For my part, the one really important thing we should have talked about before we moved in together was personal space and alone time. In my experience, moving in with someone you’re in a relationship with often means the implicit expectation of spending more of your free time together than you used to. This is especially relevant for the free time spent in a room both of you would use frequently, and might like to use at the same time, like the living room, so if your preferred mode of unwinding is gaming, or pigging out on the sofa with a mindless tv-show she doesn’t like, without having to deal with other people, this should be addressed. I have friends who live with their girlfriends, and while they don’t say it explicitly, I can tell by the way they talk about it that they miss being able to spend a whole saturday engrossed in some solitary activity they used to love, but now can’t find the time for because she expects them to do stuff together whenever there’s time.
There are obviously huge individual differences here, but I am personally someone who needs alone time to unwind and get rid of the stress of a long day of work or studies. It’s essential if I want to function properly, and when I don’t get it, it affects my level of general happiness. As a result, I can get irritable and resentful, which is never a good factor to bring into a relationship. Additionally, she might get resentful of you for not wanting to spend time with her, and then you’ve got a carousel of small annoyances going which given time could really sour the relationship.
Of course, the same goes the other way around: you might be the one wanting to spend a lot of time together, while she needs a certain amount of alone time to be happy. Whichever it is, and whatever other problems you might have (and there will be problems, no matter how well you prepare), the key thing to making this work is communication. If you’re not able to be open and honest with each other regarding your own needs, perceptions and feelings, living together will never work. This might be a banal point, but in all its banality, it is also the one tenet of successful relationshipping everyone breaks at some point, and the breaking of this tenet is likely one of the most prevalent reasons for why relationships fail, so it never gets old.
I moved in with my boyfriend and he had the same issues. The thing is, my place is VERY decorated, I painted walls, picked out all my furniture, it was my style. We had to figure out a way to merge styles and be happy. We also each got our own office/studio room that were completely ours. The posters he loved went into his office, the paintings that were too weird for him went into my space. The rest of the art was placed in the common areas based on how much we both loved it. There is one framed monstrosity in the hall that he loves and I slowly deface it (in a way that doesn’t damage) that he finds hilarious, it’s my way of coping.
You both have to feel like it’s your space, its VERY important. For a while I just felt like I was a guest in his home, it took a couple months to feel at home in “our” space.
There’s no significant difference in many places between cohabitation and marriage… so when you move in together and plan to live that way long enough to become classified as ‘common-law’, you should discuss everything as if you’re getting married.
You need to discuss how you’re going to share the finances, how you’re going to share the chores, how you’re going to share personal space, etc.
And you have to be honest; don’t compromise before you even open your mouth. Compromise comes after you’ve both voiced your desires and found a conflict. You can’t expect your partner to know there’s a problem if you’ve hidden it from them.
I did all of the above, and there were still a few little ‘surprises’ we had for each other as we relaxed over time. We had been lying to ourselves about what was important to us, because we wanted to be together so badly. It worked out, but in retrospect it was foolish self-deception and we could have started off a little better.
4. Gender roles
It depends on your relationship but here are things you need to talk about:
Gender Roles: Are you sticking with the idea that the man takes out the trash, does the yard, and fixes things while she cooks and does laundry? We have it setup so that whoever cooks doesn’t do the dishes, and we keep our laundry apart so she doesn’t f up my dress shirts or me her bras.
Bills: What portion of each bill are you each paying? Do you want a joint bank account to pay it all from or just handle individual bills split up.
Moving Costs: There are a lot of nickel and dime things that really add up in a move. Who is paying light/cable deposits, who is buying toiletries, cleaning supplies, tupperware, food, dishes, storage unit etc.
How long are you staying?: Is this a temp place until you can buy a house? If so, find somewhere cheap and save money. No point blowing a bunch on a nice apartment for just a year or two. Agree on an amount to save each month for your future home.
Insurance: Renters insurance is dirt cheap and covers all your stuff should anything happen, but will it be a joint policy or will you have individual plans? Also consider being added to each other’s vehicle insurance, I’d assume you’re both driving each other’s car at some point and you want to cover your ass.
All the material things aside, you’re going to learn a lot about each other and yourselves after 4 months is up. You never really know a person until you live with them, I wish you the best of luck and remember:
Pick your battles, argue don’t fight, and always make time for yourself!
My wife and I have entirely different definitions of personal space and personal time. When we moved in together, it was a disaster. I walk in through the door after work and I’m slammed with 21 questions about my day and her day and everything else in between, which is something I was not used to. When I get home I like to unwind and relax for a few minutes before anything else. My wife likes to unwind by unloading her day on me.
I’ve also just realized that I’m introverted, and she is not, so when I crave quiet and space, she craves conversation and closeness. It has taken nearly a year for us to adapt to each other and even know we still have hiccups, but we’ll get through it.
Honestly, nothing. We dated long distance for three months after meeting at a wedding. We fell in love and moved her down to where I live. We have had no co-living issues what-so-ever. We go with the flow, we both contribute to keeping the place clean, we don’t have a problem asking the other to do something if it makes sense time/schedule wise.
I believe most challenges people have when living together is more of a problem in the relationship than the actual act of living together. If you are in love and you truly respect the other person you work together to make sure each person is comfortable with the situation. For example, I discovered my GF likes to have the toothpaste in a drawer, not in the toothbrush holder. I figured this out because after 3 times of putting in toothbrush holder I would come back to find in drawer. So I now I always put in drawer because, who cares and it makes her happy.
7. Some protips
Just a protip – chores/money/responsibilities are NEVER going to be an even 50/50 split, so just be easygoing about it and do what needs to get done. Chances are you’re both going to feel like you put in over 50% so just be cool about it.
Also – your significant other is gonna do shit that annoys you. It’s inevitable. Just keep in mind that you probably do shit that annoys them too and they let it go.
You’re going to find that each of you has different standards for cleanliness. What will be “clean enough” for one of you might end up being “the sewers of hell” to the other. So be prepared to talk about it.
Other things you really need to talk about:
Toilet seat, up or down? If you clean the bathroom, you’ll end up realizing the mess from standing. Also the toilet paper issue is not one to take lightly.
Finances? Who pays the utilities and rent, is it shared, how much? Who buys the groceries?
Cooking? Shared? One does it all? If you’re not good/experienced, check the library for some beginner type cookbooks and learn a couple recipes. One girlfriend wanted the menus thought out a week ahead (including who cooked them) so that we’d only get the groceries needed and that there would be no “what’s for dinner” followed by staring into the fridge to see what one could make.
As a girl who has been living with her boyfriend for over 3 years now, you need to be sure you understand what moving in together means to HER. And if it’s different than what it means to YOU…you need to discuss expectations. Moving in is virtually the last step before marriage is “expected.” If you’re no where near ready to marry her, or she’s no where near ready to marry you…you both need to make sure you understand what this step means to each of you. And if you both have decided that you never want to get married at all then no need to heed this advice.
My SO and I really haven’t had too many issues, but one keeps popping up. We both kind of fell into our own domestic roles, she does laundry and I do dishes, we both take turns cooking, etc. I assumed we fell into a perfect domestic situation but she sometimes thinks I take her efforts for granted because I rarely thank her. My counter argument is usually that I don’t expect praise for doing normal house work so I never thought to give any. In the end we are both some what right and I try harder to show my appreciation.
I don’t know if talking before moving in would have changed the situation. Living with someone is a huge change and you can’t predict the issues you will have. My advice to you would be to notice the things your SO does for you(or the household) and show that you appreciate them. Honestly its the easiest thing to do and it goes a long way towards both your happiness.
What temperature do you like the air around you to be?
Where dirty dishes go in the sink. You do not fill up both sides with dirty dishes leaving no room to work. You fill up one side leaving the disposer side free to wash food off and rinse dishes.
Don’t talk to me while I’m poopin.
Moving in together is a whole new adventure. You get to see your true SO. There will always be some incompatibilities. However, over time, you’ll both work together to become one synchronized unit.
When my cousin and her husband got married, seems they had different opinions on how to do the dishes. One liked to soak the dishes first while the other preferred to wash the dishes right away. I only know this because they had a tongue-in-cheek argument about it in front of everyone. It was kind of awkward.
Don’t do it just because you want to save a few bucks. Do it because you actually want to live with them.
16. It’s true
Clothes, clothes everywhere. I had a clean fucking room as a bachelor and now I live in a laundry basket. Where do people get the idea that men are messier than women??
I assumed she could do laundry, but she couldn’t. I never asked her to do laundry as I can do it just fine, but I also get all the “manly” chores of the house and laundry is not at the top of my list. She didn’t even know to separate colors from whites and turned a very nice white work shirt pink.
I’ve lived with a lot of women but over time I think, looking at the several times there are a few things.
Finances. Not just rent but in detail. Food. Utilities. Responsible water\power usage. Entertainment budget. I generally have made more than most of these women so I didn’t even make them split the whole rent with me but its these peripheral things that have caused tension in the past.
Basically, chores. Lay out what role you expect to do between cooking…dishes…vacuuming. All of it. Stick to it.
Your lives will become much more homogenous. Discuss time that you will spend apart. Friend time. Man time. Woman time. What you each expect.
All in all just make sure you each make a set of ground rules and both agree. Don’t capitulate on anything that is important to you and nor should she.
Oh. Definitely discuss what happens if things don’t work out. Every single time I’ve had to break up with them…it was bad. Either they didn’t have anywhere to go. Weren’t responsible enough with money to be able to afford to move…I’ve ended up paying that just to get them on their feet. Lay out a framework…especially when its your place she is moving into.