by Adam Wieherdt
Living the Life
For 12 years now I have been paying attention to a certain step in a relationship that has a lot of stigma around it: moving in together. Deciding it is time for you and your partner to actually live together is a big step. In most cases, couples are excited about it. They have spent a lot of time together so they feel that living together will be a cake walk. In my experience, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
What a lot of couples don’t take into consideration is just how much a merger can affect one’s world. Because we are single for the first parts of our lives, we have the chance to explore things like personal style. It takes a great deal of time to develop these things and as most of us can attest, as teenagers going into adulthood, our tastes can change from one moment to the next.
Moving in together is a bit like your own Big Bang. You have two universes colliding with their own separate rules, and sometimes the fallout is more than you bargained for. I have witnessed fights right from the start that appear as if someone perhaps cheated on the other person. In reality, they were arguing over where a coffee pot should go.
What might make sense to you doesn’t always mean it makes sense to your partner. Most fights couples have are ones that never need to happen and will end up causing far more stress on your relationship. Here are a few ideas that you can implement in your relationship in case of an emergency.
First off, I suggest that whether you are a man or woman, take the time to observe your partners personal style. When you stay the night, see how each room is organized. Are they a neat freak? What kind of color styles do they seem to use? Are they compatible with your style?
More often than not, you will find things that seem “out of the ordinary” to you. This doesn’t mean things won’t work if you move in; it means it’s time to give some thought as to how this merger will take place. Do not get discouraged if paying attention to these things feels overwhelming.
Many couples get scared when they realize that the world they were comfortable with will never be the same again. This is called “change” and that is how it feels. The trick is to fall in love with that feeling or it will drive you nuts.
The biggest and most important thing in any relationship (friends, romantic, or business) is to keep communicating and learn to compromise. Even if through the course of your relationship, you and your partner have seen how each other lives and think they are okay with it, it isn’t the same thing as living together.
The first and most important thing to do before moving in is defining the boundaries of this new merger. Trust me when I say that you should never presume to know each other’s boundaries, as this is one of the most consistent fights that couples have in relationships. Boundaries are not meant as a way to dictate how things will be done. They are there to discover the limits of your partner. They are also there for you to be able to know when you are crossing the line and what may be the consequence. This is something you should take the time to do as it is important for you both to be on the same page.
Another good idea — before you even unpack a single box — is to do a walkthrough of your new place. This is the perfect time to discuss how you both envision each room; this is where compromise may save the day. To make the merger easier on the both of you, keep an open mind.
Remember that the image in your head is unique to you and even though it may make sense to you, it may not be the same for your partner. Hear them out and see where you can compromise. In the event that you are unable to come up with a compromise, leave it for later and move on to the next room. If you are finding it hard to do this in any room then you both are not keeping an open mind.
Setting a mood can be really helpful if things get a little tense. Personally, my favorite thing to do in any tense situation is to make it fun. You can try putting on some music and make a game out of it. There is no rule saying that things have to be figured out right away. Yes, it does give a person peace of mind when things are tidy and in their place, but the benefits of having a home that was mutually decorated speaks a lot about a couple’s personality.
What are some things to avoid when moving in together? I know there are a ton of personality types out there, some submissive and others more dominant. For a dominant person to walk in and say, “This is how I want my house to be. So you can have your own room to decorate, but I get to decorate the rest…” is not a sign of an equal partnership.
Your home is your sanctuary; it is the place you go to retreat from the chaos that is the world. It is so important that this is true for both of you. Sometimes sharing the control can be a humbling experience. If you truly love the person you are with, amalgamating them into your world properly can be a very rewarding experience.
Do not treat moving in as a nonchalant kind of thing, because the reality of it is so much more. Romantic relationships are a serious commitment, and you owe it to yourself to give each experience the most attention if you want to find the ideal one for you. Hopefully these tips will keep you from falling into the same traps most people fall into.
The last tip – which I have already mentioned, but it deserves another shout out – is you must have fun. If you aren’t having fun in your relationship, then what the hell are you doing? Your partner is your best friend and should be the one person you can have fun with. There are no limits when it comes to the imagination, so put it to use and create your very own tale.
Adam Wieherdt is an “everyman” expert on relationships and author of A Guy’s Secret Guide to Relationship. For more of Wieherdt’s advice, visit his blog: http://guyssecretblog.blogspot.com/.