Your partner has asked you to move in; and you are on cloud nine. All you can think of is romantic dinners and shopping together for curtains that match your living room upholstery. But for all you know, you may soon be fighting over bathroom space in the morning or about whose turn it is to do the laundry. Live-in relationships are not as rosy and beautiful as Hollywood rom-coms would like us to believe. Here are some important aspects that you might want to take note of before taking the plunge.
Live-in or not
So when do you know you need to take things a step further? Couples decide to move in for various reasons. For Tania Banerjee, (name changed a 22 year old copy writer) it was about time. “We decided to move in together because in Mumbai, unless we came back to the same house after work, we barely got the time to see each other”. For others it can acts as a precursor to marriage. “You get to know each others’ flaws and strengths, which could make it easier to adjust after marriage” says 23-year-old law student Aaron D’Souza.
However, experts advise caution. “A couple has to know what they expect from each other before they decide to move in together. Do not take impulsive decisions,” says psychiatrist and couple counsellor Sajid Ali Khan.Showing true coloursThink about it. You will be sharing living space with your partner, so you won’t always be dressed in your very best all the time. Plus, what about your own private space that might get infringed upon because of another person? Tania says it can get a bit unnerving at times, but it’s a part of the deal. “Even if some habits get annoying, we help each other overcome them or simply deal with them! Because, there are bigger things that we love about each other,” she says.
Division of labour
Apart from sharing a house, you will also be divinding responsibilities such as doing household chores and managing finances among others. But who does what?
“Initially, it was difficult to maintain a household. Despite me and my boyfriend trying hard to divide chores such as buying groceries, paying electricity bills or making sure the maids turn up on time, we never managed to stick to strict boundaries and both ended up doing a bit of everything. That worked for us. But sometimes he does complain about doing more work than me, and that can spoil a relationship. So I have to be wary,” says Aneesha Malhotra, a 26-year-old media professional who has been living in with her partner for three years.
For many people, a live-in relationship could become a comfortable bubble they can’t come out of. In some cases, the relationship might lose its luster and shrivel down to monotony. “We have been living-in for three years now. Though we want to get married in the future, we haven’t planned anything yet. Sometimes I feel bored of the routine we have and I am worried that since we know each other inside out, whether there will be anything more to look forward to. But I don’t think I can move out,” says Aneesha.
(Names have been changed on request)
expert speak: Sajid Ali Khan, couple counsellor
When do you know it’s the right time to live in?
A couple has to decide when is the best time to move in together. But do not make impulsive decisions. Also keep in mind the kind of expectations your family and the society will demand from you and be ready to face them.
How do you share finances and responsibilities?
Make an agreement from the beginning and share your duties equally. Similarly, divide household chores as well and stick to what you decide.
How can couples deal with issues about privacy ?
Your privacy will obviously be infringed upon when you are living with someone else. Learn to be more accommodating and if there’s something that you absolutely can’t deal with, make it clear to him/her. Don’t keep anything to yourself.