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Survey Reveals How Living Together Changes Couples’ Relationships

Living together? Sign on front door

When you and your partner move in together, you might not know what to expect. For example, they could turn out to be packrats! Or maybe brushing your teeth in the kitchen drives your cuddle bunny crazy, whether they tell you about it or not. But what you do likely already know is that living together changes relationships, and a recent survey found some very interesting details on this subject.

Cohabitation is a Big Step

Couples rarely decide to live together after only a few dates. That’s because it’s a significant step in the relationship to decide to cohabitate as you give up separate living space, combine possessions, and make a serious commitment to one another.

If you decide that now is the right time to move in with your significant other then congratulations! Deciding to share your life is a big, beautiful milestone in a relationship.

And while you can’t predict how much adjustment there’ll be when you move in together, you know that a future together is why you’re moving in together in the first place. What you might not bank on though are the changes to your relationship.

What One Study Found Out about Couples Living Together

Recently, Sofary surveyed 905 people to find out their perceptions about living under the same roof. All participants were already moved in with their partners. So, what was getting on their nerves, how did they rate their relationship satisfaction, and how did the size of their living space factor in?

Here are the survey highlights:

#1 How Size of Living Space affects Relationship Satisfaction

The phrase “size matters” can get your mind going down the gutter. Instead, let’s focus on the size of living space as a factor in relationship satisfaction.

It’s something that you might not consider when moving in together, right? But Sofary found that square footage can affect how content couples feel once they’re living together. Specifically, those who live in 1,800 square feet or more expressed higher levels of satisfaction in their relationship than those cohabitating in smaller spaces.

This research finding makes sense given that most people like to have personal space. Even if you’re living under the same roof, it’s good to have time apart, such as a second TV room or a den off the main living area. There’s also an area then for each of you to move in your treasured items to the shared home without feeling like you have to give up everything because of a lack of space.

For example, our condo is slightly over the 1,800 square feet benchmark, which means we both can be in different rooms if we want to be. Two examples are wanting to phone a friend without the distracting background noise of the TV or napping on the couch while I’m working in my office at night in a separate room.

And sometimes you simply need your own space, right? That’s important to mentally recharge. I wouldn’t want to go any smaller for us in square footage.

On a related note, we are keeping our eye on the Victoria real estate market with hopes to move into a home over the next year. There’s the wedding later this year so one thing at a time – unless we find out about a great house deal!

#2 Relationship Satisfaction Grew after Living Together

Sofary also discovered that more than half of participants considered themselves happier after moving in than before that. To be exact, 61% of the over 900 surveyed people said so. A significant percentage also reported being very satisfied that they had moved in at the right time.

For my partner and I, we certainly felt it was the best time for us to move in together when we did because it was becoming inconvenient to go between one another’s residences so much. Not only driving between the two places (not far from one another, thankfully) but also packing items to take, planning which person’s place to stay at and when, and trying to divide that equally. From a financial standpoint, too, it didn’t make sense for us; we had to stock 2 fridges, pay 2 strata fees, and duplicate bills (hydro, Internet, etc.).

Not only that but we also wanted to stay together more than we were doing at that point. All in all, living together made sense for us. And while I cannot speak for him, I am happier now than when we lived separately.

#3 Habits that aren’t so Cute

Oooh, part of the survey was on complaints men had about their partners and that women had about their partners. The number one complaint about men after moving in? Messiness. Get this, women received the same top complaint. So apparently many people would do well to follow HuffPost’s tips for staying sane with a messy partner.

Second, on the list of complaints about men was that “they spend too much money on nonessentials.” For women, it was “they snore.” Other complaints about both men and women included that “they expect me to take care of everything” and “they snore.” We snore one another out of the room sometimes, oops (wink, wink).

Interestingly, 51% of married couples said that they became more tolerant of their significant other’s habits after living together than beforehand. I would argue though that many people might not have really let their bad habits be known until cohabitation. Which can be part of the adjustment period.

What to Expect from Your Relationship

Obviously, this is only one survey and so it isn’t a definitive guide to what can happen to a romantic relationship upon cohabitation. Plus, every couple is different so I wouldn’t want to say this or that will happen for sure as it really comes down to the people in that specific relationship. What I do know is that many people live contentedly together and if you choose to do so then I wish you all the best.

Did you notice your relationship with your partner change after living together and, if so, how? Also, feel free to comment on the survey findings above.

10 thoughts on “Survey Reveals How Living Together Changes Couples’ Relationships”

  1. Yes, things changed…. slowly after cohabitation. Happy to say after 30+ years … still cohabiting happily! It’s worth a try!

  2. I agree with the findings of the survey, Christy. It’s interesting to find out that we’re all not that different from each other after all. :)

  3. Great post, Christy!
    I definitely relate to the need for space. My wife and I use to share an office space, but I found that it works better for us both to have a separate space.

    I also think your observation about the survey results regarding higher tolerance after cohabitation is a good one.

    Thank you for sharing. Great post as always.


  4. Thank you, Christy, for sharing the article on how cohabitation changes relationships. Call me an old-fashion feminist, but I’ve never fully understood why someone would forego the rights, protections, and benefits–both legal and practical of marriage–in favor of cohabitation.There is are good reasons same-sex partners fought so hard to get the right to marry. Taking a test run with a partner does not prepare you for life-altering changes (chronic illness, raising children, death of a child or close relative, change in financial security, changes in partners as they age) in a relationship. This takes commitment. However, each person must choose the pathway they feel is right for them. Have a good weekend.

    1. Having been through multiple life-changing events before and while living with my partner, I can still with confidence say rushing into marriage is not a wise step for me. However, moving in with my partner was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; we are becoming closer as we understand each other more, and by living together can be more prepared to face challenges head-on, together. Does this mean I am ready to marry him? No, but each day I’m working with him to build a future we are both ready for. I think for a marriage to work long-term, you both HAVE to be ready. And who are we to tell someone they are or are not?

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