Love Shack!

Sharing a bathroom with your boyfriend’s smelly flatmate getting old? Shacking up with the one you love is a great way to feel at home, save money and bond with each other but it’s also a huge test of your relationship. So how do you know when you’re ready to take the plunge?

The six month rule

Moving in before marriage is much more common these days. It’s estimated that three-quarters of Australian couples who get married now have lived together first which is up from just 3 per cent of couples who married in the 1960s.

That means there’s quite a lot of research around about how to make it work. Most experts agree that you should try to reach the six-month mark before making any huge decisions because prior this you’re still in the loved-up honeymoon phase. Sex therapist and author of The Sex Diaries, Bettina Arndt, says the chemistry in our brain actually changes when we’re smitten which sends logic out the window!

Talk about it

Before you run out to Ikea, chat about your feelings, wants, needs and values. While discussing things such as pets, marriage, privacy, house parties, housework and family may not seem like much fun, you’ll be glad you did when his mother starts to visit five times a week! Karen, 25, QLD, says she and her man, Finlay, 29, went on a holiday together before they moved in. “It was a great idea because it showed us we could spend time together, just the two of us,” she says.

Sort your dollars and cents
Nothing puts stress on a relationship like money, or lack thereof! The key is to create concrete guidelines when it comes to bills, rent, utilities, groceries and household items. For instance, will you both pay equal amounts despite income? What happens if one of you loses your job?

Know you rights

It’s slightly unromantic but it’s important to know what your legal rights are, especially if you’re planning on investing any money in the property. People in de-facto relationships (living together) in Australia have the same rights as married couples when it comes to distribution of assets. It’s also good to know what your rights are in regards to joint bank accounts and debts.

Once you’re fully aware of where you both stand you’ll be able to enjoy the bliss that comes with arriving home from work to a big cuddle from your loved one and a glass of wine while you cook dinner together.
Laurence Mouton/6A/MAXPPP

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