was experiencing growing pains and cash flow wasn’t what she had expected. Maybe it was do in part to her 3 hour daily ” liquid power lunches” that she expected me to be her escort on. I was never a big drinker, so Belvedere and tonic wasn’t my drink of choice to go with my seared tuna. She had an exceptional relationship with Mr. Belvedere and tonic and would consume between 6 and 8 drinks during lunch. She then would demand sex in a public place and expect me to perform at an optimal level while I tried to please her in the stall of the men’s bathroom while the attendant pretended not to see us. Then she would beg me to have one more cocktail before we left. During our “cocktail” she would usually become wildly bipolar and start to cry over anything from our business to her general disappointment in life, Her sorrow would eventually turn into blind rage where she would verbally abuse me for the color of my shirt. This was usually followed by the “burning of sage” ritual at our facility to ensure that she “cleared” all the bad energy from our business so we could make money. So this was not only my girlfriend but also my business partner! As my investor she was responsible for the money in which I drew from the business. I was totally dependent on this unstable woman for my business as well as my personal success. How could I have gotten myself into this mess.
It all ended one monday afternoon when my investor/girlfriend didn’t show up for work. Around 4:30 my cell phone rang and I just assumed it was my cranky investor/girlfriend calling me to bitch. It was very surprising to hear Detective Charles on the other end of the line. “Hello Mr. Titus, my name is Detective Charles and we have just taken your girlfriend into custody for drug possession and trafficking.” As it turned out my “live in girlfriend/investor” turned out to be a notorious drug dealer and trafficker that was wanted in 3 states for felony drug possession. Who would’ve thunk it? Since I was never a drug user or seller I had no idea what the signs were. I was lucky enough to bring in another investor and eventual sell my facility 2 years later for a profit. The takeaway from this story is to truly understand what you are getting into when you decide to move in with a significant other. As I had mentioned, it is imperative to do this if your eventual goal is marriage. Here are 10 things to do when you move in with someone so you can clearly see who they are.
1. Do not become financially dependent on each other. Do not merge bank accounts. Have one account that is for bills that you both contribute to.
2. Make sure that there is enough space so you can feel like each of you are alone even when you are home together.
3. Living together doesn’t mean that you have to be together anymore than you were before you moved in with each other.
4. Expect to see sides of each other that you didn’t know existed. Trust me, you can’t hide “the crazies” we all have them.
5. Be prepared for the relationship to become a lot more real. It will lose the luster but it will be replaced with substance and strength.