If you have been dating for awhile, it is probably safe to guess you can see a future with that special someone. For so many of us, the next logical step in a romantic relationship is moving in together. Unfortunately, this can be the most difficult and challenging time of any relationship.
Are you thinking, “This shouldn’t be difficult because you already spend all of your time together anyway?” Maybe you even store some of your things at one another’s houses? You may be surprised when challenges come in when the person you’re living with is not just a roommate. Luckily, we have a few pointers for you.
Are you the one taking in the other partner? Are you a bit of a pack rat? Are you a little territorial? You’re going to want to make some space for your other half.
This issue typically arises with closet space, the main living area (knick-knacks, furniture, movies/magazines, etc.), and of course, the dreaded bathroom … oh, the amount of hair product! This is a great opportunity to take a look around and ask yourself how you can make a bit more space for your special someone.
It may also be worth asking how many of their possessions will come with the move. This will give you a pretty good idea of what you are in store for.
Remember He/She is More Than Their Things
If you have never shared a space with someone, other than a roommate, before, this may be the most shocking part of the whole process. Not only are you going to share closet space and furniture, but you will also share the kitchen, shower and the cleaning responsibilities.
You will likely get frustrated and maybe even feel like your life is being taken over. That is a completely natural and a somewhat expected feeling! Know that it will pass and you, together, will find your groove and what works best between you two. In the beginning, it may be helpful to watch your cleanliness and how much you “spread out.” This will decrease the impact of such radical change. (After over six years with my now husband, the spreading is a fact of life!)
Be Honest About Your Expectations
How clean do you like your home? What are your home routines? Do you nap regularly? How many times a week do you have company over? What do you expect out of your home?
You should explore all of these questions before you pull the trigger. After all, you want to be as honest and upfront about your private life for two reasons. First, they know what to expect, but secondly so that if there are some secret single behaviors they should know about, they can brace themselves (did anyone catch that Sex and the City reference).
Communicate and Compromise
This may be the most important part of the move for the health of your relationship. Working through the change is not only going to take patience and understanding, but also a hell of a lot of communication. For instance:
- If you find yourself frustrated, be sure to take a breath and be respectful as possible.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed, do your best to calmly say so. That is what your partner is there for.
- If you feel like they have too much stuff, be honest and try to find strong ways to organize. After all, the things that may seem to have little worth, could have significant importance.
I would also recommend preparing yourself to give up some things you are used to. It could be the most simple of things. Maybe you need to move your shampoo to a different shelf in the shower or clean out the sink when you shave. Maybe you need to put your sports equipment away instead of leaving it out in the open like you are used to. And maybe put your makeup away when your done.
At the end of the day, both you should be willing to compromise to make the situation work.
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You Will Both Need “Me Time”
Remember that just because you are a couple doesn’t mean that you stop being you. An important part of self-care is knowing when you need to take a step back, re-center yourself and have a moment with just your thoughts.
“Me time” comes in countless forms. So ask yourself, what are you passionate about? What brings you 100% joy and 0% stress? Discover those things and decide on one or two that you would like to do on your own. But tell one another about it. Your partner should have those things for them too!
All in all this transition is exactly what you make of it. You both have complete control over the success or failure of your relationship but with a little planning, moving in together doesn’t have to be a major stress point for either party.