“This is really Jessica’s domain. In the beginning, I didn’t even see the point of making strict rules for everything; since a few years ago, I like to live my life without too much planning. Go with the flow! But, as our relationship took shape, I have found that the rules we set help keep the peace, especially with Jessica being a stickler for rules and plans.”
So far, we have found that living together before marriage can have both its upsides and its downsides. To make things easier, we have set up rules in our household about practical things related to living together as an unmarried couple.
Setting up boundaries
Just because we live together and see each other a lot, doesn’t mean that we always do things together. We both have our own work to do; during the day, we mostly do our own thing. Even during the pandemic situation where we spend most of our time indoors for self-quarantine purposes, we don’t interact much unless it’s necessary. We even eat lunch separately because we have different schedules.
Usually, our working hours finish sometime after 7.30 pm. And when we finish working, we will have our time together: watch movies, play games, catch up on things, or have sex. We are also okay with taking some time off of each other: Paul likes to go out and meet his friends; Jess likes to read books and write.
Sometimes, when we feel our partner is neglecting us, we will simply ask for their time. Then both of us will discuss whether we are busy or not, and when we can finish our activities so that we can do things together. The key is, we give our partner the time and space they need.
As an unmarried couple, arranging our finances can be tricky because we don’t have any legal stance on our partnership. So far, at least for now, what makes sense for us is to split our shared bills fifty-fifty. Things like groceries, electricity bills, rent, and water. Other than that, we are free to manage our finances however we like.
We don’t have a joint savings or checking account. Usually, one of us will front the payment, and we will split everything at the end of the month. We use an app to track our expenses; it makes it easier for both of us. We have tried other methods as well, including splitting bills right away when we make a payment. It might seem fairer, but it is a lot more hassle than settling bills at the end of the month.
Setting up household rules
This topic alone might be one of the most back-and-forth topics that we’ve discussed. Things such as who does the chores or how we deal with each other’s weird habits. It is not something that we can discuss and decide on one sitting. The discussions were not all smooth. Until today, we are still learning.
Chores are one thing. Who likes doing chores? No ONE. Neither do we. But someone has to do it. So we start the conversation with who enjoys what: Jess picked washing the dishes, and Paul picked taking the trash out and laundry. We rarely cook; we do delivery a lot. Not because we’re rich or anything, but it’s very affordable doing so here. Another good thing about our current place is that the landlord offers free room cleaning every week. So we don’t have to worry about dusting and sweeping the floor.
One thing that we found helpful is to write everything down, as detailed as possible. It doesn’t mean that everything is set in stone. We can always look back, review, and make necessary changes if needed. But writing it down ensures that everything is explicit and unambiguous. This way, we can prevent the ‘he-said-she-said’ situation.
Last but not least, we know that even when we have a meticulously detailed list, it doesn’t mean that it won’t feel unfair some days. We still feel bitter about minor things, like when one of us forgets to separate the organic/non-organic waste, or not put the laundry in the basket. It is fine to feel annoyed from time to time, but we make sure that we talk when things like that happen.
If you want to use our list as a template, you can download our house rules template below. And when you do, please comment below and let us know if you find it helpful 🙂