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When a relationship’s on the verge of being really serious — like, talking marriage kind of level — moving in together is one of the first things that often gets discussed. It’s pretty natural, obviously, as two people who are considering spending their lives together want to test the waters on what it’s like to share an apartment or home.

That said, it’s not an easy task, as both people are giving up some personal space, personal time and have to learn how to coexist on things like decorating, cooking and cleaning duties, among plenty of other things. Sure, you two can make a relationship work in separate places, but can you keep the spark after moving in together?

As someone whose moved in with an ex-girlfriend before, I can tell you that there are some serious learning curves. And, while my experience didn’t work out for factors relating to the overall relationship more than the living situation, my failures are to your benefit — so here are tips on how to make moving in together work the right way.

Be yourself

If you’re a bit messier than the normal person when you live alone or with guy roommates, guess what, you’re probably going to keep those same habits when you’re living with a girlfriend. And, guess what, that’s totally OK! Nobody’s a perfect roommate, so stop trying to change up all those things you’re used to doing and just go with it. Trust me, you and your girlfriend will piss each other off with some bad habits, but this isn’t a vacation, this is your everyday life, so ignore the small things like leaving the toilet seat up or forgetting to put dishes in the dishwasher.

Set financial expectations

Nobody wants to actually spend time adulting, but, guess what, when it comes to moving in together, you’re going to have to suck it up and figure some financial things out. First off, how is rent going to be paid? Is it an even 50/50 split, or is one person handling more of the load? Second, are you going to assign certain utilities to one another to pay each month, or split those down the middle, too? It’s not necessarily an exciting conversation, but, if you’re in a relationship that’s thinking about moving in together, you should be comfortable enough to talk about money together.

Find alone time

Once again, this isn’t a vacation, so you both don’t need to put pressure on always doing something together. One of the biggest mistakes I personally made when my ex-girlfriend and I lived together was not keeping my distance at times. Sure, there were certain nights where she worked overnight shifts at the hospital and I had time to lounge around and watch Netflix, but it was more because of conflicting schedules. When we both had time off, we often spent it trying to do too much together, which can be nice, but, come on, we’re humans, we need our alone time.

Have spontaneous sex, it’s important

One of the many perks of being in a relationship is having sex — and, hopefully, lots of it! When you and your girlfriend decide to take the next step and move in together, that doesn’t mean anything should stop on the physical front. In fact, it should increase. Have a disagreement last night? Climb into bed, try to put out the fire as best you both can, then have morning sex and squash the issue. Your girl coming back from the gym and need to shower? Rather than be a slob on the couch, surprise her by sneaking in with her. That spontaneity is hot, and it’s important to keep a relationship going strong — especially after moving in together.

Host friends and family

You’re proud of the place you and your girlfriend have gotten together, so don’t just let it be yours alone; host people! It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or over-the-top, but things like game nights, watching sports or regularly watching movie/TV shows with friends can help you both get comfortable in your new digs. It’s making those memories together that will keep both of you happy and feeling like this relationship is bigger than just something casual — as if you both didn’t already know that by now.

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