9/13/2012 4:15 PM
A friend of a friend is about to move in with her boyfriend of three years. Until now, the relationship has been semi-long distance, since they live in different cities. They’re happy together, but usually only spent a night or two a week together. Everything was fine until a couple of days before the move-in date, when she suddenly panicked about the possibility of losing her independence.
They’re not the only couple who’ve ever had these doubts. Here are a few tips for holding onto your sense of self.
It’s Not an Unreasonable Fear
Moving in together changes the rhythm of your relationship. How much will depend on how much time you spent together before-hand. If you were one of those couples who pretty much spent every night together before moving in, there won’t be a lot of change. However, if you previously only spent a night or two together at a time, things will be very different when you are in the same place every single night.
The novelty can make you want to rush home each night so you can cook together and do a bunch of other “playing house” sorts of things. And, you’ll have to deal with sharing a bathroom when you used to have one that was all yours. Maintaining your own space and identity requires specific and conscious effort.
Make a Point of Keeping Up Your Normal Activities
Accustomed to hitting the gym after work? Make sure that you continue to do that. Maintaining your independent interests helps keep your independence and individuality.
You can feel like you need to alter your schedule to head straight home after work even though, before living together, you were more in the habit of having a couple drinks after leaving the office. As long as you make a quick call to let him or her know when to expect you, keeping up your independent habits is fine.
Keep Finances Separate
Having your own money and spending it how you please is one of the things that makes many people feel independent. While many couples start dumping everything into a combined bank account right away, this is not the right approach for a lot of people. Many people don’t like the idea of having to check in with their boyfriend or girlfriend before making purchases or find it an invasion of privacy for them to even know how much money is in their accounts. If this sounds like you, keep separate accounts, separate investments, and spend (within reason!) as you see fit. Have an agreement on who will handle which bills and how it will all be divided. This keeps things fair while also preserving both parties’ independence.