Cohabitation is a big deal. There’s no getting around that fact, you’re making a big commitment not just to live with each other, but to live with each other’s niggling habits and all the legal issues that go with cohabitation agreements too. This year why not make sure you know what to arrange before taking the plunge, that way you’ll make sure you are ready for whatever 2014 will bring.

 

Know your partner inside out

It goes without saying really, but  knowing your partner before you choose to move in with them is imperative. If you haven’t been together for too long then spending a lot of time together before you sign any rental or mortgage agreements is a good idea. Go out for dinner or cook together a lot, meet each other’s parents and friends and generally spend as much time together as possible to make sure you work well as a team when you come to live together under the same roof.

 

Go on holiday together

One of the best tips for couple planning to move in together is to go on holiday together, preferably for a week or more (as anything less is still the honeymoon period) but if you can only fit in a weekend between now and the start of 2014 then that’s fine too. The idea behind getting away together is to see how you handle the pressure that can come with travel, and how you fare whilst working out tricky situations (like the local transport system or language barriers). If you’re still getting on after a weekend or week away then the chances are you’ll fare well when tackling bill payments and general lifestyle issues that come with living together.

 

Sign the paperwork

One thing to make sure you have sorted before moving in together is the paperwork that comes with it, and when it comes to cohabitation, this means more than just the rental or mortgage contract. You’ll need to write out a contract in case things do go wrong down the line so that you both have a get out clause that means neither of you suffer any more than you have to. This might sound a bit dramatic but getting a contract in place means you can truly relax and get on with cohabiting. Making sure you put both names on the rental lease or mortgage is the first step, followed shortly after with a meeting with a legal advisor to work out the kinks of who gets what or who goes where should you break up.

 

Make it your own

Once you’ve made the decision to move in together it’s important that whatever situation you choose that you make it your own, as a couple. If you’re moving into their place this is more important as you need to make the distinction between their place and your place together. If you’ve bought or are renting a new place then make an effort to spend a bit of money (or time if you favour DIY) making the place your own. A new set of curtains, a lick of paint or a few new bits of furniture purchased or made together really make a shared house a home.

 

No need to be scared of what cohabitation can bring for you in 2014, just make sure you’re ready for it.

 

Author bio: Irma is a freelance writer for OnePlusOne, a charity that helps families and couples to overcome their relationship problems. They provide resources to strengthen relationship and support families, couples and front-line worker.

 

Photo credit: Nathan O’Nions via Compfight cc