Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

November 2012

Moving In Together: What To Expect

Now that you’ve exchanged vows, it’s time to move into your brand new built-to-order Housing Board flat. But the question you should ask yourself is “Are you ready for it?” SingaporeBrides shows you what to expect when you start seeing each other 24-7.

As it turns out, moving in with your significant other may be the tougher part of being married. From household chores to television channels to dirty laundry, there are a million things you can argue about. The fact that most Singaporean couples don’t live together until they’ve walked down the aisle doesn’t help matters either.

Let’s face it: Adjusting to another person’s living habits can be a real challenge – even if that person is your husband. We list some potential conflicts that may arise, and show you how to keep the peace.

“Honey, why is that you still haven’t washed my work jacket?”

The situation: Since no one can claim to love doing household chores, the problem of who-should-do-what has been plaguing couples for decades. Yet, many couples don’t even discuss domestic duties before moving in together. So if you constantly have to nag at him to do the laundry while you sweep, dust and vacuum non-stop, it may ultimately breed resentment in the relationship.

According to a recent Swedish study, conflicts arise when the domestic duties are unevenly distributed. Scientists from Sweden’s Umea University studied questionnaires about education, home life, health and work by 723 residents of a Swedish industrial town from 1981 to 2007. They found that women suffer emotional strain when they perform more household chores. Beyond that, they actually feel a greater sense of gender inequality in the relationship, with the distress even affecting sex lives.

Solve it: Divide the chores with your partner when you move in together. Ask him which chores he prefers to take on, and which chores he absolutely detests. For instance, if he really can’t stand washing the dishes but is all right with doing the laundry, then assign the chores as such (read: toss him the dirty clothes while you stand guard at the sink!). If the both of you like the same chores, simply take turns to do it every other week.

At the same time, be flexible. Just because he should do the laundry every three days doesn’t mean you can’t help him out once in a while. If you know he’s really tired out from a stressful work week, offer to take over. Of course, if he helps you out with the dishes, don’t forget to thank him for it.

“Honey, I told you to keep the toilet seat down!”

The situation: Moving in with someone you’ve have never lived with before is a drastic change – even if you’ve been dating for the past few years. Before long, it might shock you to find out that your soft-spoken husband likes to blast loud rock music on weekends. Or perhaps, he’s the tidy one while you live in a whirlwind of perpetual mess.

Over time, even seemingly trivial issues like fighting over the remote control can actually ruin an otherwise good relationship. Trouble is brewing if you have been finding yourself feeling upset whenever he does something out of habit, like putting his legs up, hogging the remote and staring at the television for hours.

Solve it: Establish some ground rules that will make living together less of a pain and more of an aphrodisiac. Think about what matters to the both of you. If you get annoyed whenever he leaves the toilet seat up, ask that he keep the toilet seat down whenever he uses the toilet. But do something for him too. If he sneezes whenever he is near your army of stuffed toys, be considerate and don’t leave them on your marital bed.

And if either of you forgets the rules occasionally, apologise. This means you shouldn’t take it for granted that he will toss your hair towel into the hamper every time you leave it in your bedroom. If the both of you can be consistently considerate in these aspects, you will find that your relationship will be more harmonious.

“Honey, you paid for the new Sony Playstation with money from our joint account?!”

The situation: Ah, the realities of living together. From daily expenses to household bills to loan installments, there are plenty of things that you will have to pay for as a couple. But the problem is that many couples don’t talk about money until they’ve moved in together. In fact, some don’t even know what their significant others are earning!

When a couple does not have an open and honest communication about money, disagreements can arise easily. He might infuriate you by withdrawing a large sum of money for a Sony Playstation without first checking with you. Or you might anger him when you keep withdrawing sums of money to pay for household necessities without tracking how much you’ve really spent.

Solve it: There are things you should agree on before you open a joint account together. For a start, decide on the contribution amounts from both parties. If one is earning much more than the other, consider using a percentage contribution to keep things fair. For instance, you can both contribute 30 per cent of your salaries to shared expenses.

Next, decide on the purpose of the joint account. Is it to facilitate the GIRO payments for the housing loan and household bills? Or, is it for the both of you to save towards major purchases like a refrigerator and a brand new flat-screen TV? No matter what, agree beforehand so the both of you are aware of your financial responsibilities – and stay on the same financial track.

“Honey, shall we watch that new Korean drama serial together?”

The situation: Now that you’ve finally moved in together, it’s inevitable that you will want to spend every minute of your time at home with each other. This is especially true of couples who are still in the honeymoon phase. But do you really need to be in the same room from after work till bedtime every day?

In fact, if you continue to be clingy and needy, you might end up losing that sense of self and identity over time. And that can only mean trouble for the relationship. And you might eventually reach a point where too much is just too much – and whatever he does is just going to irk you.

Solve it: It might come as a surprise that there are times when your husband might prefer to spend time alone (yes, without you). He might want to practice chords on his guitar, read that graphic novel he just bought or just – well – sleep. So, respect his need for personal space. It might even help to delegate personal spaces for the both of you at the very beginning. For instance, let him enjoy his “alone time” whenever you see him in his favourite armchair trying to catch up on his reading.

And understand that a couple doesn’t have to do every single thing together. So don’t badger him to watch a romantic Korean drama with you every night (unless he’s also a K-pop fan!). After all, you wouldn’t want him to keep pestering you to watch the EPL with him, right? Instead, carve out some personal space for yourself too. Claim an area for yourself (like the living room couch) and do something that will keep you sane.