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Advice On Moving In With Your Partner: Consider These Words of Wisdom
Always Start With the Positives
Advantages of Living With Your Partner:
- Way of naturally progressing as a couple
- Opportunity to share financial responsibilities
- Get to know each other on a deeper level
- Create memories in a shared home
- Possibility of raising children together
- Create a mutual home-base and family environment
Have you been contemplating moving in with your partner? Not sure if it's the right move for you? Logically, one should consider every angle before taking this great risk with the one that you love. After all, you do have a lot to loose if the proper precautions are not taken in advance.
Be forewarned that, like every great couple, you will experience arguing, adjusting, compromising, and growing. I offer you some ideas to consider BEFORE moving in with your partner.
Rent together before you own together.
If you rent before you own it limits the amount and length of your commitment. Many landlords offer the standard 1-year lease. However, you may even consider requesting a 6-month lease with a longer term option just to test the waters of your new living arrangement. I do recommend, however, sticking it out for at least one year with your lover because you wouldn't want to walk away too easily with regrets later on if the waters do become a little rough.
Which is the best way to spend quality time with someone you are considering moving in with?
Do a practice run first
If one or both of you already have a place try moving into your partner's place for several weeks or vice versa. I do not recommend sacrificing your existing living situation to do this though because it might not work out as planned. You wouldn't want to leave yourself with nowhere to go. Make the necessary effort to increase time spent together. Ideally, you'll need to spend many consecutive days together following to your ordinary lifestyle. This will give you a good idea of what it will be like to live together on a daily basis. Long extended vacations do not count, as they are more fantasy than reality.
Bills To Divide or Decide On Ahead of Time
- Down payments and deposits
Decide firmly on finances ahead of time
Money issues can easily destroy the best of relationships. Up until now, you've probably been responsible for your own finances and never had to consult with others on your financial decision making. Not to say that living together means sharing your bank account and paycheck, however, the money conversation HAS to be had no matter how uncomfortable it may be for you. Existing financial commitments, anticipated bills, furnishing costs, and utilities all need to be clarified. Be honest about your disposable income and inquire about your lover's. It's important to know and clearly define who will be responsible for what upon entering into a living arrangement with another person. Additionally, you'll need to discuss how and who will be responsible for disbursing these payments. Which accounts will they come from? What are the due dates? Who's name will the bills be in? Schedule in advance any payments that your partner will need to contribute funds towards. Simply put, check and balance each other for comings and goings when it comes to mutual expenses.
Communicate goals clearly
Be clear and honest about what your goals are with this new living arrangement. What are your intentions? What are you hoping to get out of this? Be receptive towards your lover's goals as well. Possible topics to address during this conversation include marriage, children, future homes, and investments.
Enter with a team approach, not individual
There is no “I” in TEAM. If your getting the suspicion that you or your lover will have a hard time of letting go of an indivualistic approach to the relationship then you might have some troubles looming in the wind. It is very imperative that you eneter the new living arrangement in team mode. Remember that you should both be laboring in a parallet manner, heading in the same direction together, and not fighting against one another.
This is 40 - Bathroom Scene
Draw clear personal space expectations
In the movie “This Is 40” the husband settles down on the toilet to handle his business privately. To his surprise, his wife barrels into the bathroom unannounced and begins questioning his intentions in the bathroom. Annoyed, the husband begins to demand his personal space. Needless to say, discuss personal boundaries with you significant other. You'll see how this can be imperative down the road.
See if you're ready for the move.
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Don't expect your lover to change for you
If your lover is workaholic/hoarder/alcoholic/smoker/gambler/loudmouth/dirtbag/etc. now, then that is what your lover will be tomorrow after you move in. Do not expect your lover to change now or ever for you as you would not want your lover to expect you to change. Afterall, that's why you love them.
Children do complicate things
Evaluate your lover's parenting techniques or philosophies and do not expect them to change after you move in. Differences of opinion in parenting will only amplify upon living under one roof. Set clear limitations and expectations for parenting before you sign anything that pertains to living together. Accrodingly, I recommend discussing your intentions with the children if they are old enough to understand. They may not understand or get it right away but the children deserve to be told and deserve to be heard regarding any new living situations they will face. Refer to the team approach discussed earlier.
Invest in earplugs early
Set aside a “time-out” place where you can go if it all becomes too much
Whether it's a room, the basement, the loft, or a relative's house, make sure you have a safe haven to escape to if it all becomes overwhelming. Sometimes we just need a quiet place to gather our thoughts, relax, or be alone. Then you can go back after the dust clears with a fresh start.
Have a back-up plan
Don't trap yourself in a situation that you cannot emotionally and financially afford. Do not agree to have all of the bills in your name and do not accept a rent/mortgage payment that you cannot afford on your own if you have to. Have a plan in mind for what would happen if you were left on your own to fend for yourself. You'll know if your back-up plan is adequate if it requires little effort to activate. Occasionally, evaluate your plan and adjust it as necessary. Be creative and brave. You are capable of much more than you think.
To Sum It All Up, Everything Will Turn Out Fine
Hopefully, you will follow my advice and everything will all work out fine. You will be closer than ever and you will find true happiness with your lover. It will take a little bit of patience and understanding but you will be a work in progress. The process of moving in together is not an overnight occurrence. The work doesn't begin until the stuff is unpacked. It begins when you look around the room and each other, and say, “Now what?”