Moving-In Nerves
September 20, 2014 7:50 AM   Subscribe

So my boyfriend and I are moving in together next month. Needless to say, the pitfalls and potential problems make me nervous (neither of us have lived with a long-term partner; he's 31, I'm 26F, been together almost 2 years). What I need now are reminders of why this is a good idea: tips, anecdotes, rituals. What makes living with your partner a positive and special thing? I'm looking for what TO do, rather than what NOT to do.
posted by brynna to Human Relations (24 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
This obviously depends on how big your living space is, but it's really great if you can each have some part of the apartment/house that is your individual space to keep as messy or as neat as you like.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:54 AM on September 20, 2014


I guess I should be clear with the actual question: what do you LOVE about living with your partner?
posted by brynna at 8:01 AM on September 20, 2014


It's like a sleepover every night!

We set times for dates. So maybe after work we are doing our own things, and then at 8:30 we meet in the kitchen for dinner and drinks and then a movie or a game. I love being comfortable and doing my thing in the house, and then having him in the next room doing his thing, and it's so easy to get together and do OUR thing whenever we want.

having dinner together at home! If your schedules match up it is awesome. We each enjoy our alone time and having that after work makes dinner together very special and date like. It's also nice to get comfortable and do things on your own schedule in your own house.

Living with a partner adds an extra level of intimacy that is hard to describe. If you can agree on logistics and chores and schedules, and things like whether you check your phones during dinner or listen to music in bed, it can really be the most amazing experience every day. I loved living alone and had a hard time with roommates, but living with my partner is awesome.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 8:13 AM on September 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


Waking up together is the best. Trading days to make coffee, having your partner there to make late night runs for ice cream, caring for a pet together, not maintaining two households to clean, et.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:25 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, also, having your partner there when you are so sick that you just want your mom. Boys aren't always the BEST caretakers, but you can mold them to be.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:26 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


He brings me tea in the morning to wake me up. It is so much better than an alarm clock I cannot begin to describe it.

We have shared TV show binges. (We recently went through all of Homeland.)

We're able to split out duties depending on what we each are most comfortable doing. (He likes doing the dishes a lot more than I do because he has podcasts he listens to at that time. On the other hand he hates certain types of shopping.)

Talking in bed late at night is fun.

I raid his vast t-shirt supply to sleep in.

None of those individual things really captures the main point, though, which is that it is really nice to have a concept of "home" that accommodates both of us. It's so much warmer and less lonely than living apart. Our space contains things we picked together, souvenirs of shared vacations, our books mixed together. I look around and I see our identity as a couple, rather than as two individuals.
posted by shattersock at 8:27 AM on September 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


New levels of intimacy are accessed. You begin to grow comfortable around each other in a way you didn't realize you ever could. You get morning and evening kisses every night and you get to come home to your love every day. When it's Sunday and raining you can spend the whole day together and neither of you has to get dressed.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:28 AM on September 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


Breakfast in bed. Late nights cuddling on the couch. Binge-watching each other's favorite series. Built-in diet buddy. Watching him play & cuddle with the kitty. Going to the farmer's market together. Staying in bed late to cuddle. Getting my favorite pair of jeans washed in his laundry when I don't want to do my own. Never having to take the trash or recycling out. Having someone to appreciate my cooking. Having someone to cook for. Having someone to appreciate me. The joy of coming home to him after a long, hard day. Having someone to appreciate. Being there for each other 24/7. Reading together on the couch. Candlelit dinners. Having someone to eat the leftovers i don't want. Learning how we fit together. Building our future. Decorating together. Cleaning together. Coming home to a made bed. Coming home to lovely surprises. Getting combined mail. Getting a kiss first thing after walking in the door, after waking up, before going to sleep, just because. Not feeling guilty for being too lazy and just ordering Chinese. Workout buddy. Being a better person because he's there. Being lazy together. Going home together after a night out. Not having to plan for sleepovers. Sharing a closet. Sharing the toothpaste. When he cleans the kitty litter so I don't have to. Trying new food together. The way he looks at me when we wake up.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:42 AM on September 20, 2014 [27 favorites]


Not feeling you have to go somewhere to be together. He/she not only lives in your home, he is your home.
It's super super nice.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:57 AM on September 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Learn to laugh at small problems.

Because I guarantee you, you're going to look up from your Cheerios one morning and think, "God damn it, he's going to be here tomorrow, too."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:03 AM on September 20, 2014 [13 favorites]


My advice - be proactively mindful of keeping your home and your relationship in good order.

There's a tendency in relationships to get "comfortable" when you move in - which, to some degree, is also the point. There are degrees of comfort however - some people get comfortable and let their partner do all of the dishes, or scale back their personal hygiene, or just assume that dinner on the couch in front of the TV is the equivalent to a date.

If these things make you both happy, go to town - but start communicating early about the awesome, and the not-so-awesome, about living together. It's a learning process for everyone.

Here's a short list, five years in (and just married), of things that keep the momentum of our relationship going:

- We surprise each other (not just one of us all the time) by buying wine and cooking a fun dinner regularly;
- Each person has things they do outside of the house by themselves so the other has alone time at home;
- We grab each others' butts, and initiate kisses at times other than leaving or entering the house;
- We have sex often at times other than right before sleep - a, because yay, and b, because as busy people we tend to want to sleep when we're ready for bed;
- We put the devices down and talk - both of us tend to be connected 95% of the time, but we dive offline;
- We talk about our relationship a whole bunch - not in big "what does it all mean" terms, but in terms of what we both have coming up this week, who can take the garbage out, I need your help on Thursday, who needs to feed the cats on Tuesday, etc.


It takes about 15 minutes a day, in my experience, of mindful thought and action to make a kick ass living situation. Sometimes it's cleaning up clutter, sometimes it's kisses and hugs, and sometimes it's researching something fun to do this weekend because you've both been working too much and spent too much time watching TV lately. Invest that time and you'll be fine!
posted by buoys in the hood at 9:10 AM on September 20, 2014 [17 favorites]


Not having to go home to separate apartments is the best! For example after a vacation, or an overnight date, or a late night date when one of you has an early start the next day... no one has to leave or go separate ways because you are tired. Less driving back and forth between apartments. Oh, and less driving overall because you've always got a carpool buddy for friends' birthday dinners, family events, dates.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 9:13 AM on September 20, 2014


It's nice to build a shared home together.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:52 AM on September 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I got up this morning to a kitchen that had been cleaned and my hubby humming away making me breakfast eggs while throwing bits of bacon to our dogs. He just strolled past my computer desk gave me a kiss on the forehead and asked if I wanted a coffee while he was getting one. I am trying hard to be as good as he is at these displays of quiet affection as I think these are the things that make living together worthwhile. Try to be the people that do little things for each other. Remember where you live is just your living space, he is your home & you are his.
posted by wwax at 10:36 AM on September 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


Mixing up your possessions is amazing. Before, I had my towels, my clothes, my computer, my books, my radio, my posters, all in my bedroom. My food occupied one cupboard in the kitchen and one shelf on the fridge. Now, we have a living space, a working space and a sleeping space. It feels like a home in a way that renting with my friends never did.

Also, after uni I rented with housemates who weren't my close friends (we were friendly, just not best buddies with shared history). When I'm at home now I can be myself - I can be honest, I can have intimate conversations whenever I need to, I can be vulnerable if I need to. It's great.
posted by dumdidumdum at 10:46 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


When my then fiancé and I moved in together we had a Sunday roast pretty much every weekend. The roast may be a bit UK specific but the main point was that it was a tradition we had both grown up with in our families and now we were carrying it on in our own home and family (of two).

If you don't have any traditions in common (or aren't keen on the ones you have) you can make up your own together - Friday night pizza and movie night, Thursday night scrabble, whatever suits your taste and life.
posted by *becca* at 11:40 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


When I was living with someone, having him be there as company when I did mundane things was soothing. I didn't know I needed it, but I did, and still do. I look forward to company again.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:16 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Living with someone can be such a great thing. Relationship-wise, I would encourage the two of you to have a forthright and honest conversation about your expectations and especially what this means for the relationship. There is a lot of good evidence that, absent such a discussion, the two partners often have very different ideas about what moving in together means, with the woman frequently thinking it is a step towards marriage of some other kind of formalized permanence and the man frequently thinking it's just a nice and convenient thing to do. This is a reason marriages of those who previously lived together have a higher probability of divorce. All this is to say that, in my experience, the ultimate success and happiness of cohabitation can very much depend upon having this conversation and understanding where the other person is at. I have cohabited with two women for periods of approximately a decade (not at the same time!). In one of them, there was no such discussion and we broke up at the end of a decade for reasons that largely had to do with differences in expectations and what cohabiting meant to us. In the other, we got married after a year of cohabitation and remain happily married. Both periods of cohabitation had their ups and downs, but living with my now-wife has been a much more positive experience due to having those conversations.
posted by slkinsey at 12:19 PM on September 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


My partner & I discovered a love of sharing the cooking when we moved in together, so making dinner together becomes a part of the evening as much as eating it, just both hanging out in the kitchen chopping veg or whatever. Plus I learn to cook better!

Having spent so long with a kiss goodnight meaning separation, or having late night online chats & texts, I particularly enjoy a goodnight kiss in bed now.
posted by symphonicknot at 12:26 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


What slkinsey said. Unless you're just not into marrying at all ever, you should know what the end-game is. If moving in together is a step towards engagement, you should probably discuss that and decide on what an when. "Let's be engaged by St. Patrick's Day."

If you're auditioning for the part of wife, and he's just thinking, "Awesome a bigger place and hot and cold running pussy," it's a problem. If he's thinking, "Great, we'll be married by Christmas '15 and a baby right away," and you're contemplating backpacking in Europe during a sabbatical from your job, it's a problem.

If you're too afraid to have the conversation, you shouldn't move in together. Living with someone while you're in a relationship is akin to building a family. Your alliances shift, how you interact with your family members shifts and your friendships change.

Is this move part of you both partnering together, becoming one social unit? Or is it just expedient and cost effective?

Iron all of that out first, or else at some point you're going to be very disappointed.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:27 PM on September 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


My husband travels a lot for business and the thing I find myself missing the most when he's away is the ability to shout the most mundane things ever across the house and have someone there to respond to them. "The dog farted AGAIN!" or "Ugh I'm so bored" just doesn't feel the same when there's not someone there to hear, even if his only response is "I'm bored too" and we're then just bored together.

On the other hand, we've been cohabiting for three years and it drives me nuts that he still doesn't load the silverware into the dishwasher points-down, or squeeze the toothpaste right. It's worth thinking about what sort of household quirks you both have - not so you can use them as dealbreakers or hold them over each other, but so you can both be aware of "even if this doesn't matter to me, it matters to my beloved, and part of sharing space is being aware of how what you're doing affects others."
posted by Hold your seahorses at 5:28 PM on September 20, 2014


I recently moved in with my partner, and one of the best thing we did was make a mutual pact to build good habits together. Things like cooking actual meals and doing the dishes, getting exercise, etc. It's been great, because both of us have our oh-fuckit moments, and the support of our partner - and our agreement - has kept the impact of those to a minimum, so our lifestyle is actually quite healthy.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:39 PM on September 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


One person cooks, the other preps. Cooking is twice as easy!
posted by oceanjesse at 8:48 PM on September 20, 2014


Positive feedback is very important - what I mean by this is to make sure that both of you comment about things that are good, things that work, stuff you like etc, rather than just when things go wrong. That way both of you get to know not only what to fix, but just as importantly what not to fix.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:04 PM on September 21, 2014


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