You’re in love. Or at least- a vague resemblance of the cultural construct that is. After making your way through various rituals of meeting family and more, you decide moving in together is a precious next step.
Are You Ready?
It’s quite a step. For many of us the biggest factor is that we see it as one way. We have to give up our evenings of ice cream and box sets to something we can both watch. If you are in an open relationship this monogamous arrangement of moving in together might force you to reconsider. Worst of all is if we miss some of our solitary comforts, returning to separate living signals the end.
However, fighting over the duvet can be a small price to pay for the joys of living with your partner and your love. There is a reason you are together.
Hopefully you already spend multiple nights a week together. You bicker frequently but never feel threatened. If you feel you already spend so much time together moving in will be simply a formality, then read on.
What to Look Forward to Moving in Together
These are things quite different from before when you are hopefully seeing each other multiple times a week. One person is always ‘camping’ and the other is always hosting. No matter how close you are, if they have come over you can’t exactly disappear to do the laundry or washing up. Equally you can be annoyed if you have trekked across town only to find they have a tonne of work due the next day. Shared living should be ‘living’ rather than arranged evening.
The dream is quite simple. You can return home from the battles of the day to a real home with your partner either there or shortly arriving.
You can cook properly. We all know how pointless heating an oven for an hour can seem for one. With two of you you can take turns to provide for both of you and getting food delivered suddenly makes sense. Hopefully a larger place will also have a dishwasher, but either way the basic pans are the same number used.
At the weekends neither of you (hopefully) has to dash out for work. This means long lazy mornings, tea brought to you (you can fight over whose turn it is later) and sauntering out for brunch.
In the evenings you have the choice of a relaxed dinner and film at home or venturing out.
Also, you have more furniture in a bigger place….
Whether you live in a shared flat or on your own, the chances are it’s a pretty confined room. If you and your partner pay the same amount each as you are currently paying, you will find you get a lot more for your money. The two of you are one unit, so a single room flat feels like all your space. Rather than paying for mere access to a kitchen and bathroom everyone else uses, these are all now yours. Sure,you’re still sharing. But with a shared mind it seems much better.
Suddenly, that large TV halves in price, as does the license. Subscription services, coffee machines, everything halves in price if you’re willing to split.
Also, with two incomes you can feel a sense of security in not being entirely responsible for your place. With that comes the compromises if one of you does encounter difficulty, but if you’re ready you can talk these things through.
The downside here is you can quite easily start seeing your wallets as one. That £700 rent suddenly becomes a £1400 rent and you’re spending the price of a car per year. Keep things like that as the next step and just focus on your own affairs. You’re more than flatmates, but there are no bells ringing yet. She can buy those shoes. He can buy that… You have no responsibilities yet.
The financial benefits can be a good way of swinging parents on to the idea, providing they don’t get the idea you just want cheaper rent and half-price Netflix. However, the practical and legal matters do require significant attention. If you break up, you need to be equally liable for the flat and able to move on swiftly. It might seem backwards and archaic to say things are difficult without being married, but it’s true.
It can be a good idea to make a cohabitation or living together agreement. http://www.advicenow.org.uk/guides/how-make-living-together-agreement
For renting (as we all will in London for the majority of us) it is important both your names are on the contract with equal liability.
If it all falls apart
Talk. You hopefully have more space now to actually be apart yet still together. If it’s just a matter of personal space, think of compromises. If you have a row and need to sleep on it, one of you can have the sofa. Maybe a night or two away from one another can be an understandable part of the transition for the first few months.
Hopefully it won’t come to separation. Can you go back to living your own lives as a couple but independently? Whatever happens, work together to achieve what’s best for both of you.