How To Navigate Moving In With Your Long-Distance Partner

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Thanks to the internet and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, it is possible to have fully-fledged relationships with people who live in different cities or entirely different time zones. Even so, there are a lot of factors that make long-distance relationships challenging — from not being able to have your significant other accompany you to social gatherings to bad internet connections that interrupt your nightly chats. Perhaps this is why a 2018 study done by KIIROO gave LDRs a 58% chance of surviving (via New York Post). 

How long the long-distance relationship lasts really comes down to several factors, primarily patience. You have to be patient until you get to see your partner again, you have to be patient about plans working out in their own time — whether that means carving out the perfect moment to see each other a few times a year or sorting out the logistics that come with moving to the other person's city or country. 

Moving for your partner (or vice versa) is not a decision to be made lightly. After all, one of you is possibly giving up a home, a job, and the ability to see friends and family by doing so. It goes without saying that careful consideration of the pros and cons of living somewhere else should be given due diligence. If you or your partner are considering making the move (or have already done so), here's how you can navigate living together. 

Expect to be disappointed or at the very least, be prepared for reality

One of the inherent qualities of long-distance relationships is the over-romanticization of your partner. Since your focus when you're apart is mostly on when you can talk to the other person or when you get to see them again, not a lot of attention is paid to your significant other's quirks or odd character traits that could potentially make living together challenging.  

Self-help author and blogger Mark Manson wrote that "it's too easy to overlook the mundane, yet important differences. It's too easy to get caught up in the drama of our minds instead of the calm and boring truths of our hearts," when you're in a long-distance relationship. To avoid being completely surprised by your partner's living habits, try doing a trial phase of living under the same roof if possible — whether that's for one month or a few weeks. Or try moving in one step at a time — first move to their city but still have a place of your own, then gradually move in together. Believe it or not, there are things no one tells you about moving in together. Take the time to learn them before cohabiting in a space permanently. 

If you've already moved in together, give yourself and your partner time to observe and learn the traits of each other you didn't know about until now. It's important to temper your expectations with reality to give your relationship a chance.

Communicate, communicate, and communicate about everything

Before, it was just you doing the dishes, handling the finances, taking out the garbage, and planning your social calendar. Now suddenly there's two people in the picture. Two people with different routines in the morning, different sleeping habits, and unique preferences for how they like their coffee. Communication — both before and after moving in together — is key to navigating this change. Relationship expert and author Paulette Sherman told Martha Stewart, "Everyone has different standards, so it can be good to discuss what bothers you most to see if you can be in the same page or if compromises can be made."

It might feel like there are constantly things to talk about, but you'd be happy you did so in the long run. Questions are your friend here. Ask your partner about how they like to spend their weekends. Ask them how they do their finances. Are you going to be sharing the bills? Who's going to get the groceries? Who's paying the electricity bill? Learn their habits and share your own. Come to an understanding that both of you are comfortable with. 

If one of you is going to need some time before you start working, then discuss the logistics surrounding that. It's important to have an open mind and honest discussions when navigating these topics. Remember that every couple goes through this phase. It's just a little trickier with long-distance relationships. 

Create a shared home together

If your partner is moving in with you at your current home, it's important to make them feel welcome. Try to be sensitive about any obvious memorabilia with your previous partner that could make them feel awkward. Store them away, at least until your new love settles into your shared space together. Better yet, focus on creating a truly communal living situation. That could mean going out and buying a new lampshade for the living room or investing in a new couch that you both like. Or it could mean hanging photos of the two of you on the walls of your entryway to the apartment. 

The important thing is to create a space where both of you feel comfortable and at home. Clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow told Elite Daily that there are a few questions you can ask yourself before you actually move in together that could help with this. What do you want your home to look like? Do you have any specific needs for yourself that you want your partner to respect (example, you work from home or you want a space for exercising)? Do you like airy spaces and cheery curtains? Are scented candles important for you as a nighttime routine? 

Some of these questions might seem amusing at first, but they do go a long way in helping you and your partner navigate living together seamlessly. 

Get to know your partner's friends and make ones together

It is natural for the person who leaves behind their friends and family to feel alone and disconnected at first. If you're the one helping them adjust, this is your time to be patient, supportive, and as welcoming as you can be. Making your partner feel alone, especially if they moved to an entirely different country, is one of the things you shouldn't do in a long-distance relationship

Introduce your partner to your family and friends and encourage them to make friends of their own. It would also help if the two of you engaged in shared interests together — whether that's a book club or going to the gym together — so you can expand your friend circle as a duo. 

It is also important to make an effort to maintain ties with your partner's friends and family back in their own city or country. Whether that involves flying to see them every year or doing video calls on special occasions, put in the effort to keep the relationships going. It might be helpful to think that now you're both in long-distance relationships with your partner's folks all the way across the globe. Treating both partners' loved ones with the same courtesy is one of the things you should discuss before moving in with your significant other

Find a balance between space and quality time with each other

Irrespective of what your personality type is (whether you're an introvert who needs a lot of alone time or an extrovert who loves being around people), space is an important part of any relationship. When you were living in different countries, space would've probably been the last thing on your minds. The thousands of miles between each other were enough. 

But when you move in together, it can all start to feel overwhelming, especially if one of you enjoys time by themselves on and off. Again, communicate your needs to your partner and find a good balance. Venture out on your own and find hobbies you can do alone. Author of "121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After" Wendy Newman told Insider that "solo nights" might be a good thing to try. One week your partner goes out for a night out with their friends while you stay in and watch a movie you like, and the next week, you are the one who goes out. "We get a little taste of freedom, and a little re-connection to our solitary self. This brings balance so we don't lose ourselves in the relationship," she explained. 

It is also equally important to spend time with each other — whether that's scheduled date nights or going on walks every other day. Enjoy your well-earned time together.