Pop the champagne, you’re getting a new roomie! Moving in with a significant other is an exciting step for your relationship, and isn’t something to take lightly. Most married couples will tell you that living together is more of a relationship tester than getting married, and they aren’t wrong. From chores to monthly expenses, there are a ton of changes coming for your relationship when you start living together. I’m here to give you my two cents on how you can make those changes as smooth as possible, having just gone through the process myself.
1. Make Sure You’re Moving in Together for the Right Reasons
I get it, rent in most big cities and popular places has never been higher, and the possibility of cutting yours in half by moving in with someone can be very appealing. But, do not by any means rush into that decision because of budget alone. Moving in with someone too soon or with a person who isn’t right for you just to save some cash will end up costing you much more in the long run.
2. If Possible, do a “Test Run”
If you’re considering moving in together, I’ll assume that you’ve spent at least a few nights together already. (Hopefully a lot of nights, actually!) But while staying over a few nights a week seems like good preparation for actually living together, in reality, it’s not. The real nitty-gritty of living together is deciding who will make dinner, communicating how you need to watch your favorite show in absolute silence on Monday nights, and understanding that eyebrow plucking is a weekly necessary evil. If at all possible, try and set up a “test run” for living together in advance to iron out some of those routines. Shoot for at least a week, if not longer. Go through the process of moving in the clothes you’ll need, the groceries you buy, and try not to visit your own place until the week is over. That way, you’ll be forcing yourself to live as you do at home — dishes, laundry, and commuting included — but you’ll have the added experience of “living” with your partner while you do it. You’ll be able to see how living together will truly be and have a better mindset of what it’ll look like before moving day.
3. Take Advantage of Ikea’s Moving Discount
You might not think boxes, packing tape, and renting a truck will add up to that much, but moving can be costly! Moving.com estimates that the average cost of even a local move is around $1,250, with long-distance moves skyrocketing in price from there. Want to try and keep your costs down by furnishing your place with some new items instead of moving everything you currently already have? (The jury’s still out on which is more advantageous; it depends on the specific factors of your move!) If you decide to go the new-stuff route, Ikea’s got your back! Unbeknownst to most people, Ikea offers a small discount on purchases over $250 when you’re moving. Chances are, you’ll be picking up several items (plus a few plates of Swedish meatballs) during your move, so make sure to sign up on their website to take advantage of the offer.
4. Pick Your Battles
We all have our “things.” Some people can’t stand an unmade bed, some people despise dirty dishes, and others hate a pile of clean-but-unfolded laundry. Everyone has quirks that particularly bother them, but when it comes to moving in with a significant other, you’ll soon learn that you can’t nitpick over each and every task. Think about which chores or habits are most important to you, and then communicate those with your partner. While having a stack of shoes next to the door might be slightly annoying, you’ll be able to handle it a lot more if you’re getting your way with something else.
5. Decide What You’ll Do if the Worst Happens
This one sounds pretty bad, I know. But, unfortunately, it is a possibility that your relationship and living together could not work out. From my experience watching several friends end relationships while they were living together, it’s a very messy process on top of the relationship ending. When the status quo is strong and solid in your relationship before you move in together, have an honest discussion about how you’ll handle a scenario in which you break up. Will one person move out? Who will it be? How will you handle the rent until the end of your lease if that situation arises? How will you split up shared belongings? These are all tough questions to ask, but if the worst happens, you’ll be glad you had at least discussed them in advance.
6. Talk About How You’ll Split up Expenses
Between rent, utilities, groceries, and most importantly, Netflix, there are a lot of expenses that you’ll probably be sharing as a couple once you live together. Before moving in, discuss how you’ll split them up and who will be responsible for what. Maybe you split the rent evenly, or maybe the person who makes a considerable amount more money pays a bit more. Maybe one person pays for electric while the other pays for water, no matter what the amount is each month. Having those conversations up front will make things much easier when the bill comes because you’ll already be on the same page about who should pay it.
7. Leave Time (and Space) for You Both to be Alone
Anyone who says they are a complete social butterfly and hates to ever be alone is lying. In reality, we all need at least a few moments (or hours!) of alone time every day to do what brings us joy. Have an honest conversation with your partner about how much time you’d like to have alone every day, and make sure they know that that time is to recharge and replenish yourself in order to be a better partner. If possible, try and have your own space in your shared home too. A reading nook, special chair, or even your own room will do wonders for your psyche.
Moving in with your plus one is an awesome step in your relationship, and one that can truly cement your beliefs that you’re with the right partner. It’s certainly not always sunshine and rainbows, but if you have some honest conversations with each other up front, you’re sure to be feeling home sweet home in no time.