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10 Things to Expect When You Move in Together

10 Things to Expect When You Move in Together

It’s the end of summer when people all over the country are seeing their leases end and are about to move. Some of those people are couples preparing to move in together. Girding their loins, perhaps. Certainly counting all that extra money they think they’ll have from combining bills.

Let’s pretend that you know what you’re doing. But you don’t, and we should talk a bit about what you should expect.

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    What? You don’t need any advice, you say? You’ve had roommates for years and are a wonderful molten ball of awesomeness magma as a roommate yourself? Oh, and you spend “practically every night together”? Yeah, it’s still different.

    Shut it and listen, kiddo. Pull out your college-ruled paper and #2 pencils, folks, it’s time to get schooled.

    And so now it is time for some sage advice from this generation’s Dear Abby. YOU’RE WELCOME, WORLD.

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    1. It is nothing like having a roommate

    Well, in the sense that you are sharing a room, yes. Otherwise, no. When you move in with your significant other, it’s very very different than when you’re living with a stranger or a good friend.

    Example: Remember how the whole first year of dating, you never farted in front of him? That will change. You know how you always shaved your legs before going out with him and maybe he assumed you were magically clean-shaven all of the time? NOPE. NOT ANYMORE.

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      2. You are gross sometimes (and he’s gross most of the time)

      It’s true. Those Saturdays that you never showered or dressed or left the house, and you were gloriously dirty and all alone and could eat cheese all afternoon while watching Bravo? Or having cereal for dinner out of the same bowl a couple days in a row?He never saw those. And now he will. He will see them because even if you try for the first couple of months to pretend that you’re a hair-brushed, beautiful and clean-shaven person all of the time, it won’t last. For several reasons.

      One, eventually you’re going to realize that you can’t be “on” all the time. You’re not on a date, you’re at home, which is your safe haven, your sanctuary, your relaxed space. At some point, you’ll realize all that extra effort is draining and silly. Yu just want to be your normal self. Two, your dude will have zero problemwith being himself around you. He will burp, and fart and then laugh. He’ll scratch his butt, maybe pick his nose if he thinks you aren’t looking, and he will be his normal gross-boy self. You still love him. Why wouldn’t he love you? And three, he will catch you. He will walk into the room just as you fart and then laugh at you, and suddenly you’ll realize that it’s no big deal.

      3. Your days of truly private space are at an end

      When you live in an apartment with roommates, if you want to be alone, you can just go into your room and shut the door. When you live with your mate, you don’t have “my” space anymore. You have “our” shared space. At first, it feels weird, like a big adjustment. And it is, but you’ll get used to it. You have to talk to your partner.

      If you need some private space, tell them. Not in a mean way, just explain “Hey, I want to go spend some time alone, ok? I’m not mad or anything, I just want to hang out by myself for awhile.” They’ll get it. Maybe they need some alone time, too, and didn’t know how to say it without risking upsetting you. Everyone needs their own space sometimes, it’s no big deal. For me, my “me time” is going to the gym. I get to get out of the house for a bit, and he is perfectly happy to get some alone time, too.

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      4. You don’t have to do everything together

      There might be times, especially at first, when you’re spending every moment at home together, watching movies, taking walks, maybe shopping for furniture or decorating the apartment. But as time goes by and the “OMG we live together!!!” feeling moves more into “Hey, babe, I’m home” feeling, you start to adjust to each other’s schedules and moods. There will be plenty of times that he’ll be on the computer and you’re watching TV, or you are reading a book in the bedroom, and he’s watching a movie. You definitely don’t need to spend every moment engaged in an activity together. And you wouldn’t want to. So, don’t feel bad, when you realize that you don’t WANT to go to Best Buy with him, or he doesn’t feel like going to bed yet, just because you are.

      5. You’re going to argue

      Even if you’ve never really had much of a fight before, you will now. Moving in together is a huge adjustment, and you’re meshing your lives and routines together. It’s inevitable that you’ll argue. Maybe not about what you think, too. Maybe you imagine that you’ll argue about how much you love each other, or wedding details, or about the exact percentage of happiness you have. But you cannot be happy all of the time.

      Most of your arguments will likely be about stupid stuff, like you wanting him to go run errands for the house and he just doesn’t feel like it. Or you guys agreed to do some cleaning, and you just won’t turn off the TV to get started. Or maybe you get frustrated and bored, and you just pick a minor fight. It happens, it’s not that big of a deal and you just need to make sure that you can communicate effectively and explain how you feel, and most importantly, listen to how the other person feels.

      6. Communication becomes even more important

      Talk about everything. Talk out arguments that same day. Discuss what you’ll have for dinner tomorrow. Ask about each other’s days. Make sure you also talk about the important bigger stuff too, like your future, and kids, and where you’ll spend Thanksgiving and Christmas, thedivision of household labor, how the bills will get paid, whether you want pets, who gets a spare set of keys to your place, and more. Talk about everything, and make sure that you know how to communicate on both the big and small things. The little things will build and fester if you don’t bring them up. You cannot bottle up something that bothers you, that isn’t healthy. And how can your partner know it bothers you and

      Talk about everything, and make sure that you know how to communicate on both the big and small things. The little things will build and fester if you don’t bring them up. You cannot bottle up something that bothers you, that isn’t healthy. And how can your partner know it bothers youand stop doing itif you never say anything?

      7.One or both of you are mad about something

      There will be times one or both of you are mad about something that has nothing to do with your relationship and there is nothing you can do about it.

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      It’s true. Sometimes we get in bad moods without much of a reason why. It might not be fair to take that out on each other, but you’re the only two people around, and it can happen. Sometimes they don’t WANT to be cheered up, they just want to wallow in it. Deal with it. As long as you know that their bad mood isn’t your fault or the result of something that happened between the two of you, move on.

      Go chill somewhere else or leave the house for a while and let them wallow and cool down on their own. We can all use a good wallowing pity-party now and again. Also, try not to ask “Are you SURE you aren’t mad at me?” Just like being told to relax, doesn’t ever relax anyone, asking over and over only makes them annoyed andyes, maybe mad at you.

      8. You’ll have to apologize

      There will be times when you say something stupid, or do something dumb, or jump to an unfortunate assumption, or just happen to say or do something that was misinterpreted or came out wrong. If you’re wrong, apologize.

      Staying mad solves nothing, and you have to work on communicating well. Apologizing and moving on is important. Being stubborn doesn’t solve anything and if you refuse to admit you’re wrong, you will make things worse. Acknowledge your wrongdoing, apologize, and move on.

      9. Make sure you decorate together

      No matter what your partner says, make sure you go togetherto buy any furniture, curtains, bathroom shelves, and wall art. It’s stuff you both have to like, or at least look at, every day. And honestly, I loved when we were decorating our place together.

      Our apartment is homey and warm and welcoming. There is nothing about our place that says “This is a sitting room for seeing only, not to play in.” It is also not a college dorm. It’s actually kind of adult-y and awesome. No posters tacked to the walls, no futons, not even a single corkboard. Our place has comfy furniture with some nice colored accents, lamps and clocks all over the place, a big TV, and pictures of us and our families on the wall, along with some framed prints. It’s a bonding experience to put a home together, and it will make the place truly feel like both of yours.Besides, would you really trust him to go off and buy a couch alone??

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      3

        I am not trying to say that living together is going to suck. It doesn’t, it’s simply different. I’m letting you know that what you think it will be like, from living with your family or random roommates, is kind of wrong.

        Living together is super-mega-flippin’ awesome

        It really is. It takes adjustment, communication, and compromise, and learning to share all of your space, and some occasional “the toilet seat goes DOWN” training, but it’s great. I love coming home to him every day. Someone who, no matter how terrible (or great) a day has been, wants to hear about it, listens, makes sympathetic noises, and gives you a hug. Someone I can ask how their day went, and listen. Those few minutes when I first get home are like our time. No matter who might be over, or what happened that day, we spend a couple of minutes, just the two of us.

        When I’m bored on the weekends, I have someone to annoy. When either of us is in a bad mood, we have someone to talk us off the ledge. There is a constant thread of support, understanding, and love, even when you’re annoying the crap out of each other. There is someone there who cares for you when you’re sick, loves you when you feel ugly, and cuddles you before falling asleep. It’s awesome.

        Oh, yeah.You are going to annoy the crap out of each other. A lot. Usually on purpose, whether it’s from boredom, excitement, or simply because you can. And it’s funny.

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          Featured photo credit: www.brightadvice.co.uk via brightadvice.co.uk

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          Last Updated on June 12, 2018

          Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

          Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

          A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

          You know how this looks:

          • Parents constantly comparing children.
          • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
          • Domestic violence.
          • Adultery…
          • And many others.

          For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

          Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

          Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

          This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

          In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

          If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

          How to fix a dysfunctional family

          In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

          And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

          Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

          It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

          Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

          Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

          There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

          Dysfunctional… Or just average?

          Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

          The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

          You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

          A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

          Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

          Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

          • Unrealistic expectations
          • Lack of interest and time spent together
          • Sexism
          • Utilitarianism
          • Lack of empathy
          • Unequal or unfair treatment
          • Disrespect towards boundaries
          • Control Issues
          • Jealousy
          • Verbal and physical abuse
          • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

          You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

          If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

          Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

          How to turn it around

          When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

          But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

          One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

          We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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          As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

          What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

          Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

          Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

          Correction is possible

          In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

          Verbalize it.

          All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

          Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

          This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

          But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

          So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

          Putting it to work in real life

          In real life it would be something like this:

          “OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

          Or:

          “Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

          Or:

          “Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

          As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

          This is what you have to remember:

          1-Stop.

          2-Why it’s wrong?

          3-What you need.

          And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

          It’s a family thing

          A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

          Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

          In other words, you will need cooperation…

          So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

          Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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          We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

          You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

          It’s not a free-for-all battle

          In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

          No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

          Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

          And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

          The method

          1. Drop the ego

          Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

          You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

          Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

          What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

          It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

          After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

          Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

          Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

          Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

          And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

          You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

          2. Not blame, but responsibility

          When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

          But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

          When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

          What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

          Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

          As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

          You will do something like this:

          “Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

          I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

          You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

          I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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          It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

          What happened here?

          We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

          We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

          We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

          And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

          You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

          This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

          3. Doing the work

          What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

          This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

          Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

          If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

          It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

          “When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

          I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

          But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

          You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

          Love is all you need

          You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

          That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

          And what happens if it simply is not there?

          What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

          What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

          There is only one thing you can do:

          To break away.

          Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

          There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

          “We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

          If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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          Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

          You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

          Putting distance

          So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

          What do I mean?

          Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

          Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

          Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

          Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

          They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

          Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

          I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

          I choose my peace of mind.

          And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

          Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

          Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

          How to prevent it

          There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

          • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
          • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

          Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

          You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

          Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

          Priorities and clear thought

          You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

          You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

          You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

          Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

          If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

          And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

          Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

          But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

          Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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