Moving in together is a massive step in your relationship with your significant other. It’s taking everything to the next level, bringing up lots of discussions about your relationship status, your goals and even the small things, like your little habits and quirks throughout the day.
This is a really exciting time, but it’s also a really important time to open up a dialogue about certain things before you and your partner do decided to move in together. Money and housework are the two issues that lead to the most conflict in any household and, although things between you may be great now, merging your lives can be a messy process. It’s easier to flag these things and agree on how to handle them now so that things don’t blow up later on down the line.
You’re fusing your lives in the most intimate way – you’re sharing a living space. There is no more storming off to your place now if you have an argument. It’s a whole other ball game now and it’s key to discuss these common issues and problems now, before the newly-living-together shine wears off.
How will we resolve our conflicts?
Even though it doesn’t feel like it now, conflicts are going to happen, as they should in any healthy relationship. Whether it’s that he’s found your hair all over the shower again or he’s ‘forgotten’ to do the shopping again, these little things may build up into a big argument. You may have a certain style of conflict resolution now, but that style may change when you live together.
You may both need cooling off periods after the fight so you can effectively communicate, so designate different places that are just for you or just for them. Lay out which things are ‘off limits’ during a conflict – whether it’s something that’s triggering for either of you or an old conflict that you’ve worked through, are there are certain things that should be off the table in a fight? What is the best way for you to approach the problem so that you both feel heard and effectively resolve the issue?
What does our journey and timeline look like now?
Maybe you only want to move in with someone if marriage is on the cards. Maybe you only want to move in with someone if marriage isn’t on the cards. It’s very important to share where you see the relationship going before you move in together. For many people, living together is the last big step before having kids or getting married. It’s important to be clear about your intentions and goals so that there’s no confusion or resentment later on down the line.
Having a rough timeline is important too. We’re not saying set the wedding date or start painting the nursery – just discuss your career and life goals so that you can see whether they line up or if one or other of you may need to compromise. If he wants to buy a house within a couple of years, but you want to travel the world for a year within the next two years, those timelines may not add up. Moving in together is factoring one another in, so try opening up the discussion – you don’t need to make decisions straight away. Juts be aware of what the other person wants.
How should we budget for our household?
This is where a lot of conflict can occur because there are many different factors that go into making a budget. First, you have to look at your salaries and figure out the discrepancy, if there is any. Then you decide whether or not to factor that in for your budget – if he makes less than you do, should he pay proportionally or the same as you do? It’s an awkward conversation to have, but a really important one.
This is also where you’ll really get to know your partner’s lifestyle. What do they spend big money on, what do they save up for, what isn’t worth splurging on for them? If you like to shop for nice food but they’d rather spend the money on an expansive entertainment package, how will you resolve that? How connected are your finances going to be? Are you joining up savings accounts? Is there a joint house fund? These aren’t the most fun conversations, and it will bring up a lot for you both, but it’s better to have all the information before you move in.