May 28, 2023

3 Helpful Tips for Moving in Together for the First Time.

“The takeover happened on March 11, 2020,” my now husband responded when one of our mutual friends asked when I’d moved in with him.

Everyone laughed while I gave him a puzzled look of both embarrassment and admiration.

The takeover? Wow, okay. But he actually remembered the date.

He probably would have even remembered the time had the question been posed. That’s just who my husband is.

It was at the start of the pandemic and everyone was panicking. I’d been renting an apartment two hours away and we had been doing the long-distance, see-you-on-weekends thing for a while.

I loved that. I had my freedom and my own space and also got to connect with him. It was perfect. We had talked about me moving in with him that September. Maybe. No set commitment. Just a thought.

Love and lockdown.

But when the lockdown officially started, my dog and I found ourselves unofficially moved in. And we never really left. Now, three years later, we are happily married.

But it nearly didn’t happen. We almost killed each other halfway through lockdown.

That’s what happens when you get two fiercely independent people who are used to calling all the shots. Add in two confused, territorial puppies and cram everyone—and their stuff—into one home.

Oh, and you can’t really leave or go anywhere.

It was like the universe gave us a crash course in compromise, communication, and clarification on what our relationship was actually made of.

There were tears, screaming fights (mostly me, thanks to my Colombian-Venezuelan heritage) and lots of uncomfortable silences.

But today, after all that, I can honestly say I love living with my husband. And we both work from home now, which is really saying something!

Ready to move in together? For those of you who are considering moving in with your significant other, I’d love to impart some wisdom that I wish I would have known beforehand.

Here are three helpful tips.

1. Give each other permission to have space and time undisturbed within the home, and communicate when you want that.

For me, it’s the bathtub, and my code word is “me time.” When I need some time away while we’re home, my husband knows that I’ll be shutting the door to our master bedroom, that the dogs are not allowed in, nor is he for about one hour. If I do happen to emerge before said hour to get a lighter for my bath candles or grab a snack, we will not exchange words.

It’s like I’m invisible.

Now, this could look like actually taking a few days to yourself or visiting a friend or family member for the weekend if you both agree to that. It’s really more about communicating the desire for some space and giving each other that gift to recharge.

2. Draw upon your strengths and don’t try to be great at everything.

For example, I am great at starting things and getting things going. I’m not so great at always finishing everything. My husband is a detail-oriented clean freak. So, if I cook us dinner, he fights the urge to micromanage me and leaves the kitchen to go play his music. He loves to rinse and clean up the kitchen after we eat and cannot relax until it is all put away. It works out great and I have officially stopped trying to be perfect.

So, make a list of the things you are great at and enjoy doing. Also, a list of things that you are not great at and don’t enjoy doing.

Find some overlap with each other so you are working together versus trying to make the other person into another you.

3. Be willing to part with items from your living alone days.

That random chipped IKEA plate that doesn’t go with anything else. The well-worn couch that doesn’t quite fit. And a bunch of other random yet specific-to-you objects from when you were by yourself.

Yes, it’s hard, but necessary.

Without judging each other, commit to filling a box together to start with that you can either donate, sell, or toss. Go slow. But you both have to be willing to let things go so you can create space for new items that represent this new, exciting chapter in your lives.

Bonus tip: The more you can embrace that this is a process and that each day may be different, ultimately, you’re with someone you care about and that means navigating it together.

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, scared, and excited all at the same time. Now, when he says “the takeover,” I am able to genuinely laugh.

And just for kicks, I did ask him if he remembered what time it was that I moved in. He did. It was 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.


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