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At each stage of your relationship, the stakes get raised just a little higher. As you and your partner move closer toward blending your lives into one, things are bound to shift and change. And, whether you wait until marriage to live together, or cohabitate before the big day, it’s safe to say that sharing a home can be an even bigger change than officially tying the knot—at least when it comes to the logistics.

Here are six things that are definitely different about living in the same place as your partner.

You’ll spend a lot less time alone. 

When you each have your own place, you have two separate retreats. Sure, you might spend the night at your partner’s place or yours multiple times a week, but chances are, you still have some solid time to yourselves. When you move in, your together time and your alone time is all in the same place. You may have to negotiate when you veg out together or apart, especially if one or both of you really crave that solo time.

You have to combine finances, at least somewhat. 

Even if you maintain separate bank accounts, you will have to take care of shared expenses, like rent and utilities, groceries, and other household items. Figuring out who pays for what, or deciding to go 50/50 can be a challenge at first, since you might each have different ideas about how the money issue should play out.

You need to ask permission.

Let’s say your partner’s college buddy is in town and wants to crash. Well, now that you share a place, your partner should make sure it’s okay with you first. Or, maybe you want to paint the living room a cool color—since it’s not just your home, you would ideally check with your partner before busting out your paintbrush. If you’ve both lived alone for awhile, this transition can be a bit tough, but asking each other’s opinions will soon become habit over time.

You get to divide up your chores. 

Now that you share a space, you get to share domestic duties—meaning you don’t have to clean an apartment or house all by yourself anyone. (Yay!) You may, however, each have your own ideas about how clean your home should be, and how often it should be tidied up—this is another point of negotiation you’ll navigate together.

You’re forced to work it out when you fight.

When you two find yourself in conflict, there’s no storming out and going back to your place—you’re already there. Living together means you get to confront challenges and talk things you, which is a really important skill to have as you go through life as a couple.

You’re considered a unit. 

Even if you’re not married yet, you guys share a home. You’ve made a deeper commitment to your relationship. You will likely get invited to events (weddings especially) as a couple, and friends and family will recognize that you’re a package deal. Kinda nice, right?

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