I’m embarking on a new chapter in my life… one where I have made the commitment to share my home and sanctuary with another. Granted, I deeply and truly care for and trust this person with all that I am- but it has been far too long since I completely combined and shared my space and my belongings with someone. The last two places I lived with another person I kept a majority of my things packed. A sign of my hesitation. But here I am, taking a leap, letting go, and having faith.
So, since I am out of the loop as far as ”cohabitating” I have been doing oodles of reading on the subject and how to make it a smooth transition.
Did you know that more couples than ever are cohabitating before getting married?! It only seems natural to test the waters, right? And if you’re already spending a lot of time with your partner, it might not feel like a big deal to take the next step… right?!
When you’re in a long-term relationship with no ending in sight, it’s natural to get to a stage where moving in together makes sense. Here’s a few things I need to keep in mind from what I’ve been reading…
Your space is no longer your own.
I’d had my own room or space pretty much my entire life. It didn’t matter what my place looked like because I was the only one living in it. Once I moved in with my partner, I had to confront the fact that I was no longer the head of household and I could never consider our place as only mine.
Your partner probably won’t appreciate your clutter.
Your partner’s sensibilities will be somewhat different from your own, and this could be a source of tension unless you make peace with it.
As a writer and a big reader, I am used to being surrounded by books and papers. My love of art and creating means I have an enormous amount of art and craft supplies.
My partner, who’s more interested in cars, tools, and electronics, owns a wide array of completely different possessions. Then being a long time bachelor his sense of organization differs greatly from that of my own. I can see myself struggling to cope with his cluttered but creative approach to home life, and it taking a while to find a happy medium that doesn’t drive us both crazy.
Small kitchens aren’t made for two people, but cooking for two is better than cooking for one.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a huge house with a sizable kitchen, I envy you! Navigating a smaller kitchen should be no big deal when living on your own, but sharing one with a partner can quickly become a frustrating experience.
Thankfully, we both enjoy sitting down to eat dinner together most nights, and cooking for two is so much better than making food just for yourself.
It’s nice to come home to your favorite person every night.
If you’re used to spending most of your time with your partner before moving in together, it might seem like actually sharing an address won’t be that much different, and in a way, it isn’t. Still, it’s a comforting thought to know that when you come in from a rough day at work or you just want to cuddle and watch TV, your significant other will be there to oblige.
Admittedly, I initially underestimated the simple pleasure of having my partner with me every night without fail, but it’s one of the best things about living together.
Compromising is more important than ever.
After making decisions only for yourself for many years it’s easy to anticipate such a transition being somewhat rocky.
Your saving grace throughout the experience will be your willingness to compromise.
Whether it’s on the color of the new sofa for the living room or what to eat for lunch, make sure to try to accommodate each other’s preferences and needs as much as possible.
When you fight, taking a breather may not always be an option.
When you’re in a relationship but not living together, you can easily take a step back after a fight and get some time and space to yourself. You don’t have to call, text, or see each other until you’re ready. That luxury goes away when you’re cohabitating.
I’m someone who really likes to cease all communication with my partner after a fight until I’ve cooled off. Instead of being able to retreat to my own apartment to do this, I’m relegated to another room at best now that I’m living with my partner. It’s not the ideal situation, but we can make it work.
It’s no longer impossible to hide your flaws and idiosyncrasies—you and your partner’s flaws are on full display.
Hopefully, by the time you’re ready to move in with your partner, you should be way past the stage of trying to seem like a perfect, superhuman version of yourself and be comfortable showing your less amazing sides. If you’re not already, you soon will be when you’re actually sharing a place.
They’ll smell your morning breath, see you ugly cry over some cheesy primetime drama, and know that you leave your dirty socks on the floor six feet from the hamper instead of in it.
The same goes in reverse – all the things your S.O. may have tried to hide from you will be on full display, so you’d better make peace with them if you want things to work.
Nights in are a whole lot more tempting.
When you’re living with your favorite person, there’s way less impetus to actually get off the couch and go out to do things. After all, you don’t need to meet them anywhere since you’re already together, so why not order some Chinese and hit up Netflix from the comfort of your shared home, sans pants?
It seems like the longer two people live together, the less likely they are to get all dressed up and hit the town because they become way too comfortable at home. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that you haven’t actually gone out on anything resembling a proper date in months. It can be a good idea to make sure to do something outside the house at least a few times a month.
Sometimes you’ll want to go out just to get away from your partner.
As much as I love living together, I’m also an introvert at heart. Sometimes you just want some alone time with no one else around to do your own thing.
When this happens, you may want to try going into town to sit and read or work in Starbucks for a while, or go for a walk around the local shopping center, even if you don’t need anything. Doing this restores some sanity and means you can return to my old self by the time you’re home again.
Missing your bachelor/bachelorette pad isn’t an uncommon occurrence.
I wouldn’t want to go back to living without my partner, but that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes think back on my days of living alone with a bit of wistful nostalgia. For instance, I miss not being on the receiving end of a raised eyebrow when yet another package full of new release hardbacks arrives.
You learn to love each other in a new way.
Navigating the tricky waters of cohabitation hasn’t been easy, but it has been an incredibly rewarding experience that has resulted in a strangely harmonious life full of fun, laughter, and a whole lot of love for my partner.
Yes, I loved her before we moved in together, but experiencing the ups and downs of figuring out life under one roof has brought us closer together than ever before and deepened our love in a really special way. I couldn’t have asked for more.