Moving in with your significant other is a huge step. A massive step! But it’s also an exciting and awesome and fun step. Dave and I both knew very early in our relationship that this was it – we were going to be together forever. We weren’t ready to get married, but we knew we would get married someday.
We were in college at the time, and we each had our own place. Moving in together wasn’t even planned. It was just something that happened gradually, and all of a sudden all of Dave’s stuff was at my apartment. So we went with it. We lived together in some unusual circumstances. First with my roommate, then with six of Dave’s roommates. Finally, almost two and a half years ago, we got a place that was really ours.
I wouldn’t change any of it. Living with Dave has been the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s brought me the most fun, as well as the most frustration. As much as we’ve loved it, there have been bumps in the road. Today, though, I’m sharing some steps you can take to make moving in with your significant other (more of) a breeze.
Make sure you’re moving in together for the right reasons.
If you’re in love and want to further combine your lives by sharing a home, go for it! If your lease is up and your significant other suggests you move in with them to share on rent, you might want to find a better reason. Dave and I moved in together pretty early on in our relationship, but by that point I think we both knew that it was going to be a permanent relationship!
Set up a game plan before moving in.
When you live alone, or even when you’re living with a roommate, you’re used to having space that is yours. If you live with a roommate, that would be your bedroom. If you live alone, that would be the whole place! But when you move in with a significant other, it belongs to both of you. Things to discuss include daily habits, organization, furniture, décor, etc. This is even more important if one of you is moving into a home where the other already lives! Try to make the place seem as much like ours instead of yours. You don’t want your significant other to feel like a guest in your home!
Figure out the finances up front.
If you aren’t married yet, chances are you haven’t merged finances with your significant other. If this is the case, it’s best to figure out who pays for what right away. Will you split all bills down the middle, including food? I’ve also seen arrangements where one person pays for rent, and the other pays for utilities, groceries, cable, etc. It totally depends on what works for you! You might decide to split bills based on salary, rather than right down the middle. This is more likely if one of you is a student or in a situation where you aren’t working as much. Whatever the situation is, decide on something ahead of time!
You’ll also have to have a discussion if you are merging finances. Dave and I weren’t married yet when we got our joint bank account. We were engaged and moving into our first apartment together (first without roommates, anyway). Because of our financial and career situation, we decided it would make the most sense to get a joint account. If you’re doing something like this, make sure to discuss budgets.
Discuss a game-plan for chores.
When Dave and I first lived together, we didn’t really have a game plan when it came to who did what chore. There were definitely some arguments since I was definitely not what you would call a neat person when I met Dave (I’m still not, but I’ve since learned how to clean). Our current routine for chores came about pretty naturally after years of living together, but you might save yourself some arguments by discussing it right away! For instance, I always do the laundry, Dave always takes out the garbage. We both cook and clean the kitchen. We don’t keep track, but I would estimate we each do it about half the time. We even have a routine for who takes the dog out when! Also, when we decide to have a cleaning day, we’ll discuss ahead of time who is going to tackle each room.
Give each other space.
Just because you’re living together doesn’t mean you’ll actually want to spend all of your time together. There are going to be plenty of times where you’ll each want to do your own thing. And that’s okay! Dave loves to play video games. It’s how he unwinds when he’s stressed. I like to watch Netflix, blog, etc. While many couples have their own actual space in the house, Dave and I have learned to each do our own thing while still being in the same room. It’s nice because we can talk if we want, but silence is totally cool too! We each have things that are ours. Dave has his own desk with his laptop, PlayStation, comfy chair, etc. Likewise, I have my own space when I can work or put all my clutter without it being in his way. However you decide to do it is up to you, just make sure you each have your own space and your own stuff in the house.
Giving each other space might not mean space in the house, but just the ability to do your own thing. Just because you live together, doesn’t mean you have to always go out together. You each have your own friends and your own interests. There’s nothing wrong with going out with a friend for the evening, or the boyfriend heading to a friend’s house to play video games. You did these things before you lived together, and it’s important to keep them up now.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
When you’re living together, you’re obviously spending more time together. And you’re noticing more things about your significant other that you didn’t know before. Maybe things that annoy you. The bottom line is, there are going to be conflicts. You’re going to get annoyed with one another. But it’s so important to keep those lines of communication open! I’m not great at communication. But if something is bothering me, Dave can tell. And it throws off his mood and the entire vibe of our home. And then we’re both tense and more prone to snap at one another. I could have avoided all of that by just communicating in the first place!
Don’t let your home because just a place where you do chores and pay bills and change into your PJs as soon as you walk in the door. Make it the place where you are romantic and have fun together. Get dressed up for each other, even if you’re just having dinner at home. Have date nights in your living room with a bottle of wine and a rented movie. Whatever it is you do together for fun, do it at home too. Make your home a positive and fun place.
What lessons have you learned from moving in with a significant other?
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