Combining Households: Making Sure Everyone Gets Along
When a couple has been together for a while, it’s normal to eventually move in together. It may just be the two of you, but it might also involve your kids.
Even when you get along great living in separate households, that’s no guarantee things will go smoothly when you’re living together. Take your time before moving in and be as sure as possible that it feels right. Do not rush into this. Make sure you really know your partner well. You don’t want to move in together and then feel stuck, or worse, unsafe, with nowhere to go.
Dealing with Your Stuff
We have many articles that can help with the logistics, but we’ll sum those up here before we get to the heart of what this article is about.
It’s important to think about home organization before you move in together. Make sure you sell or store duplicate items, including kitchen appliances, dishes, silverware, and furniture. This is also a great time to go through your things and sell, donate, or put in self storage what you don’t often use. This is important whether you’re moving into a bigger place together, or you’re moving into one of your existing homes.
While you’re still considering combining households, sit down and have a long talk. Share your visions for the future and be honest with yourself and each other. Make sure your goals are compatible. Some compromises will be necessary, but overall, don’t compromise things that are critically important to you. Don’t give up on your dreams.
Talk About Time
There are other things you’ll need to discuss. For example, how much time do you need for yourself, and how much time with friends? How will the two of you balance your need for alone time with time together?
Set House Rules
Also before you move in together, come up with house rules. Who does which chores? One of you may cook every night, while the other does the dishes, or you may alternate, for example. At what time does the house need to be quiet? What time do the kids go to bed? It’s important to discuss these issues and more.
Have a Weekly Meeting
Once you’ve moved in together, we suggest having a weekly couple’s meeting. If you have kids, too, a family meeting should be added, too. These can go a long way toward easing tensions and resolving conflicts. Talk calmly about how the week is going and about your frustrations. That way you can address them before they add too much stress. Maybe you forgot to do the dishes a few times and that upset your partner, or maybe they had to work late and you just want to express your frustration about that. You can also go over how the house rules are working during these meetings.
Dealing with Finances
Arguments over money can cause a lot of stress in a relationship. There are a few ways to help with this.
First, make a budget together. Know how much your monthly bills are, including rent, utilities, food, and so on. Create a combined checking account to pay for these expenses, and agree on how much each of you will put into it. If one of you earns more money, they should contribute a little more to it. Yes, it’s normal to support each other in different ways when living together.
The two of you should also have separate accounts for your own expenses, savings, and discretionary spending. For example, you and your partner may own your cars separately, so you’ll make your own car payment out of your account.
With all this in place, you and your partner will have the tools you need to work out any issues and enjoy your life together. If you’re having difficulty resolving your problems, consider getting a few sessions of therapy, which can be a big help. Relationships require work, no matter how good they are, but if you handle all of it maturely, things are likely to work out well.