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Finding and falling in love with your soul mate is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. The more time you begin to spend with one another, the better you get to know each other, but nothing reveals more about a person and your relationship than moving in together. Before you and your significant other decide to take the plunge, there are a few things that should be discussed.
As with any potential roommate, communication is key. When choosing to move in together, you are significantly increasing the amount of time, money and space to be shared.
One of the biggest and potentially most uncomfortable topics to broach is money and expenses. Unlike a typical roommate situation, a couple’s finances have a tendency to become much more entwined. Before taking things to the next level, decide how all living expenses will be split, and whether or not you will share or maintain separate bank accounts. Be clear about your expectations to avoid disappointment and frustration.
The next order of business is division of household responsibilities. Couples may choose to assign certain tasks (one handles dishes, the other handles laundry), designate cleaning days or hours, or agree to maintain certain rooms or spaces. Regardless of how you decide to divide the larger tasks, agree to clean up after yourselves. Respecting and maintaining your mutual space will help preclude any resentment. When you commit to someone, changes in work and home life are bound to occur over time; stay open-minded and flexible about adjusting the workload at home accordingly.
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If you are dating someone seriously enough to move in, you are most likely familiar with each other’s schedules. If your work or social calendars are not in sync, be clear about what you both need from one another to make it work. If one of you is up at the crack of dawn to get to the gym before work, the other should be willing to abide by quiet hours after 10pm. If one of you is committed to night work or activities, be sure to set aside designated time to spend together, such as dinner or breakfast. Having identical schedules is not realistic, but respecting each other’s needs and desires is crucial.
When moving in with your significant other, it is likely that you will also be combining and coordinating furnishings and personal belongings. After assembling a list of your must-keep items, eliminate duplicate items and decide together what stays and what goes. Compromise on the style of your shared space and collaborate to purchase supplementary items. Idealists may choose to split the cost of each purchase while prudent individuals may choose to purchase items separately to ease the potential division of assets down the line.
If you’ve made it through these major discussions unscathed, then you’re off to a great start! Employing all of these techniques should get you off on the right foot, but maintaining them is easier said than done. Holding up your end of the bargain is the one thing you have sole control over. To maintain a happy home, periodically revisit the agreements you’ve made with one another. As discussed, our lives are constantly changing and evolving and our ability to adapt to both our own and our partners schedules and needs is key. Keep an open line of communication going to avoid falling into a rut. Eventually, you’ll fall into a routine that works well for both of you. Keep things fun and exciting by enjoying date nights and shared activities at home, but allow yourselves some alone time as well.
Moving in together is an exciting step for any relationship. With a little effort up front and some deliberate maintenance, you’ll be well on your way to happily ever after!
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