The logistics are simple: Pack up your belongings and unpack them together in your new home. But when you look beneath the surface, there are a multitude of decisions, considerations and compromises involved in moving in with a partner. As you make the transition to living together, give your relationship a tuneup to ensure the quarters don’t end up feeling cramped. Focus on communication, respect and appreciation -- and a healthy dose of romance and fun.
Moving in together means merging all of your stuff with all of his. Avoid turning your new home into a chaotic mess with some careful inventory-taking. Make a list of the household items that each of you has, then discuss which of the duplicates you’ll be keeping. Remember that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Just because you think his ratty old comic book collection should be tossed out to make room for your collection of bestsellers, it doesn’t mean your boyfriend feels that way, too. Show respect and make some compromises. Have fun, too, by thinking of the process as an opportunity to share your childhood mementos and weird lifelong collections. Donate the items you no longer need to a local charitable organization, then decide whether you’ll use a moving company or your best pals to combine your belongings.
Financing the Love Nest
Finances can easily become a source of contention in a relationship, making them a top priority for discussion prior to the big move. Both of you should paint a complete financial picture, sharing your incomes, credit scores, debts, loans, assets and any other financial obligations. Determine who is responsible for what in the home, including whether the bills will be split equally or if each of you will contribute a certain percentage of your income. If there is a large discrepancy between incomes, be honest about what each of you can afford and figure out whether one of you will be responsible for a larger share of the bills. Consider keeping personal expenses, such as cellphone bills and your car payment, separate.
After a period of cohabitation bliss, the sink will be overflowing with dishes, the laundry piled up on the floor and the trash will refuse to walk itself to the curb. Avoid living in a disaster while also divvying up the chores fairly by discussing who’s doing what before moving day. Figure out who will do the grocery shopping, wash the floors and bathe the dog. Spell it out on paper so both of you can depend on each other’s contributions. Entertaining responsibilities should also figure into the discussion. If the two of you have different social styles -- you have an open-door policy seven days a week, whereas he prefers his friends make an appointment to drop by a month in advance -- you’ll have to come to a compromise on visitors.
Two Independent Cohabitators
It’s natural to need some time on your own, and it’s OK for your partner to need the same. While happily ensconced in your love nest, don’t neglect your other relationships with family and friends -- indulge in a girls’ night, clear out for your guys' poker night and don’t be afraid to claim the bathroom for an hour-long bubble bath. As two separate individuals, there’s bound to be a little friction. Your listening skills have never been more important than they are now that you’re moving in with your partner. Spats and arguments are just part of the package that comes with cohabitation. Work on your conflict resolution skills together to avoid all-out wars once you’re under the same roof. You’ll need a little time to adjust to each other’s personalities, quirks and temperaments on a day-in day-out basis.
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