Making the move to share a living space with the person you love is a big (and important!) step to take. It should be a process that is communicated in-depth prior and truly taken into consideration. You are not just accepting this person into your space- but you are also accepting the world of weird and unfamiliar belongings they come with!
Moving in with your partner is becoming more and more common. A recent study by Rent.com claims that 37% of couples move in together after they’ve been in a relationship for 6 months to a year, which doesn’t seem like a crazy amount of time to know someone! The amount of couples who move in together prior to marriage has skyrocketed in the past decade for multiple reasons: cost of living (especially in big cities), tendency to get married at a later age and when more financially secure, and in general, there are fewer traditional public viewpoints about how a relationship should progress. Plus, some believe that it’s important to test the waters and see what it’s like cohabiting a space with the one you love before you commit to them for life.
What do you do with all your STUFF? We all have household items we own that make no sense to anyone else but ourselves (think: your worn-out favorite armchair, “art” collections, and the things you keep under your bed). When joining households you are also joining all of your belongings so you have to decide what stays and what goes. You have to choose your must-haves and each designate your few non-negotiables; i.e. The mirror that you splurged on and are keeping with no complaints or discussions. When deciding on the objects you have duplicates of (mattresses, couches, dishes, etc.) consider the condition- which is newer or more comfortable, consider the size (the bigger the better typically), and determine the quality of the objects and what will last longer. If you are having a hard time compromising on what to keep, start anew and toss out both options and buy something you shop for together and both agree on. You also may have to result to this if the style of all of your belongings is different and you cannot mix and match the two styles. Or, compromise and have your furniture in the bedroom and your partner’s in the family room. It helps to start with a list of all of the duplicate household items you have and determine which rooms they can go into prior to moving in to the new space. If you’re still very attached to that old couch that is getting the boot try self storage and get yourself a unit until you have more room for it!
Are you BOTH ready? Getting the timing right and being completely upfront with how you both feel is critical. If you move in before you are ready to and it doesn’t workout, it would be very difficult to return to being significant others who live apart. Be an open book in the pre-move-in discussion so that one person doesn’t feel pressured into the situation and no one has reservations about the big decision. Relationships move at different paces for different people- some might be ready right away, some might need some more time to make that big of a change. Never underestimate how big of a commitment this process can be. Apartment Therapy has some great tips on what to do in these situations.
Do you know their living habits? If you are at the point with your significant other that you are thinking about moving in together, then you should definitely know a lot about their living habits. If you are not on the same page and very familiar with how you both operate and live, your living habits that your significant other did not know about could really affect your relationship. Maybe consider the things about their habits that you haven’t before and look at them from the perspective of actually living with this human. You don’t mind when their room is a mess because it’s THEIR place and you’re just over on the weekends- however you’re a neat freak, but if you live in a shared place would this drive you crazy? They say (by “they” I mean that I’ve heard this fact a lot so therefore it must be true) that the best way to test if you can handle someones habits and staying with them in close proximity is through traveling with them.
Do you share common interests? I know this seems like a silly one, however it is an important thing to think about! A common factor you see in couples who move in right away is the difference in social lives and weekend activities causing issues in the partnership. Living with your partner can be a lot like having a roommate; if you have a job that requires you to work long hours all week and a partner with a totally different schedule who loves having people over- compromises need to be made. If you prefer to stay in and spend quality time together on the weekends, but they would rather go out with their friends and spend time- compromises need to be made.
Establish boundaries ahead of time. It’s inevitable that once you move in together, things will progress and change in your relationship quickly and you will encounter conversations you’ve never had before. Finances will most likely become more unified and chores and household expectations will be established. An example of shared finances would be if one partner paid the rent and the other paid all of the bills and for groceries. An example of household expectations would be as simple as every time one partner cooks, the other one will do the dishes. Basically, expectations and compromises arise that will keep both partners happy in the living situation. Once again- the more open you are about your expectations and what you need, the better it will be together in the long run.
All of the stress and build up aside- moving in with your loved one should be a fun and exciting new adventure for the both of you. It doesn’t have to be unorganized and by planning ahead you save yourself plenty of time and energy. Make the process as easy as possible so that you can enjoy the happy time as a fond memory.