The pros and cons of setting up home with your partner
You don’t truly know someone until you’ve removed their hair from your plughole. Moving in together is generally regarded as an inevitable step in any meaningful relationship, but it can be hard to keep the romance alive when you’re stuck in domestic drudgery.
Even though moving in together offers more pitfalls than you could cram into a removals lorry, it could also be the making of your relationship. Get it right, and it will cement your long-term future and offer an emotional security that you never imagined you’d experience.
Here’s our guide to what’s in store once the removal men have gone, along with some tips to help ensure that the pros outweigh the cons.
1. More time together. You no longer have the hassle of travelling across town with an overnight bag.
2. Love feels more unconditional. Once you’re used to your partner seeing you first thing in the morning, and still finding you sexy, it takes your relationship to a whole new level of mutual acceptance – and it feels fantastic.
3. The expression of commitment. Whether you’re married or not, moving in together is an enormous step that signals to each other that this is for keeps, and that you want to build a life together.
4. Readily-available good company. Never underestimate the value of having someone to chat to about what’s on the telly. This is the stuff that emotional bonds are made of.
5. Sharing the financial burden. If you move in together after living alone, you may suddenly find budgeting far easier. That should never be the main reason to move in with someone, but it is a very pleasant side-effect.
6. Division of domestic labour. Let’s face it, one of you is probably better at fixing stuff and one of you is better at tidying stuff. We’ll leave you to decide which of you should do what.
7. More varied social lives. Ironically, living together can result in more space in your relationship. Rather than clinging to each other every time you go out, you can see friends separately and come home to each other at the end of the evening. This can boost your friendships as well as your relationship.
8. More sex. For the first few months, anyway!
1. Lack of personal space. This may sound like a truism, but it’s a big deal that people often forget about when they move in together. Housemates don’t mind so much if you lock yourself away for a few hours of peace and quiet. A cohabiting partner probably will.
2. Sleeping problems. If one of you is a snorer and one is a light sleeper, or one a lark and the other an owl, seriously consider having a spare room so that you can sleep in separate beds if necessary. The idea of a separate bed may horrify you, but this is no time to be idealistic.
3. Unfair domestic burdens. Living together can sometimes leave one partner feeling like a housemaid. One of you is not there to clean up after the other, unless you take turns or one of you derives some sort of fanatical pleasure from tidying.
4. Compromising on location. If your partner has to be in a certain location for his or her work, but you can work from anywhere, then live where their work takes them. (And, unlike Victoria Beckham, try to look happy about it.)
5. Loss of privacy. You may be used to farting and burping your way around your own home, but that kind of thing isn’t conducive to a harmonious live-in partnership – let alone a good sex life.
6. Sharing things you’d rather not share. No-one should expect to have a monopoly on the TV remote. You’d be amazed how such supposedly minor things can create huge tensions. The same applies to the shopping budget, bathroom, fridge space…ect.
Survival tips for new cohabitee
1. Establish that it’s what you both really want. This is a big decision, so don’t be bulldozered into it by a partner who stands to gain more than you do, financially or emotionally. It has to be a joint decision.
2. Be upfront about your need for space. Ideally, find someone who needs as much space as you do. Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton solved this by buying adjoining houses, but your bank accounts may not stretch that far.
3. Have some experience of living on your own first, even if it’s your own room in a houseshare. Going straight from your parents to your partner doesn’t allow you any time to get to know yourself – or one end of a toilet cistern from the other.
4. Get the details on paper. If you’re renting together, define how the rent and bills are split. If you’re buying together, ask a solicitor to determine how the place will be split if you separate.
5. Don’t invite your partner to move into your place if you’ve lived alone there for years. You’ll feel as though they’re invading your turf. It’s OK as a short-term measure, but eventually you should give up your own place and choose somewhere new together.