Moving in together? We should talk!
Practical support for people planning to live together.
Our clients are people who are combining households:
Couples. Friends. Roommates. Adult children moving back home, or older parents moving in with their kids. We help you navigate all the tricky issues around shared finances, space, belongings, and behaviors that can make or break cohabitation.
Who are you?
Get the tough stuff out of the way before you move in with your partner, roommate, parents, or children.
Through a unique combination of coaching, consulting, and project planning, we can help you anticipate, navigate and avoid the obstacles to successful cohabitation.
We’ll guide you through conversations about money, space, belongings, and behaviors, with easy-to-use questionnaires, worksheets, and facilitated dialogue that actually make the process simple and painless. (Dare we say... even fun?)
And if you know someone who's getting married or moving in together, give them a Cohabitalk gift certificate!
"Will my partner resent my smaller financial contribution to our household?"
"She makes such a mess when she cooks!"
"Our money management styles
are so different!"
"He's so proud of his decorating choices,
but they're (really!)
not my taste."
You’ve reached that stage in your relationship: you’re moving in together. Perhaps you’re getting married. You may just be starting out in life, or have already accumulated some assets (and some history).
You’re both excited... and you have questions. We can help facilitate the sometimes sticky conversations that can be difficult to initiate but need to happen... and give you the skills to continue these healthy negotiations with each other, come what may.
"Yikes, we never talked about pets..."
"They never clean up the kitchen, and keep 'borrowing' my food."
"We have just one bathroom, and his boyfriend stays over several nights a week."
You may be friends who have decided to live together, or have just met through a roommate service. Together, you can afford much nicer digs than you each could on your own, and the benefits of companionship, shared chores and expenses, and meeting new people, are appealing.
But… what if you run into (inevitable!) snags? We can help you come up with mutually agreeable guidelines, and tips on how to negotiate with each other going forward in a way that feels fair, and works.
"My parents think
my social life
is their business."
"She stays out till all hours, and we worry."
"How do we get them to share the household chores and expenses?"
You’ve moved back home with your folks to save on rent while you’re in school. Your child wants to move in for a while to get back on his or her feet. Your spouse is gone, and your kids have invited you to come live with them. There are many advantages for intergenerational families combining households... and as many potential areas of conflict.
We can help you discuss and negotiate sensitive but important topics with each other while ensuring that you maintain both respect and autonomy.
Who are we?
When a project manager moved in with a mediator
and they had to combine decades' worth of
accumulated belongings in a Manhattan apartment,
Our friends and family were amazed that it went so smoothly --
and that's when we realized our 50+ years of experience could help others live happily ever after, too.
is a mediator and consultant with over 25 years of experience in the areas of leadership development, performance improvement, career management, and executive coaching. She has worked with clients around the world on leadership training and other learning implementations.
As a specialist in learning application, Robin’s focus has always been on the practical: ensuring that coaching clients can use what they've learned when they're back in the "real world." As a mediator, she draws on the related skills of listening, empathy, and creative consensus-building that she has developed in her corporate, board, and personal relationships.
Robin received her B.A. in French from Bryn Mawr. She lives and works in New York City, where she raised her two children and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. She serves on the board of The New Amsterdam Singers, with whom she is a frequent soloist, and the Advisory Council of FamilyKind.
is a program director at a Big 4 firm, running global projects of various sizes and complexity. A credentialed expert in program/ project management, he specializes in working collaboratively to bring order out of chaos and help organizations become more efficient and effective.
In addition to in-house leadership roles in major financial and professional services firms, Bryan ran a successful independent consultancy for many years, focusing on IT strategic planning and execution in a number of different industries.
Bryan has a B.A. in Mathematics from Harvard, is a past Member of the American Society of Pension Actuaries, and has more project management initials after his name than any human should hope to attain. He has three daughters and three grand-dogs.
What is Cohabitalk®, anyway?
Cohabitalk® is a service for anyone planning to move in together, and thinking ahead about how you’ll make decisions about living arrangements: Who will pay for what? How clean is clean, how neat is neat? What does “my space” mean? Or you may already be living together, and realizing that your day-to-day negotiating with each other could use some improvement.
Disagreements come up in any kind of relationship – personal or professional, friends or family. When the stakes are low, it’s easy to come to some kind of resolution, or perhaps for one person to just give in. But when the stakes are high, or strong emotions are involved, there’s a lot of room for misunderstanding and hurt. We help people listen to each other in a more constructive way, and find solutions to their issues that meet the needs of both (or all) parties. And we give them the skills they need to be able to do this for themselves going forward.
Who is an ideal client?
Couples: We love to work with young couples who are moving in with someone else for the first time, and with newlyweds beginning their life together. (In several cases, parents have given Cohabitalk gift certificates to their children as wedding presents, or when the kids moved in together.) We also work with older couples who are combining households after previous marriages or relationships, as we did ourselves.
Roommates: College roommates can usually call on RAs (residence advisors) for help in resolving issues with those they live with. Once you graduate, though, you’re on your own. And in addition to a traditional roommate arrangement, sharing housing costs these days can take many forms. You may be buying or renting a second home with one or more friends, or downsizing by moving in and sharing expenses with someone else. Setting clear expectations upfront can prevent uncomfortable (and expensive) situations down the road.
Intergenerational families: Perhaps you’ve moved back home with your folks to save on rent while you’re in school, or after graduation. Maybe your child needs to move in for a while to get back on their feet. Or your kids have invited you to come live with them after your spouse has passed away. While we think that family are the people we know the best, sometimes old patterns and assumptions can get in the way of establishing peaceful living arrangements in a new context. We can help.
Why would people use this service?
Couples: Even when they have parents or friends they trust to give them good advice, our younger couples appreciate being able to discuss things with an objective third party who can share experience (both good and bad!) to help them start out on the right footing. And with older couples, there are often disparities in assets or incomes that are sensitive topics, or blended family/adult children/aging parent issues. In these situations, a neutrally- facilitated – and private – conversation can be very helpful.
Roommates: Whether you’ve found your roommate(s) through a service or have an existing relationship, using a neutral third party to facilitate one or more conversations upfront about how you’ll share common space, expenses, and chores, and how you’ll handle the inevitable differences, is a wise investment. While we can help mediate these conflicts when they arise, it’s less stressful – and probably less costly – for you to have or two pre-cohabitation conversations in which we can help you and your roommates set mutually-agreeable guidelines for respectful co-existence, and give you the tools to navigate and negotiate with each other on an ongoing basis.
Families: Many people, old and young, have told us they wish they had been able to use Cohabitalk® at times of change in their families, because the wear and tear on their relationships – and sometimes the rupture – were so much harder to repair than having upfront conversations would have been. But those conversations don’t usually happen on their own. We love the expression “not my circus, not my monkeys.” Because we’re not part of your family, we’re objective, and can help you see and hear each other in a new way.
When should people use this service?
Call us before you move in together! It’s a pretty safe bet that even when you’re really looking forward to this new arrangement, one or both (or all) of you have things you’re thinking or wondering or worrying about that you’ve found it difficult to discuss – or even raise – with each other.
Or… call us after you’ve been living together for a month, or a year, or a decade or more. Perhaps your circumstances have changed: one or both of you has retired, or a child or grandchild has moved in or out, or some other major transition is happening. But maybe it’s just that things aren’t getting better, or easier, and you want to work out your differences before they become insurmountable. (Remember the story about the frog? Put it in a pan of hot water and it’ll immediately jump out. But if the water is cool, and you slowly heat it to the boiling point, the frog won’t jump out, but will stay in the pot until it dies. Ouch!)
What kinds of problems do you help people solve?
The list is endless, because it’s not a pre-set list: it’s whatever you need help prioritizing or solving. Big things, little things, and everything in between. Finances are often in the mix: splitting and keeping track of expenses; addressing different attitudes towards spending and saving; planning ahead for a major change in circumstances. How to share chores in a way that feels fair. Spending time with his/her/their friends, family, colleagues. Pets. Children. You name it. In our discovery call together before your first Cohabitalk® session, we’ll help you identify the key topics and issues that you’d like to deal with. And you can schedule as many sessions with us as you wish.
Is this couples counseling?
We’re not therapists. What we do is closer to coaching or mediation. We offer a neutral space in which to have an open-minded, facilitated conversation about tricky topics. Our clients have a chance to talk with each other, and hear each other, in a new way. They engage in collaborative and creative problem-solving that can be applied going forward. (If appropriate, we can make referrals to therapists.)
Do you offer financial advice?
We are not financial planners and will not make any recommendations about investments or other financial decisions. Our goal is quite different: it is to help you have conversations about money where each person hears and understands what is important to the other, so that together you can explore approaches that are comfortable and workable for both/all. (If appropriate, we can make referrals to financial professionals.)
Are you attorneys? Do you do prenups or post-nups?
We are not attorneys, and will never offer legal advice, though we may advise you to consult counsel and will be happy to make a referral. We will also not draw up a formal pre- or post-nuptial agreement. By helping you think through financial and other considerations in advance, though, we can save you considerable (expensive!) legal time, and make sure you’re each comfortable with both the decision-making process and the result. We can also facilitate a “tune-up” conversation if your circumstances call for revising the original document.
What’s the outcome?
The immediate outcome is that our clients reach mutually-agreeable decisions about issues that were in conflict or potential conflict. Equally valuable is that they learn how to have these tricky conversations – we call them Cohabitalks® – themselves, when they need to.
How long does this take?
Our typical engagement includes a 30-minute discovery meeting followed by two 60-minute Cohabitalk sessions, all conducted on Zoom over a period of 2-4 weeks.
Why are there three sessions?
The 30-minute discovery meeting allows us to get to know each other and identify 1-3 specific areas or topics that you’d like to work on. After our first 60-minute Cohabitalk®, which usually takes place the following week, we’ll send a summary of the discussion and some creative “homework” for both/all of you. The second 60-minute Cohabitalk may be scheduled two weeks later, or further out, depending on what’s going on in your life and what you want to practice between sessions. After, you’ll receive a second meeting summary, with suggestions for things you can do together to continue and strengthen your new Cohabitalk practice.
Can we schedule additional sessions?
Of course! You may have more topics you’d like to work on together. And we’re happy to schedule “tune-up” or “refresher” sessions whenever it’s helpful.
What does it cost?
As described above, our standard package, consisting of a 30-minute discovery session and two 60-minute Cohabitalks, costs $500. It makes a great engagement or wedding present! The hourly rate for tune-ups, additional hours or standalone sessions is $250.
I have additional questions.
Great! Give us a call at 212-861-1283, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
What do people say about us?
Robin and Bryan were fantastic to work with as we traversed the excitement and new challenges of moving in together. They bring expertise in interpersonal mediation and financial management, as well as the friendliness and openness required to have productive conversations about difficult topics.
They helped us frame our thoughts regarding how much we would like to combine our finances as a young couple, and provided us with detailed advice about how to put our plan into action with spreadsheets and tips on joint bank account management. They also facilitated conversations about how to best communicate as a couple facing upcoming career changes.
The best part of Cohabitalk is how Robin and Bryan mold their guidance to the couple they see in front of them. You're not getting a talk track of tips and tricks for young couples, you're getting personalized advice for the road ahead of you and your partner.
- Andy and Jenny
Thank you SO much for these productive sessions. They have already sparked such meaningful discussions between us. We are so grateful. The recap is incredibly thorough and helpful to refer back to. We have started on the homework tasks and have been working out a written budget that we will update on the sheet you provided.
- Julia and Bridger
Your services would have helped me as a single parent moving back home with a 6 month old a long time ago. It was an extremely hard time because my parents weren’t the parents, and although we were all living under the same roof, I had to and wanted to parent, even though it meant making mistakes along the way.
To have had a third party help us navigate those times and not be involved emotionally would have avoided a lot of heated arguments. Grateful as I was and always will be that I had a home and loving parents to help me through a very hard time in my life, it was a big adjustment for all of us that didn’t come with instructions.
I feel a sense of relief that you will be working with our daughter and her boyfriend. Both of them are very close and open with their parents, and I think they will benefit from having two compassionate, thoughtful, intelligent people who are NOT their parents to discuss important aspects of their lives... I am so appreciative to you and Bryan because I know you will bring so much emotional intelligence and Intelligence and compassion to these sessions.
Robin and Bryan are superb professionals. They bring a remarkable balance of skills and form a high impact team as wonderful role models for anyone they work with. They balance grace and ease to enable the hard conversations. They bring systematic thinking to what feels like unstructured problem solving. Most important, they work in concert to instill a sense of warmth, honesty, and easiness for their clients’ transition to a cohesive life together.
– Jackie Schneider, Executive Coach;
former Director of Strategy & Planning, Hewlett Packard Company
Neither of us had ever shared as many costs with a partner (gas, groceries, rent, dog supplies) or talked through how to divide these expenses. Robin and Bryan helped us establish a solid financial plan as we moved in together. We brainstormed ways to split and share costs that felt comfortable for both of us. It was especially helpful to have an objective party be part of the conversation, as it can be awkward to discuss these matters alone.
Robin and Bryan are compassionate individuals, great listeners, and are open about their own dynamic as a couple. Their relatability and easy-going nature paired with their socio-emotional and financial expertise make them the perfect guides for rooming/living transitions!
We highly recommend Cohabitalk to couples and roommates who plan to share costs or need help dividing finances in a way that feels reasonable and comfortable for both individuals. We were not only able to preemptively discuss challenges that may arise while living together but also had the opportunity to follow up with Robin and Bryan as challenges arose throughout our first month together.
– Julia and Bridger
I've had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Robin for several years. As a consultant to my team on a global leadership training program, Robin brought thoughtful listening, emotional intelligence, creative problem solving, and recognition of cultural differences. Her approach was highly collaborative, always designing with us, recognizing our needs, and helping us understand options and respective value, but never pushing for a perceived "right" answer. Through this and subsequent work, Robin has become a friend and trusted confidant, whom I seek out for career and personal advice.
- Zane Zumbahlen, CHRO, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Robin brings years of corporate experience, professional mediation background and personal experience to her business Cohabitalk®. Just a minute or two speaking with her will convince you that she’s got the goods to help you work through issues and adjust to a new living situation -- no matter who you will be living with. I have so much confidence in her that I’ve already referred her to an older couple who are moving in together for the first time.
– Sandy Holtzman, Chief Marketing Strategist, Marketing Cures