|(Backyard view from my East Village apartment)|
After wondering “how soon is too soon to move in together?”, because New Yorkers tend to rush into this relationship milestone due to the high price of rent or the fear of a crazy Craigslist roommate, it only makes sense to share a survival guide with tips for when you decide the time is right to sign a lease as a couple in New York City.
While this is a happy time, there’s no foolproof way to avoid conflicts or complications once you’re permanently under the same roof. Hopefully these tips with help you survive and thrive as a couple taking the next big step in the big city.
Discuss finances and make a budget. Talking money isn’t fun, but if you’re ready to live together, it’s a conversation you can’t really avoid. From the option of a joint account to budgeting for utilities and other shared expenses, make sure you’re on the same page. Money (and the lack of it) can cause stress for many New York City couples, but with a clear budget – including funds set aside for special splurges – you’ll have less arguments and worries over your finances.
Pack (and unpack) with purpose. The act of physically moving all of your junk is almost always the worst part when settling into a new apartment. Start with the big ticket items, like flat screen TVs and couches, and decide whose furniture pieces will make it into your new home and which items will be donated, put in storage or tossed. Then make your way down to small decorations and personal items. With limited square footage in New York City apartments, you’ve got to decide as a couple if you can keep your antique frame collection and if his Mets posters need to go.
Share your pet peeves. Lay down some ground rules, so your significant other knows exactly what drives you nuts in a roommate situation. Whether it’s the position of the toilet seat or dirty clothes on the floor, make your pet peeves known, so that the romantic sparks won’t be lost with silly arguments about keeping your (small) space tidy.
Make housework a team effort. You don’t need a weekly cleaning chart circa your college days, but deciding who prefers to hand wash the dishes and who doesn’t mind lugging the laundry down three flights of stairs from your walkup to the Laundromat, will not only keep chores even, but will allow both of you to do the tasks you prefer over the ones you despise and would normally put off.
Maintain your social lives. Once a couple is comfortable, they can be tempted to stay in most weeknights with Seamless delivery and a Walking Dead marathon. While nights at home can be good to distress from work and to save some cash, make sure you’re still planning date nights to get out and enjoy the city together. Don’t miss out on why you live in one of the most exciting cities in the world - dine at a new restaurant, go for a run along the East River or attend a concert. Sharing these NYC experiences will create memories and keep you connected through shared interests.
Have individual social lives. Make plans with your best gals for happy hour, while he sees a Mets game with the boys. Spend time with your friends or coworkers – without your guy – to keep your social life alive. Time apart is healthy to nurture your relationships with others and your relationship with each other, so you’ll have fun things to talk about when you catch up at home. And you may even miss each other - because absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
Keep the sex hot. When you first started dating, you couldn't keep your hands off each other. Sleepovers at your guy's apartment turned into long weekend sexcapades. Fast forward a few years later - with a newly shared apartment - and sexy time may happen less often. It may sound like the opposite would happen, since you're now just an arm's length away at all times, but daily routines and familiarity may cause sex to feel more routine or more expected (read: less exciting). Spice things up with adult toys or slip into sexy lingerie from time to time (yes, you should tear off those sweats every once in a while).
Keep the romance alive. Show just how much you appreciate each other on a regular basis. Bake him his favorite brownies on a lazy weekend or offer a foot massage after a long training session at the gym. And gentlemen, bring your lady flowers “just because” or leave little love notes around the apartment when she’s feeling stressed. Small, thoughtful gestures now and again will keep this "honeymoon phase" of romance alive for the long run.
Have you moved in with your significant other? What are your tips or lessons learned? xo