It’s official: You’re moving out—or in, rather—with your significant other. You two have had such a great relationship, it’s about time you had a place of your own too, right?
But moving in together, like pretty much everything, is easier said than done. “You're agreeing to share your lives, not just your living space,” explains relationship expert and author Marshall Miller in his Men’s Health article “Should You Shack Up?”.
To make sure your move is a smooth one, check out the 10 things couples should consider. Click on a title to read all about it or simply read on:
- Know the reasons why
- Your relationship will change
- Get into the habit
- Spot the difference
- Becoming "thisclose"
- Division of labor
- Possession obsession
- Money matters
- Easy does it
- You'll never know it all
KNOW THE REASONS WHY
Before you start dreaming of home décor and lazy Sundays with your man, take a step back and really think the move through. Are you doing it because you’re ready to take your relationship farther? Do you see marriage in the near future? Or are you just looking to get out of your parent’s house?
No matter what the reason, make sure the two of you recognize and share them with each other early on. This will help form the basic foundation for a happy home.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WILL CHANGE
Whether or not you have the tied the knot, couples living together for the first time still experience many of the same adjustments associated with being just married. This includes paying bills, doing chores, and other less-than-romantic things. Plus the excitement you now feel when you see your partner may eventually wear off when you start seeing him every day.
These things are expected, of course, but do remember to have the occasional night out and shake up your routine every now and then. (For a guy’s perspective, check out Askmen.com’s "Keeping your Relationship Interesting.")
[Click here for tips on keeping the romance fresh]
GET INTO THE HABIT
You never really know a person until you live with them. In fact, you’ll probably learn more about each other in a month of living together than you did during years of dating.
Now, there are the cute habits (i.e., he wears a tattered old Mickey Mouse shirt to bed), and there are the not-so-cute habits (i.e., leaving the bathroom looking like a waterspout exploded in it after every use). Just keep in mind that, when living together, you’re bound to come across a bit of both.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
Differences are great and can even be amusing when you don’t have to live with them. Now that you do, though, a few adjustments must be made. You won’t just be thinking for yourself anymore. You now have to consider another person’s food preferences, sleeping habits, and the like.
Sure, you moved in so you could be together, but that doesn’t mean you have to be joined at the hip. Finding a little alone time can be a bit difficult, especially since you two probably have different definitions about what constitutes “personal space.”
In general, be mindful to give one another enough space and time to do usual everyday things, such as answer e-mails, read books, etc. Also try to carve out your own space at home—no matter how small—where you can go for some quiet time. (Find out how to maximize your home space at HGTV’s Style At Home.)
(Photo source: sxc.hu)
DIVISION OF LABOR
Housework isn't exactly the most romantic topic, but it’s a necessary one nonetheless. “Everything doesn’t have to be fifty-fifty,” states Andrew Cherlin Ph.D. in Men’s Health’s "Should You Shack Up?”. “If one of you works 50 hours a week and the other 25, there’s nothing wrong with the less busy person taking on more of the housework.”
Just make sure there’s balance. A good idea is to volunteer for the chores that you’re okay with, or the ones you actually enjoy (i.e., you love cooking, while he doesn’t mind scrubbing the pots.). Working together over little things will make your relationship work in the long run.
You have things, he has things. Together, that’s a lot of things. And with both of you coming from your own separate places, it’s only natural for it to take a bit of time to settle in together. Take enough time (preferably before you actually live together) to decide what goes into your joint abode and what will be left behind, put into storage, or sold off.
Money can be a touchy subject for most couples, and even more so now that you will be sharing a lot of your expenses. Our advice is to discuss and create your own guidelines from the get-go. What are your financial priorities and big expenses? Will certain bills be kept separate (e.g. mobile phone bills, credit cards)? Will the expenses be split based on income?
These are just a few things that need to be discussed. For a more advice, read “Five Money Rules for Moving In Together” by Erin Burt.
EASY DOES IT
Just how much time are you two together? Couples who spend a lot of time with each other or often share living quarters will probably have an easier time moving in than those who don’t.
Our advice? Try sharing space slowly. Simple things such as staying over a few nights a week or leaving your possessions at his place will give you a taste of how it would be to live together without the commitment of having both your names on a lease contract.
YOU’LL NEVER KNOW IT ALL
No amount of planning and preparation will truly ready you for the experience of actually living together. (Although, don’t get us wrong—it most definitely helps!) No matter what problems come your way, make sure to choose your battles wisely, accept things that don’t need changing, and remember why you wanted to move in together in the first place.
(Photo by LilGoldWmn via sxc.hu)