As many studies have shown the likelihood of ending a relationship is higher for couples who chose to live together without being married. This isn’t always the bad news though. Obviously these statistics include those who, had they actually tied the knot, may have split up as well – or may not have.
If you are thinking of cohabitating with your beloved, then there are a few things you can do to get prepared and to set the stage for success.
1. Talk about your expectations of one another. This conversation should include everything from household chores to household income. Is one person going to assume more of the financial responsibilities, while the other puts in sweat equity taking care of the home? Will this change over time and are both people willing to be flexible with those roles?
2. Learn to compromise on the little and the big issues. Compromise typically means that each person is a little bit happy and a little bit unhappy. The ability to do this is a major key to a lasting relationship.
3. Establish guidelines for time together and time apart. Moving in together does not mean that you must surrender all non-romantic interests outside of your relationship. Having outside activities and friendships is necessary and will only add to the quality of your relationship with your partner. This should be discussed in advance of moving in together so that neither partner is surprised or hurt by their mate’s schedule.
4. Never move in together to solve a current problem you have in the relationship. When I ask couples that are ending a relationship when they first became aware of possible problems, almost without exception, they report that it was in the very beginning. So listen to your gut. If it doesn’t feel right now, it most likely never will.
5. Did I mention compromise??
6. Take the move seriously. For some people, moving in together can be an easier step than getting married, but it is a serious commitment nonetheless. Being too cavalier about the decision may leave you unprepared for how great a life change it can be. Having to move out when a relationship ends is much more painful and complicated than breaking up when you do not live together.
7. As always, keep the lines of communication open. I know this is my regular mantra but to do this can help to resolve problems when they come up and will prevent resentments from building.
8. Tend to your home and your relationship together. Enter into your new living situation as a team and resolve to approach issues that arise in a united way with the stated goal of harmony in your home.
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