Will and I have been in Dallas for two months now and we’re finally getting into the swing of things. I’m adjusting to a new routine at work and we’re slowly but surely furnishing our townhouse. The one thing I haven’t talked much about on the blog is our transition to living together for the first time. I’d love to share with you what we’ve learned so far but honestly it still feels so new and I’m definitely not an expert after just a couple months of cohabitation!
Sooooo, I did what any girl would do: ask a bunch of my girlfriends to weigh in so we can all learn from their words of wisdom. I polled fellow bloggers, friends from college, friends from high school, and even my own mom in the hopes of starting a larger conversation with all of you. If you’ve just moved in with your significant other (or are talking about living together in the future!), I hope this will be helpful!
1. When did you know you were ready to live together?
“It had a lot to do with timing. Our leases were up and it seemed like it just made sense, both in our relationship and financially. Why pay two rents and two sets of bills when we were staying together more often than not?” —Stephanie
2. What was the best part about living together for the first time?
“No more wondering where that favorite pair of shoes was: at his house or mine? No more wondering whether I would see him that night because I knew I would; we could just hang out without needing to make plans.” —Elizabeth
“The best part has to be not feeling rushed when we’re together. Also, performing mundane tasks, like grocery shopping, with someone you love transforms them into absolutely joyful experiences.” —Sara
“Not having to pack things to stay over anymore! Not worrying about having the right shoes or outfit for a last minute double date. All my stuff was in one place and I no longer had to plan so much. Also, just being together all the time! Knowing that at the end of the day that you get to go home to your best friend is just the best!” —Stephanie
“Lazy weekends all of a sudden were the best. We had those kinds of weekends before but there was always at least one cab ride involved on someone’s end. It was nice to wake up on a Saturday where neither of us had anything to do and we could watch movies and eat cereal without any effort.” —Erin
“When my now husband and I first moved in together, I loved playing house. At the time, we were 25 years old and it made me feel like I was in my first real adult relationship. I started picturing us doing the same things (cooking, reading together in bed, etc) as we grow old.” —Julia
“There’s a sense of intimacy you only get when you live with someone. I love that I can sloth out on the couch with my husband and he’ll still look over and say ‘you look beautiful.’ And we were certainly nicer to each other when we first started living together!” —Hitha
“The best part of living together is that it makes everything easier. You no longer have to schedule when you are going to see each other, have dinner, or work around each other’s busy schedules. It becomes less about schedules and more about spending time together when it works for the two of you. And you rarely have to say goodbye!” —Ali
3. What’s one thing you wish you had known before taking that next step?
“How much closet space I’d end up sacrificing! Just kidding… sort of. I wish I had known how quickly it would progress our relationship. You know really quickly that it’s going to work (and what the future holds) or that it won’t work.” —Erin
“If you are bringing two sets of pets under one roof, do your research and take it slow. Animals dislike change and take time adjusting to new surroundings; be patient with them and yourselves!” —Sara
“The importance of personal space. Dave and I spent 5-7 nights a week together when we technically lived separately but little did I know that having a separate space to myself was something I really relied on. It was a quick transition once we moved in but having a little space to call your own is really important (even if that means going to bed early and savoring your side of the bed!).” —Liz
“Honestly, we had been together almost five years when we moved in with each other so I knew what I was getting into at that point!” —Ali
“That it wasn’t as big of a step for us as some people made it out to be. I remember everyone saying how different it would be to ‘live with a boy’ but honestly, if you enjoy the person, it’s a pretty seamless transition.” —Amy
“I wish I had known how important honest and consistent communication would be. Even though we loved each other so much, we really had to learn how to communicate in our first very tiny Manhattan apartment!” —Julia
“I wish we had discussed who would do what around the house in advance. Having assigned chores works for us, but I would encourage every couple to sit down and dividing responsibilities in a manner that works for them BEFORE moving in, and re-evaluating those responsibilities monthly until you find your groove.” —Hitha
“That you have to continue to work on your relationship, to make it adventurous and exciting and with occasional surprises.” —Elizabeth
“That even though it’s easier to stay home together all the time (aka takeout and Netflix), it is important for your relationship to still get out and do things together!” —Stephanie
4. Anything you didn’t know about your significant other until you cohabitated?
“How big of a NY Knicks fan he is! The man watches every. Single. Game. After 4 years of living together, I’m finally coming to terms with it.” —Julia
“How many sports he follows! He watches every sport, all year long.” —Stephanie
“He loves throwing away stuff. Including my passport. Needless to say, package receipt and disposal have become my job.” —Hitha
“It’s funny to see the different cleanliness patterns. We’re both pretty organized but when you live in a tiny apartment together some things are impossible to organize. I leave coffee mugs out and my shoes all over the place and that drives him crazy. He always has laundry to do (I used to be able to go two weeks before having to do a load!) and that drives me nuts!” —Erin
“What a neat freak he is all the time, especially when it comes to the bathroom. I try to make sure that I pick up rollers/blow dryer/makeup before I leave but sometimes I am so rushed I forget. Still working on that one!” —Amy
“We favor different sets of housework: I’m the vacuumer/counter cleaner, and he’s the dishwasher/bed maker. Also, we have completely different systems for doing laundry. As long as you voice your own preferences, you’re going to be golden.” —Sara
5. What advice would you give a couple who are about to move in together?
“Move into a new space together so it’s not his apartment you’re moving into or your apartment he’s moving into. Be in it together. Be clear on how expenses will work, how the responsibilities will be divided, and discuss what you need when you’re having a bad day (space? a shoulder to cry on?). Talk about that before you run into any issues so everyone’s clear when it’s time to buy groceries or when the laundry needs to be done or when you come home from work in tears.” —Erin
“Only take what you need and declutter before you move in together. You might want your college notebooks because they remind you of all the hard work and long hours — but get rid of them. Having excess stuff just makes clutter, creating chaos.” —Amy
“Make sure you each have your own space in the home that you can escape to. Decorate your home together — it should be a reflection of you both. Never delete a show or throw away a magazine without checking with the other person. Surprise each other in small ways: a baked treat, flowers, taking on one of their chores. Laugh every day. Never go to bed angry.” —Hitha
“Communicate! Talk about everything, from the biggest arguments down to the minute details, even if you don’t think you need to or shouldn’t or can’t. It will be hard and messy and terrifying and beautiful. You will stumble and most certainly fall, but the key to creating a healthy, whole relationship between two individuals is the ability to share one’s thoughts, opinions, feelings and dreams, knowing that it will be received with love and without judgement.” —Sara
“Make sure you are ready — don’t just move in because it is what you think is the right thing to do. I also suggest living with your significant other before getting married. I know this is a very controversial subject, but I learned so much about Patrick in the few years we lived together before getting engaged. We grew closer as a couple and it forced us to make decisions together.” —Ali
“NEVER go to bed mad — say sorry even if your feelings aren’t quite there yet. Plan dates out or entertaining opportunities at home together (and make it a team effort, not just one person’s responsibility). Share chores and even help do his if you think he needs a lift!” —Elizabeth
“Be prepared to outwit him. You will win the decorating game — the woman always does — but it is a long con. Act all supportive and on board with his taste then wait until he goes to work. Then hide his Tibetan prayer flags under the bed. In six months he’ll forget he ever owned them and will, by powers of osmosis, begin to think he likes ginger jars.” —Inslee
“Learn to compromise! Sharing a living space with your partner is a big deal and can get overwhelming at first. If you can’t compromise on everything from chores to how cold you keep the AC, you’ll end up bickering constantly. Being happy is much more important than being right!” —Julia