Like when your alone time becomes a distant memory.
Even though you get along swimmingly now, it’s totally possible — and common — that you and your partner will experience a brand new set of relationship problems after moving in together. But they don’t have to mean the end of your coupling.
According to Dr. Robin Buckley, a cognitive behavioral coach who specializes in couples, most post-move-in issues stem from the realization that you and your partner have mismatched standards and/or beliefs about how to run your daily lives. It can come as a shock because, well, there’s often no reason to talk about things like chores or bills until you’re both living in one home.
“We often picture a move-in filled with romance and spontaneity and fun,” Buckley tells Bustle. But the truth is sharing a space requires a whole slew of tough (and sometimes super boring) conversations. "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. Talking throughout the move-in process and sharing your expectations is the only way to avoid these surprises and make a smooth transition.
If these relationship issues don’t even out, it very well may mean you and your partner aren’t as compatible as you previously thought. But if you keep communicating and compromising, many of the problems that occur after you move in together — like the ones listed below — can be resolved.
You Might Realize You Don’t Share Long-Term Goals
For many couples, moving in together signals a major step forward in the relationship. It often means you're not only a couple right now, but that you plan to be for a long, long time.
Once the bags are unpacked and you’re looking toward the future, however, you may realize that you don’t actually want the same things in life. If one of you sees moving in as a step towards marriage and the other doesn’t, therapist Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT tells Bustle, it can quickly become a problem.
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. The strongest couples check in with each other on a regular basis to make sure they’re still heading in the same direction.
You Could Start Arguing About Alone Time
It may also quickly come to light that one of you requires a ton of alone time while your partner craves more attention, or vice versa. If the topic of alone time isn’t addressed early on, it can lead to hurt feelings and stress — and maybe even a breakup.
Being able to talk openly about your need for personal space is crucial. “You’ll want to state your needs, state your desires, and negotiate," clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, tells Bustle. "No negotiation is a dealbreaker."
You Might Argue About Boundaries
It’s also not uncommon for couples who recently moved in together to cross each other’s boundaries, often unknowingly. If you don’t talk about it, your partner might not know that you like to be alone before bed, or that you need quiet time after you get home from work.
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,” 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," he 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.
You Might Feel Like You’re Falling Out Of Love
“As living together becomes more familiar, the excitement can start to fade,” Sokolovic says. It’s a natural part of getting busy and settling into a routine, but it can start to feel like there’s a problem if you don’t acknowledge it.
“It is important not to interpret this change as ‘falling out of love’ but as an invitation to bring novelty, playfulness, and creativity into your lives,” she says. Instead of arguing or worrying that your relationship is going downhill, come up with new traditions and ways to enjoy each other’s company.
You Might Have Sex Less Often
Plenty of couples move in together and fall into a sex groove where they hook up on a regular basis. But for others, "intimacy can feel very different once they are together every day," Klapow says. "Moods, physiology, and feelings can change." And it can take a while for some couples to adjust.
It also might become a lot more obvious that your desire levels don’t match up, or that one of you is craving sex a little less often, now that the option for sex is more available.
"Discussing sexual needs wants, desires, fears, is critical here,” Klapow says. Once you chat, it’ll be easier to sort things out and come up with a routine that feels right and comfortable for both of you.
You Might Feel Burdened
Moving in together means communicating more, saying when you'll be out late, and doing more together than you might’ve done when you were living apart — even if it’s the little things, like running errands. And it can be a struggle for some 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 you it can be a dealbreaker," Klapow says.
Of course, you might agree as a couple that it’s totally fine to forgo constant communication. But if one of you feels left out of the loop it needs to be addressed. Oftentimes, it takes a while to figure out what’s right for your relationship, but it can be done.
You Might Take Each Other For Granted
Before moving in together, hanging out was a novel experience. You set up dates nights and did fun things, which made your relationship feel exciting.
But now that you see each other on a daily basis, you may find that you start taking each other for granted, Sokolovic says. This is when a relationship can start to feel boring and predictable — and that can lead to all sorts of problems, like cheating, as a way to “spice” things up.
“Prioritizing and planning quality time and keeping relationship rituals (or creating them) is an important part of making a relationship work,” Sokolovic says. So remember to talk about these things early and often when moving in together, and you should be able to avoid a lot of the post-move-in problems many other couples experience.
You Might Find Out 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.
Dr. Robin Buckley, cognitive behavioral coach
Ana Sokolovic, MS, licensed psychotherapist
Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert
Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, therapist
Dr. Josh Klapow, clinical psychologist
Dawn Wiggins, EdS, licensed marriage and family therapist
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