Moving in together: What to discuss before you make the move

Moving in with your significant other is a wonderful way to share time with one another and save money. It is at this stage, however, that many relationships solidify or end. To prevent major conflicts, you can discuss potential issues and take a look at how life will be under one roof before you unload the moving truck.

Territory and boundaries

Even with lovers, humans are territorial creatures requiring personal space. Before you move in together, discuss where your shared space ends and your private space begins. When I moved in with my husband, I wanted a bit of my own space for scrapbooking and found myself frustrated that our living situation and space prevented me from cooking when I wanted. Additionally, he prefers to have an hour to himself to unwind when he comes home from work.

If we'd discussed these things beforehand, we could have avoided some frustration in figuring these things out as we went along.

Many couples also run into trouble when it comes to respecting privacy. Is it okay to you to retain a private space in your closet? (I like this idea--it provides a temporary home for unwrapped birthday and Christmas presents.) Will you share a computer and have access to each others phones and email accounts? Discuss this information before you move in together.

This is especially important if you are living with other relatives (including children) or if one of you is moving into the established home of the other.

Try it out

The best way to avoid arguments when living together is to solve related issues beforehand. If I hadn't started staying over at my husband's house when we were still dating, I might not have been as confident about moving in.

When I did move in, I already knew where I was supposed to put my stuff and which side of the bed to claim.

Create a routine

Change creates stress, but creating and settling into a routine is a part of living together. Both of you must make adjustments; the trick is to do this without causing hurt feelings or more stress. When I made the move, I was happy to learn that my husband-to-be preferred showering in the morning-this didn't mess with my nightly routine. However, I also learned that he liked to add pepper and spices to everything (I don't) and that he doesn't really like going out after work (I do).

Once we addressed our different preferences, we found it relatively easy to make a routine. Some of our relationship stressed was minimized by our decision to move in together as we were able to find time for each other even though we both had demanding work schedules.

Divide chores and responsibilities

Depending on a couple's work schedule and their views of gender roles, it's common for one member of the household to shoulder more of the household responsibilities. Even if one member of the partnership is a homemaker or between jobs, doing all of the household chores is a burden.

Since I handle most of the cleaning and finances, my husband gets to do the things I don't like: dust high places, vacuum, mop and put away the laundry. If we have a house party or I have a busy work week, he pitches in and helps with dishes and laundry.

Avoid stagnation

After a few weeks of living together and adjusting to your routine, you may experience stagnation in your relationship. Instead of exploring new and exciting things or stealing a rare moment alone, you and your partner now have established routines.

My husband and I confront stagnation by going on date nights out of the house. We enjoy exploring local businesses and taking day trips to visit historical sites. When we're short on cash, I enjoy surprises such as coming home to delivery food or catching up on a favorite show together.

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