Going From a Long-Distance Relationship to Living Together
Couples often find that going from a long distance relationship to moving in together is not the honeymoon that they expected. It's important to have realistic expectations and be fully prepared before taking this step, because not everybody makes a successful transition. In fact, 27 percent of couples who move in together end up going their separate ways, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being open to compromise and having patience are the keys for cohabitation to work.
1 Be Realistic
In long distance relationships, the time that you're together may seem perfect and problem-free. Imperfections and annoyances are often forgiven when time is limited or when you are longing to be with the other person. When you move in together, be prepared for this to change. Spending most of your time with your partner will make you see them in a different light. Be open to discover some habits that you will not like, such as finding that he doesn't clean up after himself or that he spends too much time watching television. Having realistic expectations will increase your chances of being able to adjust to this change.
2 Set Boundaries With Your Partner
In a long-distance relationship, you probably didn't have to deal with boundary issues such as your partner reading your e-mails or using your personal belongings without asking for permission. These are the kind of disagreements that will come up once you share your home together. Keep in mind that two different people with different attitudes toward personal space and belongings are coming together under one roof. You can prevent arguments by sitting down and discussing boundaries. Discuss issues, such as what personal belongings you are willing to share, respecting each other's privacy, activities that you will do separately and the division of household expenses and chores.
3 Allow Time for Adjustment
Don't expect living together to be a honeymoon. The first few weeks or months will be a huge change for both of you. "People fantasize about how wonderful it will be when they are together," says Laura Stafford, P.h.D., a communications and relationships professor at Ohio State University. "People don't think about having to readjust their lives, their schedules, or their living space." Be especially forgiving of your partner's moods or annoyances during this time. At the beginning, you might find yourself longing for your old freedom or the romantic dates that you went on when you were living apart. Remind yourself of all the good things that come with living with your loved one and keep in mind that after some time together, you will learn to synchronize and complement each other.
4 Don't Rush In
If you're feeling nervous or ambivalent about this step, it's okay to ask your partner for some time. Rushing into cohabitation without being ready can cause a huge strain in your relationship. Transitioning slowly into moving in together can help you better deal with the changes that come with it. Start by planning and having conversations about your living arrangements, boundaries and expenses. If possible, you can begin spending longer periods of time together to soften the impact of going from one weekend a month to 24 hours a day 7 days a week together. Try to keep your old living arrangements available in case things don't work out. Just knowing that you have a place to stay if you want to move out can help relieve some of the worry and pressure.