Movies, music, and moms have been telling us since we were kids that, as women, we deserve to be treated like princesses–but, that doesn’t necessarily mean glass slippers and Birkin bags. Any man that you are in a relationship with should treat you with love and respect, that is where true partnerships and strong relationships originate.
When a relationship has been consistent for a while, or really strong even for a short period of time, couples often decide to “take it to the next level.” When we were younger, this meant getting more intimate, in other words, sex. As adults, “taking it to the next level” is all about finding a new level of intimacy–that often means moving in with one another.
Moving in with your significant other can seem like a naturally progressive step. Other times, it feels convenient and easy. And still, other times, it feels like something you should do, not necessarily something you want to do. No matter how nonchalant or casual you might be, moving in with a significant other is a huge step, and can permanently alter your relationship, for both the good and the bad.
So, when is the right time to move in with that special someone? And, what should you know about cohabitation before you try it? Here, a few things to expect.
1. Your relationship is absolutely going to change.
No matter how confident you are in your relationship, moving in together will inevitably change your relationship. The minute you share the same bed, bathroom, kitchen, and closet day in and day out, you’ve moved from a relationship to a “domestic partnership.” Men’s Health describes living with your lover for the first time like “turning the TV to your favorite channel—and then leaving it on 24-7. You’re bound to see some stuff you don’t like so much.” This doesn’t mean you won’t like them as much, you’ll just get to know even their smallest quirks and ticks.
2. Finances will be an issue.
As with any roommate, money will definitely become a frequent topic of conversation (unless you are living with a walking check book). Rent, utilities, groceries, and furniture all add up. Before you make the move, sit down with your significant other and clearly figure out how you are going to deal with finances, as a couple. Do you split rent? Who is going to do the grocery shopping? Who does the couch actually belong to? Talk about money with your beau, and be honest. Don’t over or under-sell yourself–contributing honestly and fairly will only strengthen your relationship. Over or underpaying for any part of your living expenses could have detrimental results for your relationship. Also, as Elite Daily reminds us, saving is sexy– now that you live together, you have the perfect opportunity to do more low-key things that don’t require dishing out a lot of cash.
3. Your sex life will change.
Once you are sleeping in the same bed as your significant other every night, the nature of your sex life will definitely change. Before cohabitation, couples make time for sex. After cohabitation, sex is almost always an option–and therefore, it isn’t necessarily a need-to-do-now type of thing. The frequency of sex may taper off, and this is totally normal. Instead, you and your beau will learn to be intimate in new, less carnal, ways. Put poetically by Men’s Health: “You’ll need to accept the transition from hardware to software: less bonking, more spooning.”
4. You’ll be tempted to get comfortable–but don’t.
Yes, living together provides ample time to spend with one another–but don’t get too comfortable. Keep your relationship exciting and interesting by continuing to plan dates and events. It is easy to fall into the pattern of staying in for movie nights all the time and ordering take-out every night. But, continue to nurture your relationship by cooking dinner together, going out to a movie, and buying concert tickets in advance to have something to look forward to. Just because you share a lease doesn’t mean that the romance needs to end.
5. You might have alter your lifestyle.
Nothing drastic of course, but moving in with someone is the perfect opportunity to reassess how you live. Are you messy? A neat-freak? Chances are, your significant other doesn’t have the exact same living habits that you do. At this point in your relationship, you probably already know that about your beau. But, once you live in the same closed space, these lifestyle differences are actualized and highlighted. If you are a neurotic organizer, you might have to accept that things are going to be out of place every now and then. If you are super messy, it might be time to start picking up after yourself. In general, respecting your roomie’s space, romantic or platonic, leads to a better living situation and leaves everyone a little happier and a lot more relaxed.
6. You’re going to get annoyed.
There is no avoiding it– spending a lot of time with someone only underlines, bolds, and highlights the things you find annoying or irritating about them. No matter how great your relationship is, we’re sure that your significant other can pinpoint at least a few things they find annoying or irritating about you. If they can’t, you might want to reconsider just how well this person knows you. Before you move in together, you have to accept that there are going to points where you are going to need a little space, and this is healthy. Just roll with the punches. Know that getting annoyed or irritated with your significant other doesn’t take away from your relationship, and definitely doesn’t mean that you love them any less. It just means that, at times, love can be annoying. Accept it and try not to bite his head off.
7. You aren’t married.
When you are living together, it’s easy to feel like you are in the most serious point of a relationship. But, you have to remember that living together doesn’t mean that you are married, or even engaged– and that doesn’t necessarily have to be the next step. According to the Annual Review of Sociology, about 75 percent of cohabiting couples say they plan to marry their partners. Additionally, 55 percent of marriages today are preceded by cohabitation. But, don’t feel pressure to rush to the alter just because you are already living with your lover. Also, be sure to respect each other’s time, especially time spent apart. If he wants to have a boy’s night, don’t be offended. If you want to stay in with your girls, don’t feel like your excluding him. Cohabitation doesn’t need to equal codependency.