The greatest challenge, double-edged, in the life of a couple, i.e. moving in together, most often begins with a small drawer reserved strategically by the young lady in the wardrobe of her lover or from a few T-shirts misplaced by chance in her laundry basket, from the need to spend more time together or from the natural desire to practically test the compatibility, in a formula able to remove doubts and uncertainty, often used as an alternative to a premature marriage, not validated by the past experience of living in common.
Whether it materializes as a result of the woman's insistence, tired of always waking up alone, without any romantic breakfast served at the bedside, as shown on TV syrupy movies (which, unfortunately, sometimes she even believes them...), whether it comes from the partially domestic, partly sentimental calculations of the man, enthusiastic about the idea of a female presence both in the kitchen and in the bedroom (especially in bed), the decision of moving in together, and also the subsequent evolution of the “process” itself, must follow certain rules, without which everything could end in chaos, broken hearts and lonely nights, spent (again) in suffering, on the couch.
1.-The right time. As they are taught from an early age to smile delicately, to eat everything from the plate (only up to a certain age, as later the calories are deposited avidly and unaesthetically on their bodies), or to entrust their heart in a wise and selective manner, the women should be taught very early the lesson of patience in love, the science of not throwing themselves headlong and not to entrust immediately the keys of their home to any “Prince” full of charm, compliments and promises.
Even though ladies are excessively rigorous when it comes to choosing a partner, organizing real competitions and eliminatory tests for the satisfactory identification of their “soul mate”, when they strongly believe that they've found the suitable and competent one in all the fundamental issues (anatomy, physical education, psychology, great generosity and sexual skills - although the last two are not subjects taught in any college), their legs become weak, while their thoughts rush instantly to wedding rings, solid commitments, holidays in Hawaii and two or three children... as a bonus to the happiness that is waiting for them with open arms.
And what could be (in their opinion) the first step to take, without which the extremely tempting dream will not become palpable reality, if not the touching and indispensable moving in together?
Being, however, a major event where the kind of chemistry like “we saw each other, we liked each other” is insufficient, quitting the separate apartments in favor of a common home, may prove to be a reckless action when it happens too early, too forced or too unrealistic.
Any relationship must have its phase of adaptation, where the two enthusiasts have the “duty” to know each other judging by what each of them is, at that moment, and not by the hopes or aspirations of what they may become in time.
In the absence of a certain degree of maturity of the couple (totally malnourished after only a few nights of crazy love), moving together can bring more losses than gains.
That fact of living every day with a person to whom you know only his/her qualities, has the potential, at some point, to question your seemingly strong feelings, because the inevitable confrontation with your partner's shortcomings, with his/her habits and strange behaviors, performed live, as if it was a surrealist show, is not an easily digestible food for everyone.
It is therefore necessary to know in advance both the qualities and the defects of the partner you have chosen. What woman would like to discover, after she had just sold her apartment to move in with her boyfriend barely known by a month, that the one in question is just on the verge of being fired from work, but also the fortunate holder of a criminal record or some bank debts (in which case he/she does not necessarily has to be blamed for his/her excessive and malicious discretion, because, simply, some things cannot be said after only a few “innocent” dates at the restaurant or among the sheets)?
Or that he uses the hair straightener, has the fridge full of beer, and wakes up punctually every midnight to listen repeatedly some obscure song (which you suspect it reminds him of his “ex”)?
Therefore, moving in together involves a meaningful, non-superficial knowledge of the future “roommate”, and this progressive knowledge should be accompanied by a serene and assumed acceptance of his/her personality, points of view and deficiencies.
Surprises caused by unprepared actions can cause headaches, heartaches and irremediable separations. And that is why, it is a good idea to know who you're dealing with when you assiduously play with the idea of a single dwelling.
2.-Personal space. Most often, after they see themeselves at the arm and in the house of their dreams’ soulmate, women tend to ostentatiously occupy his personal space, to replace the gray curtains with some pink ones, the minimalist style with an over-crowded one, the bed cover with a multitude of brightly colored cushions, matching the newly purchased carpets, much more suited to the current context. To throw out all the magazines for men, the old-fashioned T-shirts from a century ago, the food generating passions and cholesterol. In other words, to radically change the partner's lifestyle, found suddenly in a contest of hostile circumstances, where both his good taste and his common sense, as well as any of his material or spiritual goods, are questioned.
Before saying that it is natural for women to “effeminate” the living space, since it no longer belongs exclusively to the man, but becomes a common one, requiring items agreeable to both sides, it should be mentioned that between remodeling here and there and modifying totally a male habitat, there is a difference similar to that between an original song and a failed “remix”.
It is necessary to identify the tolerance limit of your partner, beyond which any action is equivalent to invading his personal space, causing inconvenience, frustration and dissatisfaction. The last thing you want to inspire him is that, once you have been accepted on his private property, he is summoned urgently to say goodbye to everything that offers him welfare, comfort and the pleasant feeling of “home”.
The reverse is perfectly valid as well. There are situations when the man moves to his partner home or the two of them buy/rent a new house, intended to become their perfect love nest.
In both cases, both the man and the woman have the right to add their personal touch in the living space, to surround themselves with familiar objects, with which they can identify themselves and to use, not to feel strangers in their own house, which, instead of inspiring the sensation of a mixed home, evokes the image of a dwelling inhabited by an incurable bachelor or a lonely lady who loves plush and velvet.
Be, therefore, receptive and tolerant when your soulmate dares to put in sight a poster of his favorite football team, when he refuses the floral pattern for the wallpaper in the bedroom, or turn the guest room into a work lab, hosting an equipment far too “sophisticated” for the likes of a woman uninitiated in technology.
3.-Routine. It is well known that many of the difficulties of living together are given by the helplessness of partners to negotiate differences in routine, habits, or the management of the daily schedule. This is not at all a surprise, given the fact that both come from different backgrounds of life, with individual habits and all kinds of automatisms functioning as a “second nature” when it comes to the daily component of existence.
Surprising are, as a matter of fact, the situations in which the new cohabitation causes no incidents, divergences or major oppositions of interests, such as when the members of the couple harmonize perfectly their visions, without arguing, for example... when the first is planning to wake up at 5 in the morning to make a toast and yoga, and the second dreams of running in “function” toward lunch time, to eat everything except dietetic food, when he throws his socks all over the house, more melancholic than a carpet of autumn leaves, while she obsessively declares her passion for order and discipline, when one loves the quiet and peaceful evenings at home, and the other one likes clubs and the city fuss.
Cases in which the two get along like cat and mouse, however, are much more frequent. Every woman has tried at least once in her life to determine her boyfriend to give up his whims and conform to her lifestyle, also every man has had at least an attempt to impose his point of view in purely domestic matters. Whether it was successful or not.
What can you do when you notice that there are obvious discrepancies between how you prepare the coffee and how your partner prefers it, between the Celsius degrees you set to the air conditioning and the temperature desired by him, between all sorts of seemingly insignificant things, but which substantially contribute or, on the contrary, they put many problems concerning the functionality of living together, requiring immediate reconciliation, in order not to get into a possible and irremediable state of conflict?
To mobilize the other, using some permanent insistence or various allusive tactics, to get used to your routine that you can't give up at all, represents an act of harmful selfishness that will gradually estrange your partner tired to always give up in front of you, as if he were a humble subordinate or a simple impersonal presence that has no own needs and preferences.
The best solution, therefore, is the balanced compromise solution that is satisfying for both, and to strengthen that life that is based on the motto “we”, and not on “I, me, mine”. While this may sometimes mean big changes and some sacrifices, such concessions are inevitable in any relationship for whose survival you intend to fight honestly and strongly.
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The common denominator of all these ways of making moving in together a beneficial experience of a couple's life, is balance, understanding, respecting each other and, of course, patience. Without them, the life in common can be a real chore, with short-term validity.