When you are getting ready to move in with a partner, you have a lot to do. There is all the packing, planning of dates, contacting your utility providers, booking van hire or moving services, but also all the excitement and thoughts of the future. Not only will this mean being closer to your loved one, but it will also be a sign of your commitment. However, there may be something that isn’t on one of the many to-do lists, and that would be to make a living together agreement (also known as a cohabitation agreement). This article will give you five reasons why this may be an excellent idea for you and your partner and how this can make your future even brighter.
Start in the right direction.
Lewis Carrol, who wrote Alice in Wonderland, is credited with this paraphrased quote “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will get you there”. Now we can’t know the future, but one thing is sure for any journey, including the one you are taking with your partner, and that is if you are both heading in different directions, it’s going to be hard to keep together. Setting some time to talk through what is important to you both and writing these down helps. Don’t forget that your priorities will change over time, and the destination will usually change, but that won’t be a problem if you both have a clear expectation of what you both want. This can be agreeing to put money aside for a deposit for a house purchase or a wedding or making sure you still put time aside for date nights.
We all have expectations or assumptions of how things will be after a change, like moving in. An expectation may be that everything will stay the same, and you expect that you and your partner will follow the same routine, and there will be very little difference. Another expectation may be that everything will change, and you will start building your routines around one another. This difference in expectations can cause friction and lead to arguments; we don’t generally like our expectations and assumptions being proven wrong. That is why having a conversation ahead of time or even when you start seeing some differences arise. Sit down and have a chat about how you will split the housework, how and who will pay the bills and make a record that you can reference when you are unsure what was agreed.
Make each other feel secure.
When you combine households, some decisions will remove some resources required to live alone should it all not work out. Decisions like which fridge or bed do we keep and which do you sell or store. But also considerations like if you split up, what’s a fair amount of time to make other living arrangements, so neither of you has the threat of being left homeless. It can seem strange talking about what happens if you break up when you are just moving in, but it is also entirely rational to be worried, or even just thinking about this. Have the conversation and agree on how you would split shared purchases and any reasons that one of you would stay at the property. It’s much easier having these discussions ahead of time than starting these conversations if it ever does happen. You are moving in with each other because you love and care for each other, and you put that love and care into the agreements you make and keep each other secure now and in the future.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Nothing helps to reduce stress and anxiety better than having a plan and reducing uncertainty. Transparent communication with one another sets the real foundations of a successful relationship and can improve well being for both of you. Remember that it is essential to record the outcomes of some of the more important discussion points as memory can be an unreliable resource for these types of things. The lower the stress and anxiety, the more excitement and confidence you can have moving forward.
Allow you to focus on what is important.
The most important reason to have an agreement is so that you can then focus on what’s important - both of your happiness, as individuals and as a couple. Once the work of creating an agreement is down you can put it somewhere safe and focus your energies on building a life together. Many find that the process of making the agreement will bring you closer as you get to know how you each think about each other well being, and the benefits of even further improving communication strengthens the foundations for what you are building together.
I hope you have found this article interesting and useful. If you want to read more on this, The Guardian published a great explainer on the advantages of making cohabitation agreements.
If you want to get stuck straight in then there are many different solutions available including our own app which is designed to help you make agreements collaboratively and securely.
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