Friday, 24 June 2016

The ultimate “should we live together” questionnaire

As promised, here is The ultimate "should we live together" questionnaire.

These are questions I thought Mr. Romantic and I should answer and discuss before deciding if we want to live together. I think they put us in a better position to make a more informed decision.

In my opinion, having answers that don’t match doesn’t mean we shouldn’t live together. It just means we have more to discuss. They're meant to help us learn more about each other.

I’ve made a few edits to take away the more personal aspects of these questions and made them a bit more universal for any of you to use if you’re thinking of shacking up with your sweetie. Perhaps you'll think that some of the questions are a little negative or morbid, but in my opinion they're important nonetheless. Maybe they can help you make the important decision of living together.

A little work before might mean a simpler life together afterwards.

Relationship
  1. Why should we live together?
  2. When should we live together?
  3. What do you want from our relationship?
  4. How do we make decisions?
  5. How do we resolve conflicts?
  6. Should we revisit the arrangement in the future to discuss how it’s going? If so, when?
  7. What happens if we find that we can’t live together?
Expenses
  1. We’ve already discussed that expenses would be shared. Which ones and how?
  2. Should we open a joint account?
  3. If we open a joint account, how would we use it? Do we agree on a fixed amount to use for expenses and any savings would go to other household projects (renovations or new furniture) or are those accounted for separately? Do we simply put in the amount needed just to cover regular expenses?

 Chores
  1. Who does what chores?
  2. Who takes care of laundry? Should we keep laundry separate?
  3. Who cleans after the pet(s)? How often?
  4. Who feeds the pet(s)?
  5. What are your thoughts on hiring a professional cleaning service to clean the house?
  6. If you think a cleaning service is a good idea, how often should they come over to clean?
  7. How do we handle snow removal?
House
Most articles I’ve read recommend a couple find a new space to share, if possible. However, this is not the most practical solution in our situation since one of us is already a homeowner. Regardless, it’s important to feel like it’s as much one's home as the other's.
  1. Do we get a new place?
  2. If not, whose home do we live in?
  3. How will we make room for the each other in the home?
  4. Should our bedroom be our sanctuary (no kids allowed)?
  5. Do we both contribute to new furniture (or other decorative objects)?
  6. What are your thoughts on the costs of maintaining or repairing the house?
  7. What happens if we break up? Who moves out?
  8. What happens if we decide to sell the house? Are profits shared? If so, how?
  9. What happens if we decide to sell the house and buy a new one? Who owns the new house?
  10. What happens if we break up after we’ve bought a new house together?
Children (family)
  1. How do you see my role with your child(ren)?
  2. How do I see my role with your child(ren)?
  3. Do you expect me to babysit your child(ren)? If so, in what circumstances?
  4. Do you expect me to take part in the morning and evening routines with your child(ren)? If so, how?
  5. What if a child that has left home asks to come back to live with us?
  6. What if a child that has left home asks to come back to live with us and wants to bring their partner?
  7. What if a child that has left home asks to come back to live with us and she’s pregnant or he/she has a baby?
  8. How do you feel about sleepovers (a niece or nephew, a child’s friend, another relative)?
  9. Are you planning on having special time just for you and your child(ren)? If so, what and how?
  10. Are you planning on having special family time, everyone included?
  11. Should I have special time with your child(ren)?
  12. What if I get into an argument with your child(ren) and he/she says that he/she doesn’t want us to live together anymore?
Time
  1. Should we spend time apart?
  2. If so, how, how often, when?
  3. How often should we travel?
  4. Should all of our travels be done together?
  5. What if one of us wants to visit a place the other doesn’t?
Other
  1. What are your short term goals (1 to 2 years)?
  2. What are your medium term goals (3 to 8 years)?
  3. What are your long term goals (9 years and beyond)?
  4. What are or will be your work hours and commute?
  5. What if one of us dies during our relationship? Do you have a will? Does the house belong to your child(ren) or your estate after you die?
  6. What is your deal breaker?
  7. Is there anything else you’d like to say or ask that wasn’t covered in The ultimate “should we live together” questionnaire?

Friday, 17 June 2016

When a minimalist and a borderline pack rat discuss living together

Remember when I wrote about my reflections on romantic relationships? In that post, I mentioned that I wasn't sure if I could or would want to live with a partner again. I had also said that there was no need to make up my mind at the time because it wasn't a decision I was faced with. Well, I'm now faced with that decision.

Mr. Romantic and I have been together for over 6 months now and we've come to a point in our relationship where we're considering moving in together. It's a decision not to be taken lightly, especially because kids are involved. I have a 16-year-old who's not living with me currently, but may come back. He has a 10 and 6-year-old that live with him every other week. If it was just the two of us, it would be an easier decision with less possible complications.

Also, as you know, I consider myself a minimalist. Mr. Romantic considers himself a borderline pack rat. So this should be interesting...

We've recently had several little discussions here and there about the possibility of us living together. Since, he's been making room for me in his home. He's gotten rid of some of his things to make room for me and my stuff — not that I have much. He's slowly going through his home to make it more inviting for me. For us.

It's still been a hard decision to make. So what did I do? I tried to remove emotion from the decision making process and just consider facts. However, let's face it, how can you really remove all emotion from a decision concerning your romantic relationship... But I was going to give it my best shot.

I researched online: "how long should you wait before moving in together". From all of the information I've found, it seems that the norm is anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Alright, so we're on track with the norm, according to the internet. But I wouldn't base my decisions solely on the internet without giving it significant thought.

Because online searches bring you from one thing to another, I then read articles on "signs you're ready to move in together". I found value in many of these articles, though they were mostly intended for 20-somethings starting out in life. We're a slightly older couple (late 30s early 40s) who've had kids from previous relationships, have more life experience, and have owned real-estate before. Mr. Romantic is currently a homeowner.

So, being the over-thinker I am, I took some of that information, mixed it in with some of my (our) own concerns and decided to come up with what I call The ultimate "should we live together" questionnaire (which I'll share with you in a separate post).

I suggested we take a week to answer, and made a date for us to discuss it tomorrow. In the questionnaire I included some of the things we'd already discussed so that we could take our time to (re)consider our answers.

Of course, I wouldn't say that answering these questions one way or another means the decision will be an easy one. However, I think it will help us determine if we have the same (or similar) life values.

Coming up with a questionnaire to make a decision about taking the next step in our relationship may not sound like the most romantic thing to do, but I would argue that it is. We're possibly preventing potential conflicts. Not all, but some. I think caring enough for us to take the next step in the best possible way is actually quite romantic.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Take a hike!

The day I got my new leased car, my daughter asked if we could go for a drive up to the Champlain lookout in the Gatineau Park. So off we went - my daughter, Mr. Romantic and I.

As we were on our way up there, I was reminded of the lovely hiking trails. Last year I hiked the King Mountain Trail with Dr. T.. Although I struggled and had a hard time catching my breath during my hike, I really enjoyed the experience and definitely wanted to do more. So I had planned to hike the other trails this year

Luckily for me, Mr. Romantic also likes hiking and he's always willing to go whenever I am.

On the May long weekend, I had plans for us to hike three of the Gatineau Park trails. Having a car makes getting to these types of activities easier. We just pack up and go whenever we feel like it.

Although all of the trails I wanted to hike were rated easy, it was a little ambitious of me to plan to do all of them in that weekend. Still, I wanted to set that goal, but I was open to the idea of possibly not getting to do all of them. In the past few months, I've learned to listen to my body.

So on that Saturday morning, Mr. Romantic and I got dressed up for hiking and headed off to the Park. We parked near the Pioneer Trail and walked to the Lac des Fées Trail. I had planned to do both that day.

I was so happy! It's so awesome to find the perfect partner to have these types of experiences with. Someone who's in better shape than I am so that I push myself to keep up, but who doesn't mind at all to go at my pace so that I don't have to push too much and injure myself.

It was a gorgeous day with perfect weather for hiking. The sky was blue, the trees were green, the trail was mostly dry. We brought bottles that we filled up with water at home before leaving. Mr. Romantic also brought a little emergency kit and a few granola bars for snacks if we needed them.

We saw chipmunks, smelled apple blossoms, and had a few laughs. A perfect date!

The first trail was a one way then back - not a loop-type circuit. Getting to the end of the trail was almost a breeze. We even took somewhat of a wrong turn and had to climb a few rocks to get back up to the right path. I easily climbed them.

When we got to the end, I was thinking that I'd be able to do the next trail I had planned to do that day. However, I suddenly got very tired walking back. So we decided to go for a late breakfast instead.

We will hike the other trails, I'm sure. It just might take more time than I expected.

I really love these types of activities. They don't cost much, just the fuel to get there when you already own the appropriate gear.

Spending time in nature with my sweetie is definitely good for my soul!





Photo I took with my cell phone while hiking the Lac des Fées Trail


Friday, 3 June 2016

I don't want a tiny home

Can I still be called a minimalist if I don't want a tiny home? Of course I can!! Is there a rule that as a minimalist we should automatically want to live in a tiny home? Nope!

Even though I don't want to live in a tiny home (less than 500 square feet), I don't want a mansion either. The bigger the house, the more time it takes to maintain it. Who really wants to spend a whole weekend cleaning up and maintaining things? Not me, that's for sure!

In my current two-bedroom apartment, which is approximately 850 square feet, when I decide it's clean up time it usually takes me a little over an hour, two at most if we've been a little messy that week. That includes dusting everything, vacuuming and washing the floors.

What I want is a home with enough room for the things I decided to hold on to and with room to spare. Not so I can add stuff to the home, but so that I have room to just be. I like open spaces. Think of an art gallery. I like how they leave room between artworks so that we can appreciate their beauty. That's what I want in my home. Room between the items I decided to keep to better appreciate their beauty/usefulness.

I used to dream of a house with an extra room I could turn into my personal study/library. Every wall lined with book-filled bookshelves. A writing desk, one or two big leather chairs. If I could get it, it would also have had a wood-burning fireplace.

Now, I'd love to have a room with nothing in it but a beautiful area rug and a comfortable armchair. Nothing hanging on the white walls. No curtains to obstruct my view of the outside. Somewhere I can go sit in peace and think or clear my mind. But I suppose if I minimize the amount of items I own, my whole apartment could feel like that, even though it won't be so sparse.

So if I'm living alone, I think an apartment that's approximately 700 square feet would suite me just fine. But I guess to some, that would be a tiny home.