Now that it’s February, Sam and I have officially been living together for 6 months! Although this is only a fraction of time in comparison to other couples I’m sure, I’ve found that we have been very successful in our adjustment to cohabitation.
As a sort of “homage” to the fact that we’ve been living together for 6 months now, I thought I would share a few things that I’ve found to be important when moving in with and living with your significant other. Obviously I am not an expert, and everyone has different living styles, but this is what has been working for us!
Be honest about your finances. This is definitely the #1 most important part of moving in together (provided you’ve already had the “are we ready for this?” talk). In order to find a place you both love, it’s important to be honest about what each of you is making. From there, you’ll need to divide up your bills and talk about who is paying what bill, when. It’s also important to recognize that expenses won’t always be split 50/50, and you and your partner need to discuss that and be okay with that (it’s kind of cool when they pay for happy hour sometimes, but you have to be cool with paying for it sometimes too).
Share your long-term career goals. Sharing your aspirations with one another is not only good for a relationship, but helps to guide you when choosing a location to move. As young professionals, it can be difficult to find opportunities that appeal to your interests and goals. It is important to talk about where you want to live now, but also where you want to be in the future as your careers progress to make sure you’re on the same page when your lease is up.
Decide on your decor. I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend who is largely indifferent to the design style of our home. Our agreement is basically that we split essential purchases and basic decor (things like bed frames, dish soap, our couch), but if I want to keep decorating it is my responsibility because I’m the one who cares. We have also agreed that I have free reign of the decor, but he gets veto power. This way, if I pick something he hates he has a say.
Start using “our.” Using “our” instead of “mine” and “yours” will help you to think as one. It is mainly symbolic, but it’s important to recognize that you will now have another person in your space, and it is equally their space and your space.
Plan your grocery list. Meal planning is important not only for your finances, but for the environment as well. Every time Sam and I grocery shop, we make a list of 3-5 meals we want to make that week, and then toss the ingredients on our grocery list (provided we don’t already have them). Then, we have at least a few dinners planned out. From there, we can usually make do with our usual staples. This also helps us to avoid wasting food.
Get over the poop anxiety. Sorry to be crude, but yeah. I don’t feel like I need to really explain this other than saying you gotta just get over it. Everybody poops.
Maintain your independence. Taking time for yourself is something that can be difficult when you’re in a happy relationship and just want to spend all your time together, but will really only make it stronger. For us, that means when I go to yoga, Sam can play video games, or watch the TV shows that I hate. It also means that we take separate time to talk to our friends (even if they are mutual friends), and sometimes one of us will go on a trip while the other stays.
Get yourselves out. I cannot stress the importance of getting out of the house enough! Living with your significant other is really great, but if you’re cooped up together all the time it can get really repetitive. Sam and I are both foodies, so we try to go out and have date night at a different restaurant every Friday (there’s a ton in Baltimore!). We also will try to get out of the house and do something during the day on the weekends, and once during the week. This one took us a while to figure out, but it’s something that we’re constantly working on.
Set the ground rules. This may be obvious, but write a set of house rules. Decide who does which chores, and try to stick to it. But also be willing to do the other person’s chores every once in a while as a treat. Speak openly with one another periodically about if you feel like your workload is fair. This will keep everything functioning smoothly so the house stays clean, and you both feel like you’re sharing responsibility.
Have fun! It’s important to remember that you’re moving in with you best friend! Yes, you have to pay bills and have jobs, but think of all the cool stuff you get to do and experience together! From eating at amazing (and not so amazing) restaurants, to nights eating ramen because you’re broke, I am so grateful for every day that I get to spend growing with Sam.
There you have it, some of my (our) tactics for keeping a clean, functioning, happy household! As I said before, these are the methods that work for us, so you may need to adjust them to fit your relationship. And although moving in with a significant other can be really scary, if you set boundaries and make a plan it is the most rewarding thing!