Moving in with your significant other (or even a house mate) is a pretty serious step in any relationship. Whilst it could be tempting to follow the example of Sheldon Cooper and put together some sort of “cohabitation handbook” that’s probably unlikely to result in mutual enthusiasm and so, a better idea might be to read this blog and prepare yourself for the potential ups and downs of living together, besides the standard argument about who really used the last of the toilet roll!
1. Why are we doing this?
In the haze of love and romance, it might seem like the answer to this one is obvious, but one of the key things to think about before moving in together is the question of why. Make sure it is 100% clear to the both of you what your intentions and expectations are, to avoid confusion about each other’s motives when moving in together. For example, are you making this decision to save money on separate housing costs? To boost the status of your relationship? Marriage preparation? Or even to make a long-distance relationship easier for the both of you? Make sure the other person knows exactly why you want to move in together and vice versa.
2. Handling situations as a team.
Everyone has tough scenarios to get through with each other; from deciding which shade of Farrow & Ball white paint should go on the walls when they all look the same, to that awkward moment when you next door neighbours invite you round to an all meat BBQ forgetting entirely you only eat tofu….
Handling sticky situations as a team without blaming or taking it out on each other is a skill mastered over time and living with your partner will expose you to many opportunities to practice! Whether or not you’re a slick act already can impact the decision of moving in together or not just yet.
3. Everyone Bickers Now and Then.
According to Dr. Stan Tatkin, (couples’ therapist and author of Wired for Dating and Wired for Love) he states that "Partners that are orientated in such a way that they are too non-collaborative, too unfair, too unjust, and too insensitive, will find themselves increasingly unsafe and insecure in the relationship.” So basically, play nice! A total change in lifestyle such as moving in with someone is bound to cause some stress and whilst it’s a bit of a cliché, learning to compromise early is a must do. It’s important to remember that just because you like the 20 cushions on the bed organised by colour, your new housemate may not understand this as a complete necessity, so you might just have to relax the rules a bit! That said, it’s just as important to consider that the occasional disagreement is normal and that the initial increase having just moved in is likely to go back to normal levels after a few weeks of adjustment.
4. The future
Now is a good time to be totally open and honest with each other; have a think about what you both want in the future as a couple. Is marriage on the cards, should you be looking for more than one spare room, should you get Netflix or Prime? Speak to each other about what you both want and make sure that you’re at least reading the same book if you’re not on the same page, otherwise moving in together may not be the best decision after all.
Money is often one of the biggest causes for rifts in relationships and living arrangements, particularly if one person has a larger net income than the other. In response to who will pay for what, author and certified financial planner Pam Friedman says that "It’s a good idea to start by defining expenses that are joint and those that are not…should the higher paid person pay more of the joint expenses or should the couple live more frugally and divide joint expenses equally?" Financially as a couple, there needs to be agreements and compromises before moving in together otherwise resentment could set in without a clear set of rules.
Still thinking of moving in with your partner? Give us a call or drop into one of our local high street offices and we will find you the perfect home to start with.