Besides figuring out when to discreetly poop and deciding who will separate the recycling, dealing with small arguments when you live with your partner is one of the hardest parts about shacking up. When you have your own place, you can just camp out there until your petty fight dies down. But when you live together, you're always in your partner's grill, so it's harder to get space — literally and figuratively.
You might recall how awkward it was for Dev and Rachel on the Netflix show Master of None to grapple with their crumbling relationship while living together. Who knows if cohabiting eventually drove their relationship off the edge, but research has shown that unmarried couples who live together tend to have more conflict than those who are dating or married.
The reason why is pretty simple: Unmarried couples who live together have to deal with both the conflicts that people who are dating face and the ones that married couples do, according to Galena Rhoades, PhD, associate clinical professor of psychology at the University of Denver, who has studied cohabiting couples. For example, a married couple might stress about money, household contributions, and in-laws. A dating couple, on the other hand, might fight about spending time together, fidelity, and friends. "When you're living together, you have all those issues of a dating couple, but also pile on the issues that married couples face," Dr. Rhoades says.
Conflict just feels different when you live together, although the "rules" for handling an argument in this scenario can be applied to couples who haven't made that step yet, Dr. Rhoades says. Regardless of the content of your fight, here are three strategies Dr. Rhoades recommends to successfully navigate an argument with your live-in partner.