Whether you’ve been together for three weeks or three years, moving in with your lady can be as stressful as it is exciting. Settling into domestic bliss can have it’s drawbacks-even if it is just trying to figure out what to do with two microwaves and too many pairs of Keen footwear.
To help you navigate the delicate co-habitation waters, here are five tips to remember before you take the plunge.
In a perfect world, you and your true love would be moving into a spacious digs that is new to both of you and, in this way, each making a fresh start in a place with plenty of room for all your stuff. In reality however, you are most likely moving into a space already occupied by one of you and the other might find it hard to snag some space for themselves and their belongings. So, before the U-haul pulls up to the front door, be sure to create space for your new life together.
Empty a dresser and/or a closet for her clothes, make room in the fridge for her soy milk, take some photos off the wall so that she may hang up her abstract art. If finding space for everything proves difficult, it might be time for both of you to purge your life of unnecessary or duplicate material goods and donate clothes, shoes, books, knick knacks, etc to a worthy cause. After all, do you really need two subscriptions to Curve magazine?
Purge the Pics & Toss the Toys
When you are purging your life from unnecessary items, some of the things that should go are pictures of your ex. Even if you and your old flame are now best friends, framed pictures of the two of you with your arms around each other displayed around your home might send the wrong message to your partner and/or your guests. If you are reluctant to completely trash them, at least relegate those snapshots to photo albums that can be tucked away in a drawer or closet.
The same goes for sex toys. I mean, really, need I say more? If your new woman is a bit ill at ease with pictures of your ex around the house, imagine how she feels about vestiges of your past relationships in your bedside drawer. I know what you’re thinking: toys are expensive. But the fun you will have shopping for and trying out new toys together is priceless.
(Re) Decorate a Room Together
Now that you are officially living together, as opposed to just sleeping over at each other’s place every night, it is important to create the feeling that the space is mutually and equally shared (if not owned) by both of you. It would be fiscally irresponsible to throw out all the furniture and décor you own in order to buy everything together. Besides, you inherited that dresser from your grandmother and she is emotionally attached to her large flat screen television. Yet, even if most of the rooms in your home is a mish mash of your things and hers, decorating or redecorating just one room together can give the feeling that you’re redesigning your life as a couple.
(Re)decorating a room together can be as simple as splitting the cost of new bedding and replacing all pictures in the bedroom with loving photos of you and your lady. Don’t have many pictures of the two of you? Take a break from packing to meet a camera-friendly friend in a local park for an impromptu photo shoot! According to the tenets of Feng Shui, the bedroom is for two things only and they both start with the letter “S.” You should consider your bedroom to be your personal oasis and romantic hideaway that encourages intimacy, romance and communication. The process of creating that nourishing and restful sanctuary together can also be a fun bonding experience during an otherwise stressful time.
Indulge in Retail Therapy
There is something about spending money that soothes the soul. I like to tell myself that it’s because I am personally helping to boost the economy when I shop, but I am pretty sure it’s just because I like things that are bright and shiny. If you like to indulge in retail therapy like me, use your new home as an excuse to buy a practical gift for you and your partner. Not enough closet space? Pick out utility hooks, shelves and other storage solutions like bed raisers and plastic bins.
Does moving-in together double your DVD collection? It might be time for a bigger entertainment center to keep them all in one place. Together, write a list of all the practical things you will need in order to live together comfortably. Go ahead and throw in a couple of “wants” as well, just don’t go crazy. No matter what you are shopping for, retail therapy mostly likely is cheaper than couples therapy, so I encourage you to spend, spend, spend!
Make Love, Not War
Like most exercise, having sex can help relieve stress and therefore prevent arguments, so when tensions start to rise, make love, not war. Obviously, your relationship is based on more than just physical chemistry, and I am certainly not suggesting that all conflicts can be resolved by getting naked. But some of them can, and the ones that can’t will at least be delayed a bit. No, no, I’m just kidding.
On a serious note, it is important during this time of great change to reconnect with one another and remind yourself why it is you are doing all this purging, packing, shifting and reorganizing in your life. Even the most compatible couples are bound to have a fight or two while deciding what stays, what goes and where everything will fit. The important thing to remember is not to go to (your newly outfitted) bed angry.