So you've decided to take the plunge and share a home with your partner. These days, it's not uncommon to find couples living together, whether for the sake of convenience, financial savings, or the desire to spend more time together. In fact, a 2015 study in Future Child noted that 66% of married couples lived together before their wedding.
You're probably feeling excited, but maybe nervous, too. "It is important to be together in the same physical space enough to know what living with the other person would be like," family therapist Rachel Freidus tells MindBodyGreen. "Spend weekends and evenings together. Go food shopping together. Take part in activities of each other's daily lives. Spend as much time together as possible in order to feel confident about the decision to live together." Rechargeable Disposable Vapes
But even if you're getting good roommate vibes from your S.O., it's important to talk through your decision before signing a lease together. As therapist Sheila Addison, Ph.D., explains to Popsugar, "A lot of what seems like surface-level conflicts — who should do what kinds of chores or how often we should have people over or whatever — that couples get really, really stuck on are because they turn out to be connected to deeper meanings." Having clear discussions about your goals and expectations can help nip conflicts in the bud, making your move more successful in the long term. Specifically, here are five topics you and your partner should chat about before moving in together.
One of the most important conversations to have pre-cohabitation is about finances. "You definitely want to talk about money in advance," licensed marriage and family therapist Moraya Seeger DeGeare tells Refinery29. "Even if you don't have bad spending habits, most people are going to have different relationships with money."
So, what does this discussion look like? First, discuss the immediate money issues tied to your move. For instance, how will you split the rent and utilities? How much new stuff will you need and what's a reasonable price range for them? Will you pay for each item together, or divide things up? Bear in mind, a divide-and-conquer strategy can make things easier if your relationship doesn't work out. It's a lot easier to say, "I own the nightstand and you own the coffee table" rather than trying to play rock-paper-scissors over who should keep your co-owned sofa. Hopefully, it won't come to that, but it never hurts to be a little practical when making a big life change.
During this conversation, it also helps to sound out your partner's financial ideology — in particular, whether they are a saver who likes to hoard every extra penny or a spender who likes to treat themselves every payday. A 2013 survey by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts found that 22% of divorcees cite "money issues" as the main reason for their breakup. So it's important to align your financial strategy from the start and feel that you're working toward common goals.
When you're sharing a space with someone, courtesy becomes crucial, or you'll end up getting on each other's last nerve. Often, this is closely tied to home upkeep. After all, how many times have you been annoyed by a roommate who abandoned their dishes in the sink for days, or left hair all over the bathroom?
To avoid suffering these frustrations with your romantic partner, talk about your views on cleanliness and home upkeep before you move in together. Discuss how you each like to maintain your living space, and where the line is between "clean enough" and "uninhabitable." Also, be sure to discuss how you intend to divide up cleaning and house chores, or you might risk falling automatically into patterns that don't actually work for your relationship.
"When couples move in together, it's where old family issues are played out," licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Alexandra Solomon explains to the moving pros at Pods. "If I'm cooking and you're watching TV, I feel you have become my absent father and I'm my overworked, resentful mother." Instead, she suggests making intentional decisions about splitting the housework load and agreeing on them ahead of time. "Agreement implies both people are invested in the plan, while compromise highlights the fact that both people aren't getting what they want. It can be a good idea to write out your agreement so everything's clear and on paper."
One conversation that's vital for your happiness as a couple is around socializing in your new shared home. This is especially true if one partner is an extrovert, and the other is an introvert. Say you're the extroverted half of the relationship. Hosting a gorgeous dinner party every Friday may sound like a good time to you, but depending on what kind of introvert they are, your S.O. may prefer quiet time to unwind from their busy week.
Sharing a home requires meeting both partners' social needs. Do you see the home as a retreat or a gathering place? Talk about this with your partner to see how your ideas align. Then, clarify joint boundaries around visitors. Can they drop by unannounced? How much advance notice does everyone need to feel comfortable? Having these rules in place will help prevent resentment and ensure that any social time shared in your home is being enjoyed equally by both hosts.
When it comes to maintaining your social boundaries, it's important that both partners hold the line with their own close friends and family — especially if these boundaries come as a surprise to would-be visitors. "The two of you need to talk about what boundaries you want to set, but they have to take the lead," relationship coach Lesli Doares tells StyleCaster. "If they aren't on board, it won't happen. Having them talk to their family conveys this as his/her position and not something being driven solely by you."
Moving in together may feel like a dream, but pretty soon the mundanity of everyday life can sneak in and cause issues. So before life gets the better of you, discuss how your day-to-day routines will work together. Are your basic habits and schedules complementary? Is one of you an early bird, and one a night owl? If there are major disconnects, how will you adapt together so that both partners thrive in your daily lifestyle?
One of the central schedule considerations to tackle is sleep. Living together may mean you get to snuggle every night now, but you may find other friction points popping up as you try to get your eight hours in — for instance, you may run into disagreements around ideal bedtime, using screens in bed, or even sleeping temperature (via npr). Depending on your priorities as a couple, you may also want to talk about topics like the logistics of having breakfast or dinner together, who gets to shower when, and setting aside time to gossip about your day.
Do you need a certain amount of alone time? Will you be upset if your partner goes into one of your drawers? Each person has different comfort levels when it comes to sharing time, space, and belongings, so this issue can often cause friction between two partners on different wavelengths. "When you live with another person your time can be eclipsed. Maybe that's because you want to spend all your time with the other or maybe they are jealous if you go off without them," relationship coach Kathy Jacobson tells Brides. But to keep things running smoothly, "each person needs to have their own, independent time and space."
Ply Rock Pods Establishing clear boundaries to protect your privacy can help prevent issues before they crop up. If you have a special item you'd prefer your partner doesn't touch, or if you need an hour alone each morning to reap the benefits of your daily meditation practice, let them know. Otherwise, you're practically inviting them to accidentally infringe on your personal space.