There are many reasons why a couple may want to move in together. Streamlining finances, getting ready for marriage, or simply because you want to be around each other all the time. Love is a beautiful thing, and it can help to make difficult situations easier. But the stress of adjusting to having a roommate after living alone can take a toll on your relationship.
Thus, you and your partner must take the time to discuss every aspect of living together before taking the plunge. Little things that may be fun quirks to you right now have the potential to cause fights when you have to live with them every day.
Deciding whether to keep windows closed or open, choosing a system for better sleep during winter, or even having pets can cause a great deal of conflict. Being on the same page and having solutions in mind can keep you two thinking like a team instead of turning on each other when an issue does occur.
Choosing Where to Live
If one of you already owns a home, it is probably more financially sound to move your partner into your home than to find a new place. But this comes with its own issues as you will be used to occupying the entirety of your home. It is important to sit down together and discuss expectations regarding the use of space when your partner moves in. If you find yourself resenting their demand for space or you want them to adjust to your way of life, you are being unfair and may not be ready to share a living space with them yet.
It would be best for couples who do not own a home to rent a new place together. Some people choose to move into their partner’s apartment, but the same issue of needing to allocate space comes in again. Choosing a new apartment together reduces the likelihood of emotional attachments to navigate when discussing how to share the space. It is also best to try out living together in a rented space before considering buying a home together. It may sound expensive, but renting for a year will be much less expensive than hiring a lawyer to split a shared house if living together does not work out.
Choose a Move-in Date
Choose a move-in date that works for both of you. Align your schedules so that neither of you has to work or have any other obligations. Transporting everything efficiently and unpacking in one carefully coordinated weekend will help start your journey together very smoothly.
Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about not getting enough help from your partner. When you factor in the difficulties of moving in two sets of different items and finding a way to mesh them together into a home, you can imagine how much support you will need on the day.
Pets and Children
If you already have children and pets, you need clear agreements on how to navigate treating them and take care of their welfare. It may not always be feasible to have one partner handle all the childcare duties as children are mini-humans with many needs. Wanting to be with someone who has a child is accepting that you are now a parental figure. That means that you have a responsibility to help raise the child with kindness and affection.
If you do not have the capacity to take on this role, you must not enter into this living situation. It is better for you and your partner’s mental health and the child’s well-being to protect them from a situation where they will feel like a burden or unwanted.
A pet may not be affected the same way as a child, but they can still experience trauma. If your partner does not get along with your pets or make demands about the living situation of the pets after moving in together, they may not be the right partner for you.
Your partner does not need to care about your pet as much as you do, but they must be willing to treat it well and participate in taking care of it when you are not available. A partner who cannot develop compassion for a pet that you love may have some attachment issues that will be exacerbated by moving in together. It is better to seek therapy to ensure you two can be on the same page than to risk a messy breakup.
Finally, it is best to write down an agreement regarding financial matters. A cohabitation agreement will help keep the financial issues regarding rent payment, mortgage payments, living expenses, and recreation expenses clear and above board. Not having this agreement may cause issues down the line.
This agreement can be built on the amount you two own or the amount of your earnings that you’re willing to devote towards living expenses. It is imperative in situations where one partner may earn more than the other and ensure that everyone is paying equitably for expenses. A cohabitation agreement may also ease the situation a great deal if you intend to provide while your partner becomes a stay-at-home parent. Not having marital protections means that you and your partner must give each other peace of mind by drafting a clear agreement on how the money will be spent.