'I've Moved In With My Partner And Now I Have The Ick'

Cohabiting isn't always a fairy tale.
Willie B. Thomas via Getty Images

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Moving in with your partner can be exciting and a huge step in your relationship. You’re able to spend unlimited time together and really put your bond to the test. But what happens if you start noticing things in your partner that you don’t like? Getting the ick is one thing. but getting the ick when you’ve moved in with someone is something else.

This is the case for our reader, Maria. She wrote in to say: “My partner is a nice person and we get on well, but ever since we moved in together a year ago I’ve pretty much got the ick when noticing things he does that I don’t like, and feel as though we’re better as friends.

“We’re currently in a rental contract of three years, what should I do? I have love for him but I’m sure I’m out of love with him…”

So how should Maria deal with this? Counselling Directory member Carrie McColl thinks she should be honest about how she feels in her relationship.

“I suggest picking a time when you and your partner are relaxed, without distractions or upcoming things that need doing and broach the subject,“ McColl says. “Try and focus on how you feel about the things you’ve noticed, rather than launching into everything that might be annoying you!”

McColl says being specific about your grievances is key here if you want to try and get things back on track.

“Statements like ‘I feel irritated when you don’t do the dishes after I’ve asked’ can be received and heard better than “You’re so annoying when you don’t do what I’ve asked,’” she says. “Open up the conversation and see if there’s anything that he’s noticed or would like to change.”

How can living with your partner change the dynamic of a relationship?

Living with a partner is not always the fairy tale we have in our minds.

“Yes, it’s great to build a home together, to go to sleep and wake up with the person we love. But alongside this comes seeing every aspect of that person and that can bring challenges,” McColl says.

“We may see how messy they are, which can be a shock if they were tidying before you came over each time! Or they like to eat baked beans out of a tin. Or the bathroom floor is a haven for dirty clothes.”

We also get to see how our partner in new situations, such as how they cope with being ill, or having family visit or how they manage money. It can cause tension if they take a different approach to us.

“The excitement of getting ready for date nights may go. Holidays are a no-go when there’s bills to pay,” McColl adds.

“All of this can take the shine off a relationship, so it’s so important to talk, to make time for each other, to appreciate the other person and to remember why you wanted to live with them in the first place are all key. And date nights should always be a thing in a relationship!”

What’s the difference between having love for someone and being in love with someone?

Our reader, Maria, said she “has love” for her partner, but doesn’t think she’s in love anymore. So we asked McColl how you can spot your feelings shifting.

“I think being in love with someone always carries a spark. Whether that be a rush of love because they know you’ve had a bad day and have bought home your favourite comfort foods. Or those butterflies in your stomach when you see them dressed up for a date,” she says.

“It’s that feeling that there’s no-one else you would rather be with and even when times are hard, you still feel that.”

Having love for someone is similar, but the passion and intensity has declined.

“We still appreciate, respect and like who that person is and enjoy time with them. But maybe we don’t miss them as much when they’re not around,” says McColl.

“Or we find we look forward to seeing them less. It’s such a subjective thing that I’m sure others will give a different answer!”

Love Stuck is for those who’ve hit a romantic wall, whether you’re single or have been coupled up for decades. With the help of trained sex and relationship therapists, HuffPost UK will help answer your dilemmas. Submit a question here.

Rebecca Zisser/HuffPost UK