If you’re reading this, you might be tired of living in a crowded apartment with multiple roommates or living alone. You just might be considering moving in with your significant other. The benefits seem endless – splitting rent, sharing other bills and responsibilities, having them around more, no commute to see one another… the list goes on. There are also many adjustments that may seem scary when you’re both agreeing to sign on the dotted line.
I’ve done some research and come up with 10 tips for making moving in together a whole lot easier.
1. Have “the Talk”
Yes, “the talk.” Before you move in with someone, you need to figure out what that means for both of you. For you, it might mean a way to spend more time with your favorite person and split bills. For them, it might mean that you’re taking one step closer to walking down the aisle. It might be that you’re both not really sure what it means, and that’s okay too. Just get that all out on the table so no ones silently disappointed.
2. Discuss Finances
Do you know your partners’ credit score? You’re about too. And, you might be surprised, for better or for worse. Talking about finances pre-apartment shopping is a good way to gauge what your budget is. Discuss your monthly gross income, debts and credit scores. That way no ones surprised if your application is rejected, and no one’s struggling to be able to pay rent if it’s not.
3. Have Them Bring All Their Stuff (And Bring Yours, Too)
But, they have that awful mustard couch! And the “Saturdays Are For The Boys” flag that they want to hang outside of your house! (true story) Guess what, you probably have things that they deem un-bringable to your new shared abode. (ah-hem, my sleigh bed that I had since I was a child) So, you should both bring everything and decide together what stays and what goes to Good Will. You’re less likely to hate the flag hanging in the garage if you agreed to let him put it in there. See, compromise.
4. Come To a Consensus on Chores
I know everyone says it should be 50/50. It doesn’t have to be. You both just need to agree on whatever it is. Maybe one of you works fewer hours and has more time to tackle the laundry pile. Maybe one of you likes it super tidy and clean and doesn’t mind putting in a little more work. Maybe one of you would rather pay for a cleaning service than do it themselves. All of those situations are fine, as long as you both agree on it.
If you want to share the workload 50/50, a great way to do it is to write down all of your chores in categories of “Monthly,” Weekly,” and “Daily.” Then, go through each category and take turns deciding which chores you each don’t mind doing. When you’re left with a few you each don’t want to do, consider hiring someone to do it or taking turns. Then go to the next category and do it all again.
5. Communication is Everything
Bottling everything up and then exploding over your partner putting their dirty shoes on the bed (an entirely hypothetical situation, obviously) is going to make everyone miserable. If something’s bothering you, nip it in the bud and move on.
There’s another side to communication, too. Remember all of those talks you had when you first started dating? About your childhood, your hopes and dreams, and all of the other things you didn’t know about each other yet. Well, you still don’t know everything about them and you never will. Which is incredible! Keep asking them questions. You never know, they may have taken horseback riding lessons when they were little and have the pictures to prove it.
6. Manage Your Expectations
Should you ask or mention to each other that you’re inviting people over? Or that you’re going out with friends? Or do you both not care about knowing? Personally, I like to know if my husband is coming home straight after work or getting a drink with a friend. I don’t need to know where he’s going or who he’s going with, I just like to know if I should grab tikka masala for one or two. Working any expectations you may have out with your partner will end fights before they can even start.
7. Have Your Own Space & Stuff
When your living space and everything in it is “ours,” it may feel a little suffocating at times. A space on the couch that you always sit in or a mug that you always use can feel like a breath of fresh air.
8. Schedule “You Time”
Just because you need “you time” doesn’t mean that it’s a slight to your partner. Planning a night out with friends may be your “you time.” Taking a bubble bath or running to the grocery store solo might give you all the alone time you need. You might not even need any “you time,” and that’s okay too. I’m just here to let you know if you do need some, take it. For your sanity and your partner’s.
9. Schedule “Us Time”
Sitting in front of the TV while you both scroll through your phones is an easy ritual to fall into. I’m not saying your relationship is doomed if you do do this (everyone does) — but, you should also do other things. Take a walk around your neighborhood together. Try a new coffee shop together. Watch that same TV show without your phones. Basically, spend time together where you’re both fully present. You’ll be happier. I promise.
10. Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best
Talking about what happens if your relationship ends is not setting you both up for failure, you’re just being practical. Have both of your names on the lease, so that if you break up one of you can’t leave the other clamoring to find the money to pay both halves of the rent. If you’re lucky enough to have an attorney, you should ask them to draw up a rental agreement for you and your SO. It takes the emotion and awkwardness out of it & you’ll feel totally secure.
I know some of this made moving in with your partner sound like a bit of a downer, but it’s truly anything but. At the end of a long day, you get to swing open your door and your favorite person is there in your shared home that you’ve both worked so hard to make together and that outweighs any awkward conversation every day of the week.