Top tips for living with a partner harmoniously11/13/2021
Living with a partner is not an easy or quick decision, and there are lots of things to consider before you make the jump to co-habitation.
If you’ve considered the pros and cons to living together and feel that it is a good idea to move forward with it, then the next step is getting through any teething pains.
Petty squabbles about the laundry or the dishes are bound to happen: the key is to minimise the frequency and, when they do happen, to not let them blow out of proportion and affect the foundations of your relationship.
Each relationship is different and every person has different needs, but there are some small steps to take – both individually and as a couple – that can ensure smooth sailing (or as close as you can get to it) from here on out.
We asked Vihan Patel, dating expert and founder of dating app POM, to share his tips on how to live together with your partner as peacefully as possible.
He advises in particular that you must ‘share the workload’ as equally as possible – which includes hoovering, mopping, gardening etc.
Patel says: ‘Unless you have the privilege of having a cleaner or gardener, chores are unfortunately an unavoidable burden. It is important that couples feel that adulthood responsibilities are shared evenly,’ particularly as having one person do all the chores can make them resentful – and it’s not the 1950s anymore.
Splitting your chores evenly might sound stupid, as it’s not a uni flat-share where you should be forcing your housemate to take the bins out. But we’re all human and prone to forgetfulness and distraction from other areas in life.
Writing down your commitments, as well as what chores you need to fit around them, can be a simple solution to keeping the peace. Both partners have pants to wear to work, and you avoid the classic squabbles of ‘you were supposed to do the laundry last night!’.
‘It might be as simple as one person washing the dishes and the other person drying/putting them away, or one person doing the laundry while the other does the ironing, and so on,’ but Patel says it can cause you a lot less grief in the future.
Though a ‘chore chart’ and some semblance of a routine can be very helpful, he does warn against getting too stuck in your ways.
Patel explained: ‘While it is good to have a routine that you both stick to, it can start to make you feel like a wasp trapped in a glass – that feeling of irritation that builds and builds until you end up stinging someone close.’
Couples should make sure to ‘break the routine’ by regularly planning date nights, trips away, a nice long walk, or something completely different to switch up another night sitting on the couch watching yet another crime drama.
In addition to that, you should also make sure to ‘take time for yourself’. Of course you’ll be spending a lot of time together with your partner – both in and out of the house – but it’s important not to lose yourself.
‘Take a little time for yourself whilst allowing your partner to do the same,’ says Patel.
‘Take up a hobby, go for walks, or visit friends and family without your partner. Living together and being in a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be joined at the hip!’
Patel adds: ‘As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, plus it’s good to have new stuff to talk about when you come back together,.’
Living together means that inevitably you’re going to be sharing finances – whether that’s by jointly paying the rent, splitting bills, buying groceries, or even opening a joint bank account. Discuss finances with each other early on, as not having this conversation can become an issue for couples later.
Patel says: ‘To avoid any tension or difficult conversations, bite the bullet and have the finances talk as early as possible.’
Couples should be ‘open, honest, and prepared to make some compromises,’ as living with a partner is a big responsibility both emotionally and fiscally.
While these are just some small ways for couples to ensure harmonious living, the main thing is to ‘find the right tool’ that works for you and your partner for whatever disagreement you might be having. If your issue is forgetting family dinners or double dates, use a shared Google calendar to plan your time, or make sure your chores are written down on the fridge.
Patel says: ‘There are plenty of tools out there… use them. The saying goes, “work smart not hard”, and I feel that it applies in this context too – you need to put work into a relationship. Identify what you need, find the right tool for the job and make sure you both stick to it.’
Being in a relationship, and specifically living together with a partner, can seem hard at times. That’s why you have to make a conscious choice to work through it together, and nip small issues in the bud before they strain your partnership.
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