So today, I had a bit of writer’s block today, so I asked Twitter for some help. Luckily, I have the good fortune to follow and be followed by some awesome people, like Jenn from the blog Jenn and the City, where she covers just dating, life, love, relationships and everything in between. And I do mean everything, her most recent posts are about dealing with depression and Valentine’s Day date ideas for whether you’re coupled up or solo.
Anyway, I asked for a dating question, and she gave me a few really good ones, one which I’m answering in this post.
What are some tips and tricks and things to keep in mind when moving in with your s/o?
When it comes to living with a partner, I sort of had an inverted experience compared to many of my peers. While most of the people I know started moving in with partners in their late 20s and early 30s, I moved in with a partner 9 years ago, when I was 22 years old. Besides that, I did have conversations with a recent ex about moving in together, but that never panned out, which is probably for the best. Both the experience of living with a partner, and trying to figure out how best to handle moving in with a partner taught me a thing or two about things you should keep in mind when you’re thinking of moving in with a partner.
I’m going to break up my tips into two phases. Things you should keep in mind before you move in together, and tips for once you’ve moved in together.
Before moving in, you need to figure out exactly what you will be getting into by moving in together. In my opinion, the first of thing to figure out should be the financial aspects of moving in together. If you’ve never had a conversation about finances, now is the time to do so. Look, no one wants to move in with someone and find out that they can’t afford their half of the rent. Better yet, now would be a good time to figure out how you’ll split rent, utilities, luxuries, and so on. Hell, now is also a great time to figure out what luxuries you will or will not have. Netflix? Cable? Maybe your partner wants to get a cleaning service once a month. Maybe you wont do an even split with rent or bills because you make $150k a year and your partner makes $50k a year. Maybe your partner only wants to move into the most expensive, most mediocre neighborhood, and you’re unwilling to pay an exorbitant amount in rent to live in a god-awful neighborhood full of douche-y bros and shitty nightlife options. Which also begs the question, are you moving into a new place, or consolidating in one of your respective abodes. No right answer here, but it’s something you both need to figure out together.
With the financial aspect, and the “where” taken care of, now is the time figure out expectations on both sides. Let’s say your partner has a dog, is the expectation that you’ll walk that dog every morning? What if they’ve always wanted a pet, is the expectations that you’ll get one together? What about chores, how will that be handled? What about cooking, is that something you’ll be expected to do? What about entertaining guests, or having people stay over when they visit? Will your partner want you to give up your hours-long video game bingeing sessions? Most importantly, you really should find out what your partner thinks moving in together means for where your relationship is going. Does this mean that marriage is right around the corner? Kids? Buying a house and moving into the suburbs?
Finally, and I think this is critical, figure out a plan to keep a romantic spark. Too many couples move in together and become roommates who occasionally have mediocre, passionless sex with each other. Don’t let this happen! I would HIGHLY recommend committing to a certain number of date nights a month where you plan out and go on actual dates. They don’t have to be extravagant dates, but they need to be actual, planned out dates. Otherwise you’ll start to develop platonic familiarity in place of a romantic chemistry.
Basically, the goal before moving in is to figure out what’s important to both you and your partner, which can generally be bracketed into four topics: Money, Where you’ll live, Expectations, and Keeping the Romance Alive. Once you’ve figured all that out, the rest is…well maybe not easy, but it should be easier. If you’re both on the same page, or at the very least understand each other, it’ll make any hiccups in your co-habitation a little easier to deal with.
Now, here’s some basic tips to maintain a happy home together:
One of the biggest things I would recommend is to rely on common courtesy when it comes to living together. If you share a home with someone, you don’t need to tell them where you’ll be every single second of every day, but a simple text saying “Hey, I’ll be home late, hanging out with friends tonight” will go a very long way. Your partner isn’t your parent, but they do care for you, and knowing generally when you’ll get home, or when you’ll be away is just common courtesy. Same goes for things like having over company, or having people stay over. “Hey, my friend is coming in to town, can they stay here” is easy to do, and is a hell of a lot easier to deal with than dealing with a partner who is pissed off that you didn’t tell them that your friend would be sleeping on the couch tomorrow night. Have the common courtesy to keep your partner informed.
Oh and remember those expectations you discussed before you moved in together? Stick to them! If you decided that you’d split chores around the house, stick to that arrangement. Same goes for the financial stuff too, but I would highly recommend having financial discussions be an ongoing thing. If your financial circumstances change, especially in a negative way, tell your partner. What I don’t recommend is having a joint banking account unless you’re married. You can figure out splitting finances and paying bills with your partner without tying yourself to each other through banking. I did it in the past, and it worked out fine.
Lastly, keep dating your partner. I know it sounds trite, but going on those dates you committed to planning, and continuing to do all the things you were doing when you first started dating them is incredibly important. You want to not only maintain the romance in your relationship, you should want your romantic connection to grow. Remember, your partner isn’t your roommate, your partner is your romantic partner who you live with. “Romantic” first, “live with” second. If you used to get them flowers when you were dating, get them flowers when you live together. If you used to wear sexy undergarments to bed when you were just dating, don’t stop now just because they know where you keep all that sexy stuff. Keep dating your partner, keep romancing your partner, even if you’ve already crossed the “we fart in front of each other” threshold.
More than anything else, being on the same page and constantly communicating is key. That advice is true of relationships as a whole, but more so once you move in together. All the tips above really all boil down to communication. Communicating so that you’re both on the same page before you move in together. Keeping that communication open when you move in together to avoid any undue relationship stressors, and maintaining a certain level of communication with your partner that remains romantic, rather than platonic.
It’s not foolproof, not every cohabitation ends in happily ever after, but I think these things will help you before you move in with a partner, and once you’ve moved in together.
Good Luck Out There.