Including how to approach important conversations about money, chores and more.
Nina Westbrook weighs in via TODAY
By Perri Ormont Blumberg
Moving in with your significant other is a happy milestone in a relationship, but it can also be a major source of stress.
To give you a framework to approach the “merging of the keys,” we turned to relationship experts and psychologists for their top tips on moving in together. Our advice (and, well, theirs): Work your way down this checklist before you step foot in your new home sweet home.
No matter how ready you feel, you and your partner will still experience a few hiccups in your new digs. “There is simply no way of knowing how you will both adjust to this new living situation and, no matter how much you have in common, living together requires a great deal of compromise,” Nina Westbrook, LMFT, adds. “The couples who experience the most success are those who stay flexible, set and maintain healthy boundaries, and foster open communication.”
A tip: Rather than thinking that everything has to be perfect at all times, shift your attitude by focusing on the joys of building a home together. That simple tweak can make a world of a difference when things don’t go perfectly (psst, they probably won’t).
“Slowing down and taking the time to discuss healthy boundaries and the logistics behind this new living situation will make the transition much easier,” Westbrook says.
To that point, Westbrook suggests an exercise where each partner creates a personal list of routines they prioritize in their everyday life, from morning rituals and TV-watching preferences to exercising and shower time. “This list can also include habits (both good and bad) that might impact your significant other now that you’re sharing everything from the coffee maker and air conditioning to the TV remote,” she adds. Once you’re done, go over your lists together and discuss “how you plan to build a partnership that works for you both.”
While you’re at it, talk about who will cover certain expenses and handle certain chores the house since doing this can “help each partner manage their own expectations, while also understanding what their partner expects from them in this new stage of the relationship.”
Map out household chores
“Just as it’s important to discuss the budget, it is critical to be proactive about conversations about division of labor,” Marter says.
In addition to talking about the chores themselves, talk about when they will get done. “For instance, you could share that saving all of the housework for the weekend isn’t going to work for you, and suggest that you try dividing up the chores and tackling housework in small doses throughout the week instead,” Westbrook adds.
Get out of the house
That’s right, leave your home sweet home. “Don’t forget to invest time and energy into the other important relationships in your life. Do things outside of your home and continue to cultivate areas of your life that are yours and yours alone,” Westbrook says.
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