Dating in NYC: The City That Never Sleeps Alone

In NYC, a booming housing market could burst the bubble that is your relationship. Co-sign a lease at your own risk.

It’s not the just the sirens and boisterous NYU students keeping Manhattan awake. One of the reasons New Yorkers never sleep is because they’re often sharing the bed, and not always for the right reasons. With the cost of living being one of the highest in the world, new couples are apt to move in together faster than an express train. The urge to merge isn’t always the function of a romantic desire as it is a practical financial move that can and does have disastrous implications for a new relationship.

Photo courtesy of thenightcircus (Flickr Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of thenightcircus (Flickr Creative Commons)

Take Lola*. At 23, she moved in with her 25 year-old boyfriend. While they had been friends for a couple years, they had only been dating casually for three or four months when Lola’s lease went up. His lease had also expired around the same time, and the two of them, being unsatisfied with their respective apartments, decided to move into a one-bedroom gem in Prospect Heights, Lola “still [has] wet dreams about.” To be clear, she was talking about the apartment, not her former flame. “We decided it was most practical to find a place to share together,” Lola explained.

Lesson #1: Make sure you love the person more than you love the apartment.

Anyway, so Lola and her boyfriend move in before they’ve even made it through a season, and the relationship “predictably imploded,” she said. “I was supremely unhappy. I quietly sobbed ‘What am I going to do?’ to myself in the bathroom mirror on my 24th birthday, 10 days after we moved in.” Not long after that, Lola reunited with an ex, which led to sleeping with said ex, which turned into dating her ex. “It was late February. Neither of us could afford to lose the deposit, and the lease expired October 31st. So we lived together, while I discretely dated my ex boyfriend, for more than eight months.” Awkward.

Lesson #2: Breaking a lease in Manhattan is harder than breaking up a relationship.

Or how about Adam*. He was dating a woman with “an amazing apartment in terms of size and space,” as he recalled. Unfortunately, her place was also located close to train tracks that kept Adam up at all hours. “Somehow I got it in my head that it would just be easier and cheaper for us to move in together, but it was way too early and the apartment we moved into was way too small,” he explained.

Lesson #3: Personal space is real, and you should be ready to part with it for love in New York City

Despite the positive trajectory of their relationship, their brief (nine month) cohabitation set them on a downward spiral. “I never really thought about whether she was a good roommate, because she was a great girlfriend,” Adam said.

Lesson #4: You need more than love to live together.

You think you know a lot about someone when you’re sleeping with them, but the truth is you know nothing. Living together is the ultimate and often fatal test, as Adam discovered. “She worked from home, and somehow that made her exempt from cleaning the house,” he recounted.

Photo courtesy of The Integer Club (Flickr Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of The Integer Club (Flickr Creative Commons)

Mundane things like housekeeping often get overlooked when you’re caught up in the thrill of living together. You think you’re above fighting over something as small as remembering to turn off the lights, or putting the seat down… that is until you find yourself ass first in toilet water. Trust me, I am speaking from personal experience.

Lesson #5: No amount of convenience, luxury amenities or extra cash is worth skin contact with toilet water.

So take it from me, and Lola and Ben. Don’t move in together until you’re emotionally ready. Consider the extra money you might be spending to live alone as a sort of sanity tax. Even if you’re S.O. lives across town, and you’re sick of schlepping, think of it as a free gym membership. Finding a place to live takes a lot out of New Yorkers. It starts with our money and time, and works it’s way up to our humanity and will to live. But whatever you do, don’t let it take away your relationship.

*Changed name

Photo courtesy of scion_cho (Flickr Creative Commons)

Julia Reiss is a Los Angeles-born writer and humorist alive and mostly well in New York City.