Moving in together is a huge relationship milestone for any couple. But while it can be a great new stage for your relationship, it takes a lot of love and energy to be a good cohabitant. Living with anyone has its ups and downs, but cohabitation with your partner can often be a whole different ball game. So if you don’t want to drive each other crazy, there are a few things you need to know.
What is cohabitation?
Put simply, cohabitation is living with someone, and that someone being your long-term romantic and sexual partner. It’s an arrangement that is becoming more and more popular, according to cohabitation statistics, as people are deciding to get married less and cohabitate more.
So it’s not as simple as just living with a friend or housemate – cohabitation is a legitimate family type nowadays.
Pros and cons of cohabitation
There are many benefits of cohabitation, but that isn’t to say it’s a perfect arrangement. Moving in together poses just as many risks as it does opportunities for your relationship. So let’s look at them in a little more detail.
Benefits of cohabitation
You can be spontaneous
When you move in together, you gain so much time. When you live apart but both have busy schedules and your own lives, it can be hard to schedule in quality time to see each other. For some couples that can mean seeing each other only once a week – which can make you feel like you’re hardly in a relationship at all. But when you live together, even amidst a jam-packed schedule, you can always find some time for your partner.
Being around each other more makes it that much easier to be a little spontaneous, as you know each other’s schedules and don’t have to waste time getting to each other’s places.
You get quality time together
As we mentioned before, you gain a lot of time with your partner when you move in together, which means more opportunities for quality time. This improves your relationship, strengthens your bond and can even be beneficial to your mental health. So even if you only have a few hours in an evening to spend together, you can take the opportunities as they come up when you live together.
You can integrate your lives and get to know each other better
If you’re both super busy people, it’s easy to feel neglected or like you’re not really in a relationship. No matter how much you try to be a part of each other’s lives, it can be difficult when you’re living apart, or in a long-distance relationship.
But with cohabitation, you can truly integrate your lives and be partners in every sense of the word. This is also a good chance to really get to know each other better in your daily life and see how you match up. Romantic dates are great, but life is a little bit different and you will never fully know a person unless you make them your cohabitant.
Risks of cohabitation
However, things aren’t always so simple. Like everything in life, too much of one thing can end up ruining it. And cohabitation is no exception.
The risk of codependency
The biggest risk of cohabitation by far is codependency. Being around each other 24/7, especially during the pandemic, can be reassuring and affirming, but it can very easily become unhealthy. You need to both be your own people who choose to live and be together, not dependent on the other in order to feel happy and secure.
You could argue more
Being in each other’s space all the time is inevitably going to mean a higher chance of you arguing or miscommunicating. But if handled in the wrong way, cohabitation can make you snappy and argumentative. Whether it’s the way they wash the dishes or how they never pick their clothes up off the floor, being in your partner’s face all the time can be disastrous.
You might not be compatible
Sharing a space means the novelty of a new relationship can wear off pretty quickly. The rose-tinted glasses come off and you’re forced to see your partner as they truly are, flaws and all. So spending this considerable amount of time with your partner runs the risk of you realising that you aren’t actually compatible as a couple.
The reality is that some people are better off living alone, in their own spaces. Or maybe things just aren’t as sustainable as you previously thought. If this is the case then you may need to consider ending things.
How to have a healthy routine after moving in together
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Whilst the risks of cohabitation are daunting, if you’re in a happy, committed relationship then there’s no reason as to why you can’t cohabitate peacefully. The secret is having healthy routines and boundaries with your partner.
There are some best practices to keep in mind if you want to make the most of your new life together. They’ll help you not only live together better, but also be better together.
Do your own thing still
Having your own space, time and hobbies are crucial if you want to happily live with your partner. Retaining your sense of self is vital for any relationship, and will ultimately help you to not feel smothered by your cohabitant and avoid a codependent dynamic.
So keep up with your hobbies, have some alone time and spend time with your own friends and family.
Define and respect boundaries
We all have our own needs in a relationship. And it’s important to be in tune to said needs and communicate that to your partner. If you want one night a week to yourself, or don’t feel like having sex, then tell your partner that. And you both need to respect the boundaries that the other sets if you are to live happily together.
Communicate about everything
Communication is a key part of any relationship. And it’s even more important when it comes to cohabitation. Keeping everything in the open is the best way to avoid any unnecessary tension, arguments and conflict between you and your beau.
So have the tough conversations, whether it’s about money, boundaries or families – it’ll only benefit your relationship.
Tips for being a good cohabitant
Respect your partner’s space
As we’ve covered already, being a good cohabitant means giving your partner the space they need.
A good cohabitant is a proactive one. Whether it’s chores or spontaneous plans, going the extra mile for your partner will help things to create a positive, loving environment in your home.
Be considerate and kind
The little things really do make the difference when you’re moving in together. So don’t be afraid to show your partner that you care about them. The small things will keep that spark alive in your relationship, help you to resolve conflicts and keep the atmosphere positive in your home.
So, that’s how you can not drive each other crazy after moving in together. As long as you keep these things in mind, you’ll succeed at this cohabitation thing.