When you move in with your S.O. you may want to consider how your relationship will change. But if it’s True Love you figure things will just work out for the best, which is funny because nothing else works like that. Quitting your job to get a higher degree? “Gee, I hope this works out without thinking about it too much!” Buying a fixer upper house? “With enough love things will work out!” Yeah. No.
Really liking each other and being committed to working through conflict are important factors in whether moving in with your S.O. will be successful. But there are other important, unsexy things to think about.
Revealing your worst habits (and theirs)
Your annoying habits do not annoy you. Whether it’s the way you treat the floor like a clothes hanger or sink like a toilet, these habits meld into your idea of normal. This is true of even horrible habits, like always paying bills late or touching people’s faces after handling raw chicken. The same goes for your S.O.
In the beginning of your relationship both of you pretended that you’re neat freaks who never fart, but that veil will be lifted, revealing the exasperating truth that even someone you love can be super gross and annoying.
You need to consider if you’re okay with some of that honeymoon period ending. You need to think about what habits you and your S.O. will put the effort into changing and what will probably always stay the same. As depressing as it is, are any of these things deal breakers for you?
Planning to be alone
Unlike a regular roommate, you can’t tell your S.O. to get the hell out of your room or not to touch any of your stuff. Your room and your stuff are shared now. There are cases when you may need separate bedrooms, but if you can’t handle sharing a lot, moving in together is going to suck.
That’s not to say that private space or alone time vanish forever, but you need to plan for them. Communicate those needs before you and your S.O. shack up. Is there a room that can be your office/creative space? Are you okay just going to the nearest coffee shop if need be? Does your S.O. also need these things?
Talk about concrete stuff like, “I usually need 30 minutes to decompress after work, so I may take some time at the gym to get that,” instead of saying something like, “I know you’ll smother me, but I need my space. K?” If someone starts freaking out about even having this conversation, it’s a good sign not to move in together.
More consideration, less assholery
When you’re by yourself you can be a jerk and no one cares. But once someone else has to pick up after you or endure your stress-related outbursts, your assholery is making someone’s life worse. I’m not saying you need to become a saint, but unless you feel like fighting a lot, the percentage of time you need to be considerate in large and small ways goes way up.
This is going to be a trial and error situation. It’ll take time for both of you to adjust and figure out each other’s priorities. (E.g. you may care more about cleanliness and your S.O. may care more about regular dinner times.) You may fight about it a little. The key here is that your mutual goal is living together happily, not being right or in complete control.
Now, if one of you thinks the other should meekly take all the bullshit forever, that’s a sign not to move in together, and maybe even break up.
This is the unsexiest thing about moving in together, but getting this stuff down will make everything else easier.
You need to update your property insurance to reflect your new living situation.
You need to determine who will be responsible for utilities, cable/internet, streaming services, rent/condo fees/property tax, groceries, how much they usually are, and if anything needs to be changed or updated.
You need to outline who will handle the cooking, cleaning, laundry, home maintenance, yard work, pet care and/or childcare, how much time and money it should take, and if hiring some outside help is possible.
There are various ways of hashing these responsibilities out, like taking turns, figuring out who’s best able to manage what, or even a sticker chart. But if you decide to wait and see how things go, someone’s going to be pissed off with good reason.
It’s also not okay to say, “I’ll just take care of my own stuff.” That doesn’t mean anything. What are you going to do? Vacuum half of each room?
When you decide to shack up, you’ve also decided to rely on and take care of each other. This is part of why it can be scary AF, but also kind of nice.