So it's gotten to that point where you are always at each other's houses, you are pretty serious, maybe even engaged and it's THAT TIME. To move in together or to wait...well before you go looking for the same casa here are some tips to consider before you can even start complaining about the toilet seat up! Playing house is one thing...you can always retreat to your place where you have your own bills, your own stuff and your alone time. Once you combine homes there are more things to consider because you aren't just roommates, you are building a life together and emotions are just as mixed in as the furniture.
1. Clean up Your Financials
Once you start sharing rent, utilities, groceries and other expenses it can get very messy if one half is still paying out debt and late bills while the other half is picking up the slack and starting to feel gipped. You will want to sit down together, with a financial consultant or do a workshop together and plan out how everything will go. It is a part of love to except the other person, money flaws and all but it is also up to love to be honest and open about how to get through it together. Assign bills based on realistic expectations, put aside money for emergencies, for dates and for each other's own needs. Work on debt together, make sure you stay in the black and always talk BEFORE things get rough to work on a solution. The less stress in your pocket the more you can give to each other in other ways.
2. Assign Chores
This seems obvious, especially growing up in my house where I was the queen of dusting, but it is not something you want to just assume. Giving each other set tasks will take the pressure off of wondering, wishing, or feeling taking for granted. Do things you both like to do, then split up the not-so-fun stuff equally based on realistic expectations. If you both have a pet, share the fun and the gross stuff and swap out every month. Do a rotation chart every season where the chores change to mix it up. Keeping up on it is not always going to be easy, life happens, and that is where love steps in and you stay together. Be honest.."Hey, I'm so overloaded with work tonight and I know it's my night to make dinner, can we just order in Chinese please?".... or "Hey, I know its movie night but I really need to vacuum because I have fallen behind with school, how about we knock it out together, you can hold the rugs and I will be quick so we can go to a late night show"...
3. Schedule Dates
This doesn't just mean with your love, but with your friends too. It can get easy to become lazy and just get into a habit of hangin' at home every night, but that does not keep the romance burning. Make a date night, or a few every week where you get out of the house and meet for lunch, go on a hike or plan a romantic evening. Make sure to include friend and family time in there so they don't feel left out from seeing you while also having some new perspective when you come back home. Schedule some alone time as well to reflect, meditate or just do something nurturing for yourself.
4. Compromise on Your Stuff
Just because you adore your 'modern chic' decor while he has 'country rodeo' mean that you throw all his stuff out. Everyone has a right to be surrounded by things they love, things that make them who they are and keeps them comfortable in their own home. Compromise and agree on keeping some things and maybe bringing in new things you both pick out and love for a fresh start. Think of your home together as a reflection of who you are together and respect the other person's ideas and sentimental attachments.
5. Make Goals and Keep Them
Before you move in together make some goals for how long you want to stay there, if you want to eventually buy something, if you just want to take it easy and travel for awhile, or whatever your hearts desire. Make those goals together with a forward momentum in mind, to keep you focused on the future and to remember why you made this decision to take the next step. Maybe you want to keep your bills at a minimum to travel every six months, maybe you want to start a road trip jar with your extra earnings, or maybe you just want to improve on the house you just bought together and make it your haven. Whatever they are, keep them in mind, use a vision board, pin pictures up on the fridge, put your jar on the counter, just keep it positive and supportive.
And be nice. It takes time to remember to put the toilet seat down after doing it for years, it takes time to remember to clean up your makeup after you covered the counter in powder, it takes time to get into a groove, but with patience and a loving approach you can live together and flourish. Oh, and lots of sex. That is always a good way to break in a new place. ;)