5 Things To Consider When Living With Your Significant Other
It's about that time. You’re thinking of taking the next step in your relationship: cohabiting. If you’ve watched romance movies, you would know that this is a BIG step. While the idea of living together is exciting, there is a lot more to it than having a permanent cuddle buddy. It becomes a more complex relationship.
This trend has been growing since the beginning of time. The number of unmarried partners living together in the U.S. nearly tripled in two decades from 6 million to 17 million (they didn't count same-sex couples in that number). Many will try, but it doesn't work for everyone. It really depends on the individuals involved.
Don't worry, we aren’t here to burst your bubble when it comes to this new chapter, but we are here to give you a much-needed dose of reality so you can truly make the most out of living with your partner.
You will get to know another side of your significant other.
If you’ve been with your partner long enough to want to move in together, then you might think you know them pretty well. However, living with someone shows a side of them (and yourself) that only his momma knew.
Cohabiting is similar to how it felt living at home or in your own space; it's all about having a safe space to feel comfortable. This also means that if there are habits you haven't seen by your partner yet, this is the time it will show. There might be some that you don’t like, but keep in mind you probably have habits that your partner may not fancy either. It’s all about respecting one another and creating boundaries that feel comfortable for both parties.
You'll learn how to argue in a healthy way.
As we just mentioned, there is a new level of comfort between all parties that are cohabiting. You may find yourselves fighting over things that you wouldn't have imagined before. This could also lead to unhealthy ways of arguing if not nipped at the bud.
It's true, arguments will never be the same. It's not like you can just stop texting/talking to the other person for a few days until you’ve calmed down to speak again. (Well, you could but communication is the only way to grow). Being in the same space can be tough in fights as you’re still heated at the moment and they’re only feet away from you in the other room. Don’t follow them, don’t go and start another rant.
Don't do anything based on temporary emotions that could lead to permanent decisions.
Expressing what upset you and why is best done when both parties are calm. In order for you to explain why you were hurt, you have to divide the ugly out from the truth. Placing blame or criticizing never solved any argument, significant other or not. This is the best time for one to learn how to efficiently communicate and problem solve. It'll help you out a lot with relationships outside of your home too.
You have to avoid taking the other person for granted.
Seeing someone every day may sound fun and giddy at first, and you might even assume it’s going to feel like your normal dates/sleepovers before living together. We hate to say, but things will be different. Whether that's in a good or bad way is totally up to you.
Before, your days involved a personal routine and then making time for your partner wherever they would fit into that. Scheduling dates, anticipating seeing one another, and being in the honeymoon stage of your relationship was the norm for your relationship back then. Now, your day involves your partner and his or her routine as a part of your own. You will see each other so often that the extra effort you made before might not be there. It requires you to be conscious of the time you spend together and make the relationship a priority.
Rule of thumb: It’s important to appreciate your partner as much as possible and not take them for granted. Just because you see each other every day, doesn’t mean you have to lose that spark. And no, eating dinner, going to sleep and waking up together doesn't count as the quality time we're talking about. Those things become routine. We're talking about spicing up bedtime, scheduling dates to try new things...things outside of a routine. Easier said than done, but after a few months, you'll figure out how to get back to the giddy stages together. Which brings us to our next point...
Remind each other to have fun.
If you let your daily lives run your relationship, it will eventually feel like having a roommate rather than a lover. Do things you enjoyed doing together before cohabiting and make it a point to do something new every once in a while. Having your partner teach you something they like also strengthens a relationship.
The two of you enjoyed the time you spent while you were actively going on dates so don’t stop doing just that. There is something comforting knowing your lover and best friend is by your side every morning. But, we tend to forget that sweet feeling when we’re caught up in our daily lives and working. Keep doing things that made you a great couple, even if it’s at home (hello quarantine). Learning to keep that flame and laughter alive will be the foundation of your relationship.
Now, let’s talk about the boring things.
Bills and chores are no fun - unless you're a Virgo (just kidding, kinda). It is still a conversation that needs to happen. How you two decide to divide bills and chores is all up to you. It’s unique to each couple, but each person should feel like it’s fair. According to the Science of People, one of the top two reasons people fight is money and housework. Money can be hard on anyone, but add another person in the mix, and it gets a bit tougher. You must be honest and upfront about money and bills.
Money comes and goes, therefore, putting your relationship on the line for it isn’t worth it.
Be mindful of your own personal cleaning habits, as well. If you like things a certain way and organized a certain way, then think about doing it yourself versus depending on your partner to get it right the first time. While it may seem like you’re always cleaning, you’re doing it the way you want it to be done. If your partner makes the effort, appreciate them for trying. You may even ask them to do the chores you don’t like. This arrangement is much better than being upset at your partner for 'never doing things the way you like it'.
If you aren’t a clean freak, have a conversation about what you like and don’t like to do and work around that. It’s all about compromise. Just remember, these are two topics of conversation that must be discussed before moving in together.
Cohabiting is a huge life-changing decision, but it is very much possible to make work. It takes a lot of compassion, communication, and responsibility. Take our advice as you please. If you’re moving in for the right reasons and are aware of what this might bring, it can be a rewarding and sweet chapter. But fail to acknowledge what you're getting into with rose-colored glasses and we might have to say, "We told you so".