You’ve got all your boxes packed and the movers are on their way… What are you forgetting? Oh, right! Where’s your partner?!
Just when you thought you had everything under control, you remember that you’re a part of a unit. The thought is comforting, but also disconcerting. How are you supposed to make all those decisions while taking someone else’s opinion into account?
Don’t worry. If this is the first time you’ve ever had to move as part of a couple, you’ll learn everything you need to know right here. Whether you’re headed across the country or down the street, these tips will help you keep tensions low while you prepare for the move.
5 Tips for Moving With a Partner for the First Time
1. Have the Money Talk Early On!
The financial aspect of a move is something a couple needs to discuss before any plans are set. If you’ve been living with your partner for a while, you’ve probably talked through the issue of rent, bills, and grocery shopping expenses before. Now would be a good time to revisit those subjects.
Ideally, you’ll have this conversation months before the move. Talk about your monthly income and the amount you’re willing to set aside. Establish clear savings goals and figure out how much of that money will ultimately go toward:
- The down payment for your new place (or the security deposit and first month’s rent)
- Bills for the first few months (even if you have jobs lined up)
- Any pieces of furniture or decor you’ll have to buy
- A moving crew (the cost of which depends on the exact services you’ll require)
Take it from Nancy Zafrani, the General Manager at Oz Moving & Storage in New York. She’s seen all sorts of complicated issues that can come up during a stressful move. As she says:
“When couples take the time to talk through everything from start to finish, the move tends to go off without a hitch. In my experience, finances are a great source of contention for couples who feel rushed. But we usually don’t see many arguments between people who’ve planned ahead.”
2. Choose the Location of the Move Together
When it’s time to make big decisions, one of the people in the relationship will inevitably start dominating the conversation. However, couples should avoid that at all costs. Moving is already going to be stressful enough without the additional strain on the relationship.
Both people need to be involved in choosing where they want to live. Ask your significant other what kind of neighborhood they’d like to settle in and what they’re looking for in a home. Would they like to live near a park or a café; do they want pet-friendly housing? Even if you don’t have pets now, your partner might want to have one in the future, so these are important considerations.
If your partner claims that they don’t care about the details, make them understand that participation is mandatory. Otherwise, you run the risk of them feeling unheard and dissatisfied later. Alternatively, you might begin to resent them if you feel like you’re doing most of the work.
3. Ditch the Extra Baggage
Whether you’re moving to a different neighborhood or another state, here’s your chance to declutter your home. While you’re packing, ask yourselves which of your things are worth being taken into your new place. Remember, the fewer items you have, the less you’ll spend on shipping or movers.
Furthermore, getting rid of stuff you don’t need leaves room for new items that will represent the next stage of your relationship. Some studies have also suggested that decluttering your home with your partner can strengthen your bond. Moreover, it can make both of you feel lighter and readier to take on whatever comes next.
Still, many people find it difficult to get rid of their possessions, especially if they believe their significant other is getting to keep theirs more often than not. But, as we all know, keeping score can be detrimental to this process and the relationship. That’s why couples should declutter together — both people should have the power to toss items and veto the other’s decisions.
Naturally, you should do your best not to trample on your partner’s feelings if they let you know they want to keep something because it’s important to them. Take care not to insult their taste, either, intentionally or not. You don’t want to pick fights at a time like this.
4. Be There for Your Partner
A big move can draw out all sorts of feelings, from elation and excitement to anxiety and dread. You know your partner best — so you know how they’ll react. Make sure you give them the support they need and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, either.
Even though you’ll be busy preparing for the move for weeks or even months, don’t let that suck the fun out of your relationship. Keep having that weekly date night; it’ll help you remember what you’re doing it all for!
5. If You’re Moving Far Away — Establish a Support System Outside of the Relationship
One of the benefits of moving to an unfamiliar environment with a partner is that you have a built-in support system. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on your significant other to stave off your loneliness. Ideally, you would either find new friends or reconnect with old ones who happen to live nearby.
Staying in touch with friends you already had back home is important, but it shouldn’t keep you from finding new people you can hang out with. More importantly, you’ll need someone you can go to when you want to take a break from spending all your time with your partner. If the relationship takes a turn, you don’t want to be stranded in a new town without any friends.
But really, the purpose of this tip is primarily to make sure you have a well-rounded life outside of your new home. In any case, establishing a support system isn’t so difficult in practice. You’ll find a job, meet the neighbors, sign up for a class, and before you know it, you’ll have a new group of friends. And if you just can’t wait that long — find a good counselor or therapist!