3. Where should we live? At my place, at yours, or should we find somewhere new?
What certainly doesn’t work: One person wanting to move out into the countryside and the other wanting to stay in the city. How and where one imagines the living together is also an important fundamental question. Another issue is the distance to the workplace. If possible, this distance should be about the same for both, so that on the one hand, no one feels disadvantaged and, on the other hand, no valuable “quality time” is lost owing to the partner’s commute. Splitting rent and household costs fifty-fifty is usually the best solution, as long as both partners earn roughly the same amount. This prevents disputes concerning the financial participation in the living arrangement. As far as the lease is concerned, if both partners sign the contract, both are principal tenants and accordingly have the same rights and obligations towards the landlord.
A difficult decision always arises when deciding whether to move into the home of the partner. For example, because the partner rents or owns a sufficiently large home. This is always a delicate situation because certain questions of power may arise: Who is in charge? Where does the other partner have his/her own part of the other's living space? To prevent the decision to move into the home of the partner from becoming an unpleasant power play, it is a good idea to completely clear, repaint and set up the existing home together. This way the new stage of life in the new-old home can be designed together and no one feels like an intruder in an existing living space.
4. What does the shared home look like?
The way the partner lives, should have become clear early enough. So, you know the style of the partner and at best you feel comfortable with it. If that is so, the "only" thing you still have to decide is what furniture from the single home to move into the combined home. What to do with the second sofa or bed? Are you going to store it in the basement or are you going to dump it in the trash? The first shared home is always something of a relationship experiment with the possibility to fail. Therefore, it makes sense not to get rid of all your furniture immediately, but to temporarily store it. Because if you have to buy home furnishings from scratch after a failed experiment, it can quickly become very expensive. If you have too little space in the basement to store the second sofa or other furniture, you can easily book and store these at placeB immediately.
5. What if a quarrel arises?
Finding a place to stay and furnishing it without causing a major relationship crisis is a bit like crying out in triumph as you cross the finish line of a half-marathon, even though you know your real objective is to run twice as far. The marathon of moving in together, to use a somewhat cynical term, is not over after successfully finding and moving into a suitable home. Living together in the same space and seeing each other on a daily basis can always be cause for conflict. The most prominent everyday disputes are according to the FAZ: cleanliness, shopping and the question of personal freedom. Concerning cleanliness in the home there are different types: The clean freaks (the home is best cleaned every day), the waste management heroes (they constantly take out the garbage, cans and PET), the temporary storers (dirty plates and socks are first left lying around, before they are put away) and the grubby slobs (they always leave a mess, no matter if it's in the bathroom, kitchen or living room). When deciding to move in together, you may want to keep the following in mind: He's the dream prince and she's the dream princess, not Mr. Proper and not the Cleaning Fairy. It’s a good idea to draw up lists for shopping and cleaning.
The question of personal freedom during free time and retreat options in the home holds another great potential for conflict. Everyone should also be able to do things without the partner in the relationship and also have a space to retreat to in the home - even if it is only the reading chair in the living room. It should be clear where and when you do not want to be disturbed. In a successful relationship each partner has territories of place and time and sometimes does spend time without the other partner. In her famous TED TALK from 2013, the Belgian psychotherapist Esther Perel states that a couple’s relationship essentially depends on how one experiences the feeling of autonomy in a relationship. A relationship and mutual desire also thrives on the tension between distance and proximity. For example, subjects in their study responded to the question, "When do you desire your partner the most?" e.g., "If I miss him or her or haven’t seen him/her for a few days." Finding the balance between distance, freedom, closeness, and security is a great challenge for every relationship. But how is it then that you hear: challenges make a life interesting and worth living.