Is it just me or does it seem like everyone is talking about living with your significant other? Let me be more specific, I mean – everyone is giving unwarranted advice about living together. Sure there’s always “don’t go to bed angry”, but whether it’s too soon, too late, don’t live together until you’re engaged or don’t get married until you live together – everyone has something to say.
But what about the people who are already doing it? When I’m looking for advice on how to ‘how to boil an egg’ or ‘what an IRA is’ – I’ll turn to my parents. When I want advice on millennial relationships, why not go straight to the source. I surveyed over 200 people and I’m here to share the best advice (or at least, the most interesting) from cohabiting millennials.
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE
While this is the most obvious of them all, it was also the most common theme throughout all of the interviews – so it must be mentioned. Melissa T said, “Be honest with what you want/need from your partner. You can’t expect them to guess how you’re feeling.” I think women are specifically guilty of this. How many times has he said “What’s wrong?” and you say, “Nothing I’m fine.” – ouch. Your partner is not a mind reader. One interesting take was about what specifically to communicate – “Communicate your environmental stressors and figure out how to avoid/manage them.” This is so true and I love the idea of letting your partner in on what triggers you and why. Genius.
MAKE THE BORING THINGS FUN
Throughout the surveys, my favorite piece of advice was about how to rethink chores. One of the most common misconceptions is that things are always fun when you live with your best friend – which is certainly not true. This girl has the right idea, “Set some common mutual goals for the weekend and stick to them (laundry, clean kitchen, get cars serviced) and accomplish them together. That helps to make time to spend FUN quality time during weeknights and weekends w/o feeling disarrayed on Monday morning.” I’m someone who has to have a productive weekend to feel ready to go into my week so I’m all about this.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
This may seem obvious, but like many things, living together is about compromise and you should pick and choose your battles. Loved this nugget from Nazish L – “Don’t expect your partner to also be comprising or “changing” for you. The goal is to blend two lives into one so the idea is never to change the other but learn to adapt and learn to accept the quirks. Pick your battles!” Preach sista.
DO YOUR PART & THEN DO MORE
I’ve talked about this in my ‘Why Being 50/50 In A Relationship Doesn’t Work” post so this next piece of advice really resonated with me. “Agree on a division of chores and then always, always help the other with theirs.” One thing that I’ve found in my marriage is that it’s so much easier for me to do things in the kitchen or the living room or even in Sahir’s closet – then in my own. I get morbidly overwhelmed trying to tackle my own space and so it means the world when Sahir comes to help me out with my closet.
DON’T FORCE SCHEDULES TO ALIGN
Have you ever guilted your partner into doing chores so much so that their mopey attitude makes you wish you were just doing it yourself? Yup, we’ve all been there. Hell, I’ve done it too. Some people need ‘cleaning’ penciled into their schedule or added onto a Google calendar to make it happen, but for people who are generally tidy, I find that patience is key. When I feel inspired to load the dishwasher & clean out the fridge, I have to understand that it won’t always align with when my partner wants to tackle it. Forcing someone to get up from what they are doing, even if it’s just relaxing after a long day, and having them clean is guaranteeing a stressful experience. Instead just do the parts that you can tackle yourself and tell your partner, “hey I’m gonna go ahead and do the dishes but can you wipe down the counters before bed? Thanks – xoxo.” Share the responsibility, but not the timeline.
SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
This one is straight from our male contributors for Simply Sabrina. Mark said, “Be forthcoming with your appreciation of your partner early and often regardless of how big or small the reasoning might be.” I absolutely love that.
DON’T MAKE SOMEONE DO WHAT THEY HATE
Someone told me this before I moved in with Sahir and it really resonated with me. Have a conversation with your partner on the chores that they hate to do (& no you can’t say all of them). Go ahead and ask what they love to do too! Figure out a way to split tasks so that no one is doing what they hate. You will often find that your partner wants to avoid the most trivial things that you don’t mind at all! For example, I kinda love loading the dishwasher – it feels like Tetris to me, but I absolutely hate taking down the trash cans. For Sahir, he hates breaking down boxes – and trust me – we get a ton! This came up with an SS reader too. She said, “Split household chores – try to base it in things you don’t mind handling. If there are things neither of you likes to do, then take turns”.
LIVE OUT OF LOVE, NOT TO KEEP SCORE
“Try to figure out how you can make the other persons day a bit easier. Be thankful for what’s done for you and make sure to reciprocate it in some way” It’s amazing how many men shared similar sentiments about appreciating what’s done for them and returning the love. If you keep score – both of you will lose.
I hope that these pieces of advice were helpful to you in living with or considering to live with your partner. Remember that every relationship is different and you know what works best for you. Ladies, do not accept anything else than equal shares of homemaking. Making your partner a real partner is the key to a happy relationship, but you know your relationship best and whatever you do – make sure it’s out of respect, love, and positivity. I’ll leave you with this last piece of advice from Katie L. “Always remember to say goodnight and I love you.”