As relationships progress, the topics at hand may become a bit more complicated and tricky to address. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship but sometimes we choke just trying to get the words out. When we hit the point in our relationships where we start thinking about moving in together, marriage and children, we can’t help but wonder, how will the other person react? Are we on the same page? Will he/she get scared off if we bring up the topic? Should we wait for them to bring it up first? These certainly aren’t topics that we can just sweep under the metaphorical rug and ignore, not unless we want to join the growing numbers of divorces. What’s a girl (or boy) to do?
Moving in together can be incredibly challenging for so many reasons. No matter how much time you’ve spent together in the past, sleeping over each other’s respective homes, it just isn’t the same. When you live on your own, you have the sole say over the decorating scheme. There is no one to veto the light-up beer sign that you want to hang above the couch or the frilly pink pillow you’ve put on the bed. It’s your space to do with it as you will. But when we move in with one another, suddenly we have to blend the two personal styles to create something new, something that represents both people. And, gentlemen, unless you have a bar room or basement in your house, you’re not likely to win the battle of the light-up beer sign. And so, we have to learn to choose our battles. And to be respectful of the other person and what objects may be important to them because of sentiment.
When we move into a brand new space together, we have at least one unique advantage: it’s always been “ours”. But, when one person moves into the other’s pre-existing apartment or house, it’s a little bit harder sometimes to adjust. We’re moving into their territory, which has already been decorated in their style, with their things and they do things the way they want to do them. It isn’t easy to suddenly make a “me space” a “we space” without turning everything upside down. (After all, “w” is basically an upside down “m” isn’t it?) Approaching topics like suddenly having to share premium closet space, how to make use of certain rooms in the house to the best advantage of both of you and who will be responsible for what household chores can be terrifying to approach. And exhausting. Especially when you’re close to that point but not quite there yet.
Things in your current relationship may be sailing along smoothly. And you have had basic talks about living together one day and the possibility of having children and, at the very least, these are things you know you both want. Someday. Just not right this very second. But, if you’re female, you have probably already started mapping it all out in your head; naming babies, redesigning the interior of his bachelor pad, etc. (Sorry fellas, that’s just what we do. It’s estrogen related or something.) You may find yourself saying (to yourself) “I’m going to need a home office when I move in, some place quiet and relaxing just for me.” At the same time, he’s talking about knocking down walls in his house and limiting the possibility of you actually having this space. Inside, you’re screaming “NO! NO! Not my office!” while picturing yourself chained across the doorway, keeping the wrecking ball from coming through. But should you scream that out loud? It’s still his house. You don’t live there. (Yet).
The saying goes, “Let go and let god”. I don’t know much about god, that’s not exactly my thing. But I do know that there is something to be said for letting go sometimes and letting things happen as they will. I’m also a fan of subtle hints, something that takes work to perfect but can be very effective. Casually throw your wants and needs for the future, like your coveted home office, into the conversation when talking about your career progressing. Go as far as to describe what you’ve dreamed your home office will look like. Trust me, they’re totally getting the hint. And the good ones will keep your passions and dreams in mind when it comes time to make room for “we”. Sure, it’s a passive approach, but it’s a way of getting it out there without banging him over the head with it. While every relationship is different, it’s never a good idea to beat each other in the head. That’s all I’m saying. A more subtle approach can make it less frightening, make him feel like he has more time to consider it and deal with this idea. It may also make him feel like it was his idea to begin with.
Go shopping at Ikea together! Not only can you get some great food and a cup of coffee (for free!) to sip while walking around and pretending you live there, but you get a feel for each other’s style. And for what the other person’s visions are for their perfect home, their future. It’s a great way to see if your styles are compatible. (CC and I did this when I needed a new dresser. Fortunately, we fell in love with the same kitchen set-up and the same bedroom. And we both wanted to move into the awesome walk-in closets. Phew!)
As to who’s going to do the dishes or make the bed? Well that’s a whole other problem!
“We’ve got to live together if we’re gonna be free We’ve got to find the answer right now We’ve got to live together We’ve got to see each other for whatever we are We’ve got to solve the problem Together
We’ve got to live together” ~ Live Together, Lisa Stanfield