Sharing an itty-bitty living space isn’t easy—but for most of us (existing here in the real estate market of 2014), it’s a necessity. In college, we learn to live with strangers. Slightly further into college, we learn to live with friends. Next, some of us eventually choose to live with our more-than-friends. Though gender stereotypes and clichés apply less than they’ve been advertised on shows like Everybody Loves Raymond (both boyfriends and girlfriends eat all the leftovers, both boyfriends and girlfriends leave lights on), the big launch into relationship-cohabitation is fraught a new set of to-dos and to-don’ts. So which lessons are important to know before going in (and remember like your life depends on it)?
We’ve compiled 28.
1) The remote is Switzerland. Your movie night tastes will diverge, at times and these times will be painful for everyone.
2) Grocery shopping will be an interesting new adventure. The bags will be twice as heavy and, initially, so will. . .the tension in the store.
3.) It is suddenly so much harder to leave the couch. Because you are already there! Co-habitating couples live on the couch.
4) Some mornings, it will seem like the only way to get time to yourself is to have a “work from home” day.
5) But on these mornings, it is easier than ever to land back. On. The. Couch.
6) If one of you cooks, the other should do the dishes. It is only fair.
7.) The person who does the dishes will do A LOT of dishes. They will have to fight hard to not resent said dishes.
8) Personal space can be made in the smallest nooks and crannies. You will have a corner that is yours and yours alone and it will make you so very happy.
9) But then, who needs space? Here is someone to talk about your day with. Your whole, entire day. What joy!
10) It may take the cat a while to adjust.
11) One of you likes to leave lights on. One of you likes it 65 degrees. One of you likes the windows closed.
12) The other of you likes to turn lights off. You like it 75 degrees. You like the windows open.
13.) ALL WILL NOT BE LOST OVER THESE DIFFERENCES.
14) Especially because: here is the couch again. The couch feels safe. The couch is Switzerland.
15) It’s actually impossible to go to bed angry.
16). Because you can’t actually sleep while an angry person is next to you, grumbling and being angry..
17) It’s best to talk through problems, anyways.
18) It’s best to have therapeutic midnight jam sessions instead of problems, anyways.
19) The couch may well be the best place in the universe. Why were you so hell-bent on getting off of it before? Screw this ‘date’ thing. It’s like the world resolves here, in this couch.
20) Certain expenses have actually gone down! Like paying double utilities! And transportation! And eating out! And, err, laundry. . .
21) But it’s very important to keep the magic alive. It’s important to go out on dates.
22) And hey! Dates are still super fun! Going out is fun and then you get to come home together!
23) And dates, too, resolve in a kind-of. . . couch.
24) You will realize that you are capable of being a person in a sitcom, saying and thinking things like “It’s 3am! Why didn’t you call?! Where were you?!”
25) Your significant other is also capable of being a person in a sitcom, saying and thinking things like: “Out.”
26) You will think about forevers more than you did before. You may fret, if you’re the kind of person who frets. You will pace on the bare new floors.
27) But then, you will buy plants. You will lay down rugs. Slowly, the place will become yours. Slowly, you will start to call it home. Slowly, you will start to call this, ‘ours.’
28) The cat will adjust.