Top tips on moving in together for the first time

couple sat on floor surrounded by moving boxes

Making the big decision to move in together can be an exciting, yet daunting time! Whether you've been living apart due to distance, financial constraints or other circumstances, deciding to take the next step in your relationship can help strengthen your bond and progress it further. Whilst being around each other 24/7 has its benefits, it's important not to overlook the potential issues that could arise as a result.

Property experts at Essential Living have teamed up with Dr Becky Spelman, Psychologist and Founder at Private Therapy Clinic to reveal some of the issues the couples might experience and her top tips on what to keep in mind before taking the big step.

1. Communication, communication, communication
Have you ever wanted to bring up a sensitive topic with your partner, but ended up putting it to the back of your mind in the hopes that the issue will miraculously resolve itself? It's very likely that we will see the Married at First Sight couples having the exact same issue. However, it turns out that having uncomfortable conversations that we don't really want to have, is key for creating a strong foundation. Dr. Spelman states "Having honest and open conversations about expectations, responsibilities and boundaries is paramount before moving in together. Bringing up topics that you might not want to discuss such as; finances, personal space and household chores are key to avoiding conflict or any misunderstandings further down the line."

2. Respect each other's personal space
If you've never lived with your partner before, you may be feeling an overwhelming sense of wanting to spend every minute together to make up for the lost time. Given the rapid transition from single life to marriage on Married at First Sight, it's highly likely that many of the couples will face challenges when it comes to adjusting to sharing their living space and having less personal time. However, we all need a bit of me time every now and then. "Spending time in separate areas or doing activities alone can help couples maintain a healthy balance in the relationship. It's so important to respect each other's needs and have some time to ourselves."
Sometimes in a relationship, we get so wrapped up in each other's company, that we forget to maintain our own individuality and personal interests. As such, Dr. Spelman states "Couples should encourage each other to pursue their own hobbies and interests, and spend time with friends and family in order to strengthen the relationship." At the end of the day, absence does make the heart grow fonder, so having some independence from each other can be highly beneficial!

3. Keep the romance alive
Following the whirlwind marriage ceremonies and memorable honeymoons, the couples from Married at First Sight may find that once they've moved in together and returned to the routines of everyday life, the initial spark and romantic connection they shared have dwindled or faded away. Especially since it'll be on them to make the effort. Movie night, the dog, some great snacks and a cosy blanket - bliss! Dr. Spelman says "When you move in together, it's important to continue to plan special date nights in the hopes of keeping the spark alive. Whether it's surprising each other with an out-of-the-blue trip, a delicious dinner, or a snug night in, regular date nights are essential for expressing your love and devotion for each other."

4. Dealing with conflict constructively
I'm sure most couples have experienced those arguments where neither party is willing to admit whose right and who's wrong, leading to endless circles of discussion. Having already observed some instances of conflict among the couples during their honeymoons, we can anticipate that as they move in together, there will be a heightened occurrence of tension among them. Dr. Spelman believes that this type of conflict is inevitable and completely normal in any relationship, however, it's crucial that you address them constructively. " By using effective communication techniques, actively listening to one another and finding resolutions, you're much more productive in how you handle conflict and it prevents the argument from escalating further." Remember, it's both of you against the problem, not both of you against each other!

5. Share responsibilities
Sharing responsibilities around your home is vital in order to create a sense of fairness and equality within the relationship. When both partners contribute equally to daily responsibilities, it helps avoid feelings of resentment and imbalance, rather than one person dealing with the brunt of the workload. "In terms of household chores, to prevent bickering over who takes the bin out or who cleans the kitchen more than the other, it's best to discuss the matter and fairly distribute the work and responsibilities. Regularly assess and adjust these responsibilities to make sure you have a balanced partnership. Some flexibility may be required to do so, but as long as you find solutions that work for the both of you, that's all that matters."

6. Maintain financial transparency
Although married, the couples are still in the early stages of their relationships. Discussing personal topics like their finances could potentially be uncomfortable or awkward. However, talking about finances with your partner is essential for building a strong, healthy, and financially stable relationship. "Bringing up the topic of money is always a bit of a tricky one, but it's crucial to be completely open about finances. Discussing how you want to budget, handle your expenses and manage joint accounts (if you have one) is great for avoiding any later awkward conversation and disagreements."

"By taking these tips into consideration, it can help deepen your bond and enhance understanding of each other's preferences, promote better communication and increase intimacy."

Nick Woodward, Lettings Director from Essential Living says "It's always heartwarming to see couples taking the next step in their journey together as they make one of our flats their new home. Moving in together represents not only a place to call home but also the foundation upon which they build their lives together. While moving in together can come with its fair share of challenges, advancing to the next stage in your relationship can play a significant role in strengthening your bond and taking it to new heights. Hopefully, these tips will help couples transition to moving in together a smoother, more enjoyable experience for couples."

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