Picture it. Brooklyn. Yesterday. 10:30pm

Five young ladies are sitting around eating ice cream and gossiping about the weekend’s events, work, life, the usual, when one of them says “I’m so excited to move into my new place, the honey has been helping me pack?” As my friend goes on and on about how sweet her man is for helping her move, another friend cuts her gushing short and asks “So is he getting a key?” Two more friends jump in with their two cents:

Friend 2: “Oh hell no! He doesn’t pay bills there, why the hell should he have a key?”

Friend 3: “Please forget bills, she doesn’t have the key to his place. Besides, I’ll be damned if a man has access to me 24/7.”

**To be fair, the boyfriend in question lives in a two family home that he’s renting from his friend. Upstairs lives his friend, friend’s wife and two small kids. It would be out of line to give out a key to essentially someone else’s home.**

That one question leads to an all night debate with three of them saying hell no, one saying why the hell not and me confused as hell. My friend and her guy have been together a little over a year and so far he appears to treat her better than any man before him. He’s been consistently encouraging, supportive and caring over the last year and she says she trusts him not pop up or take advantage. Her consensus, if anyone she’s dated deserves a key it would be him. However, I also understand the other side. He doesn’t pay bills there and they aren’t married.

But does he have to pay bills in order to deserve a key? I thought love, respect and how one was treated were more important criteria than whether he foots the bill for the cable or not. If he paid bills there, but treated her like a gutter snipe whore (cue my granny) would he deserve a key then? And outside of not doing it to show basic courtesy and respect, so what if he did pop up, if you have nothing to hide should it even matter that he comes over unannounced? Should a man/woman not get a key until they are at least engaged or can giving your partner your key just be another step in the relationship that hopefully will lead to the end goal of marriage?

There are so many questions and just as many conflicting answers. I’m not too sure where I stand on the issue just yet, but I figure when it’s my turn I’ll just trust my instincts my heart and God to guide me towards the best decision.

What do you think about giving a key to someone you’re dating? Is there a time limit before keys are exchanged? Should you be married first?

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