As relationship milestones go it doesn’t get much more exciting or daunting than moving in together. Cohabiting with anyone, let alone your partner can strain and bring new challenges to the relationship that you may not have encountered before.
On the plus side your significant other will always be there and let’s face it living with the person you love is a lot of fun. Planning out meals, cooking, grocery shopping and even cleaning can all become exciting new adventures when you’re doing them alongside your special someone.
On the downside, your significant other WILL ALWAYS BE THERE. They’ll see you at your worst and most vulnerable. We’re talking no makeup, when you’re hungover and sick with a cold. You’ve got to be prepared for these new levels of intimacy and the unglamorous aspects that go hand in hand with sharing your personal space with someone 24/7.
If you feel you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level, here are six important things worth considering before taking the leap of faith.
Does it feel right?
Before moving in together make sure you’re doing so for the right reasons, otherwise you may be on a fast track to fighting all the time and perhaps even breaking up. If you’re rushing to move in together just to save money by splitting rent or because all your friends are shacked up you may not be doing it for the good of your relationship. But if you both feel 100 per cent ready and committed to take your life together into the next phase and halving your bills is just a perk that comes with it, go for it!
The merging of stuff
If you’re both already living alone, the first obstacle you’ll come across is ending up with two of everything when you merge your household items. So you’ll have to decide together which items, such as which bed, TV, washing machine and toaster, you’ll keep and which ones you’ll sell, donate or toss.
This sounds easy right? Wrong! You have to tread lightly at this point. If your partner has different style to your own or just downright terrible taste in home wares the obvious solution may be to keep all of your stuff and sell off theirs. But, for the good of the relationship, you’ve got to be diplomatic and open to compromises.
Really try to keep it even when getting rid of and keeping personal items. Understandably some items might not be your style or hold sentimental value, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the ones we love.
If you can’t come to a mutual understanding, think about selling both your stuff and starting fresh and picking out a new couch, king size bed, dining table or bedside lamps that you both agree on. Sometimes it’s the only fair way. Plus, shopping and redecorating your new home together is a great bonding experience and lots of fun.
Chilling at home watching Netflix with your new roomie is pretty great, but don’t forget to make time to do things just for yourself and with other people in your life. Scheduling some ‘me time’ or separate individual activities is the best way to enjoy and look forward to the time you do share with your partner.
It’s easy to get caught up in your own little world or fall into a couch rut when you move in with your special guy or girl but it’s so important not to neglect yourself and your friends in the process. So do something special every once and a while just for you. Organise Friday night drinks with friends, go to a gym class, get your hair done, cook your siblings dinner or kick back for a few hours with a novel.
From the outset, you need to discuss with your partner how you’re going to share the financial costs and responsibilities that come with renting or buying a home together. Decide who is going to set up and pay for what, like the Internet, electricity, gas, water, groceries, bond payment and monthly rent/mortgage payments, so there is no confusion or overdue bills.
If they can’t live without Foxtel, but you’re more of a book person, should you have to pay for half of it? If you go out for dinner or order takeaway, who picks up the bill? Who will pay for weekly groceries or new home wares? All of these types of questions are crucial so you each know where you stand financially and how to budget for your new life together.
You need to come to agreement on how you’ll be divvying up all the household chores. If one person ends up doing all the cooking, gardening, cleaning and laundry resentment and tension can quickly build and lead to conflict.
If you know your partner hates doing the dishes, maybe offer to take on that job and they can clean the bathroom weekly or vice versa. If ironing is not your forte, offer to wash the sheets and towels instead. Try to divide up like-for-like tasks and be as fair as possible. After all, nobody enjoys carrying the bulk of the housework and many hands make light work.
If it doesn’t work out…
This is an important, albeit slightly depressing, final step to take where you both need to plan for the worst case scenario: what happens if you decide to part ways? It’s wise to take stock of your stuff, even keep track and write down who bought what, so there are no nasty fights if you need to separate your things. Also, make sure its clear who’ll move out if you break up, whether that person will be responsible for finding a new roommate and what’ll happen with the bond.
At the end of the day every couple is different, so what works for you might be different to others. Always try to be open, honest and respectful with each other and if you’re not 100 per cent comfortable with something say something. Everyone should be happy and at ease in the exciting time that is moving in together.
Happy house hunting!
From the Homely Team