Moving in with someone is a big deal. No matter what stage of life you're at there will be different issues, but it's never something to do without truly considering what it means.
When you're in your early 20s and moving in with your boyfriend for the first time, you're both just starting to build your lives, you probably don't have that many roots that are grounding you yet. Chances are, you don't own a home, your career is in its beginning stages, and you don't have kids. In many ways it's a lot easier, a lot less risky, than moving in with someone when you're in your 30s and starting to settle yourself down independently.
What if one of you owns property? Should you draft a palimony agreement? How do you decide who pays the bills? And what if you have kids, how do you ensure a smooth transition? And, on a lighter note, who gets the bigger closet?! Men and women have different priorities when it comes to cohabitating; that videogame console may seem like a must-have for him, but an eyesore to you. When it comes to moving in with someone there are so many things to consider
Here are some of the key issues that will likely come up and solutions on how to address them:
Who pays the bills? This gets complicated if you earn different salary levels. Does one of you pay more than the other? Financial issues can be tricky ones, most fights between couples are about money. I really feel splitting the bills needs to be equal to avoid bitterness or any animosity. You need to come to a compromise.
That said, one person might own the home that the other moves into but they should still split all the expenses evenly, and there should be an agreement in place protecting the owner of the home (the palimony agreement). Otherwise, you can make arrangements for your partner to start paying down the mortgage too so they become a shared owner. The important part is to put the agreement in writing. It's not about hurting someone's feelings, it's about sparing them.
Which furniture gets to stay? Whether moving into a new place or moving into someone's home, it can be challenging to decide what furniture to keep and what goes into storage. By the time you're in your 30s chances are you've already acquired quite a few belongings and they're less likely to be disposable "starter" pieces that can be easily replaced. You might have purchased a great re-upholstered vintage sofa and your partner has an equally comfortable sofa.
This can be tough nowadays with so many people living in small spaces, but I think when you move in with someone, no matter what stage in life you're at, you need to make it your own TOGETHER. It's important to make both people feel welcome and not like one is the guest in the other's home. Take the living room, for example, and make it a project for the two of you to incorporate your favourite things together.
What about alone time? Social lives can be hard to mix together now that you're not just dating a couple nights a week. Does living together mean you now have to do everything as a pair? What if one of you is a homebody and the other isn't? These are things you should probably figure out beforehand, but you never really know what a person's like at home until you live with them. In this case, I believe you need to know yourself and be honest with what you need to be happy when it comes to together time versus alone time, and then be able to articulate that to your partner.
For me, when I come back from being away or from being around people a lot I need some restorative alone time. I didn't actually know this about myself when I was in my 20s, and I would just be grumpy, whereas now I know it's important for me, that little bit of alone time makes me feel like myself again.
Does that mean you can't have guests over? You need to really understand what is "important" to your partner and to you. For example, if you are an introvert and he is an extrovert, having people over constantly will be draining to you, but if this is how your partner gets his energy, compromise is key. And communication. Don't bottle things up!
What about kids? How do you ensure they are OK with this new living situation? This is extremely delicate. You may be ending a relationship that included kids before moving in with your new partner. If your kids are little be sensitive to their needs, thoughts and expectations. And taking things slowly is a good idea -- you need to give your kids the opportunity to adjust to a new situation. When you do actually move in together help your little ones through the transition by making them feel they are part of the choices you are making in your new home together. If you do find that your child is not taking the transition well, remember, time is a great healer.
Whether you're moving to a new city to be with your partner or they're moving into your condo here, you need to make sure the move is for YOU first. This isn't about being selfish; the living arrangement has to make you happy or else it won't work. Know your deal breakers. Maybe you can't live with a smoker, maybe your partner hates that you watch TV in bed, compromise is key but there will be those make-or-break issues that can throw a wrench in your cohabitation plans.
Always have an agreement in place, as you get older this really helps, and try your best to meet each other halfway whenever possible. Because after all, this is a SHARED life you're building and like with any great partnership, mutual respect, open communication and heartfelt cooperation will determine its success.
What are your top tips for someone moving in with their partner? Leave your comments below or tweet me @NatashaNKPR!
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