Moving in together is a big step for any relationship. Big changes create new challenges and sometimes new conflicts of interest.
So many of my friends moved in together fairly soon or right after they started dating and then ended up complaining and regretting that choice. Intense chemistry of the honeymoon phase might cause people to make hasty, impulsive decisions.
This doesn’t mean that moving in together right away is necessarily a bad step for a relationship. Just be sure to take all things into consideration and inform yourself about the commitment, beforehand.
Regardless of what “stage” of a relationship you and your partner are in, I’m sure that these 10 points will help you prepare for living together and making it a decision you can feel confident about!
1. Less Independence
So many of my friends, who moved straight from living with their parents to living with their partner, ended up regretting never having had their independence.
Have you ever lived on your own? Is it something you feel like you need to experience?
If you answer “yes” to either of these questions then keep it in mind that now might be the time, when it’s easiest to make that happen.
Don’t move in with your partner if you feel like you haven’t had time to “live your own life yet”.
If you want to live by yourself, do it now. It will only get harder to get there later on.
I don’t mean to say that once you are living together, both parties automatically lose their freedom. I don’t believe that’s true. I had lived by myself for about a year before moving in with Gabriel, so I know what living alone is like and don’t miss it.
I have heard the complaint about independence so many times from so many of my friends. Even after years of living together, they still continue complaining about this.
I don’t believe there are any fixed rules for couples in order to move in the right moment. Just don’t move in with your partner, if it’s something you don’t really want.
2. Moving In For Financial Reasons
In a lot of cases mentioned above, the people who complained about not having independence generally all followed the same pattern: they were living with their parents.
Then they started dating a guy/girl with a place of their own, moved in with their partner because it was the cheapest and most convenient way to move out of their parents’ place.
A lot of these people moved in together not because it was something they wanted, but because it was convenient.
They chose to settle for something that just happened to be available and then ended up complaining about it for years.
Moving in together for purely economic reasons is not a good motivator.
If both of you have a place of your own, are tired of paying double the rent and want to move in together just to cut the living costs, don’t do it.
Making a big decision about your relationship based on what seems reasonable or convenient instead of considering your own needs and desires never ends well.
Settling like this might kill the chemistry between the two of you.
3. Losing Control
Living alone gives you absolute control over your flat/house. It’s up to you what furniture to buy and where to place it. You yourself are in charge of the colors of the walls, bathroom tiles, kitchen cabinets, curtains, pillows on the couch, carpets, lamps etc.
Your place, your rules.
Once you move in together you’re going to have to share all the choices mentioned above. You’re going to have to give up some of the control over these things.
Even if your significant other decides to move into your place, you have to let him or her have a say. You have to allow them to make changes so that they can adapt the place to their needs as well as yours.
If you don’t give them some control, they’ll be just a guest there and never truly feel at home.
On the other hand, if your partner is about to move in with you but discards all your furniture choices and wants to completely rearrange everything, you must not let them do that.
Standing your ground and sticking with your tastes might feel like a lot of effort but it will pay off in the long run.
The ability to find a balance between standing your ground while catering to your partner’s needs is a very important skill. It takes some practice and can always be improved upon.
Picking and arranging furniture together can be a challenge, but at the same time, it provides a great opportunity to get to know your partner better and improve your teamwork skills.
4. Sharing Responsibilities
Running a household comes with a lot more responsibilities than just the design and furniture choices. There is rent to pay, utilities, heating, maintenance issues etc. From now on you will both be responsible for making sure your place is functioning the way it’s supposed to.
What’s important about sharing responsibilities is that neither of you feels used or controlled.
If a girl lets the guy make all the utility choices, he might feel like it’s unfair that she just puts all the responsibility on him, while she might feel like she doesn’t have any say in these matters.
Just like making decisions together, sharing responsibilities is a skill that needs to be developed and will grow over time, as you learn to trust each other more.
One of the BIG responsibilities, that you will share with your partner, is keeping your place clean. When it comes to cleanliness, different people often have completely different standards and needs.
When living together you’ve got to make sure that your place feels comfortable for both of you, regardless of how you choose to split the chores.
Make sure you are familiar with your partner’s cleaning habits before you move in together.
If you are very tidy and organized but your partner isn’t you’ve got be ready to cut them some slack and relax your standards a little. On the other hand, if you yourself are the “messy one”, you will probably need to learn to notice the mess you’re making and to clean it up.
You’ve both got to be ready to adapt your habits and meet your partner halfway.
For a lot of couples in my friend circle cleaning became so big of a deal, that in order to avoid constantly fighting about it, they had to hire a cleaning service. That is a great solution for all those who can afford it.
6. Secret Habits
Just like cleanliness, getting to know your partner’s secret habits, can become a source of conflict in your relationship. We all present a polished, better version of ourselves to the outside world.
Home is the only place where the real and imperfect part of us gets to come out and exist.
When living together you get to know your partner’s “imperfect” side and they get to know yours.
All of us have habits that we like to hide from other people. We binge watch TV shows, endlessly browse the internet, play video games, sleep all day long etc.
It’s important that home is a safe space where both of you can be who you are and do whatever it is you want to do.
This getting to know of your partner’s “faulty” side might make you annoyed or disappointed in them. But before you start to criticize them and accuse them of wasting time or laziness, remember you are not perfect either.
We tend to get really critical about the same behaviors in others, that we ourselves may be struggling with.
For example, a person who is worried about moving forward in life fast and productivity might judge their partner as lazy for playing video games without realizing that they themselves just spend the whole day watching series.
Living together allows you two to learn a lot about your partner and yourself.
Getting to know each other’s and your own “faulty” sides and learning to accept them is the best way to grow and actually overcome them.
7. Sharing Things
When living together you end up sharing a lot of different things: blankets, food, TV, devices, chargers, subscription services etc. Similarly to cleanliness, different people have different levels of comfort when it comes to the need for their private space.
Sharing things might feel natural and effortless to you, but to your partner might not at all be so casual about it. Or you might be the one wanting clearer boundaries and more privacy for yourself.
When Gabriel and I moved in together, we kept things pretty separate in the beginning and then gradually started relaxing about it.
Sharing things and splitting costs can be extremely convenient but don’t underestimate the time it takes to negotiate and organize it!
Seeing your significant other with a cup of tea, hovering over your laptop or using your iPad as a cookbook and placing it right next to the stove, can be unnerving.
Deep down we are all just big kids, protective of our favorite toys.
Sometimes we just need some time before we are ready to share our things with our partner.
Some of our possessions we will want to keep just to ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that.
8. Inviting People Over
The same way you or your partner can be protective of your devices, similar rules apply when it comes to letting other people into your living space.
When living together, it’s important to keep in mind that both of you need to be comfortable with who comes into your house, when they arrive and how long they stay.
For example, your mum coming over unannounced to pick up dirty laundry on the weekend might not be a big deal to you, it might even feel like an act of kindness and willingness to help, but to your partner, it might be a hurtful intrusion into their private space and efforts to be independent!
Home should be a safe and private space for both you and your partner.
Being considerate of each other’s needs and consulting with each other before inviting people over ensures that.
9. Going On Dates
Living together entirely changes the dynamic of a relationship.
You don’t have to call each other up and arrange to meet anymore, you’re together almost every morning, every evening and on the weekends.
Your significant other becomes the one person you end up spending most of your time with.
Just because you will see each other become a routine, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask each other out every now and then.
Going on dates is fun and doesn’t need to be a big deal. Gabriel and l go on random lunch dates during the week for example.
Asking your partner out, even if it’s just a brief lunch, shows them that you value their company and are willing to make an effort and take extra time to see them.
We’re all creatures of habit, we fall into routines and sometimes go about our day to day activities “on autopilot”.
Routines aren’t necessarily bad. Having a predictable way of doing things can be really nice and convenient.
For example, I really don’t like eating by myself, so it’s really comforting to me to know that I’ll have a person to eat dinner with almost every night. It doesn’t mean that we have to eat together every night though. Sometimes one of us will get off work earlier and want to have dinner sooner. Sometimes we want different things.
You can’t let your routines become more important than your or your partner’s needs.
If followed to strictly, routines can transform fun, bonding activities into an obligation. They might make you or your partner hate the things you two once enjoyed.
Moving in together can be challenging. It is a huge commitment that will inevitably transform your relationship. Despite being difficult at times, it provides a great opportunity to grow closer as a couple, learn how to work together and get to know each other better!
Living with your partner can be extremely fun and rewarding. It just might take a little bit of work for both of you to get there.