Moving in with a partner is a huge and exciting step in any relationship. It can also be nerve-wracking and leave you wondering if you are truly ready to leap this milestone with your loved one.
Many couples indeed face some difficulties after moving in together. Luckily, you can circumvent a lot of these potential problems by making sure you’re on the same page and keeping certain things in mind beforehand. Here’s how a therapist reveals seven things to remember before moving in with a partner.
1. Needs and Expectations
You might think you know your partner inside-out, and perhaps you do! Even so, it’s always a good idea to have one’s needs and expectations listed out and openly discussed. To ensure that moving in remains a positive and pleasant experience, both you and your partner need to see this is a challenge that you have to work together to overcome!
With that in mind, here are a few key topics you might want to tackle first:
· Discuss Expectations
Research confirms that close interpersonal relationships work best when both parties are forthcoming with their wants, needs, and desires. Sit down with your partner beforehand and have an open discussion about simple things like routines (both on a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule), whether you’d rather set the table instead of preparing dinner, and what you’re looking to get out of this living situation.
· Set Boundaries
Even when both you and your partner get very close, living in close quarters together can put a strain on even positive relationships. As a result, it’s best to listen to the experts and take the time to set down some boundaries. These can range from more obvious ones like time priorities and how much quality time you both want or need, to more straightforward questions about who’s in charge of paying for the groceries and the bills. This talk shouldn’t be a one-time discussion either – experts suggest catching up with each other on these discussions on a daily or weekly basis, so you both will stay on the same page as much as possible.
· Figure Out Your Intention
While moving in with your partner may seem like a natural and exciting evolution in your relationship, it’s crucial to pause still and consider why you’re taking this big step. Positive thinking aside, it’s possible that you or your partner may be doing this for reasons that are rooted in fear, rather than growth. And that needs to be something you both need to look into, to avoid problems in the future.
It’s only natural to expect intimacy from your partner when you move in together – both sexual and romantic. That said, it’s crucial to discuss intimacy needs, sexual expectations, and any potential discrepancies between you and your partner’s libido in advance. This chat is so you can make sure that both of you are on the same page when it comes to intimacy needs and expectations before moving in together.
· Determine Your End Goal
Moving in together is a significant upgrade in anyone’s relationship, but this relationship upgrade shouldn’t be an end goal in and of itself. There should be plenty of other long-term goals that you both might have or ought to discuss after achieving this exciting goal, says Widener University Human Sexuality Program assistant professor Dr. Sabitha Pillai-Friedman. For example, you would both need to decide if you would like to simply just wait and see how your relationship develops, or commit to each other permanently, or even get married!
2. Financial Concerns
The most natural assumption would be that money is a frequent source of conflict between partners living together. A study, however, has proven that this isn’t the case. Don’t start celebrating just yet, though: the same study also showed that money problems also last longer and are often harder to resolve. This outcome is usually because both of you might disagree on just how much money should be put into those saving accounts – or if that goal is worth saving for at all.
Additionally, it bears keeping in mind that you will both have to decide who’s financially in charge of which bills as well – especially if you’re bringing along extra expenses in the form of pets and the like. As such, author, TV host, and relationship expert Andrea Syrtash recommends discussing financial issues before moving in together. Who’s paying for what? How much do you earn? Lay it all on the table!
3. Quirks and Habits
Things that may seem adorable or cute to either of you may quickly turn into a nuisance once you find yourself dealing with it 24/7. It’s best first to discuss such things and to also reveal to each other if there’s anything else the other doesn’t know about you. After all, neither of you will be able to hide it from each other while living together!
Additionally, both of you ought to hammer out and discuss who should do which chores, and how frequently. This planning can prevent fights over household cleanliness levels, resentment towards one another, and awkward situations where some aspect of the household gets neglected – to everyone’s depriment.
4. It Won’t Be Easy, But You’re In This Together
Frankly speaking, living together is not easy to do. So you should come to expect that things are going to go south sometimes. Even so, both you and your partner should consider each other a team trying to overcome challenges – not enemies. So with that in mind:
· Prepare To Get On Each Other’s Nerves
When living together in the same space, it’s only inevitable that you will get irritated by your partner more often than usual. It’ll likely be in the form of little habits and quirks that annoys either of you and only when you both start living together – like leaving empty cups in the sink for days or your partner’s penchant for smelly foods. Be prepared for this to happen, and don’t let it bring you too much anxiety, says Relationship Expert Justin Lavelle.
· Prepare For The Ugly
The most intimate method to get to know someone, warts, and all truly, is to live with them. This experience is how you’ll find out if they are neat freaks that drive you crazy, or if they’re the type to live in a pigsty without a care in the world! Both of you should hammer out as much of this as possible in advance, but you’re still going to have to mentally prepare that things can get bad or ugly as well – and you’ll have to continue living with them anyway.
· Communicate More Than Ever
Once you start living together full time, excellent communication becomes crucial. Research proves that specific communication skills – like the ability to express emotions openly and maturely – are incredibly important if you want to be able to live together happily. This habit is especially so since there is now no room for either of you to escape to, should tempers flare and people get hurt.
5. Chores and Responsibilities
There will continuously be things that have to be done. Either the floors must be swept, or the bathrooms scrubbed, or the garbage is taken out. Whatever it is, both you and your partner will have to figure out how to divvy up the chore list.
Ideally, you’ll want to:
- Discuss the frequency of certain chores and responsibilities, and if there are certain chores either of you prefers or hates
- Ask each other what household tasks needed and what rooms you’ll want to manage.
- Create a schedule with individual responsibilities for both of you
Bear in mind that all this needn’t be set in stone if either changes your mind. Both of you need to figure out how to get the chores sorted and completed without either one of you feeling like the division of labor is uneven.
6. There Will Be Changes
It’s naive to assume that the relationship both of you share will remain static and unchanging after such a huge, life-changing event – or even over time.
While neither of you will suddenly become different people overnight, it’s important to remember that with time comes a change in goals and aspirations. It may affect one’s disposition and behavior, and that is something that might cause clashes between both of you.
Additionally, once you move in together, both of you are going to have to contend with lifestyle adjustments, says relationship specialist J. Hope Suis. This adjustment phase is normal and expected whenever you move in with anyone. Thus, it’s a good idea to discuss things with them first.
7. Break-Up Plans
Nobody wants to think about this, especially if you haven’t moved in yet. But it’s essential to think about how you and your partner are going to be able to pull out if living together doesn’t work.
For example, some things you’ll have to keep in mind are:
Melding finances together is much easier than trying to separate it later. If you share a joint account, how do you both split the money? What happens to the bills and fees?
Once you and your partner stop living together, you naturally will no longer be sharing belongings and assets. It’s essential to keep in mind that you will both have to figure out and decide who gets possession of what item(s) – which will only get exponentially more difficult after living together for long periods.
If living together is no longer a viable solution, both of you will still need someplace to live in. Additionally, both of you will have to figure out how to move your respective belongings out later too.
It’s natural to cling on to positive thinking and hope that this is a situation that both you and your partner won’t have ever to worry about or think about. But it’s always a good idea to plan for this possibility, to make things smoother and easier should the unthinkable happen. According to relationship expert and podcast host Damona Hoffman, this can make for a more amicable split.
It’s equally thrilling and frightening to move in with a partner. Making sure, first, you are on the same page and remembering certain things before the big step forward can help make the transition smoother.