STOP. Before you sign that lease with your significant other, you'd better know what you're getting into.
Just because you've figured out each other's smaller neuroses doesn't mean you're ready to live together.
Fortunately, we've compiled some basic expectations that need to be addressed before you start on the road to domesticity.
Here are some vital questions to ask yourself and your lover before you pack your bags.
1. What are you like in the morning?
Some people love mornings: that's when they have the most energy, when they're most on top of their game.
Other people... Not so much. They can't do anything requiring fine motor skills until they've had a pot of coffee. And don't even think about speaking to them before they've had a hot shower.
Not knowing how someone goes about their morning routine is potentially disastrous.
2. How long does it take you to get ready to go out?
Not just to go out to dinner or something, but just to leave the house. Most couples will have one bathroom. If it takes your significant other an hour to perfectly style his hair, or put on makeup, and it takes you 15 minutes to get ready for work, you will have problems.
Schedule accordingly, and figure it out.
3. How much hosting do you want to do?
If you love having people over for drinks and dinner, and your significant other would rather talk to the dog, drink beer and watch football, you may have a problem.
Make your expectations about how you want to use your space socially clear from the get-go. Then you can avoid those awkward "party's over" moments when she walks in and the glasses stop clinking.
4. How much alone time do you both need?
Everyone needs "alone time" to some degree. As we've pointed out, it's insane to think one person can be everything to someone else, and this is especially true when it comes to time spent by oneself, recharging.
Here are two VITAL things about communication and getting your alone time.
You have to tell them you need it. No one can read your mind. Getting grumpy, snippy, and anxious just lays the foundation for a fight. Fighting, of course, is the opposite of alone time.
Communicate it. Don't take it personally. Everyone needs alone time. Take the opportunity to enjoy some of your own, catch up with friends or personal projects, or whatever.
5. What do you want when you're sick/tired/stressed out?
Not everyone wants to be hovered over when they're sick or depressed or exhausted. Perhaps you need to just come home, drink a glass of wine, and stare at the television for a half hour before engaging with anyone. Perhaps your significant other wants soup brought to them in a bread bowl when they've got a cold. Perhaps you want to listen to Taylor Swift on repeat when you've had a bad day.
Whatever the case, it's important to ask this question both of your significant other and yourself and, again, to communicate the expectation clearly.
6. How clean do you expect your space to be?
"Clean" can mean very different things to people. There's "everything is not visible to the untrained eye" clean, and then there's "white glove clean," with countless variations in between.
Some people can't sleep, work or concentrate if there are dishes in the sink or dust on shelves. Frankly, we're on their side, so if you're messy, you'd better get your act together or hire someone to help.
In order to be sensitive to your significant other's environmental needs, you've got to adapt, or you WILL drive them crazy.
7. Who will be responsible for what?
This doesn't just mean bills and chores, it also means cooking, feeding the pets, and more.
You don't want to start out with a lack of balance in the distribution of responsibility, but working out what "balance" is has to be something mutually agreed upon.
8. What are your expectations about money?
It's well-known that couples — even unmarried couples — run into all kinds of stress when it comes to money.
Some people were raised in households that were rather careless with the stuff. Others were more financially cautious. Either way, finances, as a couple, or a household, are a potential minefield of tiny misunderstandings that can lead to much bigger blow-outs.
If you're not comfortable about how your partner treats money, you need to come to some kind of agreement before they run out and buy more diamonds.
Ultimately, all of these things are dependent on communication skills. If your communication skills are lacking, just share this article with them. You can blame or thank us afterwards.