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Moving in with a spouse

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Author: Erin Steed

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Tags: Stages In Life

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Moving in with a spouse: Plan ahead, avoid the pitfalls, and enjoy the payoff

As if moving alone isn’t stressful enough, moving in with that special someone can sometimes put a black eye on a relationship as it is still blossoming. There’s only so much a group of professional movers can do to make a move go off without a hitch, but there are a slew of things the happy couple can do to, well, stay happy during a move.

Here are a few helpful tips from a number of relationship therapists, couples who have lived to tell the tale, and Meathead Movers staffers—who’ve seen the good and the bad firsthand.

It’s True! Plan Ahead and Moving Day Can Strengthen a Relationship

According to a 2011 UK study which surveyed 1,200 people, finances contribute to about 58 percent of failed relationships. When suddenly merging financial interests in order to cohabitate in harmony, it pays to plan ahead—in more ways than one.

First—and this may sound obvious—discuss you and your spouse’s financial arrangement (moving expenses, utilities, deposits, rent, mortgage) beforehand. The more planning you do on the front end of a move, the less room left for disagreement on the back end.

When there’s a disagreement over what stays and what goes, start working that out as far in advance as possible. She doesn’t like your signed poster of Heidi Klum? He’s hoping you’ll ditch the DVD box set of Grey’s Anatomy? Remember that love is about sacrifice, and how you both work out these small things will be a good indication of how you compromise on the larger things. We know it’s not easy.

Use Your Plan and Get the Most Out of Your Mover

From the perspective of the mover, it certainly helps when the happy couple has designated one better half as the lead who will coordinate with the movers. From your plan, you should already know which items move, which get stored, and which get left behind—i.e, donated or dumped. Organize your items with color-coordinated Post-It notes, for example. This will ensure your movers aren’t standing idle while awaiting instruction. They get paid by the hour, after all.

There IS Room For A Little Zen On Moving Day

As we all know, there is a lot of emotion involved with moving. And there’s obviously a lot of emotion involved with relationships. Combining the two has the potential to be a power keg. So minimize it. Here’s how.

“A move is a marathon, not a sprint.” Many people approach moving this way and get burned out. Or worse—they take it out on their better half. Bad idea. Be smarter than that: plan to have some downtime during your move. It helps to put things in perspective and to see the forest for the trees instead of becoming overwhelmed with where everything needs to go, trying to remember if you packed the coffee maker, how you’ll get the place organized before you have to be back at work, etc. For example, plan that at say, sun down, you and your significant other will call it a day and go for a relaxing dinner and a movie.

Lastly—and it’s easier said than done—but this is a big step you’re taking. You may not know the details of your significant other’s past moves. There may be some baggage there, no pun intended. Be understanding. Don’t open the floodgates on a negative past moving experiences.

Secure the Runts

Pets and children belong at a move site like politics and religion belong at the dinner table. It does nothing to promote harmony. Get rid of them for the day!

We naturally want to cater to our kids and furry friends, especially if they’re your spouse’s and you’re looking to earn brownie points. But be strong. If feasible, do not bring them to the move site until after the action subsides. If you and your spouse both have pets that are expected to co-mingle at the new place, bring them over well before the move to get used to it—and each other—or the first night in a new place could become hell for the both of you.

And remember, the moving crew only needs direction from one of you. If able, and with proper planning, the other spouse can take the little ones out for a day away from the commotion.

When You Can, Take Your Time

When it comes to moving, there’s a tendency to get everything done in one day. This may not always be feasible, but when you can, spread the work out. It’s OK not to move all your stuff right away. Use your movers to get the things that need to move that first day. If you can, get the rest the next day. Doing so will eliminate a lot of stress and allow you time for a nice shower before heading out with your love for that dinner and a movie.

Another tendency is to try and unpack and organize everything the first night in a new pad. DON’T DO THAT. Instead, size the place up beforehand so you know where the movers should place your big items (again, make them work for you) and deal with the rest over the next few days. Remember to set realistic expectations for unpacking and situating your valuables. Despite how you may feel now, you have time.

Think Outside of The Box

One last thought:

Should you see things going south with your new cohabitant—or even if you don’t—do something special for the other person during the process. After all, this is both of your moves and can be as joyful or as frustrating as you make it. Pop a present out of nowhere. He or she will instantly stop what they’re doing and, in the very least, you’ll get a smile in return. Sometimes that’s all you need.

On the day Scott B. and Heather M. moved in together for the first time, it was unbearable, they told us. The move itself went just fine; it was organizing everything that almost made for a deal-breaker. Then, just as the sun was descending upon the horizon of Bishop’s Peak and random items remained strewn about their apartment, Scott—the Felix of that Odd Couple—pulled out a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a brand new DVD copy of a movie they had both missed in the theaters. All they needed to do was hook up the TV, lay down a blanket, and take the night off.

“I could see where it was headed,” Scott told Meathead Movers. “I knew a blowup was coming, and the whole day had worked so well. I knew I had to have something that said, ‘Let’s call it a day.’ And it worked!”

Well played, Scott!

Hopefully this list will help you and your significant other get your happy cohabitation off on the right foot. Remember, we here at Meathead Movers are not professional relationship therapists. We can only tell you what we know from moving couples time and again. But we hope this little bit of info can help.

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