Are you ready to take your relationship to the next level and move in together? Congratulations – this is a hugely exciting time! But, sharing your bed, your bathroom and your bills with somebody else isn’t always going to be plain sailing from the beginning. Preparing yourself for this truth will make your transition to cohabitation a much smoother experience.
After being used to living on your own or with friends, moving in with your significant other is inevitably going to bring about changes to your daily life. Some of these changes will be small, such as whether you keep the ketchup in the fridge or the cupboard, what type of toilet roll you buy, and where you order your Saturday night takeaway from. Some of these changes however will be big and require serious thought, such as paying the bills, budgeting and, dare I mention it, future family planning.
To assist you into the scary new world of settling down with your loved one, we have put together these 5 top tips that you should know before moving in with your boyfriend/girlfriend. While I am no relationship expert, I can speak from personal experience and sometimes, that is the best qualification there is.
- Trial it firstMoving in together is a big step, but it doesn’t have to be such a big step all in one go. You can try before you buy.
A great piece of advice is to trial living with each other for just a month first and see how it goes. This is different to going away on holiday or travelling together, where the atmosphere is relaxed and you are not in your usual daily routines.
Try living together during a standard month, going to work everyday, having friends round, walking the dog etc. See how you can fit around each others schedules. This will be a true reflection of what life will be like after you make the move.
- Create some house rules & write them downGetting irritated with each others mess is one of the easiest ways to get into an argument. Creating some house rules and writing them down at the start is a good way to avoid some of these heated altercations later down the line. For instance, deciding on a fair way to distribute the cleaning chores.
It may feel a bit over the top, and you will likely rarely ever read them, but just the act of writing these rules down is enough to remind you and your partner of your responsibilities.
- Work out how to manage your financesTalking about money can be uncomfortable, but neglecting to discuss this topic with your partner when living together is likely to spell problems in the future.
My best advice is to be completely open about your finances with each other from the start and discuss plans for budgeting. Budget for your weekly grocery bills, rent, electricity & gas. Establish a fair way to distribute these costs.
One of you may earn more than the other and contribute more, or you may choose to have it 50/50. However you choose to split your finances, make sure you discuss and agree on a way to manage your finances.
- Consider a self storage unitDepending on the logistics of the move, whether you are moving in to theirs, they are moving in to yours, or you are getting a new place entirely, a self storage unit can come in very handy.
Couples who live together will inevitably argue about clutter and of those arguments, many of them can be avoided by simply having a self storage unit.
Whether you are a hoarder of clothes, trainers or something more weird and wonderful, your partner may not share your passion. Rather than taking up your shared space with your collectibles, why not keep this stuff in your own storage unit?
Continue to have date nights
Date nights are one of the most enjoyable experiences of being in a relationship. Just because you have moved in with each other, these do not have to stop!
Relationship experts recommend continuing to arrange and go out on date nights, even when you are married! (Though you may not quite be there yet)
When you see each other first thing in the morning and last thing at night, when you do the dishes together and share a bathroom, it is easy to forget to make time to spend time together romantically. Remind yourselves to set date nights at least once a month to keep the spark in the relationship.