Moving in with Your Partner: What Can We Be Aware of?
Making the decision in a relationship to live together can be a big step. Many emotions might present themselves from joy to angst to nervousness. While every relationship has its respective milestones, it’s fair to say that moving in together can be one of the biggest as it can indicate the start of the next phase in the relationship.
It’s not uncommon to be acquainted now with relationships who are living together even before marriage is a consideration. Some might have cultural or familial traditions that might stop them from being able to take this step until marriage. Other times, there is more flexibility in the matter and we are just ready to make that step. Regardless of the respective situation, it doesn’t make the process and what’s experienced during this time any less important.
Validly, there is a lot to be excited for when preparing to move in with your partner. This comes especially true if the relationship has been going on for some time and if significant amounts of time has been spent in each other’s spaces. Although it might not seem like a big transition, it’s fair to say that there can also be some things to adjust to. In that it’s not just your respective space anymore, rather it’s the space that’s being built between yourself and your partner.
On the other hand, moving in together can also come with some speed bumps. There’s more to consider now compared to living by yourself from making the space into something that’s representative of the relationship to recognizing everyone’s schedules. New habits, routines, and roads are paved along the way; and being able to recognize that these are important factors can be crucial to the transitional process.
There’s no one size fits all solution for how to make the transition easy. Every relationship has its own hurdles and dynamics that might make the move in process both easy and difficult.
So what can we be mindful of as we transition into living together?
Being able to express how you feel is exceptionally important in living together. Making assumptions about your partner’s living habits would lead to further strain down the road. However, there is a difference between expressing opinions and truths. Such that when we state our truth, we are owning up to how something leads us to feel a certain emotion. Whereas stating your opinion would tend to shift blame towards the other person for, in example, never taking care of the laundry. Placing the ownership on our feelings rather than opinions opens up pathways for effective communication and honesty within the relationship. Addressing the issue through facts and true feelings can also help to ease tensions through the moving process and create a space of vulnerability.
During the dating stage, partners spend the majority of that time in small intervals of time; giving everyone personal time after the date. Moving in together would mean that there is more of each other to see. While this might mean that there is the opportunity to be more comfortable with each other, there can be common misconceptions as well where casual living time is similar to quality time.
In this sense, being intentional can look like continuing to go out together as it helps to keep the relationship spark active. Or, it can also look like something spontaneous like an at home dinner planned for the patio or backyard. Either way, intentionality in this example means continuing to outwardly show your prioritization towards your partner while living together.
Talking about finances can be one of the more difficult topics to bring up in a relationship. A cohabiting couple is no different. There are many ways that financials can be arranged and collaborated on together that can work for your specific relationship. There is no one size fits all solution here.
In contrast, not discussing finances at all when living together can lead to conflicts in the relationship. It’s validly an uncomfortable topic to bring up. Living together also combines finances in a unique way for each relationship. Being able to be communicative about finances together with an open mind and without judgment can help with easing any tensions that can come with the discussion about money.
Living with your partner for the first time doesn’t just mean having a shared space. It also means putting in effort, time, and collaboration to build the space that represents everyone in there. Being able to trust and acknowledge the opinions and feelings of your partner can be a significant step in working together as a relationship. Conversely, not being able to do so strips down the trust that’s been established before.
Collaborating in this sense can also look like being able to discuss and make decisions about what the shared space would look like down to the furniture selected and learning about each other’s rhythms and schedules. This can also be looked at through the lens of family gatherings, holidays, or other small details like house rules. While these examples will differ from person to person, this can further define what the relationship looks like. It can appear different when you are living with your partner because we are not just living and fending for ourselves anymore. Rather, it’s a learning curve for how to appropriately appreciate the person you are choosing to live life with. As important as these discussions and collaborations are, they can also instill positive experiences and allow us to learn more about our partners in their living environment.
Taking into consideration the previous point of collaborating, it is also important to consider the idea of specific chores or “roles” that we have in the household. Roles can be defined here as something that we do within our home through collaborative discussion. Having a conversation about what needs to be done at home and who does what can be a frightening topic, and the goal here is not to establish dominance over another. Rather, it is to help everyone understand the needs that have to be done and recognize that everyone might have different comfort levels or preferences for specific tasks such as laundry or cleaning the bathroom. Questions including “When should this be done?” or “Should we switch off?” can help further the conversation about chores and roles too.
Practical roles aside, there might be less explicit roles that we have as well. A prominent example might be providing emotional support to your significant other you are living with. Perhaps at this stage of the relationship, you’re able to recognize when something is needed from your partner. Even if there is that uncertainty of what’s needed in the moment, being able to be one of the first ones to provide support and a listening ear can be a significant role for all parties of the relationship whether living together or not. This example of an implicit role can also help with allowing our partners to not feel invalidated in times of need.
Moving in with your partner can be both an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. There’s a lot that can be focused on and be intentional about; while also taking time to acknowledge how we feel during this adjustment period. Taking the time to have discussions about what living together looks like can be helpful in more ways than one.
While there is more to be aware of, the presented examples are important things to consider discussing or reflecting upon when making the decision to live with your partner. Of course, it’s an exciting next step in the relationship. At the same time, being aware of some of the possible curveballs or nuances can be helpful in being open and comfortable during this experience. It’s going to be a learning curve for everyone involved, and I would like to encourage grace and patience for everyone currently going through this process.
Thanks for reading!
All material provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Direct consultation of a qualified provider should be sought for any specific questions or problems. Use of this website in no way constitutes professional service or advice.