So, you’re taking the leap and ‘moving’ to the next level with your partner: cohabitation. The first time in your life you do this, it can be daunting. After having your own space for years, you’ve got to wonder what it will be like merging that space with another person. Before I moved in with my boyfriend, I interrogated everyone I knew who had experience in the matter. I received a lot frustratingly vague feedback; some positive, some negative (generally depending on the current state of the relationship).
Regardless of the two personalities combining in one room, here are the things that I have found ring true for myself and many other people living with their partners. I am by no means a relationship expert, but I thought I’d share a few things I have learnt.
If you’re making the move, here’s what you can expect:
1. LAUNDRY WILL RULE YOUR LIFE
Double the people equals double the dirty washing. I got by on a once-a-week rotation on my own, but unless you want to dedicate a huge portion of your room to an overflowing washing basket, laundry becomes at the least an every-four-days affair. This is particularly true if your partner plays sport and/or is a guy and therefore inexplicably goes through six t-shirts and jocks per day (seriously, how?). Also, now there is someone to judge you if you are partial to using your washing basket as a ‘back-up clothes’ drawer. Eeek.
2. ‘CLEAN’ MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE
There are two main versions of ‘clean’. There is the person who keeps the room neat and tidy and hangs up their clothes. At first glance, the space is clean. HOWEVER, this person may not understand the importance of a vacuum cleaner, wiping down the bathroom sink, or washing the bathmat. Neither of these people understand each other. However, if you manage to combine your two mindsets, your space will be cleaner than ever! Shoutout to the BF for learning to love me and my floordrobe...
3. YOU BOTH HAVE RANDOM PET PEEVES
My boyfriend and I don’t really argue, but when we do, it’s about the fact that he puts clothing and towels in the underwear-and-socks-specific laundry basket, or that I like my chocolate refrigerated and he doesn’t, or that I like sleeping in silence and he likes the sound of the fan… you get the idea. You notice little things; it’s up to you whether you take them in your stride or let them annoy you, but try to choose the former, for the sake of your sanity.
4. YOU’LL BECOME SUPER COMFORTABLE TOGETHER
I mean ‘comfortable’ in a myriad of ways:
- You’re both grosser than you realized. The veil has been lifted, and you can’t hide your icky habits from each other anymore. You’ll begin to accept these realities; girls fart (shocker), everyone pops pimples/drools on their pillow/forgets to wash their hair/has to borrow your deodorant.
- You think less about your appearance. You see each other post-makeup removal, after the gym, with morning eye gunk… It’s a reality of sharing a space with someone that you see them in their not-so-cute moments. So the saying goes, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, blah blah…”. It’s true, though.
- It becomes easy to forget to leave the house. I mean, you’re living with someone whose company you (presumably) enjoy. And now, they’re there all the time, and it’s great. However, two things you need to be aware of: you need to maintain your relationships with your friends – just because you don’t need to leave your room to interact with people, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t – and you need to get out of the house as a couple! Dates are awesome and remind you you’re in a romantic relationship.
- You’ll become comfortable in each other’s space. You’ll be able to do your own thing in the same room without constantly feeling the need to talk to/entertain each other. This is great – I can watch my crappy shows and he can game (eck). But, it’s also easy to get into the routine of scrolling through your phone to unwind and forget to talk to each other instead. Ask them how their day went and have genuine conversations often!
- You’re going to see them in every less-than-attractive mood, and become more okay with showing those moods to each other. When I’m hangry, my BF is terrified, but has learned to ride the wave and get me fed. What a champ. You’re going to see each other in bad moods after crappy days at work, tired after an average sleep, sick, hungover. Take it as an opportunity to learn how to help your partner when they don’t feel great, and eventually make each other’s bad days better. Oh, and don’t take your moods out on each other (guilty on the hangry front, ooops)!
5. YOU NOW CO-OWN THINGS
His prints haunt my dreams.
When you merge two lots of possessions together, you suddenly have double the towels and sheets (yay), you have easy access to his most elusive hoodie and that super cozy blanket his grandmother made, and he can use your tweezers to pluck his monobrow. However, you have to live with that freaking ugly artwork he has had on his wall forever. You win some, you lose some.
6. YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET ON THE SAME PAGE ABOUT MONEY
Sharing a living situation means sharing rent, expenses, groceries… you will likely open a joint bank account. While splitting the bills is a DREAM (everything is so much cheaper!!) things can get complicated if you have different incomes and priorities. Set a budget and decide what goes on the joint account and what doesn’t before you move in. And, enjoy the fact that cheaper living means you have more money for dates and hanging out with friends! Big win.
7. IF IT WORKS, IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT
If you and your partner can overcome the challenges that come with living together, it is freaking wonderful. Someone is always home to hear about your day, you share the chores, they have a spare key when you accidentally lock yourself out, and you’ll have a lot of fun together. It’s like you’re constantly on school camp with your best mate, and you can ‘kiss them anytime you want’ (gross, but true).