Deciding to cohabit with your partner is a huge step, but an exciting one! When you make a commitment to move in with your significant other, you are taking your relationship to a whole new level. I’m here to try to ease that anxiety, give you a couple of pointers, and instill hope that despite those days when you may feel like you are going to rip your hair out in frustration- it’s all worth it in the end.
Everyone thought Trevor and I were crazy for moving in together when we had only been dating for three months. I knew he was The One. I was scared to DEATH to tell my family. Growing up in a rather conservative home, I wasn’t sure if my family would be disappointed in me for choosing to cohabit before marriage. I had severe anxiety telling my parents, but they wholeheartedly supported me and never once questioned my decision process. Since then, Trevor and I have been together for two and a half years. Moving in together has ultimately deepened our connection and has instilled unconditional love and appreciation for one another.
I’m going to straight out tell you that it’s not going to be easy. There are times you are going to want to KILL your partner. You are going to discover weird habits of theirs that you didn’t even know EXISTED. Likewise, they are going to find pieces of you that are perhaps annoying and hard to live with. Despite these differences, consistently working on your relationship while cohabiting is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. Okay, so maybe this isn’t a boxing ring. But I promise you…there may be times where you feel it is!
Without further ado, here are my tips for moving in with your significant other.
1.) Give each other space
As exciting as it is to move in together, you will soon get sick of each other. Sorry peeps, but the honey moon stage only lasts so long! Soon enough you will be dying for a moment alone, whether it’s a few minutes of peace and quiet so you can read your book without the TV blaring (in my case) or simply just moving to another bedroom to watch The Bachelorette (guilty again). Not to say that your time together isn’t valuable, but know that it is okay to spend some time alone when you are both home. Independence is healthy in a relationship.
2.) Set clear expectations early about bills
If you are not married yet, chances are that you will be splitting the living costs between your partner. My best advice is to sit down and have a conversation about finances. If you set clear expectations right away, you may save yourself from a major headache down the road. Unclear expectations can lead to stress, fighting, and sometimes even breaking up. Along with discussing bill payment, talk about how you plan to split grocery shopping costs as well. You will be glad that you discussed this right away instead of trying to figure it out months later.
3.) Speak kindly
Romance can dull when you see your partner every day. It’s important to remind your partner daily with words of affirmation why you love them. Call your partner honey. Say I love you. Don’t leave work without a kiss. Ask how their day was after work. Tell your partner you couldn’t live without them. Often times, hearing these words can change your partner’s whole day around. Don’t ever take your love for granted- every day is a gift with your significant other.
4.) Communicate openly about your problems
Communication, communication, COMMUNICATION!! Communication is KEY to any functioning relationship! Remember that with cohabiting comes a responsibility. You need to be sure that communication between the two of you is clear, concise, and open. Nothing will ever get solved if you give your partner the silent treatment or don’t communicate what is bothering you. If you need help with communication, I’ll direct you on over here.
5.) Help each other out
Relationships are built on a foundation of love, trust and mutual respect. Be realistic that your partner is not going to be Mr. or Mrs. Perfect all of the time. That being said, they aren’t going to do their dishes every night, they aren’t going to take the trash out every night, and they won’t always follow up on their daily commitments. Sometimes, life gets in the way and it’s hard to keep up with our role as an equal partner. Be willing to step in and put forth a little extra effort at times. Adopt the attitude to give and expect nothing in return.
6.) Go to bed at the same time
Studies have shown that couples who to go bed at the same time are more intimate than couples who go to bed at separate times. For Trevor and I, sometimes going to bed at the same time turns into staying up until 3am having a beautiful and in-depth conversation. Other times, it’s having your partner pass out with their head on your shoulder while you are Netflix cheating on them (wait, what! I would never commit Netflix adultery! 😛 )
7.) Don’t expect every moment to be a blissful fairy-tale
Expect that times won’t always be easy. Your partner may come home from a bad day at work and take it out on you. You may be stressed and snap at your partner because he/she is the one present to take the brunt of it. Be willing to forgive each other when tension is high and apologize when you make a mistake. Sometimes it is better to swallow your pride than to win an argument.
8.) Strive for 100/100, not 50/50
I once heard Dr. Phil McGraw state that a relationship does not consist of two people committing 50/50 in a relationship. Instead, he states that relationships are 100% commitment on each end. Thus, relationships are 100/100, not 50/50. I love this statement. Strive to commit 100% to your partner, every single day. The best thing you can give to your partner is everything that you have.
9.) Share the household chores
Do your best to reach equality in your relationship. Find a system that works for you and your partner. For example in our household, Trevor always takes care of the trash, I do the laundry and we both do our own dishes. Don’t disrespect your partner by making them do the brunt of the cleaning or organizing. Be respectful that someone else is sharing your living quarters now. Don’t be a slob!
10.) Dance in the kitchen
As I write this, I have a smile on my face. Sometimes, the smallest things mean the most. I am reminiscing of the other night when I was in the kitchen fixing myself a cool glass of water. Trevor came in, suddenly grabbed my hands, and started dancing with me. In front of a wide open window, shades up, with our neighbors house 10 feet away, the light piercing through the darkness. Moments like this I cherish and fall in love with him all over again.
So what’s the point of this mushy gunk? Have some fun with each other. Act like children. Do little sweet things for your partner. Leave a love note by the coffee pot. Dance in the kitchen. Show your love in unique ways that you would be embarrassed to share with somebody else.
Ultimately, remember this is YOUR love story, not anybody else’s. No one will ever know your story the way you do, because you and your partner wrote it. I wish you both the very best. And remember- if two people truly love each other, anything is possible.
Do you have any other tips or advice for cohabiting? I would love to hear in the comments below. Have an awesome weekend!
Love my relationship posts? Check out 8 Relationship Habits You Need to Quit!