You have been dating awhile, you have met one another’s friends and families. You are exclusive and spend a lot of time at one another’s places. You think you are ready to take the next big step: cohabitation. There are lots of considerations you’ll want to understand before taking the leap. The planning and coordination involved in this first stage of the cohabitation process can be stressful, but it can also be a lot of fun. How well you work together as you search for a place, decide what to keep in your place together, and how to discuss money matter, will be a great indicator of how well matched you are for one another.
You will have to discuss the logistics of living together way ahead of moving in. This first stage will be a strong indicator of how well you will communicate as you move forward. You will need to talk through all of the logistical factors of your new life together and come to mutually satisfying agreements.
For starters, where will you live? What size apartment do you want? What part of town is best for you? There are many factors to consider when deciding where to live.
What will you keep and what will you get rid of? You will need to work together to plan and evaluate the value of common items like furniture and electronics. You may decide to sell some things, give some to friends, donate some, and get rid of others. This is normal when you make a move, but the considerations will be more intense because you and your partner will be evaluating one another’s possessions as well as your own.
How much can you afford to pay for rent? This may be the most challenging part of cohabitation. If you have never had to discuss money matters with a partner, this new territory may be a little intimidating. If you are going to live with your sweetheart, you will have to get used to less financial privacy. You will be responsible for whatever the two of you agree to and and accountable to your partner. This can cause tension, but if you remember to communicate, you will move through it.
How will bills be divvied up? If you make roughly the same amount of money, you may choose to split bills 50/50. If one of you makes more you may choose some other division. Whatever the case, this is definitely something you should be prepared for ahead of time. If you partner loves cable, but you are too busy for television, perhaps, they can handle that cost. Think it through so you have a good idea of how much you will need each month.
Who will do the chores? Do you hate to vacuum while your partner hates laundry? Excellent! Then you can do laundry and they can vacuum, provided that you can both agree. This seems minor, but it can cause a lot of conflict between people who live together, be it roommates or romantic partners. Try to have this chat while you are still in the planning stages of your move so that you both know where the other stands.
Tips for romantic roommies
As with everything else in life that involves other people: communication is key! If you have fears or concerns talk about them in an open and honest manner. If you feel that you cannot talk, try to write them down. Find a way to share your feelings with your partner. Establishing great communication early on can make your relationship one that lasts for years to come. Along the way, make sure to check in with yourself and trust your gut. If you start to feel like maybe you have jumped in too soon and are not quite ready, pay attention to that inner wisdom. Once you have signed a lease together, it will be much harder to change your mind. Here are some quick tips for keeping communication on the up-and-up.
Don’t let it fester! If you have something to talk about, don’t put it off until it becomes a big problem. Talk about things that are on your mind often so that you don’t have great big explosions of pent up frustration.
Plan to compromise. You are sharing your life with someone when you decide to live with them. That means you no longer get to do everything just the way you like to do it. You are going to have a compromise a good deal to have a harmonious relationship. Watch that your compromises are not too big and that you are not giving up things that are truly important to you. You should also make sure that both partners are compromising about the same amount.
Set ground rules. Make sure you both know what is and is not acceptable. For example, if you sweetheart is going to come up short for rent, make sure you have defined some rules about how far in advance you need to know this information. Decide who will do which chores and who will pay which bills. Think about how it will work if one of you wants to let people sleep over or have a party. Try to consider as many sensitive scenarios as you can ahead of time so that you both know where the other stands ahead of time.
Give each other space. Once you move in together, it is going to be harder to find quiet time. Make sure you each have a little nook in your place together where you can concentrate and work. It is also a great idea to carve out independent activities each week. A meditation class that you attend alone, a night out with friends for your partner. Be sure to find time to do things you love even if your sweetheart isn’t into them. You may feel like you have to include them in everything, but that isn’t the case. It is important for both of you to have some independent activities.
Finally, the good stuff
After you get through the complicated part of moving in together, you can enjoy some of the benefits. As you get your place set up and the dust starts to settle, you will find that there are some great things about cohabitation. Living with your sweetheart means you will have a consistent source of emotional support. You will also enjoy the financial support of sharing responsibilities like rent, bills, and buying groceries. Finally, living with the one you love means that you will have far more opportunities to share quality time together. It can be one of the best experiences if you take the time to plan and communicate.