Moving in with your romantic partner is a big step that can really shake up your relationship. By sharing a home, you learn a whole lot about each other—really quickly—and can start to truly evaluate what it might be like to build a life together. (Or not…)
But your bond isn’t the only thing that cohabitating can affect—in fact, you might even realize that other big areas of your life, like your work, will feel the impact of this major life step.
To better understand some of the work-related changes that come with sharing a place with your partner, we asked relationship expert and speaker Sheryl Kurland, author of Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, to break down five ways you’ll really feel a shift. (Note: While Kurland explains some scenarios using a heterosexual example for clarity, they apply to all couples.)
Meals are a big deal when you’re living in one household, as they bookend your day. Let’s say that, before moving in together, you would hurriedly hit Starbucks on your way to work. In contrast, your partner liked to have a leisurely breakfast at home. Now that you live together, maybe he wants your company in the morning. This could be a great thing: Being home for breakfast together equals bonding time. Remember, a satisfying relationship on the home-front renders rewards on the job, helping you deal with job stress, inspiring creativity, and improving productivity.
When it comes to dinner, let’s say he habitually works late and eats at the office but you get off work at 5:30 p.m. If you want to eat together, work habits have to change. Here’s how to compromise: Perhaps he commits to leaving his job at 6 p.m. at least one day a week, so you can have dinner together at home on “your” schedule. Or, one night a week maybe you work late while he works late to catch up on projects that need attention without interruption, and then the two of you meet at a favorite restaurant for a late dinner—fitting to his schedule. This way, you are getting time together without changing your habits too much.
If one person in the relationship is very committed to working out, he or she is not likely to cross over to the lazy side—typically the gym rat’s ways will rub off on the less exercise-motivated partner. So how does this help you at work? Exercising awakens your mind, making you far more productive and creative on the job. Plus, if you decide to exercise together, you can also pow wow about current projects or how to deal with a boss or co-worker problem.
If you have a fight when living apart, you can stay away from each other for a couple of days to cool off. In contrast, if you’re living together and have a big blow up in the morning, slamming doors on the way out, the stress is more likely to follow you to the office.
When you live together, there’s not much alone time, so it’s important to find healthy ways you can get the time you need without avoiding confrontation at the same time.
Moving in together may mean that one of you now has a longer commute (hello, bumper-to-bumper traffic). If it’s you, this is negatively going to wear on both the relationship and your productivity at work over time. You may be short toward co-workers because you’re so stressed out from the commute. You may even need to quit your job and find a new one closer to home.
However, if moving in together locates you closer to your work. No more crazy traffic in the morning means added snuggle time in the morning. #Winning
5. Dealing with Interruptions
When you move in with your partner, you may start getting phone calls or text like: “Honey, I locked myself out of the house. I need to borrow your key. Can you meet me somewhere?” or “Can you go home at lunch time and feed the dog? My boss called a meeting and I can’t get home to do it.” or “Have you left for work yet? I forgot my phone on the kitchen counter. Can you bring it to me?” Since you share a household, you can expect to be “on call” when there’s a “crisis.” Work interruptions like these, which didn’t exist before you moved in together, are annoying and inevitable. The best way to deal with interruptions is with a good sense of humor!