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Moving In Together: The Do's and Don'ts of Living with Your S.O.

Moving in with your main squeeze? Here's what to do — and not to do — to make that process smooth.

Moving In With Your S/O: The Do's and Don'ts of Living Together

Moving in with your significant other is a big step, which brings lots of joy and excitement. But it can also be overwhelming and make you unsure of your relationship if you don't take certain precautions when you're making such a big leap — and sharing the same four walls for the foreseeable future.

There's always a natural adjustment period that comes with moving in with your partner and here are some do’s and don’ts that every couple should take into account to ease the process:

Do Talk About Finances

You’re not married, but discussing finances is still important. How will you divide the household bills? How often will you go out? What amenities do you want to own, and what can you afford together? Does one person prefer or expect to take care of the other financially? Even if you are both very independent, developing a household budget ensures that you are both on the same financial page.

That means:

  • Understand your cash flow together. Does your significant other make more money than you do? Is it then reasonable that this person would shoulder more of the rent, while you cover the utilities? Split your financial obligations wisely and fairly.

  • Tell your partner about your financial past. Who has college debt? Who has unpaid medical bills and crazy credit card expenses? Tell your partner about how you spend and save money.

  • Look up your credit score, and make sure your partner knows theirs. You don’t want your financial past to catch up with you later, especially when another person is involved.

  • Set financial goals together. Save for a dream vacation. Get a joint savings account for a rainy day fund. Help support the goals of your partner.

It’s important to make sure your financial relationship is as healthy as your emotional bond. So, talk about how you will budget and manage your money together. No secrets!

Do Figure Out Who's the Messy One

Moving In With Your S/O: The Do's and Don'ts of Living Together

You know how you are, and you think you know how bad it gets with your partner. Prepare to be surprised. Be honest with each other about how messy and how neat your living space has been in the past. So, who is really the messy one?

Here's a given: No one should let mold grow on the dishes in the sink. If there are issues with one or both of you getting the dishes washed, invest in a dishwasher. If you absolutely hate doing the dishes, don’t do the parts you hate. Divide and conquer!

There are ways a clean and messy person can live together and keep a peaceful home. If chores are something that you both despise, take two hours out of every week, blare your favorite tunes, and knock it all out. Look at household chores as a goal you accomplish together. Remember to be patient with each other and compromise.

Don't Dominate All of the Decor Decisions

Chances are, one of you is going to try to take over the decorating of your shared space, but it's important to compromise on an overall color scheme or feel. Do you want a rustic or modern feel? Do you want warm or color colors? It may seem trivial, but you will be coming home to this space every day and sharing it.

Remember the little things, too, and focus on practical comfort. For instance, pillows and throws make a living room comfortable and can add lots of personality to a room. Don’t hate on the decorative pillows!

Also consider the number of pillows you need for that hard mattress and couch, the number of rugs you will need in each entry way, as well as the number of towels you need in each room. You'll want to take all of these things into consideration, since sometimes certain rooms get over looked like the kitchen and bathroom. You probably don’t want to use the same towels for cleaning as you do getting out of the shower!

For the big stuff, the furniture you choose can be new or used, but make sure that it fits with your living space. The function of your living space informs your comfort in your home together.

The reality of moving in together is that you both own a lot of items that you have to consolidate somehow. It will look like a tornado ransacked your living space if you're not careful and selective. Most likely, you’ll have twice as many items as you began with by yourself. Be prepared to store or give away some of these items. It’s a good opportunity to start this new phase of life with less baggage, literally!

Do Know and Honor Your S.O.'s Routine

Moving In With Your S/O: The Do's and Don'ts of Living Together

Pay attention to how your significant other goes through his or her day. Does he like to sleep in? Does she need coffee right away in the morning? Who needs time to detox when they get home?

It’s important to know these little things so that you can give your partner space and intimacy as needed. Know, also, that aspects both of your routines are subject to change. You’ll be adjusting to each other’s sleep schedules, especially if one person is more of a night owl.

You’ll develop new, comforting rituals with each other, such as going for an evening walk. Honor existing routines, but remember to adapt to your developing routine as a couple.

Living with your significant other is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. It’s different than living with a roommate or family, since this is someone that you’ve shared the most intimate parts of yourself with — and, if all goes well, you'll spend the rest of your life with this person.

That said, your bond should deepen while living together, but there's also potential for disaster if you don't take these important factors into consideration — together.