Moving in together: what's the sitch?
There are all sorts of questions couples have about when and if they should move in together, but if you’ve decided to take the leap, you’re probably looking for different answers now. Living together is a big step, and it comes with a lot of new experiences, particularly in the first few months. You’ll be getting used to one another’s quirks and habits, not to mention learning how to manage a household together. For the best chance at success and happiness, keep these things in mind:
Set Expectations for Cleanliness
If you’re a neat freak and your partner is, to put it nicely, not, you’ll likely butt heads early on. Instead of jumping in without knowing what to expect, talk about how you both like to keep a house. Make some compromises so neither of you has to change too much, as that wouldn’t be fair. If you like to keep the kitchen clean, maybe you both can agree to put the dishes in the dishwasher right after using them. If they have a habit of dumping their dirty clothes on the floor, keep several laundry baskets around the house that are easy to access.
Talk About Division of Chores
Speaking of cleanliness, the most common point of contention between couples living together is chores. One person might feel like they do the majority of the chores, which can lead to resentment. Don’t let it get to that point; the first day you move in together, talk about the chores. It might be helpful to list out common household chores and decide who will do what, or what kind of rotation schedule you want to establish. If you set expectations, you won’t be caught off guard.
Don’t Spend All Your Time Together
That’s the point of living together, isn’t it? Well, too much of a good thing can sometimes not be so good after all. In the excitement of finally living together, you might not realize that you don’t spend time with anyone else. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t enjoy one another’s company, but in a healthy relationship, couples need to have a sense of independence. Make sure you take time for yourself, even when you’re both under the same roof.
Don’t Ask Them to Get Rid of Any of Their Belongings
Popular sitcoms like to portray a common situation: a couple moves in together, and right away the woman criticizes everything the man owns that she thinks is “stupid.” It’s funny on TV, but in reality, our belongings hold memories. They connect us to the past. Even something that might seem silly to you could hold special meaning to your partner. That’s why when you’re unpacking and getting everything set up, don’t suggest they get rid of any of their things or tell them they won’t need something. That’s for them to decide, and the same goes for things they tell you that you should chuck.
Accept That Some of Their Habits Will Annoy You
That catchphrase they say in every Zoom meeting? It’s cute at first, but it will become annoying the eight-thousandth time you hear it. The clicking sound they make when they’re bored watching TV? Before long, it’ll make your ears bleed. But, instead of bringing it up and demanding they change a habit they’re probably not even aware of, take a step back and think about whether or not it really matters. Also keep in mind that if you open that can of worms, you just might be clued in to some of your own less than desirable habits.
Decide How You’ll Split Costs
Along with chores, money is another thing couples are likely to fight about once they start living together. You should have a firm idea of how costs will be split up, like household staples, food, and of course rent and utilities. Some couples split everything down the middle, while others base it on income. Go with whatever works for you, but definitely have the financial aspects of living together worked out before you even move those boxes in.
Don’t Stop Dating
Living together isn’t the end of the road (especially if marriage is on your mind). You might spend a lot of time together, but it’s not the same as getting dressed up and going out to eat or catching a movie. There’s a special aspect to dating that keeps you excited about the relationship and your partner, and there’s no reason to let that go when you move in. Make sure you plan to spend time out of the home so you can appreciate your situation even more when you come back to it.