You and your guy have decided to move in together and both of you are incredibly excited as you should be. However, moving into together is a serious step and one that can make or break your relationship. It's a major adjustment that's going to test everything you are as a couple. Before you pack your bags, there are a few discussions the two of you should have before moving in together.
Where are you going to live?
I'm a big proponent of a couple relocating to a neutral space when they decide to move in together. The problem is that when one moves into another person's space and it actually becomes official rather than just staying there several nights a week, the person whose home it is could feel almost as if their personal space is being invaded while the person moving in could feel like an outsider. Moving into a neutral home can ensure that both of you feel as if it's your home together and a brand new start.
Who will do the chores?
Everyone has their preferences with what chores they want to do. Personally, I hate washing dishes and folding / putting away laundry. Before you move in together, designate who's going to do what chores. It allows you to set up a balance of doing chores the other one isn't fond of rather than arguing about it after you move in.
Who will do the cooking?
Who does the cooking doesn't seem like a big deal, but it can be if you don't talk about it ahead of time, especially if one of you doesn't eat particular foods the other one does, such as meat. A great way to compromise is to alternate cooking days or even spend a few hours one day a week where the both of you cook foods that you can freeze and reheat throughout the week.
What are the rules on having people over regularly?
Do each of you have to inform the other when you're inviting people over? Usually it's customary just to give the other person a heads up, but for some couples, it's not a concern in the least. Make sure to talk about it with your guy so you know where you stand.
What are your rules on having get-togethers?
Having people over is one thing, but having get-togethers is a completely different issue especially if one of you loves holding frequent gatherings while the other isn't a fan. It can also become an issue if one of you hosts a weekly poker night or an annual party and the other would prefer it not happen. Talk about the topic before you move in together rather than after you move in together and send out the invites.
Where are your things going to fit?
Each of you is going to come with your own collection of personal belongings, so you're going to have to decide where to put it all, especially if one of you is moving into the other's space. Unless the two of you are moving to a much bigger space, both of you really have to compromise on what's a necessity to take and what can be left behind or tossed out. Holding a joint garage sale is a great way for the two of you to get rid of what you don't want while earning money for new items you'll need for the place.
How are you going to pay for home furnishings?
The two of you are going to come with home furnishings of your own, but it's important to discuss if you're going to buy joint items together such as a new bed or a couch. Don't wait until you're already in the store to have this discussion. If you're going to make big purchases together, split it right down the middle and leave a paper trail behind detailing that each of you put in your fair share. For smaller items, such as microwaves, vacuums and toasters, each of you can purchase the individual items and hold onto the receipts as proof of who bought them.
How are you going to decorate?
Unless the two of you have exactly the same tastes or one doesn't care how the other decorates, home décor is going to be a big area on which you're going to have to compromise. Discuss which of your decorative pieces are going to go in what rooms and go shopping together for new items rather than doing it separately so you each have a say in the purchases.
Are you going to open a joint checking account?
I truly believe that having a joint account as well as separate individual accounts is the way to go. You each can do with your individual earnings what you please and have just enough in the joint account to cover the bills every month. Put in a set amount per week or month and that way neither of you can have a say in how the other spends their own money, but you both have a say in what goes on in your joint account.
Who is going to handle the bills?
Are you going to handle the checking account? Is he? One of you is going to have to be in charge of paying the bills every month and before you move in together, it's best that you discuss who is going to have that role. However, another option is that both of you sit down at the end of every week and pay the bills together so each of you are well-informed on what's going on in terms of your financial health as a couple.
How are you going to handle the lease?
One huge issue many couples have is when one person is on a lease but the other is not. Having both names on the lease means that both of you are equally responsible for the rent payments, damage costs and anything else that comes with living in an apartment. If only one name is on the lease, that means that person is solely responsible for everything that goes on. Whether one of you is moving into the other's home or you're getting a neutral place together, you're each better off by putting both your names on the dotted line.
When you two discuss moving in together, write up a contract as the two of you discuss the aforementioned topics. It may sound like a silly idea, but it's a way to protect the both of you should something happen. At the bottom of the paper, it's important that you each sign and date it that way there are never any disputes and arguments over what was discussed and agreed to.
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