5 Simple Tips for Couples Sharing a Living Space for the First Time
With wedding season on the horizon, relationships seem to be on everyone’s minds. For many people who are in relationships, this means taking the next step and getting engaged or choosing to live together. While both of these can cause stress in a relationship, there are many unexpected changes that come in a relationship when two people live together for the first time.
Here are some tips for a happy home and an even happier relationship, engagement or marriage.
1. Communicate Before the Move
Before a couple moves in together, they should have a serious discussion about what they want from this move. Are they moving in together to save money? Because one of them has a lease that is ending soon? Are they a long-distance couple looking to finally live near one another? Or are they newly engaged and planning their lives together?
It is always a good idea to discuss a relationship and where both people see it progressing in the future to avoid confusion or the feeling of being “left in the dark” by a partner.
According to Forbes, it is also important for couples to discuss their personal finances before moving in together, because bankruptcies, student loans, and bad credit will affect both people if they choose to combine their finances or open a joint bank account.
2. Decor and Design
Often, when a couple first moves in together, it is one person moving into the other’s existing apartment or house. While this is convenient and can save money and time, it can lead to unexpected stress if one person feels that they are not in their own home.
A way to avoid this is to redesign a space so that it is theirs as a couple. This can be a fun bonding activity, a way to learn about a significant other’s taste, and a way to freshen up a room.
Once they have an apartment or house picked out, they should go to a store that sells high-quality, durable furniture and decor and pick a piece or two to invest in. For investment pieces, pick furniture that is both durable and timeless, like items for a living room or entertaining space or down duvets for a bedroom.
Then, add pieces that showcase both people’s interests with wall art, photos and decor pieces, which can be switched seasonally or as their respective styles evolve. These are also ways to add color to a home in a rental property, as many rentals do not allow tenants to paint.
3. Be Okay With Spending Time Apart
When couples first move in together, they are often very excited to be living with one another. While it can feel like a second honeymoon phase at first, it often leads to both people yearning for alone time.
A healthy way to avoid feeling suffocated is to have a time or space that is done individually, or with friends rather than a significant other. Whether it be a craft room, a man cave, a show on Netflix or another hobby that gets each person out of the house, it’s important to have time to be an individual, not just be half of a couple.
Joining a recreational sports league as an adult can give someone individual freedom, health benefits, and a social outlet with other people who have similar interests.
4. Talk About Cooking and Chores
The saying is true: sharing is caring. Whether this be alternating turns taking out the trash, doing all the dishes after a meal that a significant other cooked, or setting up ground rules for acceptable cleanliness, this initial discussion will stop countless arguments from happening in the future. Consistently doing chores and making them a shared responsibility is also a great way to make sure any of your belongings, especially high-end tools and gadgets for your kitchen and living areas, stay in great shape.
While it may be uncomfortable to have to divide chores for the first time in your relationship, it will result in fewer disagreements, less stress at home and a cleaner, more peaceful (and aesthetically pleasing) home.
5. Maintain a Social Life
When a couple moves in together, it becomes easier to spend time at home — there’s no longer a reason to go out for a dinner date when GrubHub can deliver and no one has to put on pants. This is when it becomes especially important to spend time with friends — no one wants to be known as the couple who used to be fun! The Huffington Post suggests spending time with friends and planning double dates to keep a relationship fun, fresh and social.
An easy way to maintain a social life is to entertain at home. It is often cheaper to host a game night or have friends come over for a potluck dinner than to meet friends out at a restaurant or bar, and it will bring friends, family and a sense of life into your new home, even when it is no longer new.
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