(ThySistas.com) There comes a point in a relationship where you’re both ready for the next step. You have been seeing one another for awhile. Everything is going well. The feelings of love have intensified. You realize you’re spending more time at one another’s homes. It’s pretty clear that you’re both ready for the next phase of your relationship: cohabiting.
On the surface, moving in together seems like the best choice you could make. No longer will you have to scrabble around for time together in the evenings, making do with a drawer at one another’s place. You’ll be able to go home and see one another without having to make arrangements; it will just be the norm for you to be together. In the heady days of a relationship still fresh with excitement and intrigue, this factor alone can be enough to make you think that cohabiting is the answer to your prayers.
And it will be! Moving in together is a vital step in a relationship. It transforms your dynamic from one that is relatively easy to walk away from; you become more rock solid with one another, your lives beginning to entwine. For most couples nowadays, the decision to live with one another is a stepping stone on the way to engagement and marriage.
While there might be plenty of good sides to moving in together, it’s a good idea to keep a few realities in the back of your mind. In the best case scenario, you won’t have lost anything for being prepared for all eventualities – so let’s discuss a few of the ways that cohabitation might damage your relationship. So as not to be relentlessly miserable, we’ll also discuss what you can do to keep things on a positive note.
The Lack Of Space
Not in a literal way, unless you are restricted to a very small apartment anyway!
The lack of space is in a mental sense. If you have both been living alone before moving in together, then it can be difficult to not have time to just unwind and relax by yourself. This can make you feel on edge; if it becomes a problem, then it can even cause arguments.
How To Handle It: Both of you have to agree that if the other asks for a couple of hours of alone time, they won’t see it as a personal slight. It takes awhile to adjust to living with someone all the time, so give yourselves the time and space you need as required until you settle into your new normal.
This can cut in two different ways, depending on your circumstances.
If you’re living in a rental house together, then you will still have to figure out how you’re going to pay the bills. Do you divide them 50:50? But what if one of you earns more than the other; is it fair to ask you both to contribute equally when you don’t earn equally? Is the tenancy going to be in both of your names, with you both financially contributing to the rent and maintenance?
Things become even more complicated if you decide to skip the uncertainty of renting in favor of buying your own house from the start. In truth, this is a very risky step. It’s often said that you don’t truly know someone until you have lived with them. Be very aware before you mingle your finances that you may live together, and find out your partner is not the person you hoped they were. If at all possible, you should try renting together for six months just to make sure your relationship can survive the shift in circumstances.
However, if you’re determined to plow on into buying a house, then you’re still going to be combining your finances. This can lead to arguments, disagreements, and even threaten the very foundation of your relationship.
How To Handle It: Set a rule that both of you will contribute a set amount to bills and rent/mortgage payments, and keep this amount static for at least 12 months. Other expenses – such as grocery items – can be more fluid, bought as and when needed depending on who can afford it. It’s inadvisable to open a joint account with someone until you have lived together for six months, at which point you will know if the relationship is viable in your new situation – which it probably will be! There’s nothing wrong with having an extra layer of protection though, so keep that in mind before you combine your finances entirely from the get go.
Decor & Furniture
In some circumstances, you will find a perfect balance: one member of the couple cares very much about decor, but the other doesn’t. That means everyone can be happy and there’s no clashes over style.
If that’s not the case for you, then learning to come to a compromise when it comes to decor and furniture choices is going to take awhile. This is all the more true if you have been living alone for some time and have become accustomed to making your own decisions.
How To Handle It: Compromise is the key here. You could trade rooms with one another; for example, he decides everything to do with the living room and you get free rein in the kitchen. Or you could meet with an interior designer to see if there is some way that your styles can blend together; it might not always be possible, but it at least shows you’re both willing to put the effort into doing the right thing.
Will You Survive?
Giving the huge amount of changes that couples go through when they make the decision to live together, it’s natural to wonder if your relationship will survive it. While there is no doubt this can be a testing time, it can also be a wonderful time, giving you the chance to finally be with one another as much as you want. Done correctly, those early bumps in the road will just be part of your story as a couple – so compromise, be gracious, and find something that works for you both.
Staff Writer; Shawna Lee