Moving in with Your Significant Other: How To Make It Work
Before I dive into what it’s like to move in with a significant other, let me preface this by saying that I have lived alone since I was 19-years-old. So, needless to say, moving in with Sebastian was an adjustment. My last roommate was my Freshman year college roommate. Ever since then, I lived in a studio by myself, until eventually moving to the Upper East Side where I lived in a one bedroom alone for 8 months. Point blank, it is a huge responsibility and commitment to live with another person. Boundaries are crossed, friendships are tested, and your weirdest habits are exposed…
And to make matters more trying, Sebastian and I decided to get a dog together the day after we moved in. On top of that, Sebastian also just got a new job right before we decided to take both of these steps. Yes, we are crazy. Yes, the dog was my idea. And yes, we made it through this time full of adjustments, trial and error, and productive disagreements. We also came out of it stronger than ever.
I wanted to write this piece because I have learned so much from moving in with Sebastian. I would be lying if I said the beginning was a cake walk — it truly wasn’t. We had never fought as much as we had during that first month or so. But, now we are the best we have ever been. Relationships are meant to be tested, because that’s how you know if you’re with the right person. And after moving in with Sebastian, I can safely say that I know he’s my person. Here are my tips for moving in with your significant other, and making it work.
1. Figure out your roles
We don’t live in a society where roles are distinct anymore. My grandparents had distinct roles: my grandmother cooked, cleaned and took care of the kids while my grandfather went off to work and made the money. That’s not how it goes anymore.
In our house: I work from home, so it was automatically assumed that I would take on more home responsibility, such as the cleaning, taking care of the dog, cooking etc. Even though Sebastian has a crazy work schedule (gets home around 8:30PM), my work schedule is pretty crazy too — even if some of it is spent at our apartment. In the beginning, we argued a lot about this. We eventually realized the only way to tackle it was to create our own roles and to assign specific responsibilities to each other. Your partner is your teammate, so you have to come up with a game plan and strategy that works for you both.
2. Make time for one another.
Sebastian and I have busy schedules, but Saturday is always our day. No matter what. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life. Which is why I think it’s really important to set time aside for your partner. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or expensive, even if it’s just running errands or cooking dinner, do it together.
3. Keep things exciting.
You see each other all the time, which is amazing, but it can also make your relationship stale. Make sure to go on adventures with one another outside of the home. Try a different restaurant, meet up with friends and plan things to do that aren’t always in your weekly schedule.
4. Encourage each other instead of nagging.
If you’re annoyed that your partner isn’t doing the dishes, don’t just nag them about it. Trust me, I’ve made this mistake. Never say “you never do this.” That’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, encourage their behavior when they do things they’re supposed to do so that it makes the act of doing it more pleasurable.
5. Step in when your partner can’t do something.
When I’m sick, Sebastian steps in and takes care of the dog. When Sebastian is working and I have some down time, I offer to cook him dinner or help him with meal prep for the week. Be there for your partner because it’s nice to have someone to lean on.
6. Have monthly “meetings”
This doesn’t sound romantic, but it can be! Your living partnership is like a business partnership — you need to make sure everything is going smoothly for it to go well. Have a nice dinner together and run through things that you think need to be improved on (maybe one of your works schedules is preventing you from being on laundry duty, so you can swap responsibilities with your partner and take care of pet insurance claims instead… sounds sexy, right?!)
7. Have cleaning days together.
Your both sharing the space, so the status of cleanliness is both your responsibilities. Divide, conquer and make it fun! Many hands make light work.
Surprise your partner with little things. You never want to lose the element of surprise — go out and buy a Christmas tree. Surprise them with their favorite dessert. Just keep it fun, life is short!