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June 2012
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Don't be in a hurry to move in together

Dear Annie: All the advice columns I've read recommend not moving in together before marriage -- or at least not before you and your partner have been dating for a year. I get the logic behind that, but in real life, things rarely follow a perfect timeline. In my case, my boyfriend of six months, "Michael," has to move out of his house because his landlord is selling it. He has two months to find another place. We think it makes the most sense for him to move in with me. My apartment is plenty big. We'd both save money. We get along great and spend so much time together as it is.

Sure, I always thought I would wait a year before moving in with someone, too. But Michael and I have a great thing going. We have off-the-charts romantic chemistry, and we're very compatible as friends. We've never even had a fight.

We have discussed our living styles and think we would make good roommates. We're both in our mid-20s. What do you think? And please, with all due respect, I don't want to hear that "why buy the cow" line. I'm not writing to you for a lecture on marriage. -- Roommates-to-Be

Dear Roommates: Imagine a house that has no foundation but just sits atop the dirt. It may have been carefully constructed, with sturdy wooden walls and a dazzling slate roof. But when a hurricane blows through and there's nothing keeping the whole thing grounded, how long do you think that house will last?

No matter how great your chemistry with Michael, you don't deeply know each other. No matter how sunny things are now, storms will appear on the horizon eventually. (By the way, I wouldn't be so proud about never having had a fight. It's healthy to have conflicts in close relationships. It means you're both expressing yourselves.)

Convenience is not a good enough reason to move in together. Move in together when it's because it's the step you want to take in your relationship. You will never regret waiting; you'll very likely regret not waiting.

Dear Annie: Would you please print a reminder to people who donate food to food banks/pantries not to donate expired food? The Postal Service's Stamp Out Hunger food drive happened recently, so we have been sorting the food. If the canned goods have expired within the past five months, there is still some shelf life; we put those items in the front of the pantry so the clients can take them if they want them.

But today we had to throw out a lot of food -- things that expired anywhere from June 2004 (yes, 13 years ago) to December 2016. It seems the people who donated the expired food were looking for an excuse to clean out their cabinets. They should have thrown out the food long ago.

This made me sad. Do people really think pantries should distribute 13-year-old food to the hungry? -- Pantries Across America

Dear Pantries: That is sad indeed. Folks, check those expiration dates before donating. And for your own health, clean out your cupboards more than once a decade.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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