It’s official: Your gravestone is going to read “asphyxiated by the aroma of her fiance’s smelly socks.” It isn’t a glamorous ending, but it’s what’s going to happen, and it all started when you decided to move in together.
A quick google search will yield plenty of articles all about the conflicts that can happen when you move in with a significant other. It is all too easy to become embroiled in tension and drama as you navigate the transition to cohabitation, and to forget all the reasons you decided to move in together in the first place. Today we’re here to cast light instead on all the great things about living together plus some tips for living in harmony, so throw the smelly socks aside, put on a gas mask if needed, and read along! Wondering how to go from dating to engaged? Check this out.
Our Favorite Benefits of Living With Your Partner
-You’ll save money on housing expenses…and you only need one Netflix/Hulu/HBO account!
-You can walk around naked if you want, unlike in your last houseshare (Beck, 2015).
-Experiencing all of each other’s little quirks that you wouldn’t get such an intimate look at if you weren’t living together can prepare you for marriage and help you get a behind-the-scenes look at your compatibility (Beck, 2015).
-Shaping your physical space together and constructing your shared sense of style and aesthetics is an excellent team building activity (Beck, 2015)!
-You get to share some of the chores! You don’t like sweeping and your fiance hates doing the dishes? Now you can divide the responsibilities + negotiate which of your least favorite chores you won’t have to do anymore (Beck, 2015).
-Whatever undiscovered aspects of each other remain are likely to come to light now that you’re living together (Beck, 2015). Maybe you’ll find out that your partner is secretly a Disney prince when (much to your surprise) he can’t help but belt out ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin every time he mops the floor. Thought you knew everything about each other? It’s time to think again. Living together truly is a whole new world; it will help you get to know one another on a whole new level!
-You’ll develop a shared language just for yourselves, which people outside of the relationship will not be able to understand (Beck, 2015). Couples who live together develop communication shortcuts for all kinds of little things, from a special hand gesture that means he is feeling impatient and wants the guests to leave already to a particular way of walking that indicates she’s feeling anxious. And the inside jokes! So. Many. Inside. Jokes.
-More motivation to cook! Cooking for two (and the validation of watching someone enjoy your food) is a lot more motivational than cooking just for yourself all the time. Watch your kitchen prowess develop as you evolve from making scrambled eggs and toast to homemade bread and souffle.
-Although flowers are a romantic gift to receive, you know what’s more utilitarian? Having someone to bring you toilet paper when you run out in your moment of need (White, 2016).
-You’ll enhance your communication skills (White, 2016). Tempted to storm out during an argument and go home? Too bad, you’re already there. Not accustomed to compromising on how things work around the house? You’re going to learn!
-No more staying over at his or hers, only to have to wake up extra early to get to work on time in the morning.
Add to this list with your own favorite things about living with your significant other, and ask them for their favorite things about living with you…their answers may surprise and delight you!
Tips for Successful Cohabitation
Living together is undeniably an adjustment. Keep these pieces of advice in mind in order to keep building and strengthening your relationship with an eye towards your new dynamic.
Give each other enough space. Now that you’re living together, rather than needing to intentionally plan time together, you need to intentionally plan time away from each other. You might consider spending one night per week with your best friend (Tigar, 2017), finding a favorite cafe or co-working space and making it a habit to do your computer tasks there, or joining a new group or club to make sure you have your own personal social circle in addition to the friends you and your partner share. Many couples become too enmeshed and slip into codependency if they do not purposefully take space. A healthy relationship is all about balance; taking space for yourselves as individuals will help balance out the tendency to spend too much time together when living together. Just as a fire needs oxygen, intimacy requires some amount of space to act as a spark. And, as strange as it may seem, we think you can learn a lot from couples whose relationships did not last the test of time. These are the top reasons for divorce that you need to know.
Clean up the clutter (Still, 2018). Your mess might make sense to you; maybe you find order in your chaos. But to anyone else, it’s just a mess. If you have a habit of cluttering up your space, you can use the transition to cohabitation as an opportunity to downsize and to change your habits. Alternatively, if you feel you need to be free to clutter up your own space, make clear limits in your new place defining what space is ‘yours’ and ok to clutter, and what spaces are shared and kept relatively clutter-free.
Don’t sink into perpetual Netflix ‘n Chill mode. Now that you’re living together, the temptation to stay in and get cozy on the sofa is infinitely more tempting. And you should! …But not always. Remember that balance we were talking about? Too much time spent inside together, away from the outside world, can throw your relationship off balance. To thrive, a relationship needs a good balance of cozy home time and out-and-about time in which you are socializing with others and experiencing each other in public.
Related: Are you wondering, what exactly is a prenup? Check out our blog to learn more.
If you’ve finished reading this article and you still can only think about the stench of your partner’s socks, maybe you should consider getting a prenup, just in case that smell eventually becomes unbearable. Kidding! But in all seriousness, living together is a big step. If you’re reading this blog, we’re guessing you’ve already decided to spend your lives together. If you’ve taken the step of moving in together and you’re planning for the future, now is a good time to start thinking about your prenup. Some of the agreements you devise related to how you share living space together could even end up part of a lifestyle clause in your prenup, if you so choose. Start talking with each other about what you’d like to see in a prenup, your opinions surrounding prenups, and when you want to start the process. And feel welcome to reach out to us…we’re here if you have any questions!
Related: If you are looking to get a prenup after marriage, read our blog on postnups here!
Beck, L. 2015. 18 Reasons Living With Your Significant Other Is the Best
Still, J. 2018. Moving in with my significant other was challenging — here are 11 things I wish I had known. Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/tips-moving-in-with-boyfriend-girlfriend-2018-3
Tigar, L. 2017. Things You and Your Partner Should do Separately to Live Together Happily. Retrieved from: https://www.marthastewart.com/7904868/things-partners-should-do-separately
White, H. 2016. 22 Benefits of Living With Your Significant Other. Retrieved from: https://www.popsugar.com/love/Benefits-Living-Your-Significant-Other-34881213
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].