When you move in with your significant other, you’ll go through an adjustment period, getting used to one another’s habits. You may have different sleep patterns, with one of you needing a white noise machine and the other liking total silence. You could have different standards for cleanliness, with one of washing dishes immediately, and the other letting plates sit for a couple of hours (or days!) It’s alright if you take a while to get on the same page with these things, but one thing you cannot delay is getting on the same page about safety.
Don’t wait to have the talk – each day that passes puts you more at risk of break-in, burglary or worse. Keep these things in mind and decide how you want to handle each of the following.
Don’t say goodbye outdoors.
If your partner is going out for a while—especially if he or she is traveling—don’t say goodbye outdoors. You don’t want to notify strangers that you’ll be alone in your home. Having a lengthy goodbye outside or standing among suitcases lets onlookers know that you will be by yourself in your home for an extended period of time. Say your goodbyes indoors.
Notify one another of deliveries.
If a delivery person shows up when you live by yourself, you know whether or not your unit is expecting a delivery—you’re the only one there. So if you aren’t expecting a delivery, you know to be suspect of someone claiming to be delivering something. But when you live with your partner, you might readily answer the door when there is a delivery. For all you know, your partner could be expecting a package. Keep one another informed on when you’re expecting deliveries, so you know whether or not to answer the door.
Never assume the other person locked up.
If you go to bed after your partner, don’t assume he or she shut the balcony and put the deadbolt on the front door. They may be sleepy and forget or may think you did those things. Before going to bed, have a conversation about who is locking up. The same goes for anytime you’re leaving the house around the same time. If you’re both rushing out the door, you might both assume the other person shut the back door, when neither of you did.
Agree on Craigslist sale protocol.
If you’re going to sell things online, agree on some protocol. You may not want strangers stopping by your home to pick up an old television. Maybe that’s how your partner used to sell things, but now that he or she lives with you, they have to consider your safety and comfort, too.
Discuss who gets a spare key.
Do not give out spare keys without discussing it with your partner, first. If you don’t know that your partner gave a key to a friend, and that friend stops by unannounced to pick something up, you could be so terrified you take a swing or call the police. You also just have a right to know who has access to your home, and a right to deny certain people spare keys.
Discuss how much you share with neighbors.
You may want to set some ground rules regarding how much information you share with your neighbors. You may not want your neighbors to know what you do for a living or that you recently purchased a new car. If you don’t tell your partner that, they may accidentally mention it in a casual conversation.
Putting away valuables at bedtime.
Set some rules about putting away valuables at bedtime. If you go to bed before your partner, they may want to keep a laptop and tablet out in the living room. Just make sure they put those things away before coming to bed. You don’t want to leave valuables out in plain sight.
Are some areas off-limits to guests?
Your partner is bound to have guests over. If there are certain areas of your home in which you don’t want guests, let your partner know. He or she may not realize you keep private documents in a particular room.
Moving in with your significant other is a very exciting time. Just keep in mind that you each have different ways of doing things and when those habits collide, they could leave your home vulnerable.