Moving in with your significant other is a huge step in a relationship. If you thought your freshman year roommate was a difficult adjustment, just wait until you’re living with someone and sleeping in the same bed. There are a few key things I wish I had known before moving in with my boyfriend. He’s fantastic, but there were definitely some major life adjustments that came along with our new, shared apartment. Here’s a quick heads up before moving in with your significant other:
1. Your finances are about to change.
This one’s pretty obvious. It’s a key component of being able to move in together, but it doesn’t end there. There’s monthly rent, groceries, the fact that he leaves every light on and your power bill is through the roof. (Maybe that last one is just me.) But seriously, the best way to deal with finances is to be completely honest. If you’re not sure you’ll have enough to cover your portion of the rent, tell your partner. There’s no way to fix an unspoken problem.
2. Everything you own is now co-owned.
If you’re used to coming home to your own couch or bed or box of Cheez-its, hold onto your horses because it might get rough soon. You’re going to have to get used to sharing everything. The other day I walked in the bathroom to my boyfriend using my toothbrush. No, I’m not kidding and yes, I freaked out. Kissing is one thing, but removing plaque from our teeth with the same toothbrush is a bit much. Whether it’s your pillows, your shower, your TV, your car or your change for the laundromat, you’re going to start noticing how much your significant other uses your stuff. But don’t worry — you’ll be using their stuff just as much. Love is watching a show you hate because your partner has to watch the latest episode. Seriously, you’ll notice TV share time after a few episodes of Ancient Aliens.
3. You’re not the only one inviting guests over.
The good news: when you live together, your friend group tends to combine. You’ll be closer with your significant other’s friends, and they’ll be closer with yours. The bad news: you aren’t the only person in charge of when you have company over or who that company is. If your significant other has guests, you have guests. Make sure to set clear boundaries about what you’re comfortable with (like no loud video games after midnight on school nights), but don’t forget to also listen when your partner sets their own (like maybe your friends aren’t allowed to drink of all his beer).
4. You need to clearly discuss chores and household duties.
Has your significant other never done laundry in their life? Do you refuse to do the dishes? We all have certain household duties that we hate, and it’s important to know what those are before moving in together. Thankfully, I don’t mind folding the laundry and my partner doesn’t mind washing the dishes. If your preferences don’t line up well, agree to switch weekly. Trust me, having an agreement about who will take on what responsibilities will save you a lot of heartache in the long run. Fighting over mundane tasks, like trash bags, can hit your relationship hard. But, don’t blow unfinished chores out of proportion. That floor will be swept, and you’ll still go to sleep next to someone you love.
5. You need to talk about the future and what you want it to look like.
Your future with a significant other can seem daunting. (Is he the one? Do we want a big wedding or a small wedding? How long should it take to figure this stuff out?) The first step is figuring out what moving in together means to you. Is this the first step towards forever, or did one of you just want a nicer apartment without having to foot the bill solo? You both need to know where the other stands. This can show up in surprising ways, too. I spent months begging for a dog, and my significant other didn’t want the additional responsibility. When one roommate owns a dog, you both do (sharing can backfire like that). We compromised and got our cat (fur baby). Sometimes the compromises have higher stakes — do you want to get a house in the next few years? Do you want to get married? Do you never want to get married? Your partner should know what you want the next few years to look like, just like you need to know what their dreams and goals are as well.
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