Advice for couples moving in together with Jenn Decan

Jenn Decan Opens in new window is a bubbly lifestyle blogger who shares stories and advice about life in the city, relationships, dating, cooking, and travel. Jenn lives in Toronto with her boyfriend, their cat Seven, and their dog, Dusty.

Unpacking boxes and placing books on the bookshelf, I remember thinking to myself, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" I looked around at all of the boxes and what had already been unpacked. I looked at the culmination of our things and thought, "There's no way we are going to be able to combine our two lives into this one apartment."

I stopped unpacking, sat on one of the many, many boxes piled up in the corner that still had to be unpacked and cried. It was all too much. The move, the boxes of "stuff," the lack of wine, oh - did I mention all of the boxes? Yeah, it was all a bit much and I was overwhelmed.

I'm a hopeless romantic. I love love and love love stories even more. The happily ever after? Love it. The fairy tale ending? That's my jam. But I'm going to get real for a minute. No matter how much you love someone, no matter how much you want to be with someone - moving in together is going to be an adjustment to your relationship. Things will change and compromises will need to be made.

There’s no rule book to follow when you move in with your significant other. The best you can do is communicate and plan ahead.
Reality check: spending 24/7 together is not always romantic

My boyfriend and I spent more time together than apart before we moved in together. We’d talk through messages all day while at work, followed by dinner and spending the night together multiple times a week. We’d cook together, wake up together, read together, do any and everything together. But after making the big move, I realized there was still so much to learn about each other.

Once you move in with each other, be prepared to see some things that you may never be able to un-see (i.e. Someone standing in the kitchen, naked…eating tacos). Some things, like eating tacos naked in the kitchen, may be fantastic. Some other things maybe not so much. You’ve been warned. Keep this in mind when you’re searching for a place together and deciding how much space you really need.

Talk about how to combine your stuff (and protect it)

Sitting there surrounded by boxes and boxes made me realize, “Holy crap – we have a lot of stuff.” When two people are combing all of their belongings – it’s a good idea to take a tally of everything. Be organized and write everything down. You’ll start to realize how quickly that list is growing, and then the adult in you will kick in and you’ll realize that it may be time to get some tenant’s insurance or review your current policy.

Even though we’re just renting at the moment, our list of valuables began to increasingly grow as we unpacked. For instance, before we moved in together – there were zero gaming consoles in my house. Now that we live together, there are two. Before we moved in together, there was one television in my house. Now, there are two. Having extra valuables is a definitive factor in the need for renter’s insurance. Talk about whose insurance policy you’ll update or if it’s worth making a switch. If one of you has a car, you’ll likely need to add the other person to your insurance and it may be worth bundling it all together to save money.

The fact that we live in a building that was built over 100 years ago and there was a flood in an adjacent apartment shortly after we moved in together, was all the validation I needed to tell me that we needed some renter’s insurance.

Figure out the financial situation

That ties into my last little tidbit of advice. Discuss all things finance beforehand. Trust me – having all of that figured out in advance will save you countless hours of arguments and endless amounts of stress. Have it all sorted out who’s paying for what, how the bills will be split, and whether to create a joint account for all your household expenses. Discuss it all! No detail is too small.

There’s no rule book to follow when you move in with your significant other. The best you can do is communicate, plan ahead to take the stress out of the situation, and book your friends well in advance to help you move!

As I sat there surrounded by boxes, I realized that as much as it would take a few weeks to get settled, that this new home was full of potential and a start to a new, exciting chapter in my life.


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