Moving in together is an exciting step in a relationship, because you can finally ditch the overnight bag and spend quality time with your beau. What some couples don’t anticipate, however, is that cohabitating is a big transition. Open and honest communication can help you avoid common conflicts that arise but what are the things you should be communicating about? Before you pack up your first box, discuss these five things and this exciting time will be even better.
1. Determine your reasons for moving.
Before you decide to cohabitate, you should discuss your motives for doing so. Is it more convenient to split the rent? Do you already spend all of your time together anyway? These may seem like logical reasons for moving in together, but misalignments can create cracks in your relationship.
“It’s important to consider the reasons you’re moving in together, says Rich Santos, SheKnows expert. “It’s not the moving in together part, but the reason behind it that seems to be the driver of whether cohabitation has a negative effect on a marriage.”
That’s why, at this time, you should also clarify your expectations for the relationship and what this move means. For some, moving in together is convenient, but to others, cohabitation means the relationship is moving forward. Psychology Today calls couples who live together with differing views on the relationship’s future, “incongruent non-engaged cohabitors.”
It may be uncomfortable to talk about your future, but it’s important to make sure you’re on the same page before you move in together, split the cost of new furniture, and start building a life as one.
2. Divvy up household tasks.
This may not seem like a big deal but based on a survey, 27% of cohabitating couples argue about household chores several times a month. You don’t need to make the same chore chart you had as a kid, but it’s important to discuss delegating household tasks before you move in together.
If you simply assume one of you is responsible for a certain task, like cleaning or doing the dishes, you may grow resentful of the other person who isn’t helping around the house. Designate responsibilities (you do the laundry and I’ll clean the bathroom) or create a system to rotate tasks so you each help with everything.
3. Take inventory.
When you move in together, you’re combining two apartments into one living space. Even if you’re moving into a bigger space, you may not need to move everything from each of your current places. Long before you call the moving company or load up your car, take inventory of both of your belongings—Will you keep his couch or your loveseat? What will you do with the extra bed? Do you need both TVs?
Talk about these things ahead of time so you don’t waste time or money moving unnecessary items. Determine decorative changes as well because your styles may not be the same. Agree on where you’ll put artwork, decor, posters, and collectibles.
4. Don’t treat your significant other like a roommate.
All technicalities aside, yes you’re sharing a room, but don’t treat your boyfriend or girlfriend like any other roommate. “Once your lover becomes your roommate, it’s really easy to let things get way too comfortable,” according to Rose Surnow from Cosmopolitan. “You nest, you get cozy, you stop leaving the house and the next thing you know, you’re friends without benefits.”
Instead of letting romance fall to the wayside, take advantage of living together to woo each other with refrigerator notes, breakfst in bed, movie night dates, and more.
5. Focus on saving.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to have the money talk. Even if you’re not combining all your finances, you should be on the same page about saving and spending when you move in together. Based on a recent survey, money is the number one cause of conflicts between couples. Seventy percent of couples fight about money more than they fight about chores, togetherness, sex, snoring, and what’s for dinner.
To avoid this sore subject, sit down together and plan your budget. Determine your income and expenses and track your spending with a tool like this simple budget calculator. Not only will this help you cut down unnecessary spending and pay off debts, it will also help you save money as a couple. More savings means you can both be more financially stable and will be able to plan for things like trips and bigger purchases.
When you’ve discussed these difficult but important items, you can focus on moving, setting up your new space, and loving the space you’ve created as a couple. Don’t forget to enjoy the process—moving in together is an exciting step in your relationship.