Girl Talk: Moving in together is exercise in considering partner’s needs
As you are in a relationship, the natural progression of life will put you through a series of stages. Dating, sleepovers, intimacy, meeting families, vacations, engagements, cohabitation and marriage (not always in this order of course), but what happens to the separate lives that you had before two became one? When it comes to combining yours, mine and ours, is there an easy way to make cohabitation habitable?
Generally, when a couple decides to live together, one of two scenarios occurs; either they look as a couple for a new place to live, or one party moves into the other’s home. When it is the second scenario, things can get a little complicated.
When one person moves into the other’s existing home, it can unintentionally feel like a great intrusion. Depending on the homeowner’s level of needing control, it can be hard to pass the reigns to the other party. It can lead to one party feeling like they are invading the other’s space, and the party who already lives there could have a hard time changing their décor and making space happen for their new roommate.
Is it possible to clean the slate? It is definitely a matter of give and take. What if he wants to turn your reading room into a man cave? What if she wants to decorate the bathroom in pink flowers and poodles? Compromise is key. When it comes to combining homes, you need to let go what you think is right and open your mind to new ideas. Find a style that compliments both of your tastes, and be considerate about how the other party might feel about your choices. Go shopping together and look for some ideas that you can both get on board with.
Making space is also a major hurdle. When deciding to move in together, take into consideration that the new housemate is going to need closet space, dressers and room to put things. When you already have a completed house that is fully furnished and functional, it can be a big hurdle having to let go of some of that space. What if you love all of your red-themed kitchen appliances but you partner has his own in a different color? How do you choose which get used and which go into storage? Yours might be cuter but your partner’s might work better. It is time to use your head over your heart and mix things up.
Finding your own style as a couple will make the transition into cohabitation much easier. It would be a good bonding experience to go together room by room and designing its look and function together. Remember, it’s not just about you anymore, and while you love the vintage cat picture hanging in your living room, you just decided to live with a dog person and may need to move it somewhere else. It’s not about letting go of who you are; it’s about compromising to make each other feel like home.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live and WBRE.