Moving in with a significant other is definitely a big step and you both need to be ready for it. Your life will change dramatically, but if you find a way to make it work, it can be the most beautiful time of your life. If you used to see your partner a few times a week, now you will see a lot more of them, and the transition is not always easy.
If we take a look back at how 2020 went, couples who chose to move in together this year went from living alone to living 24/7 with their significant other, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it was also a stressful and harsh time for mankind altogether thanks to the coronavirus, but even more challenging for those couples who moved in for the first time with a partner.
However, I am sure that quarantine had its very good parts for those who managed to create a stronger bond and spend quality time together inside their homes. After all, living with your significant other can be very fun, even though it has its own set of challenges, too.
Also, moving in with someone is a major commitment, and you need to be ready for it. According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, 66 percent of married couples have moved in together before deciding to get married, so you can see why is such an important step.
Before heading on to the facts, make sure both of you are on the same page about moving in together.
Moving in together is a huge step, and a long-lasting commitment, so if you’re not 100% sure you want to take this step, it would be better to wait a little more. According to Nicole Miller, MS, LPC, NCC, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships and life transitions, “Typically a request from a partner to move in together symbolizes a significant level of commitment to the partner and the relationship.”
Before rushing into moving in together, have an open conversation, and make sure you’re not doing it just because you feel pressured by your partner, your family, or other factors. An open discussion is needed because maybe one partner considers moving in the final step which will eventually lead to getting married and having kids, while the other might see it as a long-term cohabitation without wanting to take things any further.
It’s important to find if you’re both on the same page about moving in together, instead of creating false expectations and having to suffer later on. According to Miller, if you manage to discuss what you both want and expect from moving in will lower the likelihood f conflicts and fights in the future.
Read on to discover what to expect when moving in with a significant other for the first time!
After moving in with your partner, it’s more important than ever to communicate about the things you like and dislike. Don’t let the little things pile up (your partner never washes the dishes, they’re never on time, they forget to do what you asked them to) because you’ll end up more frustrated and it will be harder to make things right.
According to Miller, communication means expressing your feelings, your needs, and your expectations, but also making sure you’re taking into consideration your partner’s needs because you can’t have it only one way around.
The good part about living with someone is that you’ll learn a lot about both yourself and your partner. You’ll also learn that not every small inconvenience has to lead to a large-scale conflict. Additionally, you’ll find that every problem can be solved if treated calmly and peacefully by communication with your partner.
One thing is sure when it comes to a long-lasting relationship, you can’t have it without compromise. You need to learn to compromise once in a while, even when we talk about the small things, like what furniture to buy or what color to paint the walls, whose turn it is to take the trash, and who does the dishes, to the bigger things like whether to have kids or not, what house to buy and what’s best for your family.
You need to be prepared that you’re going to disagree a lot about both the small and the big things, and there will be times when you will be the one to compromise and other times when your partner will have to be more tolerant and do it your way. It’s all about balance.
According to Miller, it’s important to talk about the things you can tolerate and accept, while also discussing the things or behaviors that you’re not OK with. Being in a relationship is not a contest, it’s not about who wins the most arguments and who’s always right. A healthy, long-lasting relationship is about learning to compromise from time to time, and your partner should do the same.
3. You still need some ‘me’ time.
A mistake that many couples make when moving in together is to them all their free time together, and even get mad when the other person is doing something without them, such as going out with some girlfriends or going to watch a football match with male friends.
No matter how much you love spending time with your significant other, you still need to prioritize the ‘me’ time and your personal space once in a while, and it’s normal to do it. Chances are you and your partner will have different hobbies, likes, interests, and needs, so having some personal time away from each other will actually make you an even stronger couple.
You need to learn to trust your partner and accept that it’s OK for them to spend time with their friends or do something they love. Since you’re now living together and sleeping in the same bed every night, you need to create a separation that works for you both.
As Miller likes to say, everyone needs their personal space and it’s OK to have different interests and hobbies. If your partner wants to spend all their free time with you and is not very happy when you do anything without them, you need to have an open conversation and negotiate the time you both need to spend alone. Find a way that works for you both and encourage your partner to try some new hobbies.
4. But don’t forget about the ‘we’ time.
Now that we’ve talked about the importance of ‘me’ time, it’s also worth mentioning the ‘we’ time. You might feel like you get a lot of ‘we’ time after moving in together, but you still need to learn how to feel connected and leave aside the day-to-day issues once in a while.
Before moving in, you probably went on a lot of dinner dates, movies, and other activities, but things don’t have to change just because you’re now living together. It’s still important to feel romantic and spontaneous, go on dates or make a tradition of watching a new movie every week.
According to Denna Babul, relationship expert and author of Love Strong, tells HelloGiggles, a healthy relationship needs romantic time, otherwise, the bond will disappear slowly. Make your partner feel special, surprise them with a home-cooked dinner with their favorite food, buy tickets to a concert, or plan a spontaneous trip to visit the country.
Whatever you choose, there are many ways to make the other person feel special and appreciated. Remind your partner why you’re so good for each other and why you chose to move in together in the first place.
5. Financial literacy.
Another important aspect that contributes to a lot of relationship fights is learning how to handle your finances. Whether you choose to have a joint bank account or opt for a 50/50 split, when it comes to money, you need to make sure you’re both on the same page on who is paying the bills, who is paying the rent, how you will split the groceries, and so on.
According to Miller, “Living together gives you and your partner a front-row seat to how each of you manages your finances, independently and collectively.” Talking about finances is never easy and can be a bit uncomfortable at first, but it’s an important discussion that needs to be held monthly. A healthy, long-lasting relationship means finding a way to make the financial talk more ‘bearable’ and normal.
Your spending habits are also very important, and usually, there are a lot of fights between partners who are used to spending a lot of money and others that think about savings. However, when you move in with someone, certain expenses will go down. For instance, the rent will now split into two, you no longer need to spend a lot of money on transportation to go see each other, you probably won’t go out as much because you’ll be able to spend time together at home.
6. It’s not just about you anymore.
If you used to be very independent and do whatever you pleased before moving in with your partner, now things will have to change because it’s not just about you anymore. Moving in with someone usually sparks a lot of thoughts and plans about the future.
It’s not just about what you want or needs anymore, you also need to consider your partner’s feelings and needs, and the transition is not always easy. According to Miller, “Perhaps one of the biggest learning curves when living together is adapting from an ‘I’ mentality to a ‘we’ mentality.”
“You begin to shift away from an individualistic mindset to a more collective mindset that includes your significant other when making decisions—because it no longer just impacts you but your partner as well,” Miller added.
However, the transition usually comes naturally after you got used to sharing a home with your significant other, and then you start laying down the foundation for a long-lasting relationship. If you’re going it with the right person, it’s all worth it.
You can also check out: 14 Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship, According to Psychologists.