From the Creators of: The Relationship Dating Advice Lounge

16 Tips for Cohabitation

The 16 tips for cohabitation is a practical guide for living together. Learn the tips before you move in, once you move in and your potential future plans.


Before You Move

1.   Ask Yourself Why ~

Why are you taking the next step to move in together? Is it for love or convenience? Are you making the move because life can be much simpler with two incomes instead of one? Are you doing this as a first step towards marriage? Figure out the “WHY” in what you are doing and make sure it is legitimately plausible.


2.   Be Absolutely Sure ~

Be sure that the person you live with is who you could potentially marry. You don’t want to share a space with someone for at least a year (according to your leasing agreement) who you already feel gets on your last nerves in more ways than one.


3.   Know the Company They
      Keep ~

Your mate’s friends can be a sure fire insight into who your mate is. The saying is true in most cases…”You are the company you keep”. Those crazy friends of his/hers will be potential guests in your home. Do they lie, steal, or cheat? Know them before sharing a space with a friend of theirs.


4.   Continue to Be You ~

The person you were before you moved in together should be the same person. Most people who date in the first few months allow their “self” representative to show up and show out, leaving your potential mate to believe one thing or another. If you are yourself from the beginning, there is no question about who you really are. For example, women - don’t pretend to like sports and then you move in with him and your true nature reveals that you really do not enjoy watching football. Same for men, do not pretend that you like to cook often and then you move in with her and your true nature reveals that you really do not enjoy cooking and only did it to impress her. Be honest about who you REALLY are!!


5.   Don’t Move in Too Soon ~

Taking this crucial step in your relationship early on can land you in break up court before you know it. In the first couple months to a year, you are still in the honeymoon phase of your relationship. If you move in together now, you may realize next month that you are no longer interested in pursuing a bond with this person who is now your roommate. Then, you’ve already signed your lease and you are stuck together for 11 months. This goes back to tip #2 “Be Absolutely Sure”.


6.   Create New Memories ~

This is achievable by moving into a new place! It’s easier to start fresh instead of arguing about who is going to move in with whom. Folks sometimes become attached to their living spaces because they have designed it a certain way, etc. Find a place you both like and can start new / fresh memories together. ONLY if feasible. It doesn’t make sense for a person to move out of a house they’ve purchased just to create new memories. Use good judgment and compromise. 


7.   Compromise ~ 

You both have a full house of furniture and accessories. It’s easy to discard things that you both have. Some things are precious to some while other things are a waste of space to others. Compromise on what to keep and what to toss. If you can’t come to an agreement on something…let’s say whether to keep his or her couch, give both couches away and shop for a new one that you both can agree on. It is easier to hold onto both sides of furniture if you move into a bigger space because you will have the room to keep everything. Apartments only provide limited options for keeping two sets of home furnishings.


The Move is Complete, Now What?

8.   Sign a Cohabitation Agreement ~

Protect what’s yours!! Even though you are not married you have your rights in a “common law” relationship. The laws are different in every state. Research your rights and what affects you if something happens to your mate. Keep a level head and be honest about how you feel when hashing out the details and signing your agreement. 


9.   Sign a Lease…Together ~

If you are moving in, make sure to get your name on that lease. If you decide to start fresh and move into a new place, both names should be on the agreement. Here’s why. If an argument ensues, the person whose name is on the lease has the right to tell you to leave. Then what? You are now homeless. If both names are signed on the dotted line, you both have ownership to your spot and neither of you have to vacate the premises. (Unless told to do so by law enforcement… then, that becomes a different situation) Always cover your butt!!


10.   Work Together ~

While sharing the same space you want to always work together to maintain it. When it comes to cleaning, cooking and taking care of the bills, you want to work with your partner to ensure that things are taken care of. This would prevent unnecessary arguments.

 

  • Cleaning – Create a schedule of household duties. Be clear and concise and always take turns cleaning different rooms of the house. If schedules do not permit, swap chores. If neither of you have the time nor energy, hire a cleaning service!!! A clean house keeps the relationship on track without the dirt to distract it. 

 

  • Cooking – Cook together if possible. With schedules being super busy in this day and age, you can compromise and take turns cooking dinner for each other. Designate Friday nights as take out nights and Saturday nights as date night.

 

  • Taking care of the bills – If the bills are not paid, it can definitely contribute to the stress factor in your household. Make sure you come together with a plan on who will pay what. That can also be added to your cohabitation agreement. If someone loses a job, assist with helping them find a new one. You came into this together and you need to work together to maintain it. One person should not be responsible for everything and with both names on the lease you want to protect your credit. 


11.   Respect Your Mate ~

Living together is sort of like a marriage. Once you move in together you have basically taken your relationship to the next level. You can no longer come and go as you please without at least letting your honey know what you are doing. You have someone else to consider and what you do affects them. You cannot just leave out and go away for the weekend without letting your mate know. How would you feel if they did that to you, no phone call or nothing? Once you move in together, the dynamics of your relationship will shift. Treat him/her how you would like to be treated.


12.   Maintain the Spark ~ 

Although you lose some of your independence it does not mean you lose yourself. I suggest maintaining a life outside of your relationship doing things you love to do. Keep your own identity and do not get caught up in your partners’. If you are always spending morning, noon and night with each other, you can become bored. Having a life outside of your partner’s life allows you to schedule date nights or things of that nature which will allow you two to miss each other. Don’t become complacent and DO NOT take each other for granted. Continue to date as if you do not live together. Spending time away from each other gives you something to talk about at date night. 


13.   Keep the Line of Communication Open ~

Six months to a year, communicate with your partner your plans for the future and where you see the living arrangement going. Do this to confirm you two are on the same page. After 2 or 3 years, one mate may have changed emotionally and may now want something different then what you two originally discussed when you moved in together. The only way to know for sure that you guys are heading in the same direction is to communicate. 


What Does the Future Hold?

14.    Make Plans for Marriage…Or Not ~

At this point and after communicating and checking in with each other, you should have a pretty good idea of where this relationship/cohabitation is going. You can either start planning for marriage, planning to separate based on future goals, or planning to stay where you are for more years to come.

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15.   If It Doesn’t Work ~

Have a conversation beforehand about what will happen if things do not work out and you break up. How will furniture be divided, etc.? That goes back to the cohabitation agreement. If these things are discussed in advance, then there should be no issues in the end because it was all mapped out in the beginning. When anger sets in, people fight over the dumbest things and if you already have something in writing, there is no question about what belongs to whom. 


16.   Are There Children Involved ~

In the time that you moved in together you may have produced a child or two. When it comes to living together, co-parenting and choosing wisely your next steps in life comes into view. Not only are you thinking about yourself but you are thinking about the welfare of your child(ren) and sometimes that determining factor keeps most people together, even in a marriage. One party doesn’t want to lose the full altitude of family life because of the kids and wanting to keep their children in an environment where they have both parents. Depending on your personal situation, this is a topic that should definitely be explored on a deeper level. 


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