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Let’s Move in Together – 5 Tips for Couples Taking That Next Step

Let’s Move in Together – 5 Tips for Couples Taking That Next Step

It’s so easy for our keychains to claim their heart-warming paroles, like “Home Is Wherever I’m With You”. However, in truth, moving in together is not a big step, but a colossal one. It’s a long journey full of tempting side-streets and disappointing dead-end streets, and sometimes, even the luckiest of sweethearts can get lost. Fortunately, it isn’t a kind of journey you will have to embark upon alone.

There is only one definite guidebook for taking that next big step in a relationship and it suggests a lot of loud singing (preferably in tune) with plenty of straightforward heart-to-heart conversations. Once the route has been talked through and established, it’s easy to sing along through all kinds of obstacles. The process is – as ever when true love is the case – a delightful one. So, pack your bags and, before you leave, take a deep breath. Here’s everything you need to know about what lays on the road ahead when you decide to move in together.

1. Together Or Not At All

Don’t be afraid if the first differences appear even before the actual leap because they are only the first of many. The sooner you accept that you and your partner are two singular entities with individual needs and opinions, the sooner you can start meeting each other half way. Take a moment to talk openly about your expectations and assess each other’s objections. There is a budget to be set and options to be explored, and the last thing the both of you should do is sacrifice your needs from the very beginning.

The Art of Sharing

Keep in mind that withdrawal always spurs resentment! As long as you’re honest and unobtrusive about them, you are allowed to have your own preferences, wants, and expectations. A relationship is always a two-way street, so be patient enough to hear your partner’s thoughts and objections.

Whether you’re buying a house or renting a flat, you’ll need to calculate your income and join your earnings, which is why moving in together can be a stressful experience from the first day. If such pressure is too much for you to handle alone, have faith in your significant other to help you unload some weight. Of course, this also means tightening the belt and saving up for things you need versus things you desire, or  working together on a creative DIY coffee table for the living room instead of blowing your monthly budget on a fancy rosewood table.

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Conjoint Identity

Once you’ve finally unlocked the door, the actual fun can begin. In the next couple of weeks, you should explore your conjoint identity, and determine the things you should share, along with the things you should divide among yourselves. Given that you are probably already in a strong, mature relationship, it’s highly likely that you have a lot of things in common. Having some time to actually enjoy them together will be a bliss.

However, this is the time when some rules should be established and some chores distributed. It’s so much easier to define tasks and boundaries for both of you in the early stage, than to wait for them to overwhelm you.

2. Personality Clash

Being in a relationship should never mean coalescing into one inseparable entirety. Common between people living together for the long time, such a mistake almost unquestionably leads to co-dependence and a sense of being deprived of your own identity. It’s an unhealthy way of coexisting, which often results in utter loneliness. Ultimately, nobody wants to be in a relationship with themselves for the rest of their lives. Take comfort in the idea that opposites attract and why you should fight to keep them that way.

Tweak the Differences (Keep the Dissimilarities)

Naturally, changes and adjustments are always needed. These modifications are the only way of reshaping and reconciling big differences. Still, your unique personality is what your partner has fallen in love with in the first place, so don’t be afraid to insist on preserving it, even when your loved one tries to change it completely. With that being said, be ready for some nasty habits and stubbornness to emerge on the surface. Also, remember to have tolerance when communicating your complaints.

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A couple of tweaks here and there and a little bit of composure is everything you’ll need to settle the differences, without having to alter those dissimilarities that make you who you are.

The Importance of Doing Things Apart

Living together means knowing exactly when to ask for some space, and when to give some. Essentially, the best scenario for both your partner and you is the one that includes a small and neutral territory for a short getaway. When the day is rainy and there’s no friend to keep you company, it’s always good to have an additional room in which you alone can indulge in some peaceful book reading or take a long, solitary nap.

Having your own space is an important part of every relationship. Don’t be ashamed of needing it. It’s the moments of solitude in which we self-reflect, reconnect with our emotions and; ultimately, remember who we are and who we love.

3. Coffee & Conversations

Once all the guests have left and all the movies have been watched, what remains is an empty house and a lifetime to fill with memories. For some, the time of one-on-one solitude can be a frightening one. As a couple living together, not much can be hidden anymore. What used to seem exciting and exotic slowly starts to feel like a dull, mundane routine. Still, this time is a perfect opportunity to enjoy getting to know a little more about a person you thought you already knew everything about.

Fight the Problems Off

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Here is the ultimate question: Should you yell out that fight until there is nothing to shout about anymore, or should you pause it for a second and continue light-headed? The thing is, there’s not much pausing in between four walls, and slamming the door is nowhere near to a solution. A 50 square foot love nest is sometimes a tight space for all those hormones, insecurities, and tension that can build up between two people, which is why solving problems quickly (even when it means painfully) is by far the best solution.

Put on a kettle, sit down, and actually talk it through. If some tears fall down and some tough love gets practiced, so be it. As long as you find a solution and determine the root of the problem, it’s definitely worth it.

The Joy of Knowing

Coffee conversations are not exclusively reserved for fights. It’s actually quite the opposite. Coffee talk should become your little daily routine. Having responsible jobs to handle and relentless bills to pay, we often forget how important it is to hear one another out. There’s a whole universe hiding inside of your loved one, and you should never get tired of exploring it. So, turn off your TV, fluff those pillows on the sofa, and show interest in your lover’s day, their little observations, and plans for the future. It’s these small talks that really matter. Plus, they will certainly forbid you from forgetting all the tiny wonders of being in a relationship.

4. Collision In a Tight Space

Like personal differences, everyday habits can sometimes be difficult to handle, especially with a busy schedule and a lack of rest. Adjusting your personal rhythms can therefore be a bit harder than you might expect. Without an initial agreement and a house timetable which suits both of your habits, unforeseen obstacles are bound to happen. For that reason, finding a compromise between cuddling, socializing, and working is of the utmost importance.

Balance & Harmony

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As ever, the key is balance. In the beginning, a newly established life of togetherness always feels like an extended holiday. You’ll need no one but each other. Leaving the bed will seem excruciatingly boring and absolutely unnecessary. However sweet, the honeymoon phase can never last long, and it’s ending always comes with a painful slap in the face by reality.

All the stress, commitments, and problems of the real world you’ve completely forgotten about have actually been piling up and lurking from under the bed. To deal with all of them at once, your relationship will need structure and organization.

Luckily, with a little balance and harmony, your honeymoon doesn’t necessarily have to end! Don’t waste your time on whiteboards and strict daily layouts. Simply share whatever problems can be shared, then be quick and effective in resolving those that can’t. At the end of the day, don’t rush to bed tired, take some time to celebrate your tiny victories over a glass of wine instead. Even an hour of your own private fiesta will give you enough strength to repeat the routine for the next day.

5. Home (Really) Is Wherever I’m With You

The first couple of months after the housewarming party are always the hardest. Both of you will need some time to adjust to a living space being shared with another person; however, as soon as you establish a routine, pieces of the puzzle will slowly start to slide into place. Unhelpful, but true, there isn’t much you can do about arranging the huge mess that your life will become during the adjustment period.

That’s exactly why moving in together is a huge step in the first place. You’ll need to constantly remind yourself of why you want to spend the rest of your life with this strange, irritating person your partner has suddenly become. However, if your relationship is strong and mature, those reminders will not be so hard to find.

Conclusion

Arm yourself with love, understanding, and good will. Never be selfish about your needs. When potentially troublesome situations do crop up on you, always remember to look at them from your loved one’s point of view. Ultimately, it will help you understand the dynamic between the two of you a little better and, if needed, encourage you to right your wrongs.

Finally, there’s no such thing as a definitive guidebook for moving in together. Problems will always appear in your way, but as long as you know that they are worth dealing with, you’ll be perfectly fine.

Don’t forget about the little things – be kind, understanding, and always put your heart into your hugs. If you remind yourselves why you love each other each and every day, a bumpy road will no longer be a wearisome experience, but a thrilling one.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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