Tips for Combining Households

So you’ve made the decision to cohabitate with your partner. Congratulations; take a moment to have some champagne and celebrate living in the same house or apartment. Love is great, especially when you don’t have to leave your house to see each other. It’s a big step, and you should be happy. You should also start planning for life under the same roof.

Compromise is key

You knew that already, right? Presumably, you have a healthy relationship, and you can’t have a healthy relationship that’s fundamentally unequal. If one partner always gives in so the other can get their way, that’s not much to write home about. However, it’s easy to forget about compromise once you start hashing out things like “Should we use my couch or use?” or “What do we do with the spare room?”  

In some ways, it’s easier if you’re both moving to a new house without any memories. That way you can make memories together rather than have one person move into the other’s house and risk feeling like an interloper. Regardless of who is moving, you need to make sure you’re both communicating clearly about your expectations. It’s not fair to tell the person who is moving in that they can’t bring anything with them from their old place. Would you want to be told that? No, probably not. If you don’t have the same taste in interior decorating, that’s fine, but you still need to create a living space that feels like it truly belongs to both of you.

If necessary, you should each make a list of the most important parts of the home to you. If your boyfriend really wants to bring over his favorite bar stool, then let him. Your relationship is more important than whether or not it clashes with the wallpaper. Similarly, if your girlfriend thinks now would be a great time to add some luxury kitchen appliances to the house, talk about how much that might cost before you dismiss it out of hand. It’s natural to want to be heard in a relationship, but that means you also have to be willing to listen.

You don’t have to figure it all out by moving day

Open and honest communication should go a long way towards resolving any differences. That means one of you can’t clam up and refuse to talk about it. You’re in a serious relationship; that means you’re going to have a mildly uncomfortable conversation every now and then. The key is “every now and then.” You shouldn’t be fighting all day and every day. Rough patches are common, but the whole relationship shouldn’t be one big rough patch.

If there’s a particular item or piece of furniture that you just can’t come to an agreement on, then step back for a bit. You’re probably going to be moving some things into a storage unit anyway, so suggest putting the item of contention in there as well. You can come back to it in a few weeks. By then, one of you may not feel so strongly about it, or you may have come up with the perfect compromise. But at the end of the day, you’re not together to argue about stuff. You’re together because you think life together is better than life apart. As the saying goes, sometimes it’s better to be happy than to be right.

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