After months of dragging your clothes back and forth, you and your beau finally took the plunge and moved in together. And while you adore him, and the fact that you're saving so much money on rent, let's face it — he's driving you crazy.
You're not alone.
So, what to do?
Understand vectors of tension as early as possible
Experts say there are many factors about moving in together that can bring friction into an otherwise happy relationship, but successful co-habitation is possible if you recognize what's causing tension to begin with.
“The reality is that no matter how in love you are, you’re still combining two lives — lives of individuals who grew up with different customs, traditions and mentalities,” says relationship expert Lindsay Kriger. “That feat alone is rarely easy and can produce a lot of friction in a relationship as you get used to each other’s habits and settle into a new life occupying the same space.”
Enemy #1: too much time together
With co-habitation a popular choice for many couples, these issues are worth addressing. According to the 2010 Census report, there were nearly eight million unmarried partners living together in the U.S. And while living with your partner can give you better insight into his or her habits, the initial excitement of spending every moment together does wear off — and can lead to damaging results.
The Annual Review of Sociology reported in 2000 that while 55 percent of cohabiters married within five years of living together, 40 percent also broke up within that same time period. The 2012 National Survey of Family Growth also revealed premarital cohabitation contributed to the delay in first marriages for both men and women.
Relationship experts agree some of the more common problems include spending too much time together, feeling claustrophobic, the inability to leave behind stress from the office at work and lack of intimacy. But that doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel.
“As individuals we are all flawed and we cannot expect anyone to be perfect because we aren’t,” explains psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish. “The key is to first accept ourselves and then our partner, flaws and all. Then, face the fact together that you both love each other, but it’s not going so well. If you care for each other enough that you’re still willing to give it a shot, then it’s worth seeking help from a third party, like a couples counselor."
Me-time is crucial
Aside from having an honest conversation about the situation, experts also say it’s crucial to reserve some “me-time.”
“Spending every waking moment together is neither healthy, nor realistic,” says Kriger. “It’s important that you each maintain some sense of individual identity by making time to do things on your own. And when you come back together, just think how much fun you’ll have sharing those things with each other in between proclamations of who missed who more.”
Go back in time
Want to live in harmony again? Consider taking your relationship back in time.
“Often when couples have not made their relationship a priority, little by little resentment and feelings of disconnection set in. The end result is feeling like you hate your significant other,” says psychologist Dr. Karen Sherman. “Make your relationship a priority and I mean spending time with one another and doing the things you did in the beginning. Feelings can come back, but you have to work on it.”
Still struggling to make it work as a team? For the sake of your sanity, maybe it’s time to pack it up and keep it moving.
“If he refuses to address the issues with you, then moving out is essential,” advises Nina Atwood, therapist and author of Temptations of the Single Girl.
“It won’t improve unless you both work on it, and if you stay, you risk the relationship devolving into toxic behaviors that will harm you both."