1. Have your own space. It doesn’t mean you hate spending time with each other but it is important you have ‘me’ time and somewhere to gather your thoughts – run yourself a bath, read a book in an armchair or stick your favourite film on telly. Or combine them and watch Netflix in the bath with a good crossword like I do.
2. Compromise. Obvious but difficult. No one wants to be the first to apologise or back pedal but remember you love this person enough to live with them. Be the bigger person and find a way to make you both happy.
3. Accept that occasional arguments are normal. When living in close proximity, you will annoy each other and wind each other up. The important part is how you resolve it and move on. We even had an argument over a piece of garlic when we first moved in together; does it get any more ridiculous?!
4. Make quality time for each other. It is so easy to get in the habit of not making as much effort because you see each other every day but you still need date nights to look forward to and to bond – make each other feel special. Watching TV does not count!
5. On the flip side, make time for others. You still have other relationships to maintain with friends and family. It’s a juggling game.
6. Make joint decisions. You now share a home and therefore a future. Talk to each other before making decisions that will affect your partner. And joint decisions mean joint housework. You are a team!
7. Communicate. Another obvious one and easier said than done. No matter how silly you feel, share your feelings or let the other person know when you need your own space. It avoids second guessing, anxiety and arguments. Write it down if it’s easier than saying it out loud. We argue so much less now we communicate better and more regularly.
8. Find common ground. Think of meals that you’ll both enjoy (and can actually cook!) and find television shows you can watch together.
9. Embrace each other – the good, the bad and the ugly. We are all human, we all have imperfections, so embrace them. Make jokes about them. But don’t try to change them (unless it’s the bloke leaving the toilet seat up – will they ever learn?!), as they are part of what makes us unique.