How to handle the stress of moving in

When two people move in together, there’s often conflict at first. Some of my clients tell me they experience conflict over things like daily habits and routines when they move in with their partner.

Moving in with your partner is a major transition and it’s almost always stressful. You’re merging two lives into one shared space, and you can become hypersensitive to the difference in habits as you adjust to the transition.

Research shows that when we move in with someone, our nervous system is hyper-aroused up until one year of living together. When this happens we’re typically anxious, irritable and distracted. We might also lose sleep. All of these symptoms are physiological symptoms of anxiety.

It’s normal to experience physiological symptoms when you’re adjusting to living with your partner. This physiological response is actually evolutionary.

Research in the neuroscience of change management has found that our brains associate change with threat, making change feel especially difficult. This is why we often experience the fight or flight response when we’re dealing with change, such as moving in with our partner.

It’s quite common to feel stressed when we’re dealing with change. I have some tips I’d like to share with you to make the transition a little easier.

One of the most important and impactful things you can do to better manage change is to share your needs. If you’re adjusting to moving in with your partner, share when you need space. When we don’t share our needs we typically become withdrawn and irritable. So if you get home and you don’t want to talk – and you don’t communicate this to your partner – it can cause an argument or create tension.

Rather than withdrawing and leaving your partner in the dark, tell your partner you need 10 minutes alone to unwind when you get home.

We all have our own rhythms in life. The pace we move through our daily tasks, how we handle work and when we like to do certain things is all part of our personal rhythms. You know what works for you, and you know what you need to keep the rhythm that makes you feel content and balanced. The more you share your rhythm with your partner, the better you can both adjust and create harmony between the two of you.

Understanding each other’s rhythm will help calm your nervous system and make you feel safe in this new life together. It’s normal to want to push your partner out when you’ve become stressed about living together. So share the rhythm of your life with your partner, and know that it’s normal to experience some discomfort when you begin to share your personal space with someone else.


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