My boyfriend and I recently moved in together, technically this is our second attempt at co-existence. The first time I relocated to his apartment and this time he is relocating to mine. For us, it is a little different, because we went from long distance, where we are struggling to spend time together, to living together where we see each other for every spare moment in the day. Couples that live in the same city can ease into it, by slowly moving from regular visitations, to cohabitation. We, on the other hand, had to get into a daily routine of regular life and get out of the habit of trying to make our time together count because we were used to it being so limited.
The first few days were pretty rocky, especially considering I am an obsessive-organizer. I wanted my boyfriend to unpack and make a list of the things he needs to be comfortable so he can feel settled in. His top priority was getting beer and binge watching Orange is the New Black. I am glad that he got comfortable so quickly, however we were definitely on different pages. Learning to co-exists is a journey, and if I had to offer any couple advice when moving in together, these would be my recommendations:
Move Into a New Place if You Can
It is hard to make the transition from my place to our place. There is still going to be the times where your significant other refuses to buy groceries or empty the dishwasher because it is not technically their house. By getting a new place, one person is less likely to have a passive lack of ownership and more likely to feel it is ‘our’ space.
Divide and Assign Tasks
My roommate and I lived in perfect synergy for years. We would take turns doing everything and we were very aware when the garbage was overflowing or when the recycling should be taken out. It is important to lay down the groundwork, so if you are cooking dinner, your partner knows it is their task to clean up, or if you are doing all the laundry your partner is cleaning. If you are clear with a division of tasks and your partner is aware of their duties, this should cut down on nagging him/her to help out all the time. If you are the messy one then you can make up for it in other ways and leave the cleaning tasks to the clean one. Take ownership of tasks that are in your wheelhouse.
Keep Your Separate Lives
Going to the gym, meeting up with friends, or taking classes has to be a priority. Don’t let living together let you merge into one person. It is good to have separate interests and time away from each other. Alone time is a must for your own sanity.
Be Prepared to Discuss Finances
My boyfriend allowed me to live for free in his apartment because he didn’t have a roommate so I wasn’t really adding any extra financial burden. I would do my part by cooking, cleaning and buying groceries, which I felt was a fair trade. However, now that he has decided to live with me, he would like a similar arrangement. He doesn’t necessarily cook or clean, and although he does fix the occasional light fixture, it doesn’t exactly make up for his half of the rent. Especially because I have a two bedroom, and used to have a roommate cover half of the expenses. I had to be very clear and state that all our bills will be split in half. We have yet to figure out our food/grocery structure. He insists I purchase all the groceries because I am the one that will be doing all the cooking. Finding a fair division is still under negotiation.
I personally like the idea of breaking up the expenses based on a percentage. For example if one person makes $40,000 and the other makes $60,000, then the one who makes 40 pays 40% and the one who makes 60 pays 60% of the expenses.It is important to not turn it into a roommate situation, so even though you may be keeping score, there has to be a bit of give and take. Maybe you take turns paying on date nights, or you go out of your way to make a special dinner or breakfast in bed.
Tread Softly For the First Few Days
Not being able to watch The Bachelor because UFC is on, or coming home to an unmade bed when you usually make it everyday, are things that you may need to adjust to. There are always going to be those things, that your partner doesn’t know are bothering you. Find a time when you are both in a good mood and talk about the things that are important to you in your daily life and how you can best meet in the middle. Maybe you don’t get to live-tweet while watching The Bachelor that week, but you have both been able to fulfil you non-negotiables and been flexible with your negotiables. Everyone has those strange habits or things that are very important to them, so try to identify you pet peeves and make your partner aware of them in a non-threatening way. I hate when people sleep on my throw pillows, or someone puts my purse on the ground. I am sure everyone has their own stuff that drives them up the wall! It is best to be vocal before it van become an issue.
My last word of wisdom, is it is not going to be easy. Taking your relationship to the next level is hard work at first but it can also be a wonderful thing. It is nice to wake up next to someone you love and intentionally share your life with them. It is important to remember this in moments when you least like your partner. Merging two adult lives together is never going to be seamless.
Any tips for moving in with your partner? Let me know in the comments below!