Before cohabitation, consider this advice

By Alice Inoue Posted in: Go Ask AliceImprove

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QUESTION OF THE WEEK: My boyfriend and I are planning to look for a place and move in together next month, and I’m a bit apprehensive about it. We each have maintained our individual living spaces for the past 10 years (we are both in our 50s) and will be giving them up to create a new beginning. Do you have any advice for us?

Several considerations are involved when transitioning from living alone to sharing a space.

Save some time and energy on unnecessary arguments by getting clarity on the following:

1. Determine your budget. Discuss and share a realistic view of what you each will contribute to the monthly expenses, then search only for places that fall within your budget. Where a disparity in income exists, which is often the case, balance things out in advance and list the estimated monthly expenses. Afterward, decide what expenses you will split and what expenses you will trade off. Mapping out a plan that feels fair to both of you before you move in together can save a lot of frustration later on.
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2. Discuss necessities. You each should clarify your priorities and use them as a guide-post so you both get what is truly important to you in your space. Search for places with these priorities in mind.

3. Determine your joint style. One of the hardest things is to find your joint style. It’s easy to more readily accept the other’s decor and style when you are living apart, but your new home has to reflect both of your styles. Otherwise, energetically, you won’t be happy.

4. Keep it clutter free The only way to keep your new place clutter free is to start with that intent. When we move, we often carry from home to home things that we have forgotten about that were hidden in storage spaces and boxes. Take the time to scale down before you move in together.

Above all, remember that disagreements are natural. If it is tough to agree on where things go or how to merge styles, it is worth giving up a few nice dinners out to hire a professional to guide you through different options that could work for you both.

Though it may be a bit bumpy at first, preplanning and using the tips provided above will help you both enter a much better space in order to take your relationship to a deeper level.

Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to alice@yourhappinessu.com. Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U.