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How To Live With Your Girlfriend (Without Losing Your Mind)

Moving in is tricky.
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Moving in with your girlfriend is exciting. For some couples, the Big Move happens at three years, for some, three days and – let’s be honest – some couples sign a lease on the third date.

But cohabitation is not without complications. These three tips can make the transition as harmonious as possible.

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

What is the definition of “chores”?

It may seem like a basic question, but everyone interprets that word differently, so you and your partner need to make sure you’re on the same page. For example, maybe you used to sweep every once in a while, but your partner wants the apartment swept, mopped and dusted twice a week.

Then, decide ahead of time how you’ll split the chores. It doesn’t necessarily have to be 50/50. Maybe you work longer hours, so she’ll do the dishes on the nights you come home late. Maybe she is out of town a lot, so you’ll handle all the chores when she’s gone and she’ll do the same when she’s back.

A happy medium.

You and your girlfriend are going to fight. Some fights will be warranted, and others won’t – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you both know your conflict resolution styles and determine, in advance, what you’ll do when conflicts arise.

For example, maybe your girlfriend needs to silently contemplate every disagreement until she reaches a rational conclusion, while you would rather fight fast and then forget about it. To accommodate both your needs, instate a mandatory thirty-minute Time Out where you both think about what you want to say; that way, she has enough time to process her emotions, and you only have to wait thirty minutes.

Try a lot of tactics to figure out the best way to resolve conflicts. Whenever a conflict arises, try writing letters to each other, taking a walk together or even meditating. Make sure neither of you goes to bed angry.

It must be the money.

Because we live in a capitalist society, money can be stressful, especially for young couples. You and your girlfriend already have enough to worry about – your jobs, your health, all those chores – so work out the big money questions in advance.

  1. How much rent will each person pay? If you’re moving into your girlfriend’s apartment, you might not have to pay anything, or she might ask you to contribute. If you’re signing a lease together, you can choose to split the rent equally or based on how much money each person is making.
  2. Who will pay for groceries and household items, and how much will you spend on that per week? If you can only budget $60 per week for groceries, but she wants to spend $120 on manchego from Whole Foods, you need to have a long talk.
  3. How will the bills be divided in an emergency? An emergency could include an unexpected hospital bill, a massive utility charge or one partner losing her job. You need to decide a backup plan in advance, and have some sort of rainy day fund, even if that “fund” is a credit card (last resort, but effective).

Living together is stressful, but at the end of the day it’s worth it – there’s nothing better than waking up next to your girlfriend every morning.

Congratulations on the Big Move, and good luck!

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J. Marie graduated from Duke University with a degree in International Relations and dreams of being a creative writer–dreams she’s now realizing as a musical theatre writer in NYC. She’s passionate about global black identities, black representation in media, and leather-bound notebooks. She also loves backpacking through a new country at a moment’s notice, and speaks Spanish, Swahili and Standard Arabic.

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