Moving in with your significant other is a big step! Whether you’re waiting to share a household until after you’re married, or just choosing to take the relationship to the next level, moving in with someone can be as stressful as is it is exciting. Here are 10 tips for moving in with your significant other that can help ease the process.
Talk about money first. Moving in means shared expenses. Have an honest discussion about finances before you move in. Discuss how you’ll split the rent, utilities, and other shared expenses. Set a household budget. Discuss whether you’ll also be merging bank accounts, or if there will be a shared household account. It’s easier to hash this stuff out before your households combine — and it’s a lot easier to decide it’s a bad idea to move in together if you find out you’re financially mismatched.
Discuss household labor. Before you move in, or shortly after, have a talk about how you’ll divide household labor. Find out what each other expects in terms of cleanliness and daily housekeeping — Does he do the dishes everyday? Is she fine with letting laundry pile up all week and doing it on Sunday? Set common expectations and then talk about how that work will get done. You can establish a chart or system if that is helpful. Don’t let this one go unspoken — inequitable household labor division is a major cause of tension.
Consolidate your stuff. If you have both been living on your own, it’s likely you’ll have duplicates of things — and no household needs two waffle irons. Go through your own stuff and see what you can jettison, and encourage your partner to do the same. Discuss which item you’ll keep if there are duplicates. If you have items you cannot part with, then discuss how they will be stored.
Talk about personal space. This is especially important if one of you is moving into the other’s established home. Set expectations for what each of you need for personal space, and make sure that each of you feels as though there is space for them in the home. Also talk about what you need in terms of alone time, even when you are in the house together.
Discuss how you’ll manage conflict. Conflict is natural, and you might even fight a bit more at first after moving in. Have an honest (if awkward) conversation about how you’ll manage conflict. Each of you should make clear any dealbreakers — which, hopefully, are on the table if you are moving in together. Talk about each of your conflict styles and what you will need in the moment and in the aftermath of conflict.
Set the ground rules. Make sure you’re on the same page about things. Do you expect your partner to call if they are running late? How late and how often do you agree guests should be present? How do you feel about overnight guests? Pets? Smoking, drinking, or “smoking” in the house? Better to set up shared expectations early on than let something fester into a fight later because you didn’t discuss it.
Get everything on the table. Get all your pet peeves, annoyances, and quirks out in the open. Even if you’ve been together a long time, there are things that don’t become a problem until you’re sharing living space. Agree about how you’ll each handle these things and accommodate each other.
Talk about schedules. Be clear about work schedules, school schedules, etc. Also talk about how you’ll keep each other informed about events, engagements, and commitments. Now’s a good time to set up a shared digital calendar or just mark up an old-school paper calendar and hang it in the kitchen.
Have the pet talk. If either of you (or both of you) already has a pet, then you’ll need to discuss pet care, integrating a new pet into an existing household, how to handle pet expenses, and so forth up front. If you don’t have a pet but might consider one later talk about it. Talk about whether both of you would even want a pet, what type of pet that would be, how expenses would be shared, and who would handle care.
Accept that it is an adjustment. No matter how long you’ve been together and how much you love each other, moving in with your significant other can be rough at first. Accept that the person you love most will annoy you — and you will annoy them — and it doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed. Be willing to work through things and give yourself time.