These Are the Fights Couples Have When They Move In Together — And How to Resolve Them
If you're thinking of moving in with your significant other, you might want to think again. According to studies, moving in with your partner at a young age can lead to a higher likelihood of divorce down the road. That's in part due to the consequences of making a commitment too early in the relationship, and partially due to the stressors of the actual cohabitation process: After all, as anyone who's seen the 30 Rock IKEA episode knows, deciding whether to buy a PS Lovas or a Karlstad sofa can signal the death knell of a relationship.
That said, there's also plenty of research to suggest moving in with your partner doesn't necessarily have to be a death sentence — provided you look out for the warning signs ahead of time. If you address any potential issues with your partner beforehand, instead of waiting for a giant argument over whether to order pizza or Chinese for dinner, moving in together can actually be a breeze.
To find out the best way for couples to take the next step toward cohabitation, Mic hit Facebook to see what the most common fights when moving in with an SO are — and what you can do to avoid them.
All couples have different ideas about what constitutes a clean house. One person might see a floor that's clean enough to eat off, while the other person might see a dust bunny-ridden nightmare. Maybe that's why cleanliness is the most common issue for couples to fight over: A 2013 survey found that nearly two-thirds of couples admit to arguing over chores at last once a week, and research by household manufacturer Vileda found that, in the U.K., a third of divorces were attributed to fighting over domestic responsibilities.
Luckily, there seems to be a way to avoid going to war over the hair in the bathroom drain: the art of compromise. Divvy up household responsibilities and "agree when you're going to give yourselves well-deserved permission to be lazy and ditch all thoughts of cooking and cleaning," clinical psychologist and relationship expert Cecilia d'Felice told the Daily Mail. "The extra time you'll have will create other beneficial side effects for your relationship."
"Bathroom cleaning or lack thereof have been the cause of many a near breakup. It's called a toilet brush!" — Danny*, 36, via Facebook
"Things have to be in their 'right place' all the time. I can't just leave something out at 9 p.m. and expect it to still be there when I leave for work at 730 a.m. It's annoying because then I can't find things when I need them and eventually get angry and yell because now I'm rushing and I'm late." — Lauren*, 28, via Facebook
"Constant arguments or bickering matches over [things like], 'Why must you leave your dirty laundry on the floor when the hamper is right next to where you dropped it?'" — Erin*, 30, via Facebook
"I have a habit of making my bed every single day. I like getting into a MADE bed at night. He doesn't understand this one bit. 'Babe...it just doesn't make any sense, we are just going back to sleep, it doesn't have to be done up all pretty...it's like tying your shoes back up after you take them off!'" — Kristina*, 30, via Facebook
Money makes the world go round, but it can also make relationships end. In fact, arguments about money early on in a relationship are the top predictor for divorce, according to a 2012 study. And while the stress of financial hardship is a big factor in these disagreements, they may actually be indicative of bigger issues.
"We all have deeply held beliefs about the best way to use money (e.g., use money for status, use money for security, etc.) Often these beliefs come from the family in which we grew up," Jeff Dew, one of the lead researchers on the 2012 study, told the Huffington Post. "Sometimes spouses' beliefs differ and so they come into conflict. You might imagine a spouse who feels that money is best used for status married to someone who feels that money is best used for security. This couple would then probably have more conflict."
That said, financial differences don't have to be the nail in the coffin for your relationship. The key is to talk about your financial issues right away. Do you guys have debt? Do you pay your bills on time every month? Do your partner's parents support them and if so, are you OK with that? If you two have different money management styles, you need to answer these questions to find out how to make it work.
"Money is a big one. I had an SO who used to be in financial stress. [He'd] spend money on me, which would make me feel bad and when I would bring it up, he would say,[that] everyone has debt, who cares." — Nicole*, 29, via Facebook
"Everyone has a bone to pick about money, who's spending it on what and why." — Aaron*, 30, via Facebook
3. Literally nothing
Do you and your significant other pride yourselves on never fighting over silly things? Well, if you move in together, that could very well change. Even couples who've been together forever have to learn all the quirks and habits the other person may have been hiding all along. That can prompt you guys to start fighting over nothing.
To keep this from happening, couples need to address what their actual problems are, instead of letting them build up over time. If you're tired and need some space, arranging for some alone time is far more efficient than blowing up when your partner orders pizza instead of Chinese.
"I once picked a fight because I was tired in the morning and thought that an email he'd sent (to someone else) wasn't sufficiently polite. This could not have happened if we didn't wake up together and commute together." — Stephanie*, 26, via Facebook
"We fight over what to order for dinner. That can cause a cold war." — Becky*, 27, via Facebook
IKEA can be the source of many existential crises, especially when it comes to relationships. You like the Laiva bookcase, but your partner is more of a Gersby. But why should that be that such a big deal?
"Couples tend to extrapolate from the small conflicts that arise while shopping for and building furniture that perhaps they aren't so made for one another after all," Maisie Chou Chaffin, a London-based clinical psychologist who works with couples, told the Atlantic. In short, your IKEA tastes become a symbol for your relationship: If your styles clash, how can you possibly be together?
The key to avoiding IKEA-inspired relationship issues comes down to one word: preparation. According to Janice Simonsen, the design spokeswoman for IKEA U.S, agreeing on a style from the catalog before ever setting foot in the store is a great way to avoid any mishaps once you're there. Or maybe just order online and spring for the assembly service.
"IKEA! That is the true test of a relationship." – Amanda*, 29, via, Facebook
"Literally, going to Ikea gives me anxiety. I've never had such a massive fight – do we get the black or wood colored Billy bookcase? It's the place couples go to die." – Mike*, 29, via Facebook
5. The TV
Unfortunately, for a lot of couples who move in together, their only time together during the week is the time after work, a lot of which is spent in front of the TV or Netflix. According to 60 Minutes, 36% of couples have fought over the remote over the course of their relationships. And, let's be honest, much of the time, the fight over the remote is about something completely unrelated to the TV schedule.
Compromise and cooperation is obviously the best, if not easiest, solution. Maybe split up the TV time, or declare one show a week as a no contact zone. Maybe even go TV or Netflix-free one day a week (gasp).
"[Video] games. Hours of video games. How can they spend so much time playing video games?" — Fiona*, 34, via Facebook
"A big one is being fair with watching TV together. If I have to sit through every sport, you can sit quietly during Grey's Anatomy. I describe Grey's as a tied game with two minutes left you may only talk when it's a commercial because I can't miss anything!" — Lisa*, 30, via Facebook
6. The dreaded toilet seat
It might sound like a relationship cliche, but leaving the toilet seat up or down can be a big bone of contention for many heterosexual couples. Unfortunately, in this argument, men may lose by default. For one thing, women pee more often, so it makes sense to leave the seat down. (It's also more sanitary and prevents the spread of disease, according to a 2012 study.) But the main reason why a toilet seat should be kept down is out of common courtesy for your partner, an extremely important aspect of any relationship. It may not be the sexiest symbol of a relationship, but it can be the sweetest.
"Leaving the toilet seat up another. [It's] super annoying when you're half asleep and sit down to pee and fall into the toilet." — Nikki*, 29, via Facebook
"Always putting the toilet seat down. It's tiring lifting it up all the bloody time." — Kenny*, 34, via Facebook
*Only first names have been used to allow subjects to speak freely on private matters.