Whether you're doing it to take your relationship to the "next level" or simply to lessen the burden of outrageous rent, moving in with your significant other is kind of a big deal. Not only are you agreeing to see each other's faces every single day, but you'll also have to tackle the challenge of cramming all your stuff into one space. And let's just say that takes cosy to a whole new intensity.
I can still vividly remember when I made the move to New York City after graduating from university. A taxi picked me up from JFK and dropped me at the front door of my then-boyfriend-now-husband's apartment building. You should have seen Derek's face when he opened the door to me . . . and all of my baggage. Don't ask how we managed to fit everything in his teeny-tiny studio apartment, because I still scratch my head when thinking about it.
Yes, sharing an insanely small space with your SO takes commitment and a lot of patience. But despite the inevitable complications, this chapter can be quite joyous, too. (And as I mentioned above, cheaper rent!) So if you're in the midst of downsizing to cohabit with someone you love, or even considering it, can I offer you some advice? Take a deep breath, embrace the good — and not-so-good times — and read ahead for the five things to know.
1. Exhilaration, excitement, eagerness, anticipation — Get ready to experience it all! The day you've dreamed about is here: calling the same address home. This is when you two sign the lease and pop the Champagne to celebrate. Talk about butterflies galore. You start reading up on tips for sharing small spaces and finally unveil the secret Pinterest board you've been creating filled with decor inspiration. (Please tell me I'm not the only who did this?) And if you're like me, you flush away any nerves and feelings of doubt by relishing the last few days of having a bathroom all to yourself!
2. The quest for a happy medium will begin. After surviving moving day and conquering all the stressful scenarios this day brings forth, the unpacking begins. It is during this stage the quest for balance begins. You know, the joys of compromising. Whether it's with decorating, dividing up chores, or deciding on bedtimes (because your space is so small that if one of you stays up, it will keep the other one awake as well), compromising is a must when it comes to tight quarters.
But want to know the key to success I've found with finding that happy medium? Being transparent with your wants and needs. Trust me, tensions quickly flare up in minuscule square footage, so clear communication can really work wonders. Plus, the cold shoulder doesn't really work from a foot away. By being vocal about your opinions, you will ultimately gain a better understanding of each other's expectations and will avoid a whole lot of confusion in the process. And remember, there are few things that can't be solved over beer, pizza, and an honest chat.
3. Pet peeves will escalate, and disgust and frustration will start to creep in. Now of course, sharing a space with your partner won't be all cuddles and kisses. But I'm sure you already knew that. Before too long, those quirks you used to find somewhat cute will just flat-out drive you up the wall. And new frustrations will start to bubble up. The burping, the farting, and other completely disgusting sounds you never even knew one's body could make — you'll quickly be introduced to these repulsive pet peeves, too.
Remember when I mentioned taking a deep breath above? This stage is when I encourage you to do that most.
4. But don't worry, you'll accept and adjust. So what do you do about these mushroomed annoyances? Simply put, you accept them. You learn to be OK with the grossness. (As long as it's not too grotesque. If it is, then sit down and hash out a fast resolution.)
Ever since I moved in with Derek, I've had to face the fact that I traded in my alarm clock for the sound of him loudly blowing his nose. See, as soon as he wakes up (always before me), he tiptoes into the bathroom to blow his nose. No matter the morning, it always wakes me up. Sounds romantic, right? At first, I found this sound extremely annoying. To be honest, I still do today, but I've learned to accept this sound, tell myself it could be worse, and move on.
Because when you're forced to share a bed, a bathroom, and even the air of a teeny-tiny space, you learn to get over the unpleasant moments. You'd be surprised how quickly you can do this, since frankly there's nowhere to escape to. With very little privacy, you accept the fact you're both human and embrace one another in each other's most vulnerable state. And as hard as it can be for some guys to learn, yes, women poop, too.
Don't worry, the adjustment gets easier with time.
5. Yet above all, your heart will be flooded with gratitude. Despite all the tensions, frustrations, and times when your apartment feels quite claustrophobic, nothing will compare to the feeling of waking up next to the person you love. The space that you share — no matter how small the square footage might be — is the place where you both call home. So why not embrace each emotional stage you'll most likely experience living together and enjoy the wild ride?