You’ve finally decided to hit that next step on your Love Trip and you’re going to be moving in together. Nice! This is a huge decision to make and we want you to be well prepared for the tests you will face while moving in together. Here are some of the challenges you could possibly face during this new phase of your relationship and how to navigate through these difficulties.
Examine Your Motivation for Moving in Together
There are a number of reasons why couples decide it’s time to move in together. Some present more of a challenge than others. It’s important to examine WHY you want to move in together and approach the situation correctly.
You Feel It’s Time
You’ve been dating for a while now, maybe 6 months or 2 years, and you feel that it is the right time for that next step in your relationship. Make sure you’re moving in together because you feel it’s going add something to your relationship, and not just because “it’s time”. Don’t feel forced to move in together just because you think you should. We didn’t move in together until 5 years into our relationship and we’re very glad we were patient.
It’s a Money Thing
Maybe one of you lost your job, or your rent is going up to a point that is not affordable anymore, or you think by moving in together you can save some money by splitting expenses. Money can be a relationship killer for even the strongest couples. Discuss and plan your budget out properly. You should not put your own finances in trouble just to help your partner. If you both go broke you’re going to find yourselves in a much tougher situation. We’ll get into budgeting a little further down, and we have a post dedicated to managing money in your relationship as well.
One of You Needs Out of Your Current Situation
A bad situation at home is forcing one of you to move out. Overbearing parents, roommates you can’t stand, or perhaps your current apartment is rundown and in a bad part of town. Whatever the reason, you feel like moving in with your partner is your only salvation from a bad situation. Be very cautious here because 1) your partner might be a great boyfriend but a horrible roommate, or 2) you could be putting pressure on your partner to accept a roommate when they don’t really want one. A lot of resentment can build out of a situation like this. Don’t rush into moving in together because the current situation seems bleak. You need to sit down together and really discuss all the best alternatives to the current situation and decide together what is best for you as a couple AND as individuals.
Choosing the Right Home
You’ve discussed it, planned it, did some soul searching, and decided that moving in together is right. Awesome! Now you get to have some fun and find your new home together! We’ll approach this as renters and not buyers since we haven’t bought our own home yet, instead we’ve decided to do more world travelling. We’d love to hear advice from other couples on choosing a home together! What advice can you share in the comments below?
Decide What is Important
Everyone has different needs and wants when it comes to their home. One of you might feel that a big kitchen is a must, while the other has to be within walking distance of work. You need to work together to figure out what are must haves, nice to haves, and not important. We made a nice little worksheet for our wedding planning exercise which you can find here. The exercise is just as applicable to this situation, so go download the worksheet and start the discussion ASAP!
Decide on a Budget
Your budget is going to be the biggest deciding factor on the place you choose. You must consider every aspect of living together, not just rent. Groceries, internet, TV subscription, decorating, furniture, home insurance, electrical, water, etc. All that stuff adds up real quick. Open up a spreadsheet and start putting down numbers for one-time and recurring expenses to understand the type of place you can afford. We highly recommend that you have enough saved up for at least 6 months of expenses. Don’t take this lightly! We have a post dedicated to budgeting you can read here.
The Pitfalls of Already Having an Apartment
If you’re lucky one of you already has a great apartment and the situation works out that it’s the best choice. However there are pitfalls to this situation. For example, when we decided to move in together Chris was already living on his own, where as Katie was living with her parents. We decided to move into Chris’ apartment because it made the most sense, and it was a nice space. However it was the ultimate bachelor pad. It had a TV, a couch, a desk, a mattress on the floor, and a bare bones kitchen. Everything that a man needs. Now Katie was moving in and she wanted to paint, decorate, and get some furniture. It was a little difficult for Chris to accept at first, “do we really need all these vases?” but he had to accept the fact that this was OUR apartment now. In the end it was fun decorating the apartment and Katie turned it into a cute little place. Katie knew Chris liked things a certain way and she was accommodating to that. Be wary that you are basically “invading” someone’s home, so be considerate of the situation.
You’re Not Just Dating Anymore
When you’re dating you go out for dinner, go watch a movie, have some sexy time, and then go home the next day. There is probably a good 2 or 3 days where you won’t see each other. This is no longer the case! So you need to prepare for this shift in your relationship.
Accept and Respect the Ugly Parts of Living Together
There is no more hiding the awkward parts of our life. All those embarrassing little things you did in the private of your home are now out in the open to be shared with your partner. You could try to hide it, but you’re just going to stress each other out. Accept it and break those barriers down. The sooner you do, the sooner you can go on to live in a happy and comfortable home.
Establish Your House Roles
Every home has it’s chores and it’s not fair to expect one partner to do the majority of work. Discuss who should do what and when. For example we both like to cook so we’re pretty 50/50 on that, but when one of us cooks the other cleans. Katie will usually do the laundry and Chris takes out the garbage. It took us a while to find a good balance, but with constant communication and compromise we were able to find a system that works for us.
Find Compromise in Your Lifestyles
You’re different people, and different people have different lifestyles. He loves heavy metal and you love country. You’re a meat loving carnivore, and he’s a vegetarian. You’re a neat freak and they leave their stuff everywhere. You’re going to run into these clashes again and again in your relationship and they will all come to a head when you move in together. If you find yourself frustrated the worst thing you can do is start yelling, or worse retaliate by going even further in the opposite direction. It’s time to be adults about the situation, discuss what is bothering you, and find a compromise.
Respect Each Other’s Personal Space
The personal space you used to enjoy before, is now gone. You’re going to need to make a greater effort to find the personal space you desire. Finding that balance, especially when you move in together, is key to having a happy and healthy relationship. You can read our tips on the importance of personal time here.
What’s The Next Step?
You’ve chosen your place, bought a dining room table, established your roles, and had sex in your new shower. Where do you want to go from here? Have an intimate chat on what you want your next steps to be after moving in together. Do you want buy a home next? Is marriage on the horizon? Are you planning on having kids? You should reevaluate your plans every 6 months to ensure you’re both on the same page about where you want to go as a couple.
With proper planning and a can do attitude moving in together can be simple and fun. Moving your Love Trip into the same home is an awesome feeling so make you sure do it right! Now it’s time to go have sex on your new couch.