Smart Moves For a Smooth Move In

Fighting fair basically means the following:
• Take a breath and think about what you're going to say before you lose it and attack like a pitbull.
• Use "I" statements to make a point and avoid using always and never like the plague!
• Don't let things go until they build up and you lose control in an explosion of temper.
• Don't threaten! If you are truly at the end of your rope, bring it up when things are calmer and not in the middle of a fight.
• If it's bedtime and the fight is still going try to go to bed with a temporary truce.

The most important thing about fighting is that if you've invested in proving them wrong and you do a really bang up job on the offensive, your significant other can become so defensive that you don't even have a dialogue going anymore. This happens to a lot of couples and they become stuck in disagreement ruts. So you may feel proud of yourself for "ripping" them apart and giving them "nowhere to go," but is alienating the one you love really worth always being right?
Yeah you really love each other and you even really like living together, but you still pine away for the good old days when you could just stay out and do your thing for hours without worrying about anyone else, or kicking back and doing whatever it is your gender does — full tilt, or heck, just plain being alone!

Often, when we first move in we're on our best behavior and/ or we're just used to the routine we had pre-cohabitation. For some of us, women especially, we're looking forward to more time spent together, while others are just assuming that living together will be an extension of our old routine. Remember what the bad news bears coach said about "assuming?" This is a topic which lends itself to advance discussion. If you already know that you really like your solitude or time with the girls and guys, make it clear from the get-go so you don't find yourself dying to break away from a boyfriend or girlfriend who has no clue, and is suddenly starting to seem like a much more suffocating person than you remember. "I love you and I love spending time with you, but I like balance and I still really value my friendships." By the same token, when your significant other asks you for time away, be generous and don't give them a guilt trip. Feeling free to go, stokes the desire to come home.
Just because you're in love and you're living together doesn't mean you have the same circadian rhythms. Night Owls and Early Risers will have to do with out each other on either end of the day if they want peace and harmony during the waking hours they share. After all, nobody likes to be woken up by clomping shoes, bright lights, loud TV's, or phone conversations. Find ways to get ready in the morning or wind down late at night while your boyfriend or girlfriend sleeps. It may take some sacrifice on your part, but remember if you're evaluating each other as potential marriage material, being married to a considerate partner ranks high in a happy relationship and nobody's happy when they're cranky!
Depending on how you interact, one influences the other, (the stereotypical scenario being that either you lower his cholesterol or you wind up grudgingly eating meatball heroes half an hour before bedtime), or the two of you can become partners in health or in crime. In the psychological realm, some of us confuse eating the same things with togetherness. I'll go out on a limb now and say that you do not have to eat the same things in order to commune. Indeed, the basic rule of thumb here is live and let eat. When it comes to food choices, we cannot control each other, (unless of course we allow ourselves to be controlled.) Hopefully the healthier of the two of you will have the greater overall influence, but if not, nagging each other about what you eat can really start to get grating.
Boy meets girl, boy is hot for girl, boy courts girl which gets girl hot for boy and their sex life takes off like a rocket ship! They move in together and the rocket ship becomes a Volvo wagon. During the initial stages of courtship, men are usually at their personal height of attentiveness which can really turn a gal on, which, in turn, can really turn a guy on and so on and so forth. The cocktail of stress and non-glamorous ick of it, ("honey, you keep leaving a big gob of toothpaste in the bathroom sink,") that comes with living together. However, it can bring all this lovely cycle of attraction to a dead halt in some cases. Sustenance or revival requires good communication, an openness to try what your partner likes, (only what you deem really reasonable here,) and the ability to take time off, (see above paragraph on personal space.) By and large, women are more attracted when men listen to them, talk to them and focus on what they are saying, whereas men tend to like spontaneity, openness and variety (as in position). With the right efforts it can be a win-win situation.
I know it's not the most romantic topic, but when you don't talk about money, you stand to lose more than just the relationship. In addition to resentment, anger and hurt feelings, the potential financial loss can be grave. Living together does not offer the same legal or financial protection of marriage. Some of the best advice I've heard is to put together a simple co-habitation contract, (who pays for which things, in what proportion and whose name is on which lease, deed, etc.) Some of the other best advice is to keep at least some of your money separate. I realize that moving in together can be a very happy, giddy time and I can only imagine the stomach acid this churns up for those of you who are afraid to rock the boat, but that in and of itself is a sign that you may not be able to communicate about this most important issue when and if the going gets really tough. And that is not a good sign. Nobody wants to move in together while preparing for the worst case scenario, but given current divorce statistics, it's a wise thing to be prepared. As the saying goes, hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Laura Grashow Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who has been working with children, adolescents and families for over 15 years. She specializes in relationship issues, parenting, divorce, and child development. For more information, see Laura's website.

Plus, check out Laura's new book "Dating the Older Man." It is the ultimate comprehensive guide to coping with large age differences in love relationships. In today's world, factors such as high divorce rates, plastic surgery, increased life span, internet dating, and even Viagra are making older men more available and more attractive choices for younger women. Get great practical answers to real problems and dilemmas- including issues relating to blended families and how to be a step-parent. The book is a veritable "how to" for relationships packed with great strategies and is an invaluable resource for women in the modern dating world.

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