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Don't Forget Your ToothbrushThey say it's the little things in life that make all the difference, which is of course reassuring for all...

Bessie & Geoff | July 01 2007

Don't Forget Your Toothbrush

They say it's the little things in life that make all the difference, which is of course reassuring for all the boys out there on so many levels, but what about when the little things amount to a huge thing like say… moving in? A toothbrush casually left over for another visit, a fave T-shirt appearing in the washing basket and a drawer finally designated his/her space at your place. Signs that the end, or beginning (depending on how you see it), is nigh. So when your single siren starts screaming should you bluff and stall the inevitable or fold (hopefully not his shirts) and admit to yourself the fact you're ready to nest!

Well, RedHotPie relationship statistics' scientists, yes we have men and women in little white coats (no not the insane type) running around finding out the answers you always wanted to know about relationships, have established that a resounding 64 per cent say that although living together can take work it doesn't have to take out the romance.

I don't know about you but I have always found that first part of leaving the odd item or having it left at your partner's house kind of exciting. It's a very safe way to get your chemical kicks in the form of the 'falling in love' endorphins, with minimal actual commitment. I used to know a guy who kept a stock of toothbrushes because he knew if he left one at each girl's house he could get away with almost anything. After all, a few items and a toothbrush can stake a claim on a relationship while still leaving the door very far ajar in case you need to do a runner. Of course when the bigger ticket items start turning up it makes things that little more difficult. Your partner would have to have transmuted into a flesh eating zombie to run screaming from a house you had just moved your big screen plasma TV into recently. And even then some guys would rather just die with their appliance! 

Another potential minefield you should look out for is the 'indifference creep'. This can sneak up on you unawares and usually happens when you are so indifferent to the relationship you don't even notice that they have commandeered half your wardrobe, swapped your dog for their cat, let your bird fly away and refurbished your bedroom. It can be a scary situation to wake up one day to a pink faux fur bedspread tickling your nose as you reach for the strange new Spice Girls alarm clock playing girl power jingles in your ear.

But don't panic! The stress of moving in can be avoided simply by taking things a step at a time in line with both your comfort zones. As they say in the military, an army matches only at the speed of the slowest soldier and this should be your mantra when it comes to moving in. One reason being that if you thought lugging boxes of stuff into a new house was a back breaking pain in the neck you try lugging them back out again with a psychotic partner throwing your only article of worth from the fifth floor apartment onto the police escort below.

So here are the rules for a smooth move: Always ask if it's ok to leave items over, don't assume, then LISTEN to the answer. No, not the verbal answer but the physical clues that they mean the 'sure' they are obliged to give you. If in doubt keep it out! Talk about how each of you feels in each other's space. Give your partner permission to be 100 per cent honest with no repercussions. If you give them a hard time about what they really think they won't bother telling you the truth again. Remember if they say it's okay to move in, that doesn't mean it's okay to redecorate. Do NOT remove or replace anything of theirs without permission. Move in around them wherever possible. The quickest way to scare someone is to take over. Remember moving in is supposed to be fun and mutually beneficial. Not just because you are too lazy to drive home or do your own washing. Don't forget moving in for many people means moving UP the relationship ladder. If your heart is not in it, don't expect moving in to change that fact. For many people the little moving 'm' is a step towards the much bigger Marriage 'M' or at least the big Commitment 'C'. So if these are not on your mind you may want to go back A and say Arrivederci at the end of the day.