September 20, 2019 at 10:38am | Michael Hunter
Your move may be prompted by a great job offer, a desire for better educational opportunities for your children, a need to move closer to family, or a longing to escape the big city—or the country. Whatever the reason, you are making a move. Now, you have to narrow your options to a specific area and type of property. A place you can both call home. A place where you can both be happy.

Step 1: Be honest, but don’t be selfish.
To support one another’s happiness, differentiate between things you “want” and things you actually “need.” Have your partner do the same.

Individually, make a personal list. Agree to only include actual NEEDS under that column. In the WANTS column, assign priorities, using a 1-to-5 scale of importance.

Then, sit down and compare your lists (without making judgmental comments).

Step 2: Be willing to compromise.
Each person’s list of needs should be short, compared to their wants, which may include many items. Aim for a living solution where you both have everything that’s essential to your happiness, plus several desirable features.
Consider trading some things you want, but can live without, for something your partner genuinely needs. For instance, you may like the idea of a low-maintenance condo because you hate to mow and shovel walks and do “handyman” duties, while your partner may need a yard because gardening and landscaping is a vital outlet that keeps them centered and happy.

A compromise might be agreeing to hire help for some yard maintenance and repair work, adding these expenses to your budget. Then, you can be free of unpleasant chores, while your partner can enjoy their love of gardening.
On the flip side, one of your needs may conflict with things your partner wants. Agree that actual needs take priority. Work together to find ways for both of you to achieve your needs and most of your wants. With creativity and a willingness to compromise, you can discover the best options…together!

Step 3: Try it temporarily.
If your “ideal living conditions” differ dramatically from your partner’s, another option is to make your move, but delay a home purchase.

Try “your way” for one year and “their way” for another year by renting or leasing. Agree that at the end of two years you will make a purchase decision, based on your experiences with two different situations.

It’s possible that after a year of gardening, your partner will decide that a container garden, or a balcony garden, or a host of beautiful houseplants meets their gardening needs as readily as a big yard, without all the responsibilities.
Or, while living with a big yard, you may discover you actually enjoy having more outdoor space and that hiring help for distasteful chores frees up time to appreciate your green oasis.

Life is about choices and balancing needs with wants. If a happy relationship is something you both agree you need, then the rest is negotiable.

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