1. Talk about the little things that bug you right away don’t let it build up until you hate the way they breathe across the table.
2. Have your own spaces. Feeling like you’ve lost independence can mess with a relationship. You’re coming together, and that is awesome, but you can be closer if you also feel secure that you are still yourself.
3. My husband’s advice: Get ready to change a little bit. Living with someone requires you to change some habits. You’re going to have to compromise, and that’s okay. Your day to day life is going to change, and that’s okay too.
My advice: let the little things go as often as you can. Changing your habits is REALLY HARD. Your partner is not leaving the cap off the toothpaste every day on purpose or to spite you, and I know it’s annoying because you’ve asked him to put it back on a million times. But it is honestly so much easier to just put the lid back on yourself and go about your day. And, ideally, your partner will be doing those little things for you, too. My husband hates it when I leave my shoes in the living room. I promise I’m not doing it on purpose, I just can’t seem to remember. He consistently forgets to lock the front door. Every night. Drives me nuts. But I’ll lock it for him, because he’s carrying my shoes to the closet for me.
4. Find ways to be thankful for the things the other person does. My GF sets up my coffee in the morning so all I have to do is turn it on. Such a small thing but I make sure to thank her all the time. I try and do small things like that for her too. It matters in the long run.
5. Fair doesn’t necessarily mean equal. Communicate early and often. Each person will experience hardships, so be kind and pick up slack when your partner needs it, because sooner or later you’ll need some compassion.
6. Inevitably you‘ll discover annoying habits about your SO that you never noticed before. Try to be patient and acknowledge that everyone has their own way of doing things, and every relationship involves a period of adapting to each other’s quirks. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter if the toothpaste is squeezed from the top or bottom.
7. Let your home and relationship be whatever the two of you want it to be, learn to let go of ideas of what you thought it “should” be.
Little examples: over several years and moves, we almost never used our couch or loveseat, and were never in that room. We realized we only kept them because houses are supposed to have living rooms with couches. We got rid of them and now use that room all the time for yoga and crafts and sexcapades.
Spent several years waking up cold and sad with no blankets because they were now completely wrapped around my wife, and she’d get so annoyed if I tried to grab a corner back. Ugh! We finally realized having separate blankets wouldn’t separate us, and now we’re both warm and happy.
We thought sex should be spontaneous and that it would be so sad, unromantic, and a Bad Sign if we had to stoop to scheduling it. Heck no! For us, somehow scheduled sex became the key to spontaneous sex too.
We keep a Christmas tree up all year because there are no overhead lights in that room and the tree lights plug into the outlet controlled by a switch, making it an effective lamp. We’d have no room to store it otherwise, we don’t like lamps but needed light, and we fucking love the forest, so it’s fun to “go camping” out there when we can’t really get out. Maintenance people look at us weird and our families laughed at us, but for us it works!
You’re adults, which means you don’t have to “play adult”- just do whatever tf you want to do! Be brave in your vulnerability, constant in your love, and resist the urge to view annoying habits as deficits in character.
8. Do it as an active step towards committing to the relationship permanently, not to save money or for convenience.
9. Have separate blankets and sheets at least. My S/O and I actually have separate beds in the same room. I use a CPAP and she has an oxygen line, plus we have 4 dogs. Nothing will ruin you relationship faster than shitty sleep. We get together for sex, but when it comes to actual sleep, we both love having a bed to ourselves. On the sleep note, LET EACH OTHER SLEEP! If you’re feeling lonely and your partner is sleeping, go do something that doesn’t bother them.
Maintain your outside friendships. It is super easy to start spending every last second together. While at first this seems awesome, a year down the road you’ll seriously regret it if you let your friends fall to the wayside. If you had buddies you hung out with, keep hanging out with them. This goes for both of you, and don’t get all clingy when the other person runs off for a night out without you. You don’t need to live in each others pockets 24/7/365
Talk, at least once a week about your relationship, what annoys you, what you like and respect about each other. Communication is key. LISTEN to each other. Stop and think about what the other person is really saying when you do this.
10. If one person is moving into the others already existing home, make a conscious effort to make space for the one moving in. It takes work to make someones already existing home into a home for another person.
11. Discuss the possibility of having pets, what types, and who will take care of them.
12. Come into it as roommates. Calculate your living expenses, make sure each individual has an understanding of their financial responsibility with regards to rent, bills, and so forth. Yes, you are into each other, and yes this can provide more opportunities for being alone together, but money is probably the number one reason people break up.
Second, talk with each other about how you’d like to keep the place. Things like how you keep your kitchen can be a small thing that turns huge. Likewise with the bathroom and bedroom. Make sure your living styles are compatible.
Remember, you are partners, equals, and roommates, as well as significant others. Treat each other accordingly.
13. Don’t make it any one person’s job to do one or more particular things, because if that person is feeling demotivated and doesn’t want to do “their job” for a day or two, the other may resent them for it because they’re used to having it done.
I was “in charge” of making dinner every day when I lived with my ex. A couple days came around that I just wasn’t feeling it and wasn’t even hungry and didn’t want to cook, and I ended up getting yelled at and called lazy and selfish because I didn’t cook for a couple days. We were together for three years, and I had cooked about 98% of those days, with the other two percent being dinner at somebody else’s house or we ordered pizza/went out to eat.
Am now out of that relationship and in one that I do still cook quite a bit, but not every day and it isn’t “my job” to feed him. He does a lot of the outdoor work, but I still help out with it. I do the majority of the inside work (cleaning and such), but he helps with a lot, too.
Relationships are a team effort, both individuals have to give just as much as the other and BE A TEAM together rather than be on opposite sides.
14. If you are of the mindset “we’ve slept over before and that went well therefore nothing will change” its not a good idea.
Be prepared to make sacrifices, and know when to hold the line. Not every hill needs to defended to the death.
15. Be patient for the first few months. It’s a big adjustment.
I also want to say don’t rush moving in together. Get to know the person first. People are on their best behavior at the beginning of the relationship.
I’ve had a few friends who have moved in within in a week of dating their SO and it was never pretty.
16. Your girlfriend does not replace your mom or become your housekeeper. Pick up after yourself.
17. Realize that living together doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be up each other’s ass 24/7. It’s important to still do stuff you enjoy and take time for yourselves without feeling obligated to constantly do stuff together. Other than that, communicate stuff that bothers you in a way that won’t be hurtful towards your partner
18. Talking about money and what you want for the future is necessary.
19. You should…
Get the biggest bed you can afford/fit in your space.
Check in with each other before going to take a shower. If I ever leave my BF, it will be because he chronically starts his ten-hour-long daily grooming process in our only bathroom five seconds before I was about to go pee.
Close the goddamn cabinet doors & drawers. Get into the habit. Every time.
Have a frank conversation regarding pillow expectations. Accept that one person may require far more pillows than the other person.
Be cognizant of the noise you make. This means checking in with yourself about whether you are a stomp-y walker, or if you clang dishes together while cooking or washing up. You might be making what you think is a perfectly reasonable level of noise, but the other person is like, “Why is s/he stomping & slamming things around? What did I do wrong?!”
When you come home from work grumpy, just try to remember that your mood is going to radiate out & affect your partner. That doesn’t mean slapping on a happy face. It just means that you might have to make a bare bones effort to let your partner know you are or are not upset with them.
Keep your money separate. Barring that, think LONG & HARD about whether you truly have the communication skills & shared values that will enable you to successfully co-mingle your finances.
Give each other alone time in the house. Everyone needs a little alone time in their own home. It’s not personal.
Don’t be a dick about things you do that might cause weird smells, like painting your nails, making tuna salad for lunch, drinking black tea, etc.
Just know that the novelty of sleeping in the same bed every night is going to wear off REAL QUICK.
20. Be friends first. Like, really. Mean it. Be that person’s best friend.
21. Enjoy the small stuff, get comfortable, but never too comfortable. Always keep going on dates, even if you both enjoy being at home with each other. Always keep some privacy.
I don’t mean to sound dark here but only realistic bc it’s happened to me but always have an escape plan or backup plan. Don’t fall into a situation you’d rather not be in if things didn’t end up working out. Make sure you still have your independence and don’t rely on each other too much.
22. Be at least as polite to each other as you would be to any other roommate, all the time.
23. Leave your parents out of the home relationship, including and not limited to not living with their parents. Just don’t do it. Relationships are between you and your SO, not your parents and they will interfere, they can’t help themselves.
24. Don’t aim for you to both put in 50%. Each of you should try to do 75%, because we tend to overestimate our own efforts because we judge ourselves by intentions and others by their actions. If you strive to put in 75%, you’re probably doing your fair share.
25. Two bathrooms.
I swear the secret to a happy marriage is your own personal poop room. It’s all fine to be open about it and like, “see ya in a few babe, I gotta poo” but to actually have to smell the poop of the person you’re supposed to want to have sex with, well that’s a whole other thing.
Everyone has true own toothbrush right?
So everyone should have their own toilet.
Well, unless you both have a poop-kink, then I don’t have any advice for you.
Oh, and a solid understanding on the division of labor.
Who is going to wash the dishes and do the cooking? Who is going to take out the trash?
You? Them? Both of you? Neither of you?
Oh, and if you ever catch yourself manipulating your partner, check yourself right away. That is never good.
26. Understand that your happiness is not your SO’s responsibility.
Bring as much joy into your SO’s life as possible.
If you can hold these seemingly contradictory ideas in mind at the same time, you’ll be fine.
27. At first you will be in each others face 24/7, which isn’t good. But then you start to take that for granted. Next thing you know you stop making time for each other because you’re both right there.
Agree a recurring date night, and set some ground rules. Starts at 6, no phones, movie at home not enough (or no more than 2 consecutive), take turns organizing, whatever works for you two.
It will get you used to communicating well, and taking turns contributing to the health of your relationship.
28. Better talk about religion and children before taking that step. I’ve seen both break up a lot of couples.
29. You two are a team. You look out for each other the same way you would look out for yourself. Don’t do favors expecting a favor in return, just do it because you like doing it for that person. Stow your shame. Teamwork means building on each other’s strengths and doing dirty, uncomfortable work for each other without hesitation. This goes from a load of dishes to oil changes to vacuuming to finance talks to draining the pus out of a weirdly infected spider bite in an unreachable area.
It’s been four years of adventure so far, hoping to break my parents’ still-climbing record.
30. Clean up after yourself. The sun could shine out of your butt, but you’d still drive a roommate out the door by being messy.
31. Always, and I mean ALWAYS, put the toilet seat down.
32. Be intentional about it. What it means for your relationship, how you’ll handle finances and chores. Don’t just fall into it out of laziness, it makes things way harder down the line if you want to split up.
33. Choose your battles. Life will always give you reasons to fight, you decide how you react.
Work as a team. Don’t let the hard times split you, lean on each other and support each other even more when things are shitty.
Have a safe word. My husband and I say “Caterpillar” to each other and the other person has to stop harassing you or yelling, whatever they were doing.
34. Get two comforters for your bed.
35. If you’re with the right person, living together will just feel right.
It’ll be better than any roommate you’ve had before and better than living alone. You will look forward to seeing their face at the end of your work day.
If you don’t have this, maybe reconsider.
36. Don’t say anything in the heat of the moment if you don’t know what’s really bugging you. If you can’t quite make out what it is that’s hurt/upset/annoyed you don’t go about getting into an argument about it until you can place WHY you feel that emotion. Or you’ll keep going round in circles and throw things to the fire that probably don’t need to be brought up.
Also always remember the way in which your partner loves to be shown love. Whatever is personal to them eg: my partner when stressed or overwhelmed likes to snuggle up and have her hair stroked. Whereas when I feel the same she will deep clean the whole house so I have one less thing to make my anxiety worse over the weekend.
37. Split whatever money is left after bills, savings and household budgeting (food etc.) 50/50 to personal accounts. That way you never have to fight about who gets to buy what personal stuff, which can be a big thing.
38. You are a team. If one of you cooks, the other does the dishes. Don’t get caught in a rut where one person does the same household task every week, share the load. Don’t swear at each other in hate, remember to take a step back from an argument-even for five minutes-and discuss feelings openly. Feelings are so important, and being honest can resolve so many little issues.
But also, if it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t waste more than 5 minutes worrying about it.
39. Communicate. Both of you. Just one person doing it wont be enough.
40. Figure out each other’s cycles and mood swings, and learn to work with or around them instead of trying to change them or “compromise.”
I’m a beast in the mornings, and while my partner points out if I’m being nasty or mean, he treats me gently until I wake up a bit more. He often needs quiet and brain-off time in the evenings, so I don’t try to have heavy conversations or force him to focus on anything in particular.
I think couples often try to change to accommodate one another, but it rarely works and resentment just builds in the meantime. Talk openly about where you are and work with each other.
41. Make a budget.
When my husband and I first moved in together our finances were a mess. Have a plan of what gets paid when, who is paying it (if you aren’t combining accounts), and how much you need for food and other things.
42. Talk about money. Things have to be split equally. One Pearson paying 70% of the bulls and food isn’t fair and builds resentment.
Talk about chores. One person doing all the chores also builds resentment.
You don’t need to hangout together 24/7. Not being able to do the things you used to builds resentment.
43. Only live with them for love, because you want to wake up to them every day!!!!! Do not move in with them if one of you is having a housing crisis…you won’t have time to know if you are compatible
44. Respect each others space and if you’re getting irritated or mad about something make sure you talk about it rather than letting it fester.
45. Rent a place you can afford without the partners paycheck and put it in one persons name (at least for the first year). So if things don’t work out you don’t have to stress about the lease or having to move.
46. Just because you live together doesn’t mean you need to spend every second in each other’s presence. Feel free to have decompression time when either of you comes home. Be super honest and open about this. Maybe your partner is someone who loves to chat and engage as soon as they come home but maybe you need 30 minutes to chill.
Discuss how food and cooking will work, how cleaning will work, how laundry will work. Who will do what, what is a joint chore, will it be equal responsibility or one specific person’s chore?
Presumably you know how clean the other person is. If they’re messy they’re not going to suddenly become a cleaning machine or vice versa. Don’t expect a clean freak to relax or for a slob to be spotless. It’s not going to happen.
If you’re moving in, have that very awkward and very necessary conversation about finances. Lay everything out and know where you are starting from. Regularly check in and make new goals together.
47. I would recommend moving into a new place also, not into one of your existing places. I’ve never felt at home when I moved into someone else’s home, and I’ve had exes say the same thing. Get a place that will be both of yours, with enough space you can have some time alone if need be. It’s the worst trying to be alone in a bachelor apt with no other rooms in it. Just my experience anyways
48. Don’t say it’s only for a month. It’s never for just a month. I’ve been living with my partner for 9 years and we bought a house together (and got married two years ago). All because my partner gave me a place to stay for a month back in 2009.
49. Realize you both will likely require alone time every once and a while. My boyfriend is pretty introverted and needs a fair amount of alone time. This is why we got a 2 bedroom apartment. It works well for us.
We considered a studio at one point and are really glad we didn’t end up getting that one.
50. Don’t stress about the small things. The small things they do that annoy you? Yeah, you do them too.