Fifty-plus years ago, the American male went to college, found a wife, then immediately jump-started a family—going straight from the dorm to the den. In 1960 the average age of marriage was 22; now it’s nearly 30. The upsides to this trend are obvious and well-documented: a longer, richer single life, more time to learn what you like (and what you don’t) in relationships, more boozy trips to Vegas. Yet there’s one sneaky catch: After years of living alone, men who do finally move in with a woman, be it a girlfriend, a fiancée, or eventually a wife, have the cohabitation skills of a 7-year-old.
The change can seem daunting. “I was worried we’d end up hating each other,” one friend tells me. Another confessed, “Doubling down on the time we spent together seemed like asking for trouble.” Or, as a third put it—speaking, no doubt, for legions of guys everywhere: “There’s only one ideal living arrangement for any couple: separate but adjacent mansions.”
So on the off chance you can’t swing the whole mansion thing, follow this advice from the experts when moving in with your squeeze.
Jeff Wilser is the author of Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life (Three Rivers Press.)