Moving in together can be a big step and a determining point in the relationship. This is the moment where you will really see if you can live together under the same roof. Trust me when I say you can never be fully prepared for the move with your partner, as some aspects of life you will only encounter once the move has been already done. However to make the transition go as smoothly and happily as possible you should discuss the ins and outs of what it means for you to take this next step. It involves planning and a good communication on both sides in order to gain insight in each other’s way of living. Here are a few topics to consider when planning moving in together.
Making the decision
One very important thing (or perhaps THE most important thing) to consider is the reason why. Moving in together for the wrong reasons can end up a complete failure. Some people start to prematurely live together in order to escape their parents and have some freedom. Others do so because it is cheaper than living on their own. The reason for moving in together must be bigger than this. It is a decision that must be made responsibly. You really need to have the desire to share your home with your partner and it should never be simply out of convenience. An intrinsic motivation is the only motivation that should make you want to perform this step. This also means that if you feel pressured by your partner through his or her enthusiasm you should still have the strength to say ‘no’, no matter how excited they may be. Emotional readiness on all fronts will make the difference whether you will be satisfied or hold a grudge in the long run. The right reason should be that you love each other and are mentally, emotionally (and financially) stable and capable to make it happen.
Once the green light has been given on both ends as far as emotions go, it is time to turn it into something real. Discuss what you are looking for in a place. Do you prefer the busy city or are you more drawn to the quiet suburbs or even rural areas? What amenities should be close by? Do you want to have the space to receive guests in your home or will you just meet outside? For new homebuyers the compromise might not necessarily be with your partner, but rather your budget. However, just knowing that you both have similar views on what your home should include is important, as you will eventually be able to buy a property that has all the desired characteristics. Discuss finances very well, as you do not want this happy new chapter of your life being smeared with stress and unexpected scenarios surrounding your financial capabilities. Making a list of required items is very helpful and can give an overview of the total amount that needs to be spend periodically (such as groceries, electricity, water, hobbies) but also the initial investment like furniture and household appliances. In addition, pay attention to past debt that has to be repaid at some point, somebody’s college debt for example, as this will affect your total amount of expenditures.
Set up rules
Another point to discuss are general household rules. Indeed, you cannot decide everything beforehand and usually smaller idiosyncrasies are only discovered after a while, but trying to have a baseline can be very helpful. For example, some people are less strict about who comes over and when, whereas others put great value to their privacy and prefer to have a little heads up before somebody shows up at their door. Knowing this can prevent tensions between the two of you and keeps everything at home running at a smooth pace.
Dividing the household chores is also a good way of keeping things run smoothly. To be able to expect who does what around the house can be very helpful in avoiding confusion. You can always change this with time to adapt to changing circumstances. Important is that you are working together in order to help each other. After all, the faster you get these things out of the way, the more time you will have spending together doing activities you like!
Of course you will also need some time for yourself. Least important to forget is to give the other person his personal time and not be mad about it. As a human being we all need some alone time. The amount may differ from one couple to another, but you need to reserve some “me” time in order to recharge and relax. Just because you move in together does not mean you need to be together 24/7. Allow both of you some free time, this is can be at home separate or somewhere else.
Taking the next step
After reading all of this this, you might think that it takes a lot in order to move in together and in a way, that is true. More often than not people have great expectations that seem to be verified the first couple of weeks in, the so-called honeymoon phase, where everything seems perfect and the whole world is happy and smiles at you. Then, slowly but steadily, small but significant things seem to attract your attention; “her clothes are everywhere but where they belong” or “he never cleans the hairs out of the sink after he shaves himself”. This is the moment where I want to say it is completely normal to feel some irritation towards your partner from time to time. It is all part of having to adjust to another human being that is different from you. Communication is vital at these moments in order to avoid a larger conflict and to grow a deeper understanding for one another. It all boils down to compromise, and not just for the moments you almost want to kill your partner, but for everything mentioned above as well. You have to find middle ground where both of you are satisfied with the established status quo. Do not judge but simply listen and respond as to find a solution that works for both of you. This is how you can determine whether you two are fit to live together. You cannot live in a house where you do not feel comfortable being yourself or where you feel like there is an unequal balance between you and your partner. Be honest, be yourself and be open to each other.
In the end, moving in together is a big step. However, with the right communication and love it will be a chaotic success that will make you happy for the rest of your life!