Image via Silent Storyteller
Whether you’re newly married or making a foray into the exciting world of premarital cohabitation, moving in with your significant other is a big step in any relationship. If you’ve been with each other long enough to consider living together, chances are good that she already knows all of your shameful living habits and has decided to love you anyway. Don’t let crossing the threshold with your lady love be the kiss of death for your relationship. These tips can help create a happy home (and keep you out of the doghouse).
When my wife and I first moved into our pet-friendly apartment in Orlando together with our dachshund Franklin, we met on neutral turf and moved into a new place together. Seven years, two cities, two more dogs, and twin boys later, we’re still blissfully happy, especially when we can spend time in the same room together.
Only fools rush in: It might not be “til death do you part” (yet), but moving in together will be a big change in your relationship. Make sure the choice to live together is a natural step in your relationship, and not because it will cut 20 minutes off your commute. Convenience can obviously be a factor, but if that’s all this move has going for it, don’t throw away your boxes – you may need them again soon.
Set expectations, not ground rules: One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is managing expectations. Rather than waiting for a pet peeve to blow up into a minor domestic disturbance, you should both be upfront about what will work for you. This goes for everything from splitting up chores to TV choices. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground or make requests, but be ready to hear the same. When you were living on your own, leaving your beard trimmings on the bathroom counter (although this handy little device should solve that problem) may have been acceptable, but your new roommate may frown upon it.
Roll with the changes: Whether she’s moving in with you, you with her or you’re finding a new place together, get ready for some creative differences regarding home decor. Pick a shared interest and decorate together. You don’t necessarily have to box up your action figure collection and sell them all on eBay, but they’ll no longer be the centerpiece of the living room.
Take some time for yourself: Let’s face it – video games don’t play themselves. Books won’t read themselves to you. Alone time was important to you before you moved in together, and it will be just as important to you both now that you’re in each other’s personal space. You’ll still need time to unwind and recharge your batteries, and so will she. You don’t (necessarily) need a man-cave, but make sure you both have space when you need it.
Get out of the house: It’s easy to fall into a routine now that you’re living together, but it’s important to keep the spark in your relationship. Plan dates, trips and activities just like you did before you moved in together. Having fun outside of the house or apartment will keep things from getting stale back home.
Ultimately, your significant other is a roommate, and the same rules (generally) apply. Respect their time, space and feelings (dig deep, you’ll find yours) and you can expect them to do the same.
Ms Gingham says: Brian is our newest contributor to Polka Dot Groom and this first post of his is sure to help many couples out there taking that first leap over the threshold together! Looking forward to your next article Brian! PS How adorable are those two little twins!
About Brian: A father of adorable twin boys, Max and Wyatt, and husband since 2005, Brian enjoys everything communications, learning new things, and sharing what he’s found along the way.