Whether you’re getting hitched or embracing the modern tradition of premarital cohabitation, moving in with your significant other is a big deal. From fighting for the covers every night to waking up with the person you love each morning, this new chapter in your life may be rife with happy moments and potential conflicts. While there’s no foolproof plan for avoiding relationship complications after you move in together, following these tips will help make the transition that much easier.
1. Establish Ground Rules
Now is the time to lay down the house rules that not only benefit the two of you as romantic partners, but as roommates, too. Whether it’s “Keep the toilet seat down,” “No stuffed animals on the bed,” or “Dirty clothes go in the hamper, not on the floor,” getting clear on one another’s guidelines will help keep the romantic spark between you alive. The realities of living together aren’t always an aphrodisiac, but you can focus on making the best of what you’ve got by getting clear on your shared boundaries.
2. Redecorate Together
Whether one of you is moving into the other’s home, or you’re both moving into a new place together, collaborating on the décor will not only bring you closer, it will give each of you a sense of ownership in your new abode. At the same time, a home makeover gives you the chance to find out how you work together as you blend your lives.
3. Divide And Conquer The Housework
When I moved in with my now husband three years ago, we quickly established I’d do the dishes and he’d do the laundry, a set-up that has kept us both happy and sane. I’m thrilled I never have to count quarters and lug our dirty clothes to the Laundromat. He’s ecstatic he can enjoy dinners we take turns cooking without worrying about the post-meal mess. He takes out the garbage and cleans the bathroom. I sweep, dust, and vacuum. Neither of us loves doing household chores, but it’s so much easier getting through them knowing we’re getting equal help from the other. Nothing kills the mood faster than resentment over lingering dust bunnies in the bedroom.
4. Tackle Your Finances
Before you move in together, talk money. Are you going to have a joint account? How will expenses be split? What about insurance? And don’t forget that your financial discussions should continue after you unpack. Check in with each other periodically to make sure you’re both on the same page financially. Set a common savings goal—say, a trip to Spain, or buying a home—that creates a sense of shared partnership and helps you both stay on the same financial track.
5. Get Out Of The House
Once you’re in the comfort zone, it can be tempting to spend your evenings ordering Thai take-out and catching up on your Netflix. Resist the trap! It’s essential to the vitality of your relationship that you get out and explore the world together. Go see a band you love, catch a movie, go out for dinner, work out together, party with friends. Sharing new experiences creates stronger bonds and a deeper sense of intimacy.
6. Maintain Your Privacy
The occasional communal shower aside, all other bathroom activities should be kept private. Maybe you’re in that phase where you want to do everything together, but some things you should do by yourself, period.
7. Spend Time Apart
Enjoy quality time without each other. Now more than ever, it’s important to nurture your other relationships—including the relationship you have with yourself. Not only do those bonds give you a more well-rounded support system—one you’ll need down the road—time away makes time spent together that much sweeter.
8. Show Your Love
Express your appreciation for your lover: bring her flowers, bake him a batch of cookies, put on sexy underwear, etc. After all, relationships aren’t rocket science. Sometimes, it’s the small gestures that go a long way in making sure you don’t turn into an old married couple before you’re, well, an old married couple.
Original by Wendy Atterberry