Taking the step to move in with your significant other is huge. Whether it’s the day after your wedding, as soon as you started dating, or on your 10th dating anniversary, moving in together presents its challenges for everyone. I’ve done a full post on merging styles with your significant other here but there is much more than paint colors that goes into making a smooth transition into your new normal. Don’t get me wrong, that is definitely important because you want your house to feel like a home to both of you but there are other things to keep in mind.
Adjusting to moving in together starts before you even start packing up boxes. You need to be totally prepared for what you’re getting into. Obviously you need to know that you’re absolutely ready to move in with this person but that’s an entirely different post! Start thinking about how they’re used to living in their own home. Hopefully you’ve at least been to their current residence, otherwise you may be in for a rude awakening. Consider what their parents are like, how their childhood home was, what their day-to-day schedule looks like. If you’re a Whole Foods addict and they’re used to eating frozen pizzas and Cheetos Puffs for dinner, prepare yourself for an adjustment period on dinnertime. If you’re a neat freak and they have a mountain of junk in every corner, prepare yourself to do some compromising when it comes to tidying up. Just the act of consciously preparing yourself will make the transition so much easier! The chances of you moving in with someone who does everything exactly the same as you are slim to none so don’t hold your breath.
This basically applies to every living situation there is, unless of course you’re living alone. Any time you’re not the only one living in a place, being considerate is the most important thing you could possibly do. Especially with someone like your significant other who you spend so much time with. I know this can definitely be hard in the beginning if you’re used to living alone but everything takes some getting used to before it comes second nature. In the meantime, be sure that you’re always conscious of what you’re doing at home and how it may make the other person feel. For example, if you find yourself watching TV on volume level 100 (cough, Andrew) while the other person is trying to read a book – that’s probably going to annoy them! If you leave your makeup all over the bathroom after getting ready, try to leave yourself a couple extra minutes to clean up. Just always remember that there is someone else in the house that you care about so make an effort to be a good new housemate.
Divvying up the house responsibilities is something you should plan on doing right off the bat. This will cause much less trouble in the future, trust me. You’re going to have to figure out something that works for both of you depending on your situation. This is not a one size fits all agreement. For me and Andrew, it’s pretty simple! Since he is at work from 9-5 in an office and I am able to be home most of the day, I take most of the cleaning duties. This is something that I feel totally comfortable with because I have time to clean (and I actually enjoy it!). That being said, there are certain things that I never even think about because Andrew knows those are his responsibilities. He takes out the garbage, fills the car with gas, keeps track of all the bills, and does the dishes after dinner. Knowing which things are my job and which ones are his keeps it really easy and gives us one less thing to argue about.
Have Time Alone
A huge part of the problem that most people have when they move in together is they feel crowded and smothered. If you’ve been long distance or you’re just used to having separate living spaces, moving in together can be a bit overwhelming at first. It’s important to remember to take time away for yourself. Although you’re living in the same place and spending lots of time together, that doesn’t mean you have to completely forget about your own life. Going out and spending time alone or with your friends is crucial! “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” totally applies here! You can love your significant other to the moon and back but a couple hours apart will be good for both of you to recharge.
Making sure to communicate with your significant other is a basic relationship principle! While it’s always super important, communicating during the cohabitation process is essential. If something is bothering you, mention it. As soon as possible, as often as you need to, as calmly as you can. The last thing you want to do is keep everything buried inside until you explode over one dirty cereal bowl in the sink. Letting things fester before addressing them is a recipe for resentment and frustration, which is the last thing you want to bring into your new home.
Remember Why You’re Here
Whenever something is really bothering you about your new lifelong roommate and you’re wondering if this was a good idea to begin with, remember why you chose to move in together in the first place. Chances are, if you did it for the right reasons, you moved in together because you wanted to take the first step in creating a life together. You probably wanted to spend more time together and see each other as much as possible. All of these are exactly the reason why you chose to make the big move in the first place, so never lose sight of that. It’s supposed to be a fun process! There may be bumps in the road, just like there is with everything else, but in the end – this is where your story begins. Write a good one!
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