After the awkward early dates, Valentine’s Day, and meeting the family and friends, you’re ready to take the next big step in romance: cohabitation. For some people, this is easy and natural, and for others, it’s frightening. But fear not, because here are tips to help you and your loved one share space and not drive each other crazy.
My Place, Your Place, or a New Place?
This is the most important negotiation to start with, and it depends on the key element for all these tips: communicate with each other. List what is most important to you for a place to live. Do you most care about living space? Length of commute? The neighborhood? Whosever place fits most of both of your priorities, then you should live there. But many couples will find that it is easier to just look for a new place that you both want to live in. It takes the idea of your place being invaded by a new person, and turns it into home you’re making together
Whose Stuff Do You Keep?
Also known as the eternal argument of whether you keep your collection of vinyl figurines while insisting that your partner loses half of their personal library. The best solution is to work together to sort things into piles: must keep, like but don’t need, donate/sell, or get rid of. Have conversations about why this or that item needs to stay around or needs to go. Again, be honest, not just with your partner but with yourself. That dresser might have been in the family for several generations, but if it’s too fragile and its drawers stick, it might be time to let it pass on. Each of you should be willing to give a little. As always, talk before you throw out their comfy old robe.
Having to work around your stuff can actually bring couples closer together. Watch the shows that discuss maximizing storage space or offer creative solutions to decorating, and compare notes on how that could apply to your own belongings. Projects where you both organize your space can be times to bond.
Be Honest About Money
Don’t forget that honesty and open communication is the key to successful relationships. Make sure you both know what the other earns, and how much bills are. You may need to think about what “fair” means. It might seem fair for each of you to pay the same amount, but if you make twice what your partner does, that might be a source of conflict. Maybe split up the bills or regular expenses according to needs. If you prefer taking care of the pets and cooking, those expenses could be yours, while entertainment needs could belong to your partner who always wants to go out. Set aside regular times to talk about budget and income. That way, if something changes, neither of you need to feel anxious about it.
Share the Good and the Bad Things
Another way to ensure a long and happy relationship is to share in everything. Try out each other’s tastes in music, television, or other recreation. Even if you’re not into the same stuff, see if you can find something to appreciate in each other’s fun. Maybe you don’t see what’s so great about action movies and they don’t quite get your love for novels, but giving their entertainment a shot will bring you closer together. Besides, you might find yourself really liking new things.
This includes sharing the less-pleasant things, such as chores or stress. Don’t make your partner always have to clean the bathroom, and don’t keep them from offering a sympathetic ear when your boss is driving you crazy. Those rough experiences are part of what makes a couple, a couple, and you should both take part in them. Besides, even a trivial thing such as taking out the trash for a change can go a long way to reminding them why they like you so much.