Oh, the excitement!! You are moving in together and you will see each other every day.
Visions of having fun, lots of romance and simply enjoying each other’s company run through your mind. Until you start living together and reality sets in.
It’s so important to learn about each other’s preferences and expectations early on so that you can set yourselves up for success. Most people have their own routines and personal habits that are considered ‘normal’ for them and if they are different from your partner – it could cause friction.
It’s interesting to hear stories of what couples do when they stumble upon differences. Some get mad at each other and can’t believe that their partner did something that is different than they would do. Others take the time to ask for their partner’s perspective.
Everyone has a right to be an individual and live according to their preferences. When you live together, there will need to be some compromises.
Here are some topics you may want to address early on:
- Division of household requirements – shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, shoveling snow or cutting the grass, taking out the garbage or household repairs
- Favourite personal hobbies – watching sports, playing sports, working out, watching TV, reading, gardening, etc.
- Finances – what will be joint, what is separate, are there financial goals as a couple?
- Beliefs around toilet seats being left up and put back down
- Having friends or family over
- Going out with friends
- Celebrating holidays or special occasions with each other’s family
- Religious practices
- Vacation preferences
- Pet preferences
- Emergency contact information
It’s having that ‘spirit of curiosity’ to learn about your partner versus getting upset if either of you think differently or have opposite perspectives on a topic.
Once you know what they love to do make sure you honor those preferences and maybe even join them once in a while – even if it’s not your favorite activity.
My beloved waits until his car is almost empty before he fills it up again with gas. He used my car while I was away and when I returned and saw it almost empty, I got upset. As a woman, I never want to be stuck at the side of the road with an empty gas tank. He planned to fill it up for me, but figured there were a few more days before it needed it. We just had to communicate our own perspectives to each other versus making assumptions. That was easily fixed.
When we first moved in together, we had our own patterns and preferences. I didn’t feel it was my place to tell him how he should conduct himself nor did he feel the same about me. We had some bumps along the way. What helped is that we asked a lot of questions and observed each other.
Our intent is to enjoy living together and not spend our time being upset and making unnecessary judgments or assumptions. Because of our love for each other, we pay attention and try to anticipate each other’s needs. It took a lot of communication and a spirit of curiosity and we have made it ‘our home’ where we are both comfortable and happy to be there!