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Moving in with your romantic partner is a major relationship milestone these days, and it's one that most people assume will lead to marriage. And, as most people can tell you, it's a serious test to your relationship. After all, if you can't stand each other after a month together, you probably shouldn't marry.
That being said, moving in with anyone, let alone a potential spouse, is taxing. You're probably wondering what to expect and what's normal. Here's the real scoop on sharing real estate, from someone who's been there.
You will notice his gross side more often, and he'll notice yours more, too.
Most relationship experts will tell you that you should never move in with a person whose cleaning habits aren't comparable to your own. There's a reason for this, and it's because those little habits of letting dishes or laundry pile up can seriously gross out the wrong partner.
There will be times that you will want to wring your partner's neck because you're horrified at how often he doesn't pick up after himself. And, there will probably be moments where he will smell that one family recipe that reeks but tastes amazing, and he'll want to retch.
This is totally normal, and it will take you a while to figure out how to change your behavior so that you don't drive one another away with your grody sides.
What isn't normal, though, is if your partner stops doing any housework. In this case, you might be taken on as a free live-in housekeeper, and this is something you need to address.
You might get a bit bored of one another from time to time.
Whoever said that absence makes the heart grow fonder definitely knew what he's talking about. While you may have appeared inseparable when you were only seeing one another every two days, the fact is that moving in together will make things change.
It will be normal to want some alone time, or at least a small break, from your partner. That's why it's a good idea to book time with friends apart from your partner, and why it's totally healthy to just go to the spa solo from time to time.
Wanting a little solo fly time doesn't make you a bad partner. It means that your relationship dynamic is healthy, and that you aren't losing yourself in the relationship. You need time apart in order to have things that you can talk about and also appreciate how much your partner means to you.
Rather than worry about the fact that you want solo time, you should be more worried if you are still joined at the hip 24/7 after you move in with one another. Not wanting to be away from your partner is actually a major sign of a codependent relationship.
There may be squabbles over food.
Even the happiest couples have favorite foods that might not be too awesome for the other person. Some dishes that you adore may be totally off-limits to your partner as a result of preferences, allergies, or dietary needs. Some of his favorite meals may just not be your shtick, either.
You may end up having a couple of arguments over food, at least at the beginning when you start learning more about each other's personal preferences. It's also normal to get annoyed if you notice your partner eating your personal stash of Oreo cookies, too. Even so, this is normal.
What isn't normal is if your partner doesn't respect your dietary decisions or if you don't respect his. This could be a sign that you need counseling, or that he may be projecting a hidden eating disorder onto you.
The mundane parts of living together may be a chore—literally.
Before you move in together, it's oh, so common for you to fantasize about this perfect life with each other. Reality can be disappointing. Contrary to what they may have shown you on I Love Lucy, you do have bills to pay, chores to do, and telemarketers to hang up on.
The fact is that living together doesn't excuse either of you from acting like an adult. You still need to pay your bills, and you still need to keep your place livable. Drama may still happen with your parents, and there may be moments where you also might want to scream at your landlord.
These mundane, annoying, and tedious parts of daily living don't go away just because you're with your partner. That's just the way life is. That's normal, and it can be annoying. But, at least that's normal, right? The not-normal alternative would be for you to turn into his mother and do everything for him... and that's really not fun.
It's also pretty normal to take time to figure out a "new normal" when it comes to family boundaries.
We live in a time when adults are closer to their parents than at any time in recent history. This can make things very hard for young couples that want to move out together, particularly if one (or both) of you had helicopter parents or a similarly enmeshed life with your parents.
It's normal to have to set new boundaries with parents, and at times, you may even have to put your foot down if Mom and Dad overstep their boundaries. It's also normal to want to invite family over once a week or so, just to show them how well you're getting along.
What isn't normal is to have your parents basically move in with you... or right next door. If you feel like he's putting his parents' needs above yours, you need to rethink moving in with him, as his family may turn your life into a living hell.
You may also need to come up with new finance habits.
I've seen it a million times before—he's big spender, she's a miser. He sends money back home to Mom, she insists on keeping more money here. You will need to figure out a way to balance out one another's spending habits if you want to make this work.
Setting a new routine when it comes to spending is totally normal. In fact, it's even a part of growing up. Part of moving in together is prioritizing everything and making plans to ensure that you're both happy and comfortable.
However, it stops being normal if you regularly notice that your partner is encouraging you to spend money you don't have to keep them happy—or if your partner doesn't ever follow the plans you two make together despite knowing how important it is to you.
There may also be a culture clash of sorts.
Everyone was raised a little bit differently, and while those differences seem pretty small when you're just dating, they become huge deals when you're living together. Every family has its own little culture and that means you may be in for a culture clash when you move in with your partner.
You might be shocked to find out how deeply religious he really is. Or, you might be shocked to see him walking around wearing nothing but bunny slippers during the middle of the night. In other words, expect the unexpected.
You also should expect to see how well you *really* communicate when things hit the fan.
Nothing quite shows how strong your relationship is like actually having to deal with bigger issues together. Can you talk it out? If not, you will soon find out after one too many screaming matches in the first month.
The first couple of months may also mean that you will need to take time out to learn how to better communicate with one another. If things are really getting bad, you might even need a mediator or a therapist to work things out with you.
Lastly, there's also the issue of decorating.
It's true. You two will have different ideas on how to decorate your own apartments. You may have to negotiate away from his "great" idea of a Dallas Cowboy's themed living room, and steer him towards a classier man cave. He may end up rolling on the ground, pleading you to drop the idea of a shrine to your sorority days. This is normal... and it's actually part of the fun.