Deciding to share a house with your partner is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your relationship, demonstrating to your other half your commitment to both them and your life together. It may be a spontaneous decision early in your relationship or something you choose to do after a couple of years of dating. Moving in together is a big step either way though and the process of bringing your two lives into one home can have big repercussions on the way you perceive and deal with one another. While it can feel unromantic to do so, it is important to prepare for your move and to ensure that you are making the right decision. To do this, consider several points before you start the process of cohabiting.
Are You Both Ready?
Moving in together can be a romantic step and you can find yourself caught in a whirlwind of hormones, plans and idealized thoughts. Try to take a step back from the situation and think about whether you are making the right decision. Are you prepared for living together? Are you at a point in your relationship where moving in together is the right thing to do? Living together can take a spark out of your relationship – whereas once you would enjoy fun dates and exciting days out, now you are doing more mundane things such as food shopping and cleaning. It is important to consider whether you are at the point in your relationship where you are happy to settle down. Have you already begun to see that ‘every day’ side of them?
Likewise, think about whether your partner is ready to move in as well. Do they have an idealized picture of living with you and are they realistic about what it will be like to share a house? If you have any doubts, talk them through with your partner and ensure that you are both on the same page.
Are You Certain About Your Decision?
It is also important to think through whether you are sure about your decision to move in together and that it’s not just an impulse. What may have started as a romantic conversation about the direction of your relationship may have gone further than you intended. Take some time to think about whether you are ready for this change.
Are You Agreed on Your Budget and Location?
In addition to preparing emotionally for your move you should discuss practical arrangements with your partner. Consider where is the most convenient place for you both to live, depending on factors such as your commute to work and distance from friends and family. If you both have different areas in mind, draw up a pros and cons list or be prepared to compromise and look somewhere in the middle. Get used to that word ‘compromise’ – it will be coming up a lot!
Also be prepared to discuss your budget. It is important that you are both happy with your new home and spending a comfortable amount to live there together. Be prepared to tell your partner if you are unable to match their budget or you have reservations. Remember that bills will also come into your monthly costs – you might decide to set up a joint account. Money can be the source of many arguments though, so coming up with a ‘system’ first is often important.
Setting Ground Rules
Another unromantic topic to discuss are rules for your new home. Often you will learn how to live with each other once you have moved and are settling in. However it can be good to discuss your thoughts about living with your partner beforehand. You may wish to divvy out the weekly jobs between you or share all the roles. You may even be interested in drawing up a rota for the household chores – though make sure they’re happy with this idea too as you don’t want to seem overly organized if they prefer a more laid back approach. Have a conversation about what suits you both best. Be careful that you are sharing jobs equally and not taking on more than you can handle; dissatisfaction about chores can eat into your relationship. If you see any early warning signs, bring these up and be prepared to discuss them early. Sitting back and letting bad habits go undiscussed can lead to bad habits and bigger problems down the road. Better a small argument now than a huge one later!
Be Prepared to Compromise
One of the hardest parts in any relationship is learning how to compromise (I told you this would come up again!). You may have always tidied the house in a certain way but now your partner wants to do it in a different way. Moving in is an excellent opportunity to test your relationship and see how you work together. You may enjoy learning new ways of approaching life, you may despair of your partner’s bad habits. Try to find a way to ensure that you are both happy in your new home; this may be from agreeing to disagree or finding a middle ground that suits you both.
Maintain Your Independence
As well as enjoying the increase of time spent with your partner it is also important to maintain your independence. Your friends and family will still be keen to spend time with you and you may appreciate an escape from your partner from time to time. Bear in mind that your partner may also need quiet moments or time away from the house. Taking some time away from each other to develop your hobbies or other relationships will help you to appreciate each other when you come back together.
The Adjustment Period
When you first move in, things might not be quite the way you expected them to be. Perhaps you’re not constantly in a passionate embrace and maybe the house is a mess… And perhaps you weren’t ready for some of their annoying habits like leaving the toilet seat up or moaning about the toilet seat.
This can come as a shock and some people will react badly during this stage. Remember going in then that there will be this ‘adjustment period’ and that it can take some time before you are truly comfortable with each other and you settle into a rhythm. Don’t be too reactionary and moderate your expectations!
Once you get past this difficult patch you’ll find that having a loving partner waiting for you at the end of the day and someone to share all your experiences with makes it all more than worth the effort!