Taking all the stuff you own and taking all the stuff your partner owns and throwing it in a place together is the Millennial version of getting married (actually getting married is the Millennial getting double-married). It's a huge commitment, and entering into a rent-controlled lease is arguably more binding than just "'til death." But don't get caught up in the minutiae of whose bedspread you'll be taking to the new place or just how many throw pillows two human beings realistically need.
1. Define what you each consider "personal space" Very Precisely.
Do you plan on spending every available moment grafted to each other? Or do you like being able to retreat off to your corner of your apartment, talking to no one for hours at a time? It's fine to have different wants and needs, but if you're not both at least understanding of each other's, your apartment will basically become a 600-square-foot space of hell. For the love of all that is holy, make sure you're both aware of your expectations upfront.
2. Sitting on the couch while one of you thumbs through your iPad does not count as "together time."
Watching TV together might have counted as quality time when one of you had to actively go to the other person's place to do it, but now that's just passing the time while your laundry dries. Prepare for this by setting a weekly date night, even if it's just watching Game Of Thrones together, purposefully. You don't want to start your lives together, spend all Saturday in the apartment, and then make plans with your friends, only to have your partner yell, "I thought we were going to do something!" as you head out the door.
3. Respect their schedule.
Things can get terrible fast if your partner is waking you up early in the morning, or you're banging around the kitchen making a late-night snack and disrupting their sleep. They're not going to change their schedule when you move in together, so talk about how you'll deal. And don't jump in the shower when they have to get to an early meeting.
4. How are you even going to eat?
Is one of you harboring a secret expectation that, because you're an amateur chef, you're going to cook every night? Say it out loud. Or maybe you both hate cooking, but you can't just eat KFC every night forever, so how's this going to work? Communicate, and share chores you both hate doing. You don't need a giant chore wheel on your fridge; just make sure the necessary things are getting done in a way that makes you both happy. OK, maybe "happy" is unrealistic, but settle for "not wanting to kill each other."
5. Prepare yourself to throw things away.
You will not get to keep every piece of furniture and old college poster you have. Things are going in the garbage, and they might be things that have sentimental value to you but make no sense to hold on to anymore. Practice saying good-bye to the beat-up leather chair you love now.
6. Your partner is not your roommate.
With a roommate, you can get away with being sloppy or loud or gross just, like, five times but never again, you swear. Your friends will put up with you. Your partner will leave you. They still need your love and respect even thought you're having a nightly slumber party.
7. Don't forget to have sex.
This might sound insane, especially if you have a high sex drive, but it's easy to fall into a routine where you come home exhausted, throw on some sweatpants, and pass out at your place. Never stop banging.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.