So you and your significant other have been dating for awhile. You’re giddily in love, and the hundred text messages you’re sending every day proves it. His funny, sweet and kind nature meshes with your wit, smarts and easy going personality. It’s a match made in heaven, right? Maybe. But until you see each person’s bad habits–he specializes in leaving gym socks on the floor and devoting hours to Xbox while leaving lipstick-stained glasses throughout house is perfectly acceptable–you will never know if you’re compatible and adept at creating a home together.
Relationship Survey Says
In the 1960s, roughly 10 percent of U.S. couples moved in together before they got married. Today, 60 percent of couples live together before they tie the knot. Still, cohabitation is not a leap you should take lightly, so before you start scouring the apartments for rent section, packing up those boxes and settling under one roof together, give some serious thought to what it means to live with someone.
From Me to We
1. The transition from living alone to living with a partner can be a bumpy ride in the beginning. Actually, it’s less of a ride and more of a roller coaster. From dealing with daily quirks to being faced with new responsibilities (who’s in charge of grocery shopping, laundry and cleaning the bathroom?), this is the Adjustment Phase. Be patient: it takes time to get things ironed out.
2. Find a money system that works, and stick with it. It’s a fact: finance-related tensions sink relationships. A Utah State University study states that couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month. Living together gives you the opportunity to test-drive your financial compatibility. Do you have a joint checking account or do you keep separate checking accounts? Who’s in charge of taking care of the bills? These are things that need to be figured out.
3. Your boyfriend has been living in a one-bedroom man-cave complete with an oversized plasma TV, a beat-up La-Z-Boy recliner and an inflatable Corona palm tree he bought on a lark in Cancun. You, on the other hand, have been residing in an apartment with furniture from Pier 1. Let’s just say when to comes to interior decorating you aren’t even reading the same book. So, what are you going to do? First, when it comes to combining furniture, a little compromise is order. Second, a new apartment needs new furnishings and decor, so go out and choose things together.
4. Moving in together can be a big step forward in a relationship. At the same time, moving in together does not need to be an affirmation of a permanent commitment or a precursor to marriage. According to research conducted by the RAND Corporation, among cohabitating couples, 52 percent of men and 39 percent of women would not describe themselves as “almost certain” their relationship was permanent. Couples move in together for a variety of reasons, and a permanent commitment is not always one of them.
5. Successful cohabitation is all about finding the right conflict resolution style. In other words, if you like to raise your voice when there’s a problem and he likes to sulk, then conflicts, however large or small, are going to be difficult to bridge. You need to learn how to work together.