transform your space into
your personal haven



a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation


editor's note 

o lounge 
o nourish 
o host

o send an ECARD

submit your ideas

big decorating dreams. tiny little budget. don't be a wallflower! jump on over to the discussion boards and get decorating help.

copyright ©1999-2005

shacking up moving in with a significant other
by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2
continued from page 1

There's also the privacy factor: when you're living together, neither one of you has an obvious place to go to be alone. No matter how crazy about each other you lovebirds are, there will be times when you want to have the freedom to do your own thing, in your own space, with your own pals, on your own time. And that's totally healthy: the happiest, strongest couples I know are the ones where each half has a solid sense of who he or she is as an individual. If this is your first grown-up relationship, if you've never spent any real time apart from each other, if you've only been dating a few months, you might be so wrapped up in the thrill of couplehood that you forget to allow yourselves to explore outside interests, friendships, and adventures. And while that might feel cozy at the beginning, eventually, one or the other of you is going to start feeling stifled -- all the more so if you're stuck in a cramped one-bedroom apartment where it feels impossible to let out a breath without the other person taking note. It might sound strange, but you sort of need to learn to be alone before you can be really good at being together. Otherwise, you're just begging for real problems in the future. Still, as long as you go into the move with a clear understanding that sharing a roof doesn’t have to mean losing your individual selves, making the transition to living together can make a good relationship even better.

hash it out
Communicating clearly from the very beginning about what you both expect out of the living arrangement is key to making sure that you don't end up wanting to throttle one another six months down the line. First and foremost of the issues that you should lay on the table: money. Will you be splitting all bills 50/50, or will it be based upon your individual incomes? Will one of you choose to take care of the electricity and the water, another the telephone and the gas? What about shopping for groceries, and paying for new furnishings for your digs? Will you maintain separate bank accounts, or set up a joint bank account with which to pay for the apartment expenses? If you're setting up a joint account, how much will you each contribute from your monthly paycheck, and will you discuss things before buying anything using money from the shared account? There's no one right answer for how to deal with the financial situation, but it is absolutely imperative that you come to an agreement that makes you both comfortable.

Making the decision to live together can have some serious implications for the status of your relationship too. Are you on the same page about what living together means in terms of commitment? Is this a step on the way to marriage, or is marriage not something you believe in? Don't get all coy about addressing what living together really means for both of you -- now is NOT the time to worry about whether you're going to freak out your partner if you start talking about a long-term shared future.

See, when you finally do take the plunge and shack up, any final facades have to come down: you see each other exactly as you really are, because it's just way too exhausting to put on your happy-smiley-perfect face 24/7. And that's both the good and the bad of living together. Because if you're still thrilled to wake up next to each other every morning despite the fact that the dirty socks piled on the floor drive you crazy and your detached hairs forming an unintentional new rug grosses him out, then you know. This relationship: it's a keeper.


check out these related articles: 
the newlyweds' nest 

---------------------------> lounge . nourish . host . laze . home.