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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.