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Your tips for a successful cohabitation, please?

(8 Posts)
aurynne Mon 02-Nov-09 03:38:15

Hi all,

My DP and I have been together for just over 9 months. However, after several short relationships, being already in my 30s (what I mean with this is, I am not an immature 20-year-old falling for the first man that smiles at me), I do believe he is the right person for me. He has been married before (7 year marriage, no kids) and used to own a house with his ex-wife.

Very recently we have decided to move to a different city within the same country, and we have bought a beautiful house together. He moved in first a month ago, and now I've joined him. Before that, I used to stay at his house most nights, but I still kept my rental, which gave me a sense of independence. I have always been a very independent person and was used to having my stuff, my individual bank account, no debt, lots of savings and my own personal space. All of that has just changed, of course, and I will have to get used to sharing everything, and living off his salary while I look for a new job in this city. I am sure sharing my life with my wonderful DP will make all that worthwhile. However, I am a bit worried about doing the right things and getting this relationship to work. My DP is a sweet and understanding person who has gone through hell in his first marriage. I would like to be a person he is proud of, and make this work.

There is an endless tide of experience (good and bad) in MN, and I know I could benefit immensely from all your opinions. I would like to ask you for the things that make cohabitation work: what things should I try to do? What things to absolutely avoid? What would you have done differently if only you could go back to those first days living together?

Any opinion/experience, no matter how good or bad, will be highly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance!

picmaestress Mon 02-Nov-09 09:22:06

I've lived with 3 guys, so here are my handy hints:

Sort out the ground rules about tidiness and cleanliness now. It's the number one cause of friction. If you have enough money, maybe get a cleaning lady if you're both working.

Be kind to each other. I needed more patience and kindness when I got married than I ever expected, it was a hell of a shock.

Everyone needs space and time to themselves. If he's chilling and being quiet, he might want to just stay that way for a bit.

Have the 'are we considering having kids' conversation now, and agree a set date to to discuss it further.

If you have never lived with someone else, be wary of making big decisions and not asking him first. It's easy to just get on with something and do it, but remember he'll probably want a say, even if it's just new tiles for the kitchen floor.

My mum swears separate bedrooms and loos have kept them happily married for forty years. They do sleep together half the time, but it's rather nice to have your own bedroom with your stuff in it.

Get out of the house once a week and have a laugh together.

Don't let every conversation end up being about something domestic. It can get very dull.

Be yourself, try not to keep any secrets, and try and keep some of the mystery.

Oh, and nagging doesn't work. Lists do.

Lucky you! Have fun.

Lasvegas Mon 02-Nov-09 11:47:21

My tips are:-

1)Separate bathroom
2)Separate bedroom, if you don't have same sleeping pattens. (mine is tiny but I am not disturbed by snoring or DD getting up and going to bed a different times)
3) Get a cleaner
4) a joint bank account for mortgage, bils etc and a personal account for everything else

MrsBadger Mon 02-Nov-09 12:08:29

talk about things

do not nag or sulk or martyr yourself

do not expect DP to be able to read your mind

do not feel you have to 'share everything' - DH and I both have our own (small) spaces. Even if it's just a desk or a dressing table you can set it up and use it the way you want.

divide the chores in a way that suits both of you (NB if eg one of you works much harder/longer hours than the other this may not be a 50/50 split). Eg DH loves cooking and I hate it, so I cheerfully do all jobs pertaining to laundry and he does all the cooking. But do talk about it.

keep your individual bank accounts and open one joint account for 'housekeeping' ie rent, bills, supermarket shopping that you both pay an agreed amount into (again if salaries are not equal this may not be 50/50)

MrsBadger Mon 02-Nov-09 12:10:50

oh and presumign you don;t have two bathrooms, sort out your morning routines

nothign builds up simmering resentment like a dh who is always in the shower just when you need to be, causing missed buses etc. Get up 10min earlier, or see if he will have breakfast in dressing gown while you shower etc etc

Ewe Mon 02-Nov-09 12:20:40

Go out, as tempting as it is to stay loved up in new relationship/new house you need to go out and retain some independence. It'll also give you something to talk about!

Ewe Mon 02-Nov-09 12:21:40

I would also say, give eachother ten minutes when you walk in the door, most people need a little space to make the transition from work head to home head.

aurynne Mon 02-Nov-09 18:35:30

Hi again,

I am taking notes of everything you're telling me! Fortunately for me, my DP has already spent years living with someone else (a nightmarish someone else!!!), and has tons of patience.

The separate bedroom options is probably a bit too luxurious for us, but I do have an office with a small bed. I did insist in having my own little space from the beginning, and I have already noticed it makes me feel better to have a place to retreat from time to time.

DP does not snore and we seem to be completely in sync while sleeping. I sleep the whole night through with him, and he says he sleeps much better (and longer!) when we sleep together. I have been sleeping with snoring boyfriends before though, and I agree, it's hell on earth!

I do feel the loss of independence and the temptation to do things my way, and I am trying my best to get over it as soon as possible.

The mind-reading that some of you mentions strikes a chord... it ruined one of my previous relationships and I am adamant it will not ruin this one.

Thank you so much, please keep the advice coming!

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