Super in love and thinking of moving in together? Read these tips first!
A month ago, my partner and I moved. We’ve lived together for about as long as we’ve been dating, and the move was a good transition from a honeymoon-stage “starter” to a more serious “we’re really doing this” sort of situation. So far, things have gone well…a reasonably smooth move-in after three days of painting (the walls were a terrible rosy pink) and only a few run-ins with a potential ghost (more on that one day, maybe).
The move definitely means making some changes, though. In my book, the move means getting more serious about making his kids a bigger part of our lives. In his book, it means the same thing, plus having an extra room to store a new surfboard and all those VHS tapes we keep buying.
On top of the few major changes we’ve been introducing, the process of moving and settling into a new place has been a great reason to recalibrate and get a sense of where we are in terms of our wants and needs from one another as partners. So, at the risk of sounding like a serious shmoopy, here are a few ways to keep it copacetic when striking out into the sometimes rocky “balancing our lifestyles” territory…
1. Talk it Out.
I’ve never had a relationship where I’ve spent so much time talking out issues and, even better, resolving them. I’m still not very good at the resolution part, where I’m supposed to feel better after we talk about our feelings and figure out where we stand.
Still, talking it out is super important. If we don’t spend time talking to each other–and this goes for any relationship, really–then all we do is spend time making assumptions and falling deeper into our own rabbit holes of imagined scenarios and plotted out arguments.
2. Make Room.
Decide on a space for your partner with your partner. We really lucked out in our new place because there’s an extra room (helLO, spawn!), which means a place to keep someone’s laptop, mouse, ergonomic keyboard, and other writerly accoutrements. Which means the kitchen table stays the kitchen table, and there’s a place for Grumpy Gus to go when the day is getting to be too much (or you want to listen to The Smiths at full volume in the kitchen).
3. Find Ways to Compromise–and Ask the Same of Them.
You might not like keeping the knife block next to the refrigerator. It might irk you that there’s a laundry basket in the craft closet and dirty laundry on the bedroom floor. But–it also might irk that angel of a partner of yours that none of the baking pans stay in the same place for more than a few days, and the number of dinner plates you have in the cupboard has multiplied exponentially over the past two years. So. Choose your battles, and compromise with your weirdo when he wants to keep a wicker basket full of receipts and old paperwork on the top of the dresser. It doesn’t take up that much space next to your rapidly expanding brooch collection…
4. Stake a Claim to Your Happy Place.
Find a place in your home that is especially comforting for you. Try not to make it a shared space that, in a time of post-coffee urgency, might pose problems for either or both of your physical comfort. Let your partner know that this place is one where you can ask to be alone, and get comfortable asking for that. Don’t worry about saying you need to spend a little time decompressing in your Zone of Equanimity. Just go there. Get happy. And touch base when you’re back on Earth.
5. Figure out Major Changes Together.
Your tea kettle doesn’t have a whistle anymore. The plates don’t match because you’ve been going to the Goodwill for your whole adult life (so far). You desperately want to tear out the plants in the front yard and put up new ones that will attract hummingbirds. Maybe these aren’t the biggest changes you can think of, but, in a rental where you have little control over the major foundational quirks of your home and you can control whether or not you have a matching dining set, make the changes you want to make with your partner. Maybe they aren’t into weighing the aesthetic pros and cons of Jadeite and Pyrex, but still…a little inclusion in the process of setting up your home can go a long way toward making it feel like just that. Your home. Both of yours*.
*And maybe some kids. And a dog.
What are your tips for peaceful cohabitation?
Also by Kristin: 5 Ways to Embrace a Lo-Fi Lifestyle
Related: 7 Tips for Living Together Happily
6 Essential Tips for Living in a Small Space
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Photos: Kristin Kaz, Tina Floresch via Unsplash