Once you move in with your partner, you'll instantly see each other in a different light. When you finally decide it's time to consolidate spaces, you will have to learn
how to adjust to living together, and a few issues might crop up that can seem like dealbreakers. Good news is, they don't have to be.
"Even couples that spend a lot of time together still don’t encounter the challenges that come from living under the same roof,"
certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "It requires at least some merging of finances and being dependent on the other person to a degree (e.g. to pay a share of the bills). Many couples who were happy living independently find that when they move in together they simply aren’t compatible in that way." Of course, it's common to go through an adjustment period, as you get used to sharing a space and combining your lives. But several issues can come to light, once you're together all the time, that might make you question the future of the relationship.
The thing to remember is, that nothing
has to be a dealbreaker, if you don't want it to be. Obviously, you'll want to get out of situation if it's toxic or unhealthy. But if you move in with your partner and find out they have financial problems, or they're really messy, or you don't like spending a ton of time together, it doesn't mean you're doomed.
There are definitely a few issues couples can run into after moving in together, but as long as you're willing to talk about them and figure out a plan, they don't have to be dealbreakers.
While you probably should have talked about money
before signing a lease with your partner, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement, and skip this step. And when that happens, it might not be until a month later, when it comes time to pay rent and bills, that you realize you've got a problem on your hands.
"Many people discover that
their partner’s financial habits can be dealbreakers," says Bennett. "This can include things like not paying bills on time, overspending, lack of saving, and so on." And these issues can lead to all sorts of arguments and trust issues — which can be dealbreakers, too.
But don't start packing your bags just yet. "This can be hard to fix since financial values are taught young and it’s difficult to get someone to change," Bennett says. "However, therapy and a class on financial management could definitely help." As can
setting up a budget, being more honest with each other, and playing to your financial strengths.
Fighting Over Messes & Chores
"While you might have an idea of how your partner lives based on [their] current apartment or house, actually living in the same place with [them] could radically change things," Bennett says. "Visiting a filthy apartment every few days might not bother you too much, but living in it could be a dealbreaker."
So if you move in together, and find yourself knee-deep in a mess — or maybe your partner's the neat one, and won't stop arguing with you about
leaving dirty dishes in the sink — the stress can certainly lead to a breakup.
And yet, as with all things that feel like dealbreakers at first, this issue can be resolved. "Generally,
good communication and compromise can solve this issue," Bennett says. "It’s not too difficult to keep things clean so long as your partner is willing to work. In addition, the overly [neat] partner might need to accept a little mess as a condition of love." It's all about being clear about what bugs you, helping each other out, and trying to find a balance.
Realizing You Aren't On The Same Page
For many couples, moving in together is a major step forward in the relationship. It often signals that you're not only a couple, but that you plan to be one for a long, long time.
And yet, that's where many relationships run into trouble. If you
haven't discussed your long-term goals — aside from renting an apartment together — you might realize that you aren't on the same page, and don't have the same vision for the future.
"If one person sees it as a step towards marriage and then comes to realize that their partner does not, this can be a dealbreaker for them,"
therapist Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT tells Bustle. It's important to remember that living together isn't the same thing as being married. That'll need to be a separate discussion, and one you two you should have if it seems you aren't on the same page.
Being Irritated By Each Other's Quirks
You might not have noticed your partner's messiness levels until
after you start sharing a space, and the same is true for each other's quirks. What was once cute, for instance, can suddenly seem extremely irritating when you deal with it every day.
"Over time, little things that grate on you ... can turn into dealbreakers," says Bennett, especially if you never take the time to discuss
ways to possibly rectify these habits and live together in harmony.
"In many cases, solving this just involves a little communication and compromise," Bennett says. "Since they’re little habits, they can be easily changed. Just be sure to speak up before things spiral out of control and everyone is frustrated and angry."
Having Different Ideas About Alone Time
There's nothing quite like transitioning from seeing each other a few times a week, to
seeing each other every single day. For some couples, this can be a rude awakening, especially if they haven't braced themselves for such a big lifestyle change.
It can also turn out to be a dealbreaker, if it comes to light that one partner requires a certain amount of alone time, while the other craves more attention. This can lead to hurt feelings and stress , and maybe even a breakup, if it isn't addressed early on.
Being able to talk openly and work out a plan for these issues will be crucial for your relationship going forward. "State your needs, state your desires, and negotiate," clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of
The Web Radio Show, tells Bustle. "No negotiation is a dealbreaker."
Once you move in together, and suddenly have much more access to each other's lives and things, that's when boundary issues can become even more apparent.
You might notice that you need to figure out how to spend some time apart. But you also might notice other behaviors that
cross other types of boundaries, like if your partner's tendency to snoop.
"Snooping issues may start to surface while you are living apart, but simply put, once you join forces and your partner has access to things that were private, their behavior can become more noticeable," Dr. Klapow says. Unless you're cool with them looking at your phone, or reading emails over your shoulder, you'll want to have a conversation about it; not only for the sake of creating rules in your relationship, but also to discuss the implications of their snooping.
"It may be a
bigger problem about trust," Dr. Klapow says. "But it could be as simple as helping them learn how to have privacy while living together." You won't know unless you talk it out, and start working on the issue together.
Having Issues Surrounding Sex
Plenty of couples move in together, and fall into a sex groove that feels right for them. But for other couples, "intimacy can feel very different once they are together every day," Dr. Klapow says. "Moods, physiology, and feelings can change." And it can take a while for some couples to adjust.
you want sex all the time, for example, while your partner only wants to do the deed on the weekends, it might feel like you're a mismatched pair. And hey, maybe that will end up being true. But you should "always talk before you decide it is a dealbreaker," Klapow says. "Discussing sexual needs wants, desires, fears, is critical here." In doing so, it might be possible to sort things out, and come up with a routine that feels right and comfortable for both of you.
Struggling To Adjust To A Shared Life
The thing about moving in with a partner, is you kind of
have to take them into consideration. That doesn't mean you have to drop your old life, or never go out again. But it does often mean communicating more, saying when you'll be out late, and doing more together than you might have done when you were living apart.
And this can be a struggle for many couples. "If a partner wants to keep everything the same as when they were living alone (when they eat, how they eat, bedtime, wake time, hobbies, social life, responsibilities,) and refuses to check in with their partner, it can be a dealbreaker," Dr. Klapow says.
Of course, you might agree as a couple that's totally fine, or that you're both going to do your own thing. But if one of you is feeling left out of the loop, it needs to be addressed. Oftentimes, it takes a while to adjust to a shared life. But it can be done.
Realizing They Were Hiding Something From You
Not all couples clear the proverbial skeletons out of the closet before moving in together, so you never know what might crop up once you're sharing a space. And, while your partner has a right to their privacy, it's certainly OK to ask them about things you've noticed or picked up on, and see why they've been keeping it a secret — especially if you think it might affect you or the future of your relationship.
"The best thing is to talk about it, openly and honestly,"
Dawn Wiggins, EdS, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "Get an idea of how your partner deals with their struggles. Do they have adequate care from a therapist or psychiatrist? Do they have a good support system?" If they have a plan, and can start being honest with you, it doesn't have to be a dealbreaker.
Living with another person can be difficult, and it'll definitely take a minute before you fall into a routine, and get used to this new lifestyle. So give yourselves time to adjust, and always discuss issues as they arise. If you can make a plan, and be honest with each other, even big problems like these don't have to
spell the end of your relationship.