Cohabitation is a trend that has become increasingly popular among modern couples, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a big step in a relationship.
It is often said that cohabitation is the prelude to marriage, and that does make it a serious commitment.
Are you planning to live together?
Whether you decide to move in with your significant other to test the waters before marriage or to simply save on rent money while getting to know each other better, sharing a living space can bring both of you closer together and teach you a lot about what either of you want from each other.
However, you need to remember that even if you’re head-over-heels in love with your partner, a peaceful cohabitation is not always an easy feat to achieve.
At the end of the day, we’re talking about two individuals with their own likes and dislikes coming together to live as a couple.
It may be easy to fake it and pretend like you’re flawless, and nothing your partner does ever annoys you.
But as time goes, the dirt that you’re pushing under the couch is eventually going to find it’s way out unless both of you decide to be truthful and accommodating to each other’s lifestyles! [Read: 14 important tips to make living together before marriage work for you]
10 easy cohabitation tips to live happily together
To avoid unnecessary conflict in cohabitation and create a happy home, it’s important to be open to change and compromise.
But as hard as it may seem, it really doesn’t take much to keep the relationship strong. Here are 10 simple tips to follow for a happy cohabitation, that can help both of you understand each other, strengths, flaws and all, and bring both of you closer.
#1 Get on the same page. Making sure you and your partner are on the same page is key before you decide to live together. Are you fully committed to each other? Do both of you want to move forward? Do both of you foresee a future together? Will you be living together to plan for marriage or just to save on money? [Read: What is the right age for you to get married?]
These are important questions to discuss with your significant other from the very beginning to be sure both of you want the same things in your relationship and can manage a successful cohabitation.
Taking this first step before moving in together will help you avoid confusion and, ultimately, a messy breakup down the line because of different expectations from each other.
#2 Set ground rules. It may not seem romantic, but it will help to think of your partner as a roommate upon move-in. Before or during move-in is the time to establish certain ground rules, as you would with a roommate.
If something really irks you, such as leaving tracks on the carpet or smoking indoors, it’s important to let your significant other know right away. It’s also important to encourage your boyfriend or girlfriend to provide guidelines of their own, so they don’t feel they are being controlled.
After these rules have been established, your partner and you can better focus on enjoying each other’s company rather than worry about upsetting each other over petty mishaps. [Read: 15 things to know before and after moving in with your partner]
#3 Divide the chores. Once you’ve set the ground rules, it’s time to discuss household chores. Dividing the work equally can relieve a lot of stress for the both of you and eliminate resentment over one person constantly cleaning up after the other.
Have a talk about the type of chores both of you prefer, so neither of you is stuck washing dishes when you would rather be doing the laundry. With chores efficiently out of the way, the relationship will be opened up to more fun, and less confusions. [Read: 12 signs you’re being selfish in the relationship]
#4 Redecorate. Decorating your living space together will not only be a bonding experience, but also an opportunity to assess how well you work as a team. Even if you and your significant other have different tastes, there are small ways to merge your ideas without stepping on each other’s toes.
Buy a piece of artwork together or reupholster your favorite chair. Whatever you agree upon, household décor can be a great way to display your individual personalities as well as your identities as partners.
Whether it’s deciding on paint colors or rearranging furniture, make an effort to collaborate on creating a space that both of you can be proud of.
#5 Discuss finances. Having an in-depth conversation about finances will not be the sexiest part of living together, but it will definitely be crucial to a happy cohabitation. After all, money remains one of the most difficult subjects for couples to conquer without fighting.
Upon move-in, you and your partner should decide how expenses will be split, whether or not you will share a joint account, and whether or not you will purchase insurance together. And remember, this conversation should be ongoing because finances aren’t a constant and can change constantly.
Check in with your significant other regularly to make sure that both of you are aware of each other’s current financial situation and still satisfied with the initial financial agreements. [Read: 12 subtle signs you’re being discreetly manipulated by your lover]
#6 Spend time apart. Now that both of you will be spending a lot more time together, it will be important for you to spend time away from your lover as well. It may be tempting to neglect your family and friends once you have your partner all to yourself, but it’s never beneficial to isolate yourself from your loved ones outside of your romantic relationship. [Read: How to give space and come closer in love]
If for any reason, you lose your significant other, you will still need a support system and that’s something you need to accept even if you don’t want to acknowledge it. Make time for your family and friends, foster those relationships, and encourage your partner to do the same.
Spending time apart also means spending time alone. And allowing yourself some alone time will not only create a healthy sense of space between the two of you, it’ll also help both of you grow as individuals. [Read: 10 signs you’re smothering the one you love with too much love!]
#7 Respect each other’s differences. Once you’ve shared a living space for some time with your man or woman, you will most likely come to realize that your partner has interests you were previously unaware of.
Perhaps, they enjoy snacking late at night or watching a certain television show every afternoon. You may or may not appreciate these interests, but you should respect them either way. Allowing your significant other to be themselves is an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship and a happy home. [Read: 25 must-follw relationship rules for successful love]
#8 Create goals together. If you were able to successfully decorate together, you can move towards creating goals together, irrespective of whether they are short-term or long-term.
Focus on a long-term goal as a team and establish a sense of partnership between the two of you by working towards a common goal that will benefit the both of you. This could include remodeling the house, saving up for a vacation, or even planning a wedding. [Read: 20 signs to know if you’re ready for marriage]
#9 Communicate! Your partner and you do not have to talk all the time just because you share a roof. In fact, it would not be healthy if you did! But there should still be clear communication between the two of you regarding your relationship.
If there is a problem, do not put off talking it through. If you allow a problem to fester and escalate into a cold war, you will only sabotage the relationship. You do not want to get to the point in which you and your partner begin sleeping in separate rooms because neither of you are willing to confront an issue. [Read: 12 secrets to have a longterm relationship that lasts]
#10 Keep the spark alive
After months or years of living together, it’s common for relationships to seem stale or uninteresting. And an everyday routine can really discourage the passion. However, you need to remember that in most cases, this does not mean the love no longer exists.
Even if you are completely comfortable with your lover, continue to get to know them better. Set aside time every week for date night, even if that simply means grabbing a quick bite to eat together. Continue to try new things together, explore and grow together. [Read: 15 most common reasons why couples end up getting bored with each other]
And most importantly, always make the effort to show your partner you appreciate their presence in your life.
After all, healthy relationships in general require acceptance and compromise, but this becomes even more true during cohabitation.