Moving in together: 3 basics to iron out

(FILE) Illustration of a colourfully decorated room with a couch, plants, a desk, and fairy lights, by Sarah Pi.
Sarah Pi/File

Moving in with your significant other will probably not be smooth sailing. I’m sorry. It’s just that odds are this won’t be the easiest task at hand. This is not to say that you two won’t be very happy together, but it does mean that it will likely be an extreme exercise in compromise. While you might have a perfect understanding that your partner will have to sacrifice some things and they may need to learn how to compromise, here’s what you forgot – you will have to do these things as well. Here are three decisions couples need to face when they decide to take the leap to cohabitation before ever placing any down payment, signing a lease or packing any boxes.

Deciding where to live

Before you begin packing your bags and head to the post office for a change of address form, work with your partner to research a place you will both be happy with. If one of you is moving into the other’s place, this is less of an issue — though, this particular case has its own issues. But for those couples wanting a brand new place for the next chapter of their lives this decision requires super honest communication and practicality. Don’t pretend you’re alright with living 45 minutes away from campus because your partner found a seemingly sweet deal if you aren’t. This will just lead to pent up resentment and problems in your relationship that could have been avoided. Discuss your needs with your partner and don’t ignore your feelings if something isn’t right.

Bills, bills, bills

Nobody wants to talk about financial issues when in the honeymoon stage of love, but someone has to be realistic when a topic as important as bills is being worked out with a loved one. This is going to be the roof over your head, the place you want to feel safe in — a space that you can call your own. Unfortunately, you can’t have any of that if you don’t make sure your bills are paid. It is nobody’s business how you split the bills — 50-50, 70-30, one of you pays for everything, you have outside help — it really doesn’t matter as long as a formal plan is created, agreed upon and honored. A live-in relationship that begins without a firm understanding of each party’s financial responsibilities will more likely than not produce stress and drama.

Compromising space

I shouldn’t be giving any lessons on this, as I have to look at my partner’s giant X-Men poster as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. But make sure that you are stating your needs and listening to theirs when it comes to sharing space in your home. What I can say, though, is to choose your battles wisely. For instance, the X-Men poster is nowhere near as intrusive to my life as was my partner’s replica of a Harry Potter quidditch broom that he tried to keep mounted on the wall instead of giving me the space for my shoe rack. Not only do I loathe Harry Potter — yes I said it, I admit it — but I actually need my shoes! As much as it pains my partner, he can’t actually fly on the Nimbus 2000, so the shoe rack got priority. Waking up to the X-Men staring at me every morning is a small price to pay when my partner sacrificed something for me and I get to keep my shoes. The broom now lives in the basement with the washer and dryer. It seems very happy, as it is an inanimate object without any practical functionality whatsoever.

Above all, be sure you are ready to move in together. There are many different cultural, religious, personal and familial discourses that play a role in this decision and they are unique to every couple. Be sure to be open and communicative to ensure you are on the same page and you both agree on where the relationship is going. Take both your love for each other and logistical and practical factors into consideration — if they align, you and your significant other are off to a great start.

We at the Clog wish you nothing but the best if you are making this step! It is all about humility, respect and compromise for each other. For real though, he can put his fake Harry Potter broom downstairs. No compromise on that one.

Contact Morgan Saltz at [email protected].