The family joke about why my relationship works is that my guy and I have always had separate bathrooms.
Funny? Maybe but sharing a bathroom was the one sticking point that I felt was essential to my sanity in living with my man. Having shared one tiny bathroom with him during post-grad days was enough. I'll share any other room but that one.
When you’re in love, (or serious ‘like’), the thought of moving in together crosses your mind periodically. It seems like a good and practical idea. Why not? It sure beats staying at your significant other’s place where you may find that you’ve forgotten a crucial item that you need back at your place.
And it’s nice, you know; being with someone you care about more than for just a few hours. It can work, right?
Well…, yes and no. Living together is almost like getting married because most people, just like the engaged couple don’t ‘discuss’ the finer points of the arrangement. Communication is not only necessary, it can keep a good relationship from going south fast. Here are a few thoughts to ponder to keep the peace and harmony.
- Saving money on rent, utilities and food is beneficial for both parties. Everything can be split right down the middle and you will both have extra money for date nights. Sounds good? It is unless the person with whom you’re living tends to be a dead-beat. Financial arrangements are essential. Outline all expenses and what each of you will bring to the table. Fifty-fifty is fair but if one of you is making significantly more in salary, a seventy-fifty split can be done. The point is that each of you must stick to the financial bargain.
- Chores. This has caused more problems in relationships and is second only to money in any argument. Make a list of what each of you is willing to do. Share ALL chores. You shouldn’t be the housekeeper just because you’re female and he shouldn’t be Mr. Fix-it and the one who takes out the garbage simply because he’s male. Gender roles are no good here.
- Privacy is at a premium. Remember my bathroom edict? You need to establish ground rules on privacy and alone time. Don’t be joined at the hip all day every day. You’re individuals coming together with different wants and needs.
- Mom, Dad, and the rest of the family should mind their business about your living arrangement but realistically we know that’s not always the case. You don’t have to change your life to suit them but, be cognizant of their feelings and their moral code. Just be firm about what you want but be kind too. You need to realize that unless your families are completely OK with your living arrangement you could experience estrangement from members of one or both or your families. Not everyone is on board with cohabitation outside of marriage and this is especially true where someone may not like your roommate to begin with.
- Yours, mine, ours? Make a list of all items YOU brought to the party as well as what your partner brought. If either of you leave, what you brought with you leaves with you. Purchasing items as a couple means that those items are jointly owned. That expensive plasma TV you bought together belongs to both of you and in the event of a break-up, it can become a legal sticking point.
- The good, the bad, the ugly? When you’re dating you present your best side to your partner. Living together is a whole new scene. You will see the good, bad, and sometimes, ugly, side in the other person's living habits. These habits can make you happily compatible or think of calling off the whole relationship.
- Sex. As any married couple will tell you, living together, sleeping in the same bed, seeing each other in various stages of undress and downright nude, doesn’t guarantee good sex. When you’re living separately, sex at each other’s place is exciting because you don’t know when you’ll get together again. When you live together the subtle idea that “it will be here tomorrow” becomes a reality and you let the encounter wait.
- Good news! If you are a compatible couple and are willing to make adjustments in your relationship, living together makes sense financially and emotionally. Like any arrangement where people live together, compromises must be made that benefit all.
Before you make any decision about moving in together, have a long talk with each other and discuss any pitfalls or problems that you might encounter. Discuss worst case and best case scenarios. Choose what’s good for you and your life.
© 2012 copyright Kristen Houghton all rights reserved.
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Books by Kristen Houghton:
No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut
And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First
Remember, Hetty? (A Short Story)
Nourishing Thoughts: The Little Book of Sayings for a Healthy, Happy Life