1 Lisa and Bryan Do Their Homework, Talk About Shacking Up | The Billfold

Lisa and Bryan Do Their Homework, Talk About Shacking Up

Lisa and Bryan are moving in together and, against everyone’s better judgment, are documenting it on the internet. Lisa’s terrible with money, and Bryan is great with money. THE STORY SO FAR


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to INDIVIDUALLY READ OVER this list of things to consider before shacking up lovingly prepared for you by Katie Wilson. Then have a discussion about them! I don’t recommend going through the whole list at once! Neither does Katie! So: Read. Talk. Laugh. Cry. Hug. High Five.

THEN, a few days later, have a gchat conversation with each other while you’re sitting across from each other (this is important) … and then send me the transcript of your convo to put on the internet, because that’s the world you’ve chosen to live in. 
Hello! We did it!  We talked, we typed, we laughed, we cried. PASTED BELOW.

Lisa: So this is fun! You and I sitting in the same room gchattin’.

Bryan: It’s like when we first started dating and we did this all day at work.

Lisa: So you and I looked at Katie’s list of roommate drama last Monday and I’ll be honest, it was a little difficult. There were a few things I wasn’t ready to talk about yet.

Bryan: It was a very extensive list, and Katie did make a point of saying she didn’t recommend going through all these things at once. But there were many things that I thought would be conversations down the line. 

Lisa: Right, but a lot of it was good to get out of the way, like – the whole “saying goodbye” scenario. It’s a good idea to establish a routine now and not get into a situation down the road where one of us is upset and other didn’t know it was a thing that could upset someone

Bryan: I think we have a pretty good hello/goodbye routine

Lisa: (you type really fast) (and look really cute doing it)

Bryan: Thanks. I feel like a lot of these things we have just naturally found our answers to

Lisa: Like what?

Bryan: Like who gets in the shower first.The answer is both of us.

Lisa: Oh yes—we are so environmentally friendly by showering together everyday.

Bryan: Look—We love the earth. People need to know. Also we’re pretty good at handling our own joint social calendar.

Lisa: Yeah! We have been good at that, but a lot of the spending stuff we have yet to resolve. Thanks to a lot of the commenters on our last piece, we have decided that we don’t necessarily have to pay the exact same in rent for it to be “even”.

Bryan: Right. We decided that both of us should contribute proportional to our income.

Lisa: Fair! Man – we got through the tough stuff pretty easily. So… how many kids do you want?

Bryan: Ahahaha. Right now? None.

But who knows down the road? Remember – we need a certain number of awesome weekends before that is even a discussion

Lisa: 100!! 100 awesome weekends before I will share my daily life with another being who is not you.

Bryan: YES! Also some of the questions like decorating the apartment etc seem like discussion for after we move. The size of the apartment, number of rooms and what not will determine the furniture we need to purchase

Lisa: Right. But… we didn’t’ talk about who will pay for those things. I don’t have any extra money, and I assume will have even less after the move, so I’m fine with the couch and bed and dining room table we have now

Bryan: Me too. And if there are things we really want, we will save for them.

Lisa: I mean… I won’t want to have company over until we have chairs for that dining room table, but for you and me (and Henry, the cat), that’s ok.

Bryan: We’re not trying to go poor to get furniture

Lisa: Right (well, more poor, in my case).

Bryan: Plus, I’m a good bargain shopper. I’m sure we can find things that we like at low! low! prices. I got this couch for very cheap – like 75% off.

Lisa: Really??? This is such a beautiful couch! I’m sorry I stained it with eye make up and nacho cheese. In the new place, let’s make sure we have a table so we don’t have to always eat on the couch.

Bryan: Stains tell stories! Remember when we used to put towels down when we ate on the couch. That didn’t last very long

Lisa: Remember when you used to flip the cushions over so I would only see the clean side? That didn’t last too long either.

Bryan: Well, yeah, because you started spilling on the clean sides! Ahahahahahaha

Lisa: Jerk! Speaking of messes, we kinda touched on household responsibilities when we talked last week, but didn’t really figure it out fully.

Bryan: We discussed that you have a house cleaner but she never comes and we can cut that out.

Lisa: We’re actually both really good at cleaning. During the trial week where you moved into my place [over Thanksgiving, Lisa's roommates were out of town, and Bryan "moved in" for the week to see if they'd kill each other. They didn't.] we spent a day cleaning and were both very much on the same page. I didn’t think I could love you more until I saw you with a dust pan.

Bryan: We did a great job of cleaning together. And we talked about taking the bills other than rent and each taking a fair share, so that’s resolved.

Lisa: Wait. Does “fair” mean “monetarily equall”?

Bryan: Possibly

Lisa: woah woah woah. You can’t say this is resolved and then use a word like, “possibly”

Bryan: I think we really need to see what all the bills are going to be. We can’t speculate on what our expenses are going to be until we get in the new place and set up account sand see what they cost. Then we can break it down based on what we can handle.

Lisa: Alright, I like that. And we decided no joint checking accounts. That’s too much right now, right?

Bryan: I think so. Down the road that will definitely probably be what we do.

Lisa: Right, once we decide how many children we want.

Bryan: Haha. Right. Then we can figure out how much each kid will pay for utilities!
I currently pay for all those things in my place on my own. You share them with roommates. So if you continue paying what your share breaks down to I will still probably be playing less than I do now, so we could easily split the savings difference.

Lisa: That sounds like a plan. How about how many days we spend together a week?

Bryan: Oh yeah, all of them. We are going to be living together!!!

Lisa: Right! So it’s cool that we do our own thing after work, and meet back at home at night

Bryan: You will still have your girls nights, and I will still have my plans and then yes we will meet back at home. Plus we have already discussed that date nights will not go away. We already found ourselves in a couch TV surfing routine and remedied it by planning a date night. I never want to stop having nights where you put on a dress and I get to take you out. I love those nights

Lisa: Me too!! I hope we’re not being too naive about this, but I feel like we’re in a really good space. We’ve both discussed that this is a much more mature relationship that anything we’ve ever been in before

Bryan: Very much so.

Lisa: What about goals? My goal is to pay off all my debt.

Bryan: My goal is to get my car paid off ASAP and then use that money to start saving for the future. I have no retirement plan now and want to change that. I like that you have a 401K.

Lisa: Yes! I like that, too. But I have about $10,000 in my 401K now and in retirement terms, that’s nothing!

Bryan: We have many more years of working ahead of us. We’ll be fine.
Truthfully, when going through this list I found a lot of these things had come up naturally in conversation already

Lisa: I think both of us were ready to kinda “settle down” (gag me) when we met, so a lot of this stuff was on our minds

Bryan: Very true. And like I told you when we talked about Katie’s list, that I want to have our own list. Every relationship is different and we’ve gone up against some things that weren’t included here.

Lisa: Right! Like, who lights the menorah? And, are we going to have a Christmas tree? Religion stuff has been important to me, and while it’s not on Katie’s list, it’s on our list.

Bryan: Very true. That was one of the big things we tackled first. I’m getting pretty good at my menorah prayers – and in Hebrew, at that.

Lisa: You are! Santa will reward you. So… last question on the list. What do we do if we break up?

Bryan: Well I get Henry. [Henry is Lisa's very large cat who is always wearing at least one item of clothing. He has one of those robot cat bathrooms because she hates him.]

Lisa: Hmmm… Fine by me. He gets hairballs twice a week. Enjoy.

Bryan: And I guess if we break up you will just throw all my stuff on the lawn and burn it. Isn’t that how it works?

Lisa: I guess we need to find a place with a lawn.

Bryan: Honestly, I know where Katie’s heading, but it seems a little weird to have a break up plan. We probably shouldn’t be moving in together if we are already putting that plan together.

Lisa: Fair! I don’t want to talk about breaking up.

Bryan: Me neither.

Lisa: Hey – do you want pizza tonight, or the left over lasagna?

Bryan: Maybe both.

Lisa: Ok cool. Let’s heat that up and watch some UFC.

Bryan: FIGHT NIGHT!!!!!! (not with each other, on the TV)

Lisa: I love you, Bryan.

Bryan: I love you too.

Logan: (pukes)


Lisa and Bryan live in LA. This is their story


22 Comments / Post A Comment

Blondsak (#2,299)

RE: “We probably shouldn’t be moving in together if we are already putting that plan together.”

In a word: nope. It’s actually quite prudent to write up a list/document/whatever of agreed-upon break up plans while you are together and therefore presumably care about each other’s wants and desires. This is why prenups exist too – it’s not just about money or property, it’s also about minimizing the emotional fallout. Recognizing that you may not be together someday isn’t discounting how much you love each other now – it’s accepting the reality that you dreams/goals/etc. change and evolve, and often not in the same direction as your partner.

However,I will say that it might be a good idea to wait until a month or two after you move in to make it. My boyfriend and I have lived together for 2+ years, and only discussed this in any depth probably 6 months to 1 year after the move. By then our lives together were pretty well meshed (though we still keep all finances separate), and we knew better what would have to be untangled in a post-break up world.

deepomega (#22)

@LO Yeah. “I don’t want to think about bad things” is not a good reason to not have a plan. If it’s more helpful, frame it as “what if one of us was hit by a bus” – breakups are sometimes unavoidable! You should be ready for them just like you should be ready for an earthquake.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

@LO We have discussed breakup plans, but more a bunch of tiny plans when relevant. For example, when we were looking to buy a new mattress. He wanted to split it, but I asked “what will happen if we break up???” (I ended up buying the mattress myself, because I make more money)

Same thing with signing a lease together. “What if we break up before the lease is over?”

My boyfriend lived with a girlfriend in college. They had been dating for six years and shared a bunch of things. When they mutually decided they had changed and broke up, they still had a month left on their lease and only one bed. They both slept in the same bed for A MONTH after breaking up. Neither wanted to back down and sleep on the couch or the floor. I never want to find myself in this scenario, thus, discussing it now.

ThatJenn (#916)

@LO Yes, this. It doesn’t have to be highly detailed (“I get this CD and you get this piece of furniture”), but you should have a sense of who would stay in the apartment (staying might not be an awesome deal since an apartment for two is expensive for one!), ownership of pets you get together, and assumption of any major bills you sign on for together (like if you borrowed money to buy a car jointly, or if one of you ends up paying the cell phone bill for both of you, or whatever). It doesn’t have to be all iron-clad or whatever, it’s just good to be clear. I also try to be clear when my partner and I buy big-ticket items together where they might fall. (You’ll get the XBox and the smaller TV if we split up, I’ll keep the bigger TV and the Wii.)

By the way, this also helps if you ever have to split up your household but not your relationship, like if one of you gets a job somewhere else and you’re temporarily long-distance. Think of it in those terms if you need to. Pretend the other person is maybe moving to another country so splitting bills isn’t very possible.

probs (#296)

Hahaha Logan. “That’s the world you have chosen to live in.”

Oh, this actually ended up going well and nobody is breaking up? I hope you both die.

@Reginal T. Squirge Umm… Happy Holidays? Bryan and I will make sure it states in our respective wills that you are notified of our deaths. Don’t party too hard.

Bah! Humbug!

@Reginal T. Squirge WHOA MAN NOT THE KIND OF LANGUAGE WE NEED RIGHT NOW/EVER. the only people it’s appropriate to wish death upon is ourselves. okay bye!

Just jokes. Sorry.

Megano! (#124)

Ugh, you guys are nauseatingly cute! I mean that in the nicest possible way.

zou bisou (#1,637)

@Megano! or just nauseating

honey cowl (#1,510)

Lisa & Bryan! I love them. Go Lisa & Bryan.

eagerber (#1,958)

I would love hear more about their trial week! That seems like a good idea–was it? Did they learn anything new/surprising?

@eagerber It was a good idea! And I think it went very well. Although, I don’t know if anything will prepare us for living together until it happens. This was kinda just like… playing house over vacation.

Maybe we’ll talk about it the next time we publicly decide to document this journey (assuming we don’t get any other death threat jokes :/ ).

eagerber (#1,958)

@Kara M & Lisa L@twitter Awesome! I would definitely like to hear more. I moved in with a boyfriend pretty young (24) and pretty temporarily (I was starting grad school six months later) and more out of necessity (to save money for grad school), and we weren’t really planning for a lifetime together or anything–well, I wasn’t. We wound up fighting a lot after made the move, which makes sense to me now–we didn’t discuss ANY of the things on Katie’s list at all.

Now that I’m older, and have been living by myself for a while, I bookmarked Katie’s list and will consider referencing it if/when the time is right for my current SO and me.

Thanks for all your input thus far, through the public arena of the interwebs. Best of luck to you guys :)

Bryan@twitter (#2,569)

@eagerber Trial week #2 starts Friday, so we should have plenty of material to share.

eagerber (#1,958)

@Bryan@twitter Yessssss!

We totally do the showering together thing, too, and have joked about how we’ll manage our stuff if we were to split up.

I will say that even after six years of cohabiting, we still clash, particularly over cleaning.

LHOOQ (#1,634)

I was going to be all like, WHO SHOWERS TOGETHER EVERY DAY, but then the commenter above does it as well, apparently. I have many objections to the practice, but the main one is that only one person can really be under the stream of water at a time, at least in my shower, leaving the other person to shiver awkwardly. Other objections relate to questions regarding how much actual washing really occurs when co-showering, my tendency to remember things in the shower, and the fact that neither of us is awake enough in the morning to share the shower stall, soap, and hot water in a civilised, unselfish fashion.

selenana (#673)

@LHOOQ Yeah I’m with you. I did this with my ex for awhile but it got old fast.

That said, they live in LA, so there shouldn’t be that much shivering.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@LHOOQ Me too.
My partner and I do it sometimes, for funsies, but after a couple of minutes it’s like “OK, this is nice but I’m going to clean myself now” and my partner hops out and continues on his merry way, doing whatever he was doing.
Doing that every day sounds really tiresome. Do they at least have a huge shower and his n hers showerheads? This could only work with 2 showerheads, I think.

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