You dreamed of the day when you and your love could live in the same place. Now the time has come to transition from sending goodnight kiss emojis by text to brushing your teeth at the same sink.
But before you can enjoy that togetherness, you’ll have to figure out the logistics of the move and consider details ranging from how to pay the movers to whose sofa will go in front of the TV.
There are no right or wrong answers to the questions that come up around this kind of move, said Raffi Bilek, a marriage and family counselor at Baltimore Therapy Center in Baltimore, MD.
“What is crucial is that you are prepared to discuss these issues and not assume that the way you had in mind is the correct or best way,” Bilek said.
With that in mind, here are four practical ways to work together to make the move from long-distance to live-in love:
1. Divvy up Moving Costs.
Consider sharing the cost of the move in a way that feels fair to both of you. Keep in mind that moves aren’t cheap. In fact, the average long-distance move of costs $4,890, according to Moving.com. Use a moving cost calculator to figure out how much your (or your sweetie’s) move will cost and discuss upfront how you’ll pay.
Ideally, expenses should be shared, said Nate, whose girlfriend Lolo moved to Australia to be with him. The two now run the site Lasting the Distance to help other couples navigate long-distance relationships.
“You’re in a relationship together and the whole burden shouldn’t be put on one person,” said Nate, who recommends saving up for the move together. “Some situations will allow for an equal split of the costs but some won’t, and it really comes down to what is fair and what you can both agree on.”
2. Decide What to Move.
Before you get moving quotes, come up with a design style for your new place by browsing Pinterest together, said lifestyle and beauty blogger Alex DiBacco, who recently moved from Florida to New Hampshire to be with her formerly long-distance boyfriend. For example, she and her boyfriend chose a farmhouse chic look.
Use an online room planner to decide what to move and what to donate or sell.
“Ideally, you can make pieces from both of your collections work,” DiBacco said, adding that she used paint and DIY techniques to make the different pieces work together.
Disagree on what to keep? Compromise, DiBacco said. (Or find a storage unit for your childhood karate trophies)
3. Tackle Tasks Together.
Since one partner has to make the move, it’s a good idea for the other person to lighten the load by offering to pitch in and help tackle items on the moving checklist.
Consider dividing moving tasks based on individual strengths and who can physically do which job. For example, the faraway partner could offer to research moving companies while the person moving might have to handle packing.
4. Make Space For Two.
Is one of you moving into an apartment or house where the other already lives? If so, it’s important for the partner who’s already in the home to make plenty of space ahead of time, especially if you’ll be sharing a closet.
“Merging two closets into one means it’s time to toss a few items,” said Marty Basher, home organization expert for Modular Closets. Buy some new items such as dressers, shelves and armoires to create more storage, DiBacco said.
“Be aware that you’ll need way more space than you do by yourself,” she said.
If you have disagreements during the transition, try to keep an open mind to help the move go smoothly.
“Expect differences in opinion and be ready to discuss the options as a team,” Bilek said.