Author Topic: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?  (Read 3834 times)

Offline MzB

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Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« on: Nov 07, 2015, 11:32:59 PM »
I have been in a relationship for a year now, and we are contemplating living together. Or at least 'experimenting with living together' (and trying to remember that if the living together part doesn't work out, it doesn't mean the relationship isn't working out). It is all very scary mary, as well as exciting.

So. I would really welcome anyone's thoughts on the ups and downs of moving in with a partner (especially when you are not spring chickens). I have lived with flatmates before, in one case for over ten years, but never with a partner.

What are the kind of things I should plan for (emotionally mainly, but practical stuff too)? Anything that has really helped you in a living together relationship? Anything you wish you had done differently? Anything you wish you had sorted out at the beginning which became a problem later? How do you ensure that you keep your sense of space and freedom when you live with your partner?

All words of wisdom (and warning) received with thanks.

Mental Elf

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 08, 2015, 07:50:13 AM »
Hmmmm....I think you both have to be prepared to give each other space and time apart.

I can't really say much else because every time I've lived with a partner its been pretty horrendous. Although I suspect that's partly due to my desire for my own space.

Remember to do things by yourself, without each other. I think when you live together its very easy to end up doing everything together.

Offline Lust for Life

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 08, 2015, 09:09:01 AM »
My wife has to travel sometimes for work. I miss her when she's not here, but that is a Good Thing, in my view.

Are the places you both live in separately roughly equally clean? Tidy? How much time do you spend cleaning?

How much money do you spend on food shopping?

The everyday stuff is important. Try to work out in advance where the big differences are, so you can be realistic about where you will need to compromise.

And honestly? I am not sure if a big mismatch on the clean/tidy front will ever really work. Anyone else know better?

lyko

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 08, 2015, 09:30:05 AM »
Always have your own space, never share a pet and be prepared to compromise.

It really helps if you know yourself and your partner does too. For instance do you both have deal breakers that are compatible?

One of the biggest issues in my experience is the financial side so you need to negotiate and discuss that and come to an arrangement that is comfortable for you both. Plus you need to make sure you are both approaching it from the same place I.e. Is this building a future together or addressing practical issues. How will you share the space if one of you is moving into the others home? Is there room to make it a space that is more 'ours' than 'yours' etc. Etc. That sculpture she hates but you love, could you really cope with it being in a cupboard?

Mostly you need to talk a lot about what living together looks like for each of you. How do you envisage it working, how does your partner? How will you ensure the other has space and independence and autonomy while still ensuring your own needs are met.

It's boring and not romantic all that talking and planning but getting it sorted in your own minds before you embark on it is massively important.

And really really think about what it means if it doesn't work out. Can your relationship really withstand that? I don't know that many couples who've survived living together and then living apart but if you can talk , I mean really talk to each other then that will give you a good chance.

LFL, it can work the untidy and tidy thing, i'd like to say there needs to be compromise but as the untidy one in almost all my relationships I can tell you that I do a lot of tidying and a lot of muttering under my breath.

Offline Musicality

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 08, 2015, 09:50:58 AM »
I would think about whether there are any small niggles or doubts you have about any aspect of the relationship or moving in as after moving in these could become a lot more magnified and harder to address. I'd think about them and talk them through, stating what I wanted and seeing what they wanted, before I moved in. For instance I am the same as Mental Elf and have learnt I do not want to be making someone unhappy by my need for space so I would state all that up front. I would also look for the self awareness to be aware of and capable of adapting their behaviour and not just saying what I want to hear to get me to move in (this is my personal experience from the last time and may not apply to you). Childhood patterns can rear up after moving in so I would be aware of any history you both have in that area too as that can help to pre-empt any problems.

It's lovely you have met someone you want to move in with anyway, hope it goes well.

Offline Musicality

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #5 on: Nov 08, 2015, 09:52:25 AM »
^ I think I've repeated some of what Lyco said there, didn't see it before I wrote my post.

Offline MzB

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #6 on: Nov 08, 2015, 10:48:04 AM »
Remember to do things by yourself, without each other. I think when you live together its very easy to end up doing everything together.

Yes, I think this is really important. She is moving into my house, but we are designating one room as 'alone space'. It's going to be a bit hard in that she doesn't know people in my local area, so we need to work on building up her social connections up here. And I am well aware of the 'merger' dangers. I think I will need to book a few evening classes!

The everyday stuff is important. Try to work out in advance where the big differences are, so you can be realistic about where you will need to compromise.

And honestly? I am not sure if a big mismatch on the clean/tidy front will ever really work. Anyone else know better?

We are having a 'workshop' on living together soon (we do formal workshops and reviews with an agenda, tongue in cheek, to negotiate stuff). This is a helpful reminder to focus on differences, LfL.

As for clean/tidy, I am a complete slattern and she is a minimalist  ???  I think we might need a rota!

Always have your own space, never share a pet and be prepared to compromise.

It really helps if you know yourself and your partner does too. For instance do you both have deal breakers that are compatible?

One of the biggest issues in my experience is the financial side so you need to negotiate and discuss that and come to an arrangement that is comfortable for you both. Plus you need to make sure you are both approaching it from the same place I.e. Is this building a future together or addressing practical issues. How will you share the space if one of you is moving into the others home? Is there room to make it a space that is more 'ours' than 'yours' etc. Etc. That sculpture she hates but you love, could you really cope with it being in a cupboard?

Mostly you need to talk a lot about what living together looks like for each of you. How do you envisage it working, how does your partner? How will you ensure the other has space and independence and autonomy while still ensuring your own needs are met.

It's boring and not romantic all that talking and planning but getting it sorted in your own minds before you embark on it is massively important.

And really really think about what it means if it doesn't work out. Can your relationship really withstand that? I don't know that many couples who've survived living together and then living apart but if you can talk , I mean really talk to each other then that will give you a good chance.

LFL, it can work the untidy and tidy thing, i'd like to say there needs to be compromise but as the untidy one in almost all my relationships I can tell you that I do a lot of tidying and a lot of muttering under my breath.

This is really helpful Lyco, thank you. I think we really do need to talk in depth now about what happens if living together doesn't work out. We are thinking of a six month trial period but the parameters for that will need to be very clear.

I'm also wondering if we need to think about a constructive exit strategy now. Including a pet exit strategy with visitation rights!

Childhood patterns can rear up after moving in so I would be aware of any history you both have in that area too as that can help to pre-empt any problems.

It's lovely you have met someone you want to move in with anyway, hope it goes well.

The childhood pattern stuff is challenging. I'm hoping that we are old and wise enough to know ourselves and our patterns but there are no guarantees. And thank you Musicality, I think it's lovely too. And am quite amazed, in a very good way ;D

Offline Dizz

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #7 on: Nov 08, 2015, 11:08:01 AM »
Sounds like you're covering all bases MzB. I'm sure you'll live happily together.


I don't think I could live with anyone.  I like my own space too much and anyway, I think I'd be a nightmare to live with.
« Last Edit: Nov 08, 2015, 11:10:21 AM by Dizz »
'' You can't turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.''

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Offline MzB

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #8 on: Nov 08, 2015, 11:15:10 AM »
Thanks Dizz. I do want to go into it with eyes open as far as poss. But I know that the most well laid plans can go awry!


Offline outoforder

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #9 on: Nov 08, 2015, 11:30:03 AM »
I have no advice, other than, have fun, don't forget the fun.  ;D

Really though, best of luck. You deserve.

Offline MzB

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #10 on: Nov 08, 2015, 11:32:49 AM »
I have no advice, other than, have fun, don't forget the fun.  ;D

Really though, best of luck. You deserve.

Yay for fun! We do have a lot of it and I hope living together will mean even more.

Thank you  :-*

Offline Grey

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #11 on: Nov 08, 2015, 12:33:22 PM »
In my dim distant past
Space!!-alone-taken as needed and always respected
And lists-she used to work admin and there were lists and sometimes quite comical they were-I was never so neat and organized in my life! It worked wonderfully because it was all appreciated instead of expected-that was the real working philosophy to living with our differences-the acknowledgement
(instead of negotiating every last little thing to dust)
And FUN/JOY like OOO wisely says
that matters most of all

Best to you both-how lovely!! ;D


   

Offline MzB

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #12 on: Nov 08, 2015, 12:39:15 PM »
appreciated instead of expected-that was the real working philosophy to living with our differences

Thank you Grey. If I could sew, I would like to make a needlepoint of this to hang over the door.  ;D

lyko

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #13 on: Nov 08, 2015, 02:13:13 PM »
... and I know this isn't at all romantic etc. But bear in mind the impact of living together on claiming any kind of social support. It may not be relevant now and may never happen but if either if you were to unexpectedly lose your job or health then some of the relevant benefits are means tested and will take into consideration both your incomes.

Don't forget to tell the council tax people. And are you happy to put a utilities bill in her name as that's often a form of ID that people need?

I'm honesty not trying to be the fun police but I think a lot of people think living together is a big romantic adventure without taking into consideration the practical and financial impacts.

(Although it sounds like you've got your head screwed on!)


Offline MzB

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Re: Living together - wit, wisdom or warnings?
« Reply #14 on: Nov 08, 2015, 02:51:28 PM »
Yes you're right Lyco and those are really useful reminders.

I do sometimes long for days of yore when life just 'happened'!

I found this 'living together agreement' online which looks as though it may be useful: http://www.advicenow.org.uk/guides/make-living-together-agreement

I also realise that I need to think a lot more about whether what we are planning is 'an experiment', and what that means.