Living With Your Partner? Here Are 15 Tips to Make Sure It Works

Making the decision to live together as a couple is exciting, but it also brings with it several challenges. Finances, time management, and household chores are all important to keep in mind.
Living With Your Partner? Here Are 15 Tips to Make Sure It Works
Leticia Martín Enjuto

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Leticia Martín Enjuto.

Last update: 13 June, 2024

The idea of living with your partner may excite you and fill you with expectations. Falling in love, the desire to build a future together, taking on another level of commitment, and having a home of your own are some of the reasons why you may be considering taking this step.

However, this doesn’t mean that the decision itself is just about romance and happiness for you and your partner. Although there is a lot of love involved, this is a stage that brings major changes in routines, finances, and many other areas. Anxiety, stress, and discomfort are also sometimes a part of this.

The starting point is to understand that not everything will be perfect. Adapting to living with the other person is a process with ups and downs, which requires flexibility, good communication, and the establishment of limits and agreements. Therefore, if you’re going to live with a partner for the first time, we’d like to invite you to put these 15 tips into practice.

1. Have realistic expectations

When you decide to move in with your partner, you tend to experience a roller coaster of emotions that may be difficult to see beyond. Euphoria and anxiety can generate expectations that don’t always correspond with reality.

Therefore, first of all, make sure you have enough time to reflect on the decision you are making and, above all, to clarify your expectations. Like any transition stage in life, not everything is rosy.

Together with your partner, you will have to put your “feet on the ground” and evaluate the whole picture. Although it’s difficult to say exactly how you both will adapt to your new home, it’s healthy to talk about what you both expect in this new stage and what the difficulties may be along the way.

It’s extremely important that you both have a similar vision of your future together and that, before moving together, you’re prepared to take on the challenges that living together will entail. No matter how much infatuation there is, you have to break that idea that living together will be “a fairy tale”.

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2. Clarify why you want to live with your partner

Are you and your partner clear on why you really want to live together? Perhaps because it has been a long time since you’ve spent quality time together, or perhaps it’s because you feel like you’ve found your “soul mate” or even because you feel like it’s simply the next step for both of you to grow.

Anyway, defining those ‘whys’ is key to knowing if it’s a good moment to take the step or not. Sometimes, the enthusiasm of a new relationship, added to the intensity of falling in love, can lead to hasty decisions. This is normal, of course, but it may not be the right time to start a life together.

“Being in love” is not the best reason to make this decision. In fact, it’s best to do so when the relationship has already gone through several stages. Some experts suggest that this happens after one or two years of a relationship. In the first six months, falling in love makes the bond feel “perfect.”

Another reason to question this decision thoroughly is convenience. While sharing expenses may seem like a good reason to move in together (especially if it helps you both save money), this should not be the only reason. You should always keep in mind the phase you are going through as a couple.

In this order of ideas, it isn’t a good idea to move towards this stage if the relationship has been presenting problems. If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that living together won’t solve any problems.

3. Talk about your feelings with your partner

Both you and your partner should be open to communicating everything you feel about the decision you are making. At first, you may both feel happy and confident about the decision. However, after the euphoria (and as the day approaches) one or both of you may experience fear, anxiety, or uneasiness.

Having the confidence to talk about these not-so-pleasant emotions strengthens the bond, reduces the pressure of the moment, and is a good lead-in to the many uncomfortable conversations you will have to have from now on. The important thing is to talk honestly and respectfully, also attending to what the other feels.

Do you feel it’s not yet time to take the plunge? Communicate it! It doesn’t have to be a reason to break up. The same applies if it’s your partner who doesn’t feel safe. Clarify your reasons, listen, and look for solutions as a team.

4. Define the “non-negotiables” with your partner

Respect, honesty, loyalty, fidelity, empathy… there are many values and moral principles that are non-negotiable both when it comes to dating and living together. Define what yours are, listen to those of your partner, and between the two of you define them.

The harmony of the home you are about to form is based on respecting each other’s ideals. You don’t have to think alike about it, but you should determine if you’re willing to accept it.

5. Think about where you’re going to live

One of the most important things to discuss with your partner before you move in together is where you plan on living. Why? If you or the other person already owns your own space and the idea is to live there, this may present some problems.

Initially, the person moving in may feel that it’s not his or her home and that he or she is limited in the decisions that are made there. On the other hand, the homeowner may feel a sense of loss of privacy and invasion. Not to mention that there may be discrepancies in control and power.

To avoid this, it’s best to move to a new place that’s been chosen by both of you. If this isn’t an option, a good start together is to redecorate, clean, and adjust the house to both of your preferences. The goal, in either case, is for you to feel that your preferences are valued and included.

A very important point here is to determine if there will be third parties allowed in the home, be it a child, parent, or some other family member. If so, this can be another challenge. Initially, the healthiest thing to do is to ensure the space just for the two of you.

6. Reach agreements regarding finances

Financial issues are very important when you decide to live with your partner. Defining several issues related to money can avoid problems once you are living together. In case you didn’t know, financial conflict is one of the main causes of divorce.

So, if you want peace of mind in this area, it’s best to make clear agreements. How will you organize your finances? What financial responsibilities will each of you have? Some choose to have a joint account for their joint expenses, while others delegate obligations to each other.

There are those who are fine with the 50/50 idea, as well as those who delegate major expenses to only one party or who calculate expenses in proportion to each partner’s earnings. There’s no right or “best” way; this depends on the consensus that the two of you make.

Other related issues to consider are as follows:

  • Family assets
  • Family budget
  • Debts and assets of each party
  • Individual accounts and expenses

7. Talk about housework

The issue of housework is no less important when deciding to live as a couple. In fact, it can become a cause of conflict if you don’t agree on it. You and your partner may have different thoughts about how clean and tidy the house should be.

By communicating this, you can define when and how to do the cleaning. You may decide to delegate chores to each other on a daily or hourly basis; you may choose to do it together on weekends. You may even agree to seek help from others to complete them. Either way, it’s something that’s best left established.

8. Maintain your individuality and respecting your partner’s

While dating and in the first weeks of living as a couple, it’s normal that you want to make the most of your free time to share with the person you love. Even so, the healthiest thing is for both of you to have your own space alone, either to enjoy with friends or in a hobby.

Individuality is a key aspect of a successful relationship. Pretending to do everything together and putting aside passions, hobbies, and friendships is unrealistic and, in the long run, deteriorates the bond. Moreover, it implies developing emotional attachment behaviors that are quite harmful.

Respecting one’s own and one’s partner’s individuality is a way to foster trust and security. It’s all about preserving authenticity without fear of the other feeling conflicted about it.

9. Improve your assertive communication skills

At all times in the relationship, assertive communication helps to strengthen our relationships. However, you should prioritize it even more when you move in with your partner. Both of you should be aware that living together involves drastic changes that can be overwhelming and stressful.

Knowing how to communicate desires and feelings through respectful and understanding language will be key to overcoming all these difficulties. Here, it’s worth asking yourself several questions:

  • “Does my partner listen to me and validate what I feel?”
  • “Is he/she open to dialogue and looking for solutions?”
  • “Does s/he provide feedback on our conversations and give his point of view without saying hurtful things?”

If you feel they still have a hard time expressing themselves, it’s best to talk it out and work on it before taking the big step. The more you learn about this type of communication, the better you’ll be at living together and the better you’ll be able to deal with difficult situations.

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10. Don’t neglect quality time together

One of the mistakes most people who move in with their partner make is neglecting quality time. In this sense, it’s essential to learn to differentiate intentional time from secondary time. What does this mean? It isn’t enough to share lunch, dinner, or a bed together.

Although at the beginning all this is comforting and exciting, in time it becomes routine. You need to dedicate exclusive time to the relationship; schedule dates, meet up to watch a series, have outings away from home, cook together, and any other activity that fosters connection and intimacy.

11. Don’t take the other person for granted

Related to the previous point, don’t make the mistake of taking the other person for granted. In life as a couple, it’s quite common, since daily coexistence makes you think that the other person “will always be there,” regardless of whether or not you put effort into the relationship.

Just as is the case with dating, we always need to be putting in the work. Therefore, in addition to quality time, you and your partner should continue to show your love through acts of service, quality time together, details, physical contact, and kind words.

12. Encourage healthy intimacy with your partner

Every couple experiences their sexuality in different ways; however, on a general level, sex is an important pillar to keep the bond strong, especially when you’re already living together. The routines of the day and the habit of being with each other changes the sexual dynamic and is reflected in reduced encounters.

Therefore, it’s paramount to set aside time for intimacy and be creative to keep “the spark burning”. As a couple, it’s essential to have the confidence to talk openly about these issues. Express fantasies and desires, venture to try something new in bed, do it in a different place… try not to fall into a sexual routine.

13. Learn to ask for forgiveness and to forgive

The changes that life as a couple brings with it disagreements and not-so-pleasant moments. No matter how good the communication is, going through these difficulties is inevitable. That’s when learning to apologize and forgive becomes key.

Letting your guard down, acknowledging your own and each other’s mistakes, and being willing to improve is essential to not failing at trying to live together.

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14. Consider your partner’s opinion when making decisions

Although the individuality of the couple must be respected, it’s essential to consider that many day-to-day decisions must now be made together. Living together goes beyond sharing the same house or the same bed; for things to work, both will have to agree on important issues.

The fact of having to reach a common agreement on preferences, situations, plans, and much more, will enrich the relationship, strengthen trust, and make you both more tolerant.

15. Approach changes with patience and openness

No matter how long you have known each other, taking the step to live as a couple for the first time opens the doors to a new stage for the relationship. Both of you will have to rearrange some of your routines, as well as adapt to certain habits of the other. The process takes time and requires will and patience.

In this sense, it’s important to learn to face the changes with serenity and assertiveness. Differences are inevitable, but the way of facing them makes the difference. The commitment that both of you have to “making it work” is what will allow you to grow and learn as a couple.

How to know if you’re ready to live with your partner

There’s no surefire way to establish if you’re ready to live together as a couple. What you should be clear about is that it takes a lot more than love to make it work. Here are some quick questions you can ask yourself before making a final decision.

  1. Have you been dating for more than a year?
  2. Is there trust, respect, and equality?
  3. Are you both financially stable?
  4. Is the decision to move in together a joint one?
  5. Is the relationship going well?
  6. Do you have a definite place to live together without the influence of third parties?
  7. Are you aligned regarding your future goals and lifestyle?
  8. Do you want to live together because you love each other, because it suits you, or both?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then it isn’t time to start a life together. As much as you love this person, give yourself space to think with a cool head. If there are shortcomings in any aspect, the relationship is likely to fail.

However, now that you recognize those things that are missing, you can start working on them with your partner if you really want to move on to this new and exciting stage in your relationship.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.