If there’s one thing that second and third year at uni shows you, it’s that you shouldn’t move in with your loved one. If the relationship goes south, things will become awkward quickly – especially if you’re planning on bringing other partners home in a hurry!
But the world is anything but simple and – amazingly – living together can work for some students. Impact Nottingham spoke to a variety of couples who moved in together. For some, it worked brilliantly. In the case of others, it all fell apart.
Thinking, against all the common wisdom, of moving in with your partner? Here’s some advice.
Make sure you’re serious about them
This might sound obvious, but you’re going to be living with this person for at least a year. If you don’t like them all that much, then living together probably won’t be the best choice.
Feeling obliged to live with someone you don’t care about is bound to cause conflict. Cosmopolitan Magazine interviewed a couple about the ‘right reasons’ to move in. Basically, if you take money and sex out the equation and the drive to cohabit disappears, you’re not serious enough to move in together.
Try a trial period
Living with a partner is a big commitment and not something to consider lightly. So trial it first.
Try living with your partner for a month or so – ideally while still in separate accommodation. This way, you get to know what they’re really like. Of course this isn’t restricted to your partner. It can be just as tough living with your friends.
You will get to know all of their little habits and pet peeves, like leaving the toilet seat up or not doing the dishes. If you can’t handle these habits for a month then you won’t be able to handle them for a whole year or more.
Most importantly of all, ensure that cohabitation won’t actually compromise your relationship. See whether you can live with them and keep that spark alive. If living together anaesthetises you completely to their presence, cohabitation’s not the choice for you.
Set rules and boundaries
Right from the off, you need to create some ground rules. You’re living together. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend every waking second together and you shouldn’t. You’ll drive each other crazy, and I don’t mean crazy in love.
Agree on boundaries. Make sure that you both have your own personal spaces that you can retreat into, especially after a fight. MyStudentStyle recommends that, when needed, space is alway granted.
Talk about your problems
News flash. You’re going to bicker. And I mean bicker. Trivial, petty arguments about how she leaves her hair in the plughole or how he leaves his trainers in the middle of the living room are par for the course with cohabiting couples.
Having a fight is perfectly natural and healthy – and you should always make up and discuss it afterwards. Of course, this is easier said than done; it can be far more tempting to lock yourself in your room and pretend that the argument never happened. But do this to your peril.
Yet this has the problem of letting the negativity fester. Instead of discussing your emotions, you’re bottling them up. And these emotions then become a ticking time bomb. Not only will this create an awkward atmosphere for you, but your poor other housemates. As College Magazine identifies, communication and compromise is a big part of a relationship.
On that note, as painful as it might be, discuss the possibility of what might happen if you do break up. Think about what your backup plan might be and how this could affect your other housemates.
Ignore the naysayers
At the end of the day, this is your heart, your emotions, your decision. Some people may discourage you, but if you think you can make it work, then good for you. Ignore the naysayers, whether they’re spouting on the Tab or on the Inspiring Interns blog.
Keep “getting physical” to the bedroom
Lastly, if you’re going to get physical – whether this is having sex, kissing or just tickling – then do it in your bedroom. Your housemates probably don’t want to see you getting frisky. And if they do, then they’re weird, creepy and invasive and you should probably find new housemates.
Originally published on Inspiring Interns