When my boyfriend and I decided to move in together for the first time, our friends and family came out of the woodwork to give us advice. Couples who had lived together for a year, or five or even thirty all had thoughts about what we should and shouldn’t do. But, they were all talking about the present, about the, as I like to call it, “pre-move in period.” Being the kind of person that always thinks ahead, I started to wonder, what about in a month, or six months or even a year? What should we be thinking about then? After living together for over a year, I have some of my own advice to share with anyone embarking on their first year of cohabitating.

First Month

With one month down, you’re through the honeymoon phase and the newness of living together is finally starting to wear off.

Cook Together
By now you’ve probably established your Seamless, GrubHub, OpenTable and Resy go-to’s. While you should treat yourself every once in a while, your wallet will thank you for cooking at home. Not everyone is a master chef. Find out what makes sense for you based on your schedules, skills and preferences. Cooking can be a great way to spend time together, and it definitely gives you more control over your health. If you’re busy, you can always look for ways to make meal prepping less tedious.

Make Big Purchases Together
You both live in your apartment, which means you should both choose what you’re going to fill it with. New furniture, art, appliances, these should all be decisions you make together. And, the best part is if you talked about your style before you moved in together, you’ll already have an idea on how to make this work.

Find Your Own Space
Is it a little desk, a nook in the living room, a chair on the balcony, an outdoor lounger at the pool or a corner in the common room? Wherever it is, you need to create a space that feels private. This is a spot you can retreat to when you get mad over something silly and need a second to cool off, or where you go to just clear your head after a long day at work. No matter the reason, everyone needs a space that feels like their own. Living with someone is an adjustment and you both need to find ways to be patient with one another as you get used to this change.

Young couple in park
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Six Months

Half the year has gone by and you and your partner have fallen into a routine. Living together is starting to feel normal, but it’s still not second nature.

Make Sure You Carve Out Some “Me Time.”
Even though you live together, you don’t need to spend all of your time together. Remember to maintain your own hobbies and to hang out with your friends independently. Give each other separate time in your space with your friends. You should never feel like you can’t have a guys’ or girls’ night just because you live with your significant other.

Quality Time
With that said, you also want to make sure the time you’re spending together is quality time. Sleeping or sitting in the same room while you stare at separate screens doesn’t cut it. If you’re starting to notice you’re connecting less and less, take a step back to set up date nights and specific times to focus on one another.

Share Your Gripes

Griping is okay when it’s done in a non-judgmental way. Talk about what’s frustrating you, and then share solutions. Does he leave the toothpaste on the counter or forget to shut off the lights? Does she drop her clothes on the floor leaving a trail of laundry? Be honest with one another and instead of getting defensive when it’s your turn to hear criticism be open-minded and put yourself in their shoes.

couple hugging in kitchen
Photo via Stocksy
One Year

You made it! One year down and many more to go.

Celebrate and Reflect
This is a big milestone and you should recognize it as one. Once you’ve celebrated, reflect on what’s worked and what hasn’t. Don’t make the “hasn’ts” accusatory, make them actionable and offer ways you can both adjust and make your future even brighter.

Have you made it through one year together? If your lease is up and you and your loved one are looking for a new place to call home, check out one of our many apartments.

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