Avoid These 5 Pitfalls When Moving in Together

Moving in with the person you love is a huge step! In fact, it's so huge that we get too swept up in the excitement to really look at the gritty details. These are five things you should never do when moving in together.

1. Don't Avoid Organizing Your Stuff Before the Move

This is one of the most useful things you can do to avoid fights about belongings down the line. You must be willing to self-edit (and to help your partner self-edit) before schlepping all your stuff into a new place where it may not all fit. Clean house and decide which items of yours are most important to keep, so you can make room for the new items you'll acquire as a cohabiting couple.

Remember these key categories: Keep, Sell, Donate, and Toss. Keep items such as any clothing you have actually worn in the past year, or big ticket furniture items you can't spare. Sell items of some value that are either redundant or no longer needed. Donate items like new clothing you haven't worn in the last year, shoes, books, and anything not worth taking time to sell on Craigslist or a yard sale. Toss pretty much everything else! Let your partner have a veto option.

2. Don't Reject Your Significant Other's Red Flags

This can range from extremely small to extremely big issues. To some, a loud snore could potentially be a deal breaker; but harboring an addiction to pills could go undetected for years before finally moving in with someone. It comes down to how well you know each other. What are your partner's triggers and soft spots, and will you be able to work around them?

For some, a series of talks is all you need to answer questions like, "How will our work schedules mesh?" Or, "Can we share a bedroom or do we need separate spaces as well?" Or, "Who will be in charge of the bills?"

There are also elephants in the room that you must address. For example: If your significant other has a child, you will need to be a part of the child's life. Is that something you're ready to do?

Another example: If your partner has a disability, how will it affect your responsibilities to them and the home?

Maybe you're the one with a lot red flags. Don't react defensively – deeply consider your partner's needs and decide if they are workable for you. You can't just hope it will all fall into place.

3. Don't Assume Finances Will Work Themselves Out

Finances are the largest source of stress and arguments in every household. Yours will not be an exception. While you're not legally obligated to each other's money, you do need to share some pertinent information with your significant other before you set up your household system. Are you in massive debt? Are you terrible at managing bills?

If you're the organized one who has their bills set up on auto-pay, you're probably going to be the one to shepherd the other into a better system. Try setting up an automatic monthly transfer from your partner's bank account to yours to ensure you get their share of the rent and bills on time. Don't think of this as babysitting; think of this as an investment of your time and expertise into avoiding future fights when the lights suddenly get shut-off!

4. Don't Let One Person Do All the Housework

This is a tough one that inevitably happens to most new couples. Whoever gets sick of staring at the unending tower of dirty dishes first is ultimately the one who cleans them. That's not fair, but it's really easy to get stuck into imbalanced patterns like this when living together.

Have a discussion, before moving in, about housekeeping equality. Who takes out the trash? Who does the dishes? (Hint: if you don't own a dishwasher, I suggest it's whoever didn't cook the meal.) Who fixes the bookcase when it starts to teeter? These are tasks that have nothing to do with gender or who earns more money. It's usually whoever can do it with the least amount of goading. If neither of you wants to clean, agree to split the cost of a monthly cleaning service and never fight about dusting again.

5. Don't Pretend You're Married

This is a hard one. Many people see shacking up as a stepping stone to marriage, and for many, it is. This is a great time to test each other's willingness to compromise, generosity with belongings, and emotional, sexual, and financial compatibility on an everyday level. This is all invaluable.

But it doesn't mean that you're married. Avoid forming unhealthy, codependent habits with him or her. Your stuff doesn't belong to your partner, nor theirs to you. You have a choice in every decision that doesn't necessarily have to include your partner. You can hang in there and try to make a relationship work, but you can always leave if it isn't going well. That's the whole point, isn't it?

Did you fall into any of these traps when you moved in with a significant other?

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Avoid These 5 Pitfalls When Moving in Together

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