Choosing to live with a partner is a huge step in any relationship. But before making anything legal, it’s a good idea to make sure you two can tolerate each other in sickness, health and questionable television choices. For me, living with my boyfriend wasn’t at all been what I anticipated—the reality, actually, is so much better! But, I did live with a previous boyfriend and it was literally the worst situation of my life. So as awesome as my rooming situation is this time around, I wish someone had shared with me the advice I'm about to drop on you . . .
1. Real Estate Is A Premium
It doesn’t matter if you live in a studio apartment or a sprawling estate, I can guarantee you there isn’t enough space for your shoes, sweaters or miniature porcelain dachshund collection. Before you move into each other’s spaces—or ideally move someplace new together—discuss the division of closet space. Also, don’t forget about things you can’t hang up, like socks, pjs and underwear. If you can’t buy an extra dresser, you can get canvas shelves that hang from your closet pole like this one, which, personally, has saved my sanity.
I also guarantee you both need to get rid of some clothes because there isn’t enough space for what amounts to a lifetime of bad fashion choices. Deal with it. Toss those circa 2002 sweatpants with holes in them. They’re gross and you won’t want to wear them in front of another person anyway.
2. Life Is Easier If You Use The Same Toothpaste
Remember when you were first staying over at your significant other’s place and you had to bring your very special face wash because you couldn’t possibly use their very special face wash? You might not believe me now, but there will come a day when you run out of said face wash and there’s a whole bottle of another kind available that you will try—and possibly convert to. You also might notice your supply of zit cream is going a little faster than usual . . . it’s not the Zit Cream Fairy (who is the second cousin once removed of the Sock Fairy, who steals your socks from the laundry)—it’s your partner.
While you will probably never use all of the same products, life is a little easier when you use at least a few of the same ones. So, pick a brand or two of toothpaste, dish soap, hand soap and laundry detergent you both like. Keep a double supply available if you have the space. And learn to share your fucking shampoo once and a while.
And a bonus tip: you should try to buy in bulk because things tend to go twice as quickly. That three pack of toothpaste that’s on sale? Ding ding ding—that's the winner! You’ll also save money by buying more at a time. Either take a monthly trip to a store like Costco or order online from Amazon or Boxed.
3. Division of Labor + Hired Help = Clean Living Space/Happier Couple.
Remember the days of the dishes piling up in the sink or the finger prints on the bathroom mirror that annoy you, but not enough to actually clean them—they’re probably over. Discuss cleaning and division of labor before you move in together. My partner likes doing the dishes. I’d rather be water boarded. Things stay a lot cleaner when there are two people to do the work.
You also might want to consider hiring a cleaning person even periodically to make life a little easier. Remember, you’re probably splitting the cost, so it’s probably more affordable than you think.
4. Compromise Gets Easier
If you love someone, it’s all about compromise. This could mean eating Italian when you really just want some sushi, being forced to change your ketchup brand preference, or bringing a third party into the bedroom—like a 65-pound English bulldog with a farting problem (that would be my compromise). It’s not that hard. Living with another person is great, and while it certainly feels at the beginning that you are making compromises and not necessarily ones you like, after a while, it won’t feel like compromising anymore. It becomes just a part of life—like a long line at Starbucks, perhaps, a mild nuisance but worth the inconvenience. That being said, if you don’t have one already, spring for a DVR. No one should ever have to miss To Catch A Contractor, even if your partner doesn’t understand why Adam Carolla is hilarious.
5. Don’t Worry—You Won’t Be Together 24/7
There’s only so much time you can spend with another person. Or other people in general. You and your partner both need alone time and time away from each other. So schedule that girls night, go to yoga class, or join a book club. But be sure to balance these activities with nights at home when your partner is away when you can stay at home and have the remote and the dog’s affection all to yourself. You might even find after catching up on a month’s worth of Law & Order: SVU episodes, you might even miss your significant other . . . just a little bit.