Are you and your boyfriend ready to move in together? Read this before you pack anything. While moving in may seem romantic, or even practical (‘we can split the rent!’) you need to discuss some things—for the sake of your sanity and your relationship.
Make sure you’re doing it for the right reason
Are you moving in together just to save a relationship or push aside a feeling that something’s wrong? While this seems to contradict common sense, many couples will make this huge leap because it’s less scary than facing deep, fundamental problems (it’s like married couples who have a baby thinking that it will make them closer).
Articulate and redefine what’s ‘normal’ for you
Everyone has a certain prejudice or bias, from the ‘right’ way to do laundry or the reasonable amount to spend on a refrigerator. Now that you’re living with somebody else, you now have deal with two definitions of ‘normal’ and compromise. Don’t assume that the other thinks the same way, or even knows what you want, or will be quick to agree with you. Articulate and communicate—that’s what keeps couples together! And be patient: no matter what you decide on, remember it takes time for people to adapt to a new behavior.
Be clear about division of labor and expenses
This can be as basic as deciding who washes the dishes on what days, but more often than not you’ll come across issues that are rooted in long-cherished gender roles. Did his mom cook great food and ‘surprise’ him with homebaked cookies and perfect pot roasts when he was having a bad day? Does he expect you to do the same? What about expectations on who pays for what? You may initially agree that you’ll split everything 50/50, but what if he has a higher income? Or, what if you have a higher income and he doesn’t get a regular paycheck—how will you feel about carrying the bulk of the expenses?
Resolve arguments by talking about needs, not deeds
Don’t get so stuck on what you want him to do (and vice versa). Instead, talk about what you need and be open to other ways of achieving that goal. For example, you can complain ‘I hate eating out, we spend so much money.’ Or you can say, ‘Why do you like eating out?’ If he says he likes trying different kinds of food, say, ‘Honey, I’m worried about your budget. What if we try a new recipe every Saturday and cook something exotic together?’
Protect your me time
It’s fun to have a love nest but even perfect couples need space—especially when you live together. Schedule ‘me time’ and ‘friend time’ and respect it. For example, when his buddies come over to watch football, you can give them that guy bonding and retreat to the bedroom with a book, or better yet, heigh off to get a manicure and pedicure!
Photo from movingintogether.org