Ah, the trials and tribulations of moving in with your partner. Some people move in together because they are ready for the next step. Some do it simply because it’s convenient. Others do it because they are willing to take the risk. No matter your reasons for moving in with your partner, you have to be sure that you think long and hard about it first.
Living together is a tough thing indeed, as it sneakily reveals whether you are compatible with each other. It will also reveal if you can stand being around each other all the time. Remember that there will no longer be “private” time, and every moment you spend at home will be “we” time. If you are someone who needs space from your loved one, then you are probably not ready for a live-in relationship.
No matter how large your place is, you will always get in each other’s way and be faced with each other’s nasty little stay-at-home-and-do-it habits. What many naive couples do not realize is that no matter how well you think you know someone, you will never truly know each other until you live together.
Playing house is not all fun and games. It takes plenty of patience, work, compromise, and at times, sacrifice. With that being said, if you think you’re ready to live with your sweetheart, you can be sure that it will be one of the best decisions that you will ever make. You will get to spend plenty of quality time together, unravel each other’s mysteries, and of course, look forward to a long and beautiful future together.
Should you move in together?
If you’re not quite sure if you’re ready for the big move, check if you have the following things in your relationship first.
#1 There’s financial security. One of the first things to address before moving in with your partner is to evaluate your finances. If both of you already have separate places, then moving in together and contributing to a brand new household won’t be too much of a problem. However, never make it all about the money.
Moving in together should be for emotional, not economic reasons. Although many couples are resorting to this excuse, the whole “we can save rent money by living together” reasoning is a big no-no. Banish that reasoning from the let-us-live-together conversation the moment it comes up.
If you’re both still living with your parents and are thinking of finally leaving the nest, then this certainly deserves way more thought. You need to figure out if you will be able to sustain your lifestyle with your income, not to mention have enough set aside for emergencies and unexpected expenses like a huge security deposit, paying for a plumber, new furniture, and so on. You’ll know it’s time to move in together once you’re both comfortable setting aside a bulk of your salary for home expenses. [Read: 14 tips to make living together before marriage work for you]
#2 The timing is great. They say that garnering success in life is all about the right timing, and they’re absolutely right. You’ll know it’s a good idea to move in together when everything around you is coming up roses. There’s no family drama in the mix, no dealing with health issues, no work stress, and most importantly, no relationship problems.
If you want things to work, you must have ample time to focus on the big move and turning your new space into a home. The last thing you want is your partner resenting you for making them do all the work because you’re too absorbed in something else.
#3 You both agree it’s a good idea. The moment you sense hesitancy from either yourself or your partner, take a step back, and reevaluate if living together is truly what you want. 100% support from both sides sans pressuring one another is very important. Unless you can confidently say that both of you want it just as bad, take a step back, and wait it out. Always remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with waiting till you’re ready.
#4 There’s no pressure. It’s not just you and your partner that you have to worry about when it comes to moving in. The people around you also come into play. Be sure that neither of you is experiencing pressure from external forces.
Parents are one thing. Don’t blame them for their constant yearning to see you fall in love, move in, get married, and giving them a dozen grandkids. However, do not feel pressured to bow down to what they want. It’s about what you want and pursuing it when you’re ready.
You will also be surprised at how much peer pressure can unconsciously affect your life choices. In my close-knit group of 4 girlfriends, three out of four are either living with partners or are married. The fourth member of our crew constantly moans about wanting to move in with her boyfriend because she feels left behind, and she has convinced herself that she’s ready for the next step.
If you’re like her, you need to stop yourself right there. Just because other people around you are taking the next step, that doesn’t mean you have to as well. Every relationship moves at a different pace. Even if you’re a little behind, there’s nothing to fear. Remember what they say about how being slow and steady wins the race? [Read: 10 cohabitation tips to live together happily]
#5 The honeymoon stage is over. It’s a good idea to move in together once you’re sure that the honeymoon stage of your relationship is over. Living with someone isn’t all about romanticism and fun. It encapsulates everything from taking nasty poops, leaving greasy dishes in the sink, and determining whose fault it was for leaving the air conditioning on all weekend.
So long as you remember that reality is going to be a part of your everyday life together, then you are one step closer to being ready for cohabitation.
#6 You’ve discussed expectations. Never move in with your partner without discussing each other’s expectations beforehand. Important subjects to cover include whether rent is going to be split 50-50 or if the person who earns more contributes more. What about bills? Does that get split 50-50 every month, or will you alternate depending on the month? How long of a lease are you planning to sign up for? What’s your budget?
Other issues to discuss are the division of household chores. Who’s responsible for cleaning the bathroom? How often should you tidy up the house? Will you vacuum or sweep? You may think little issues like these mean nothing, but au contraire, they account for everything, especially if this is your first time living with someone.
You also have to handle deal breakers. Does his bachelor-loving porn collection move in with you? Do all 100 of her shoes get to come too? Discuss everything and anything that comes to mind sooner rather than later. [Read: 15 things to know before moving in with your boyfriend]
#7 You’ve completed trial runs. A good way to determine if living together will work is to undergo a couple of trial and error runs. A good way to do this is to live in one place for an entire month straight, or maybe even two if you want to push the envelope.
Pick either yours or your partner’s place, and stay put. Move your essentials in, play house, and see if you can easily live with each other. Even if you fight and want to walk out and head home, challenge yourselves, and see if you can weather the storm without needing to find refuge elsewhere.
#8 You have survived the largest storm of your relationship. If you have been through an unbelievable hurdle with your partner and can confidently say that you’ve moved mountains for each other, then you may just be ready for a live-in relationship. Making it out unscathed through major messes and unholy drama is a good sign that you’re meant to be.
It proves that you’re now on the same page and working towards achieving the same end goal, and that is wanting to be together, no matter what.
#9 You’ve talked about what stays and what goes. This is especially true if you’re moving into one or the other’s home. Assuming you choose to move in with your partner, it’s unfair and uncomfortable that everything there is theirs. You need to feel a strong sense of ownership in your new place as well.
Discuss what you’re going to bring to the table in terms of making the space yours. You can start with the simple stuff like getting new sheets and curtains, and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. You can also choose to start fresh by picking a new place and furnishing it from scratch. This will give you the chance to build a sense of identity as a couple and work on an exciting home project together.
#10 You’re ready for the next step. Finally, you can be sure that you’re ready to live together once both of you have decided that you’re ready for the next step. Keep in mind that living together is one of the first milestones that couples undergo when determining that they want to be together long term.
Conventionally speaking, first comes living together, then marriage, then kids, and so on. So long as the future doesn’t scare you, and you realize that this is a long term commitment, you should be just fine.
[Read: The 8 big cons of moving in that no one wants to talk about]
No matter what, you know that you have to make this decision wisely. Having to pack up and move out after attempting a live-in life with someone is not as easy as you think it is. Hence, you need to be absolutely sure that you’re ready before doing it. With that being said, you should know deep down if this is something that you want to do, so go with your gut, listen to your instincts and you will be just fine.
Moving in together is a huge step, and it requires careful consideration. Give your relationship a thorough examination, and check for these signs to see if you’re ready to live together.
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