7 Rules for Happy Cohabitation

Rules for Happy Cohabitation

When Cohabitation is the Next Step in Your Committed Relationship

An unmarried couple living together isn’t as shocking as it used to be. In fact, many couples consider cohabitation before they get married, just to see what life in a shared space would be like. Other couples define cohabitation as the ultimate commitment, and aren’t planning to get married. Wherever you beliefs lie, if you and your partner are considering cohabitation, there are many things you can do to make your living situation a happy one. Here are my top seven.

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Define This Next Step

What does cohabitation mean to you? Is it a test to see if you can live happily together once you get married? Or, is living together enough of a commitment for you both? If this is a stepping stone or the end of the line for your commitment, you need to know before you move in together.

Don’t Lament the Disappearance of Your “Perfect” Partner

What happened to that guy with the clean apartment who always shaved his face and wore clean clothes? Who’s this burping, farting, and toenail-clipping-at-the-table guy who wears the same underwear two days in a row? OMG, he pees with the door open and never replaces the toilet paper! Now that you live together, you’re going to see the real, human side of your partner, just like they’re going to see the real, human side of you. They’re going to feel your stubbly legs, see you without makeup and with unkempt hair. They’re going to know you poop and get your period. Shocked? Get over it!

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Make it Both Your Spaces

Your home should be a reflection of both your tastes. That can be hard to do if one partner gives up their home to move into their partner’s home. You don’t need two coffee tables, two couches, or two beds! The rule of thumb should be to keep the item that’s in the best shape. This is also going to require some compromise. You may have to sell something you love or at least put it in storage because your new home doesn’t have the space for it. That’s okay. Your partner will be giving up some of the things they love too.

Share the Chores

If you both work, there is no reason why you can’t share the household chores. Make a chore chart and stick to it. Decide how often the house gets cleaned. If one of you neglects your chores, the other is going to feel resentment and resentment is not part of happy cohabitation.

There is a fear common among anti-living-together people (most likely your mom or grandmother), that any woman who lives with a man she isn’t married to turns into a 1950s housewife. Suddenly she is cooking and cleaning and giving him sex for free! Unless you actually want to do all the cooking and cleaning, you don’t have to worry about magically turning into that woman. And as far as the free sex things goes, it might be a shock to those same anti-living-together people to learn that women enjoy sex just as much as men do. Sex isn’t a commodity, so you’re not giving anything away for free.

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Share the Bills

If you both earn money, you both pay the bills. If one partner earns more than the other, they can pay for more things, but each of you should be contributing financially to the lifestyle you lead and the home you keep. Like chores, if one person gets stuck paying for everything, resentment builds.

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Have Your Own Hobbies

Just because you’ve taken the next step in your commitment and chosen cohabitation, it doesn’t mean you have to give up the hobbies and activities you enjoy. Keep doing what you love, outside of the house. Whether it’s a fitness class, community garden, or writing at Starbucks, stick to it.

Have Your Alone Time

You don’t have to be together 24/7. You each need your alone time. Go out with your friends and leave your partner at home. Send your partner out with their friends so you can enjoy a night of peace and quiet on your own. Give yourselves the opportunity to miss each other and have separate adventures so you can tell each other about them later.

So how do you make your cohabitation work? Let me know in the comments!

8 thoughts on “7 Rules for Happy Cohabitation

  1. Thelma

    Disappointment, whether married or cohabitation is bad. Everyone knows that the romance phase disappears after a year or so, if not earlier. Each person needs to now themselves and feel secure in themselves. They also need to weigh the costs, whether financial or emotional and then decide. What is dating and casual courting for then if you are going to cohabitate? I am leaning toward agreeing with the person who stated that the partner might decide that this is all there is, no marriage. It also would mean that if the partner is happy with things as they are, they might have a difficult time making things legal. My personal views are centered more on making it legal at first so that there will be no easy exits and more commitment.

  2. Mark from the UK

    I am enjoying my space after twenty years in a relationship, suddenly you find you when alone, the good the bad the ugly! And hey living to someone else’s rules and regulations can be hard, when you accept you are ready for co habitation, then you are in the right frame of mind for adjusting to giving, not taking. My partner wants me to move in, I am not ready as I am enjoying my space. When you are young we co habitate for security, mortgage, kids, when you are older you are re born !

  3. Maria Wade

    All of this is sooooooooooooooo very true. I have a partner that does only two out of all of these. One of the most important ones is definitely my own space and alone time. I need this at least once or twice a week, it’s rare I get it at all because he doesn’t have his own hobbies and has no friends of his own.

  4. Lexa

    I was a disabled (well still that) writer and my ex live-with partner had the entire trailer decorated how he wanted and with me in the picture we could have had a house rented. Because I stayed at home (while he had my car) I had to do all the choirs. If that meant I didn’t write for the day so be it, to him. If that meant I didn’t exercise, so be it, and then he complained about me not exercising. Choirs meant MY work cause he had a “real job”.
    Still T-ed off.

  5. Helen

    I may be terribly old-fashioned, but I agree with those who say that moving in together with a boyfriend is the WORST thing a woman can do, if she wants to marry him. To you, living together may be the final step before actually getting married; to him, living together IS the final step. Worse even, he may view you as a “just for now girl”, someone to have sex with as often as he wants.

    IMHO, if the Mrs. title before your name isn’t important to you, as long as you’re living together with your loved one, go ahead and move in together. But if, like me, you view marriage as ultimate commitment, and will begin feeling hurt and unappreciated after a couple years of “cohabitation” not followed by a marriage proposal, you should think more than twice before starting to live together.

    To me, the best advice in this article is the 1st one: Define this step, making sure you know exactly what meaning each of you attaches to it.


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