Moving in together is a big decision, even when it makes perfect sense. You care about a person enough to let them into your space, and they feel the same for you too. You’re both happy to be hanging out together a lot. You have discussed your need for personal space, how you’ll split the chores, who cooks and who does the dishes. But it is not all rosy and carefree. There is no easy way to say it, but it’s a fact: unless you’re moving into a big mansion, some of your stuff will have to go to make room for the other person’s. The things in their apartment that you thought was kind of mad, will have to travel over to yours. Their framed inspirational quote poster may have to go up on your wall. Their big ugly armchair is here to stay, in your shared living room.
And now you find yourself wishing you were dating an exact copy of yourself, with the exact same idea of what looks good in your home. Truth is, you may both be pretty set in your ways when it comes to decor, not to mention chores and personal space. Number one challenge is to make the home cosy for both of you. So how do you handle the transition?
The first thing you need to do is prepare your space for their moving in. Have a realistic look over all their stuff. How much wardrobe space will they need? How many books, movies, and vinyl records will they be moving in? Next, have a look at your stuff. Haven’t used that home gym in months? Don’t need that lamp you bought at last year’s flea market? Clear the shelves. Thank the items for their service, Marie Kondo-style, and take them to a charity shop. Living with your significant other is a great reason to get rid of the clutter. If you really can’t bear to part with it for good, consider these other options.
You probably talked to your partner about expectations when you move in together, but do keep an open mind. You may not anticipate some of the things that come up while living together. For example, they may turn out to be excellent at giving you personal space. But just as you heave a sigh of relief about boundaries, you may learn that they have a habit of eating cheesy, crumbly, saucy snacks in bed, splattering your pristine sheets. We all have our “single person” habits that developed over years of carefree bachelorhood. Both you and your partner have them in equal measure. So before getting annoyed, take a deep breath and remember that you are both just getting used to a new living situation.
Can you at least share the popcorn?
If you do get annoyed, have a safe way to fight. Now that you’re sharing a space, one of you can’t just as easily disengage to cool off. And there are plenty of little things that can turn to fights suddenly when you are talking to each other every day. Some couples have a safe word that lets them get out of a fight before it really starts. Others are okay after they take a walk or go to the next room to cool off. Either way, there needs to be space for feeling all kinds of emotions when you live together. The good, the bad, and the ugly – you are moving in with a whole person, not just the most put-together version of themselves. So make room for each other when you are feeling sad or annoyed, and know that that is perfectly fine. There is no formula that works for everyone. But you and your partner will make it work in your own way. And you may grow to love that ugly chair… eventually.