As more and more couples decide to shack-up before tying the knot, they’ve started to realize that this exciting and monumental transition is not without its share of heartbreak and adversities. While pop-culture continues to push its happy-couple cliches, when it comes to real live-in relationships, a premature decision can very well send promising courtships to an early grave, hurting both parties.
When it comes to successful relationships, the answer is now perfectly clear, with premarital cohabitation being linked to substantially lower rates of divorce since the early-2,000s. That being said, however, surviving live-in relationships themselves is no picnic, with budgeting issues, ownership, guests, family, and friends, all coming to fore, things that used to be of hardly any concern when just dating.
The biggest mistake young couples make is rushing into live-in relationships without the right preparation, or even understanding of each other. Many only see the bright lights of domestic bliss, without considering adverse scenarios and how they would likely play out. As a result, before moving-in together, it is essential that you and your partner are on the same page with the following questions.
What Are Your Expectations For Domestic Responsibilities? Will You Split Chores Equally, Or Will One Partner Take On More of The Household Tasks?
A key area of contention in live-in relationships is domestic responsibilities, and how they are shared among each partner. While most modern relationships involve taking equal responsibility, this isn’t always practical, with work, pressures, and other factors coming into play.
Ideally, such issues must be discussed beforehand, with a clear understanding of how this would likely play out before making the move.
How Will You Handle Finances? Will They Be Separate, Or Will You Use A Joint Account?
Living together means sharing expenses such as rent, utilities, shopping, takeouts, and more. If you’re getting a new place with your partner, the expenses will likely be significantly higher, making the talk on how you will handle finances all the more critical.
This is also the time to come clean on your monthly income, debts, and assets, so that there is clarity on where each partner stands on the finances front.
Just moving-in alone will come with substantial costs, depending on how far your partner’s, or your new place is. Whatever it might be, it is essential to be transparent on the costs involved. If you’re moving out of state, make sure to start by discussing the costs of moving out of state with your partner first, so that they remain committed.
How Will You Handle Schedules? Time Spent Together & Time Spent Apart
In other words, how will you handle your respective ‘Me’ times? Spending hours together in the same house can be quite suffocating, so it’s essential that you respect each other’s privacy and boundaries, at least in the initial days.
Over time, things should get better, but for your relationship to last that long, and for you to not get tired of one another, it is necessary to have this conversation, and have a clear picture of where each of your boundaries lie, and the buttons you shouldn’t push.
What Will Your Lifestyle Look Like?
An extension of the finances part, but also includes a few other aspects. It is important to be on the same page when it comes to how you and your partner envision your lifestyle together. This includes instances of eating out, ordering in, the number of channels on pay per view, and more.
It also extends to what you plan on watching during dinner each night, and what your plans are for Friday evening. Is there something special for date-night? And more.
Everyone has expectations when moving in together, and more often than not, it is about compromises and trade-offs. By asking questions such as these, you know if there are certain things you are willing to compromise on, and the things that you definitely aren’t.
How Do You Feel About Overnight Guests, Friends, Family, & Entertaining At Home?
When living together, it is fair to assume that you will both be receiving friends and family to your home, some of whom might stay for the night.
This is often a key source of friction among young couples, and as such, it is important to discuss the frequency of such visits that you both expect, and how you each feel about the same.
If your partner is uncomfortable or unwilling to accommodate overnight guests, it’s essentially to get it out there before you decide to move-in. Just talking about it, and keeping lines of communication open is a great way of keeping your relationship alive even during the most contentious periods.
Where Do You See This Relationship Going?
For most couples, often the next step to moving-in, is getting married. However, it isn’t always that straightforward, and for many couples, marriage might be a long, drawn out plan that is unlikely to be realized for at least a few years.
Whatever it is, there has to be clear consensus on the future of the relationship front. This will ideally guide many of the above-mentioned factors, even including whether you want to buy a house, or splurge on the decor together, among other things.
Moving-in together is a big decision, one that can have serious ramifications if things go wrong. This is even before considering the emotional toll the whole affair can take on you, with aspects pertaining to moving, separating, and getting your things back causing substantial trauma of their own.
Fortunately, everything can be resolved with clear communications, and the above-mentioned questions are the perfect starting point for clear, transparent discussions.