You’re probably used to living with roommates, and you’ve surely been through enough arguments and make-ups with your beau to know that you two are ready for the next step.
But a live-in S.O. is a whole different kind of roommate, and an entirely new level of relationship drama. So, to help you make this tough decision, here’s a guide for what you and your significant other should think about before moving in together:
The Dos and Don’ts of Deciding to Live Together
Don’t make this decision purely based on needing a place to live. If one of you needs a new apartment ASAP, staying with your partner may be your best option at the time. It can be tempting, then, to call it a sign and say, “Maybe we should just move in together.” Stop yourselves from jumping to that conclusion by deciding if you’re even ready to take that step, or if you’re just being pushed into it by outside circumstances.
Do practice first. Many couples stay at each other’s places, but if you’re considering moving in together build up to it by taking a vacation together or making it a point to stay at each other’s places for a full week with no breaks. You may find yourself relishing time spent at your own place by the time the week’s over.
Don’t jump in too fast. The “honeymoon phase” of a new relationship can be a powerful and heady feeling, but instead of letting it push you into rushing things, simply ride the wave for awhile. If you’re right for each other, waiting to move in together won’t affect your relationship in the long run – in fact, it could save it.
Do be on the same page. Make sure you discuss what moving in will mean, because it’s likely one or both of you won’t see it as simply sharing a closet and a new living arrangement together. If it’s a serious step toward marriage for one person, it should be the same step for the other person.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving in Together
Am I ready for the relationship to change? It will. You’ll be partners in more than sex and romance after moving in together, and you’ll have to learn to get along with each other even when you’re both so annoyed with the other that steam is coming out of your ears (figuratively, of course).
Am I ready to let it all hang out? You will be seeing a lot more sides of each other than you were before, and there will be no escape. The moodiness, the gross habits and everything else good and bad will be out in the open. Curb some of these surprises by doing a practice round before making the final decision.
What will happen if our sex life slows down? It will. Couples who move in together commonly make less time for each other in the bedroom than couples who only see each other every so often. While this is totally normal, relationships can sometimes feel a little strained if sex changes. You and your beau can cross that bridge if and when you get to it, but know that it’s a possibility.
Questions to Ask Each Other Before Moving in Together
Who’s in charge of which finances? Other than going dutch on the tab at a nice dinner, the two of you probably haven’t had a lot of experience splitting finances before. Make sure you’re on the same page about rent, bills, and other expenses. Even paying for smaller things like groceries, laundry, home decor, and gas add up, and if one person feels like they’re pulling more weight it can cause serious relationship problems.
Who’s in charge of which household duties? What’s the protocol for cleaning the bathroom or taking out the trash? Is one person going to be doing all the cooking? Have a serious conversation about divvying up tasks around the apartment to lessen the chances of arguing about it later on. In my apartment, if one person cooks, the other cleans up afterward to even things out a bit.
What happens in the event of a breakup? This is the big one, but it can be hard to talk about when it seems like everything’s going great. Before you move in together – repeat: before you move in together – decide who’s staying in the apartment if you break up and who gets to keep what furniture and household items. And if there are pets, make sure you have a plan for taking care of them if and after a breakup happens.
If you and your significant other feel ready to move in together, congratulations! It can be a really exciting change! But if you have any doubts about it, consider tabling the discussion for another few months. Waiting to move in will only make you more prepared for it when the time comes, so it’s OK to say, “Let’s hold off for now.”
How Soon is Too Soon?
When couples first start thinking about moving in together, they might assess the length of their relationship. For example, you may think, “We’ve been together for nine months, so that should be a long enough wait, right?”
A majority of the renters we surveyed (37%) agreed that six months to a year into dating is a good time to move in together. Of course, whether or not you follow that advice depends on your unique relationship, along with other factors such as views on marriage and finances.
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