A big step some newly engaged couples take before saying "I do" is moving in together. While there are some undeniable benefits to living with your partner, it can be tricky cohabitating with another person—especially the one you plan on spending the rest of your life with.
When it comes to sharing your space, it's not enough to simply extend an invitation to your fiancé to move in. "It's really important in this situation for you to make room for your partner so that he or she has space for their personal belongings, as well as their self-expression," says Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship.
Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage adds, "A home is where you feel comfortable being—not just a roof over your head. When you ask someone to move into the place you have made comfortable for you, it probably doesn't occur to you that they might need some things changed to feel comfortable. But being open to change is a sign that you are open to making room for that person in your life, both physically and emotionally. It puts them in the position of being a real partner—not just someone you're allowing to stay with you."
With all of that in mind, here are a few tips on how you can make your fiancé feel comfortable in your home.
Make Peace With Sharing Your Space
You may feel like you're losing a piece of yourself—or a chunk of your house—when your fiancé moves in, but don't let resentment sink its teeth into this otherwise happy situation. "By making room for your partner, realize that you're gaining companionship and the opportunity to consider your partner's tastes in order to begin expressing yourselves together as a couple," Greer says.
Change Up Your Bedroom
Once you move in together, your bedroom should be more than the space where you get busy. "Get new bedding that reflects both of your tastes as well as something you each feel comfortable with," says Doares, who also recommends investing in furniture you choose together. "The bedroom is a place of intimacy and retreat, so you both should feel welcome there," she says.
Greer warns that an ultra-feminine or ultra-masculine color scheme could make your fiancé uncomfortable. "Be ready to change colors, and be open to changing it to something more neutral," she says. Think: colors that work for you and your new roommate, such as cream, taupe, or even light gray.
Clean Out Your Closets
When it comes to making room in your storage space, simply clearing out a drawer or corner won't do. "Freeing up a limited amount of space in the main closet or, worse, making them use a closet in another room screams 'you're not equally important,' " Doares warns. "This is true whether it's the master closet or space under the sink. If you want them to feel like this is their home too, your fiancé can't be shoved into inconvenient places."
You might be used to falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the TV, but if your fiancé needs complete silence to zonk out, they might as well move onto the couch if you're unwilling to find a new way to unwind. "Be flexible around your own personal habits in terms of what time you go to bed, whether you like to watch TV beforehand, and so on," Greer says. "Try not to disrupt your partner, and also respect that your partner is bringing their own habits into the home. It's important to compromise with each other and find a balance between the two."
Combine Your Things
Before you move in together, "go through each room and decide which of your fiancé's things will come in and what of yours will stay," Doares suggests. "Sell everything else at a yard sale or on Craigslist, and use the money for a celebratory dinner and buying new stuff that reflects the two of you."