You love each other. You are ready to share a home. Improve the bliss and reduce future disagreements by having the conversations before you move in together. The ones about:
- Ground rules
Negotiate ground rules to manage expectations. Planning what type of neighbourhood and what kind of home you want to live in is a great start to the art of loving compromise. Figure out the features you can’t live without (easy transit access, green space, gas stove) along with the “I’d like to have these” and look for a home that includes both partners’ musts and some of the likes. If one person needs a clean and tidy home and their beloved would rather spend time at the gym than in housework, then perhaps the gym-lover can cover the cost of a weekly cleaner for the bigger jobs.
Team work on major money issues keeps a relationship healthy. Set aside two hours, preferably on a weekend when you are both well rested, for a calm and honest discussion on joint financial responsibilities after the move, your complete financial picture (if you love each other enough to move in, you should trust each other with money matters, too), and important money goals so that you can work together to satisfy each other’s different needs. If you value experiences and your sweetheart values security, then you probably have different spend and save habits – so create a plan for a middle ground that makes you both happy.
Glenn and Beth found the perfect apartment to start life together. Two days after receiving the keys, she headed out of town on a business trip. When she returned, Glenn had decorated their new living room – with his beloved climbing rope and pitons! Not quite what Beth had in mind. Using discussion and compromise, Beth created the serene retreat that Glenn so enjoyed in her previous home. The rope went back into Glenn’s climbing pack, but she arranged the pitons as a decorative wall piece. Practice décor compromise to create a mutually comfortable home. Will an ancient but comfy chair work just fine with a slip-cover? Might wireless headphones for him and a sleep-mask for her solve the TV-in-the-bedroom debate?
Tip. Don’t try to talk about everything in one big go. A series of shorter conversations on just one or two topics will be more productive in creating the conditions for a happy, loving life together.