So, you are thinking of moving in with your partner. After all, you’re practically already living together and the prospect of splitting the bill outweighs any potential concerns about long-term compatibility. The next step, of course, is to make it official.
There are many advantages to living together: You no longer have to waste half of your Friday night traveling to your loved one. Now you can use the cute coffee machine his parents gave him as a Christmas gift and also not have to worry about the extra underwear that sometimes feels like falling out of your bag when you are on the bus.
With food, energy, and rent prices exploding, the pressure to find a roommate has never been higher. A 2021 survey found that 18 percent of cohabiting couples moved in with their partners because it’s “financially beneficial” (who said romance is dead?).
In 2022, there were more than 28 applicants for every rental property available in the UK, with price increases of more than 10 per cent since corona measures were lifted. In the United States, rent growth reached 11.6 percent in late 2021 and early 2022, nearly three times what it was in the five years before the pandemic, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Since landlords are more likely to treat married couples as tenants, cohabitation is increasingly proving to be a good move if you want to save money.
One thing is for sure: you don’t want to put all your money and effort into finding a home only to find out that you can’t afford the person you’re now contractually obligated to live with. I spoke to cohabiting couples and a relationship expert to find out the secret to that successful next step.
1. Don’t tell yourself that nothing will change
“You can no longer think only of yourself,” says Brad Thomas, a 28-year-old business executive from Manchester who moved in with his girlfriend earlier this year. “When you’re done with the milk, or the toilet paper, you have to be considerate and don’t forget to communicate because you actually have to work as a team. You really have to make some adjustments to the way you think.”
If you are going out for drinks after work, or if you want to invite someone over to dinner, you should also consider the other person’s concerns and desires. What you eat, what time you get up, what time you go to bed, what you do on the weekend – it’s not up to you anymore. It may take some time to figure out what works best for your relationship, but you will get there. Or you care.
“Spending more time together and adjusting to each other’s habits naturally requires some compromises,” says relationship counselor Ellie Turner. “It’s important to communicate and set healthy boundaries from the start, because it’s very difficult to change your behavior over time.”
Remember that one thing that made you love your partner so much in the first place? Those cute sounds they make while they’re sleeping or obsessing over The 1975. Yeah, you might start to hate that.
2. Set boundaries
If you move in together, you’ll likely cross each other’s boundaries and annoy each other without even realizing it. If you don’t talk about it, your partner won’t know that you need some alone time when you get home from work or that you need to give a heads up when he next moves into your house.
“Be open and honest in your communications without accusing the other person of things,” Turner says. If things go the way they are, bitterness can ensue; Partners can then become passive-aggressive if they don’t know how to start the conversation directly.”
She continues, “You can’t expect someone to live exactly the way you do, so it’s important that you respect each other and discuss each other’s needs rather than setting expectations about how the other person should behave. Also be careful how you discuss this.” with your partner to prevent them from suddenly becoming defensive.”
3. Determine how you want to divide up the finances
Once it’s time to pay the bill, don’t be surprised if you find yourself bickering like you’ve never done before. Remember – living with your partner is not only a personal commitment, but also a financial one.
“My partner had a certain monthly budget that she could comfortably use,” Thomas explains. “I was living on my own, so living together would be more beneficial for me financially; so I wanted to cover the difference with love and pay more rent. We split our bills 50/50, but took into account our different incomes to make it fair overall.” , If you pay for dinner, she will buy some snacks later.”
Decide, preferably before you get the keys, how you want your rent, bills, and common expenses to be divided. Will you collect your money? Will you buy furniture together or will you get everything from IKEA? Setting a budget and being honest with each other can prevent money-related conversations from spiraling out of control.
4. Decide how you want to divide the tasks
There’s a good chance you won’t agree on how often the bedding should be changed or how long you can hold dirty dishes. Compromise and communication are also your best friends here: maybe one of you likes to vacuum, and the other is secretly good at getting long hairs out of the bathtub.
When Abi Herbert, 25, moved in with her partner two and a half years ago, they initially had a conversation about the chores they found so annoying. “We realized at some point that a lot of the things one person would really hate about the other person are okay to do,” explains the PR specialist from Birmingham.
“Rather than taking turns, we’re individually responsible for certain things; this limits the amount of bickering because there are few times you have to decide whose turn it is to do something or if one does something more than the other. Personally, I like not having to take out the trash.” “.
5. Take some time for yourself
Just because you live together doesn’t mean you can’t separate. You don’t want constant togetherness to lead to interdependence. Schedule a night or two to hang out with friends or watch TV in separate rooms. Remember that distance makes love stronger.
“We were in a long-distance relationship for a year before we moved in together, so it was really smooth sailing at first,” says Herbert. “Eating pizza on the floor together a lot in those first few months and being totally obsessed with each other.”
However, once the lockdown eased, Herbert and her partner started doing their own thing again. “In the beginning, I felt like we had to do everything together, which definitely wasn’t healthy — but I’d say we have that balance much better now,” she says. “I can’t live with someone who would be discontented if I didn’t want to spend every moment with them.”
Even if you can’t currently be separated from your partner for more than 24 hours, you need to pay close attention. It’s really amazing how quickly you can start hating someone when the only time you don’t see them is when they take a shit
6. Prepare an exit strategy
If you two plan to live together, breaking up is the last thing you want to think about. Unfortunately, not all relationships stand the test of time (or the test of cohabitation), and many couples are increasingly stuck in a living situation that has no affordable way out.
“You need some emergency savings and some options for when things don’t go well,” says Turner. “If you’re moving in together and you’re going through your lease and you see something that worries you—say no severance clause or a huge security deposit—it’s important to feel comfortable discussing these things with your partner.”
Being honest about what will happen if it doesn’t work out may not be a bad idea when there is so much at stake. It’s not exactly romantic, but it can save you a lot of stress later on. So go ahead, ask this question to the guy you’ve been dating for three months. Half the rent is worth your partner’s smoldering bitterness, isn’t it?
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
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