I have been living with my other half for just over three years now, through all the ups and downs of job changes and moving flat and family drama and all the other things that come with both living together and a relationship.
We're engaged now, so I think we are doing okay.
However, there are some things that I think that everyone should know before they move in with their significant other. Please note that this is not a post for people who are looking to live with friends or flatmates, because the situation is vastly different.
1. Get separate spaces.
I know you love them, and I'm sure they love you too. But sometimes after a long day it's nice to be able to sit down and do nothing. We did this by having a second bedroom in our little flat, which is a great option if you can afford it. But even simply having separate wardrobes or separate "this is where my junk goes so don't touch it" corners. If you are like me, and therefore a little possessive about your stuff, get yourself a chair. You know the one I'm talking about: the chair that everything lives on (read: clothes, mail, bags, the occasional item of make up) until you get around to fixing it. Make it so that it is "your" space and not "our" space.
The spare bedroom concept was great because my other half has a very space-consuming hobby, like some people have model trains. So all his stuff could go in there and I wouldn't feel like I had to carve out space for myself all the time.
I hope that your other half has a sensible hobby.
2. Set money rules.
I know that money rules aren't something that we want to think about. We especially don't want to think about it when we are with a significant other. Like, we all magically hope that everyone will pay their dues and everything will get paid on time. But just in case, make Money Rules.
One way to do this is to set up a joint bank account. This is not my preferred method, but it is easy to manage, especially now that all banks offer apps and online banking and you rarely both have to be at the bank at the same time.
I met a couple on a plane once who were celebrating 50 years together, and the woman gave me the best piece of advice that I have ever received:
Have a life together, but separate.
This was their trick to staying together—independence.
So the way that we do it is to split all the bills down the middle (rent, gas, tax, etc) and as soon as we get our paycheques, he will take whatever half of the total is and send it to my account. And I will take whatever bills I owe him and send it back to his. So each of us has bills to pay, but it's with both of our money.
3. Relatives are a thing.
My sister is always going to come before my boyfriend when it comes to pretty much anything. I will always answer the phone when she calls, and I have made special trips out of my way when she was poorly or I somehow ended up with some of her laundry.
This is also true the other way around. Don't expect to always be their priority. I'm not sure that would be a healthy relationship.
4. Get two of everything.
I probably don't mean everything, but seriously, things get dirty quickly and break often when there's two of you. So get an extra duvet, get extra towels, get more kitchen cutlery than you ever think you'll need. Trust me, you'll spend 90 percent of your dedicated sofa time looking for that little spoon for your cup of tea. Get extra socks; they'll get mixed up in the wash and who knows how many single socks you'll end up with.
This definitely applies to food—get twice as much milk as you would normally. Get twice as much bread. And for the love of god, hoard the cookies.
I would maybe go as far as saying get double furniture. Like I know y'all don't fight... but just in case you do, sleeping on the sofa/floor is not as good as sleeping on a bed, and we all have work in the morning. And clothes. We actually have separate wardrobes—I have the one with doors and he has the one with drawers. Get two of everything.
5. They love you.
I know that it'll be an adjustment. It is strange going from having your own space and independence and "I don't need no man" attitude, to always having them around. It's odd having half as much space in the bathroom as you're used it, and it's weird how much food you go through now that there's two of you eating it. I used to wonder how my dad could spend so much money on groceries every week. Now I know: there were five of us to feed.
But even if it can be infuriating, it is so good to come home to someone after a long day at work. It's nice to make dinner that's not just for one person. Likewise, it's nice to come home to dinner ready sometimes. It's cosy to sit on the sofa with them and have it be quiet and unassuming. It's not so cold in the morning when you can spend those "five more minutes" cuddling.
I know it's infuriating sometimes, but they love you.
I hope this helped. Good luck.