Life

9 Rules for Living Together and Getting Along

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“Would you like this Tequila chilled?”

 

In the world of cohabitation, no sweeter words have ever been spoken, my friends. NO SWEETER WORDS!

I had my guy pick up a bottle of tequila for our Taco night with friends a couple nights ago and this text appeared on my iPhone. For some reason, those 6 words struck me as the most considerate words to ever be texted. Why? My guy knows that I love chilled tequila, and he wanted to ensure that our Taco night went off without a lukewarm hitch.

Cohabitation does that to you. It forces you to become aware of the things that are important to your partner, like whether or not (are they a monster?) they prefer their libations chilled.

Finding someone that you want to share your life and living space with can be a dream come true … until you move in together and it turns into this weird Twilight Zone situation where you’re both trapped within the four walls of your bedroom, forced to tell and re-tell the stories of how you each lost your virginity again and again. A personal tragedy of that magnitude might not happen when you move in with your S/O, but it helps to consider all the possible scenarios before committing to this level of commitment.

No matter how many “sleepovers” you’ve had, nothing can prepare you for actually sharing a space (or a coffee pot) with someone 24/7. Fortunately, with great communication and a really open mind, you can make it work.

Here are 10 must-have conversations to achieve the synchronized bliss that is peaceful cohabitation.

 

Talk About The Money, Honey

Pro Tip: I hope to the heavens above that you’re really in love when you move in, otherwise this money conversation could effectively be the kiss of death in your relationship.

If you’re going to share living quarters with someone, you must iron out finances before you move in. Money is to couples what Kryptonite is to Clark Kent, so get on the same financial page before it becomes an issue. Chances are you don’t both make the same amount of money, so you will need to agree to either live within the lower-paid person’s means or have the higher-paid person pay more of the bills. There is no right way to split bills, so you must find what works for you both.

 

Talk About Sex

Sex is another hot topic that can spark arguments between partners, and probably one of the most important conversations you’ll have.  Talk about likes and dislikes, talk about where your comfort zones lie and places you aren’t willing to go. Have an open and honest conversation and try to come to a reasonable consensus. This conversation doesn’t have to be serious and straight-faced, it’s totally reasonable to have a fun and flirty conversation about sex. In fact, you should be concerned if the conversation takes a grim tone.

 

Talk About The Dirty Dishes

As in, “I’m sure as hell not washing them so you got this, right?”

You both grew up in different homes and may have different expectations of housework in general.  First thing, the general level of cleanliness should be established before dividing up the tasks. If your partner keeps a ruler to measure the angles of the frames on the wall, chances are you should run straight for the door your partner expects the place to stay in tip-top shape. Once the level of acceptable cleanliness is established, talk about the tasks you don’t mind doing and try to divvy up the work that way. If you’re lucky, you found someone that doesn’t mind doing those disgusting dishes.

 

Talk About Sleep

Are your schedules setting you up to be more like passing ships rather than roommates? Does your beauty sleep regime demand that you get 10 hours of rest? Even if you work the same shift, your sleep patterns could be different, and no one likes to have their sleep interrupted.  Talk about your sleep needs and set some respectful boundaries so neither one becomes a grump guss.

 

Talk About Hobbies

In the bliss of a new relationship, it can be tempting to lose yourself in someone else’s world. In the beginning stages, it’s so easy to form a connection based on interests you only think you share. Don’t give up the things that you love and that make you unique just because you’ve moved in together. He may have a weekly pickup game and you might meet the girls after work on Thursdays for drinks. Keeping your hobbies will leave you feeling grounded instead of at risk of losing yourself in a new relationship.

 

Talk About Personal Space

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I’m not sure if it’s the result of living in a home bursting at the seams with people, but I need alone time to be able to continue in life as a high-functioning adult. If I’m feeling frenzied, stressed or just need to process something, I must have the space and alone time to do that. Chances are your partner does too.

Living together doesn’t mean you have to entertain each other 24/7. You may need to escape with a bubble bath and a glass of wine at the end of a long day. If your guy is sitting on the toilet and talking to you during your bath, dump him immediately you probably won’t be able to relax much. Likewise, trying to talk to him during the big game might cost you some brownie points. Talk to each other about how much alone time you need and how you prefer to get it.

 

Talk About Compromise

You’re not always going to agree on everything, and neither of you should be constantly losing the battle. Make a plan to work through big decisions that you can’t agree on. For example, you want to go on a vacation but he wants to buy a new flat-screen TV. You’re both willing to spend money; you just can’t agree on how spend it. Do you flip a coin? Phone a friend? Vacation alone while he is at home watching his new TV?

You’ll probably fall in line with big compromises more often than you think, it’s the little ones that can get you. I’ve gone to bed without dinner on more  than one occasion because neither of us could compromise on where to go. I let myself go hungry because I wasn’t down for lo mein. WHO DOES THAT?!

(Sidebar: Why wasn’t I in the mood for lo mein? Seems unrealistic, even to me.)

Don’t let yourself go hungry one more night. There’s always a common denominator, you just have to find it.

 

Talk About That Weird Minimalist Décor Thing He’s Got Going On

Do you remember that scene in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” when Kate Hudson decides to add a feminine touch to Matthew McConaughey’s apartment by moving in her pink toilet cover and their “love fern”?  That may not be the best way to go about blending your styles.  Whether you are moving in with him or he is moving in with you, or you are going to get a new place together, remember that you both have to feel at home in your home. It may be time to let go of the pastel shabby chic design you had in your own place and time to go for something more neutral.

 

Talk About L-o, L-o, L-o, L-o-v-e

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Now that you’re settled, it doesn’t mean that you should settle for anything less.  Continue to invest in that crazy, strange, perfectly imperfect love that inspired you to move in together in the first place. Continue to do nice things for one another. Pick up his favorite beer on your way home Friday night or rent a movie that you know he will like. Now that you live together it should be even easier for you both to show how much you love each other. I belong to the man who brings me coffee in bed. See — simple!

Getting along with your live-in partner is as simple as having open, honest communication. Problems arise when assumptions are made or feelings are not conveyed. If you have these 9 conversations, you will be well on your way to a harmonious home life.

 

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