In most romantic relationships, there will come a time when those four heavy words get dropped: “Let’s move in together.” Before you burst with excitement or choose colour schemes, there are some important things to consider.
Moving in with your partner is just like getting married, but without the licence. When couples move in, it’s likely their relationship will change.
Over time, new expectations will arise and the roles they once played will shift. For instance, where one partner was pampered before, they may become expected to be more helpful around the house.
Many couples move in together and expect things to naturally fall into place. While this may be true for some, there are transitions to survive and pitfalls to avoid.
Before you say “I will” and start a new chapter together, consider these eight factors:
1. Be Sure of Your Decision
To save you both time, hassle, and money, be sure that moving in together is what you want. Don’t rush your decision, and take time to weigh your options and answer the tough questions.
Are you ready to give up some of your independence? Does the idea of living together make you uncomfortable? Is your relationship ready for this move?
Unlike what you see in movies or hear from friends, it’s normal to be unsure about moving in with your partner; after all, it’s a big step that cannot easily be undone. Don’t feel pressured or let infatuation cloud your judgement. Feeling good about your decision is key.
2. You’ll See Their Other Side
We all act on our best behaviour around others, but it takes living with a person to see their true colours. Moving in together will expose a side of your partner that you may not have known existed. For example, your clean cut boyfriend may have a habit of leaving dirty dishes around the house, or your girlfriend could think that monopolizing closet space is acceptable.
Getting used to living with someone can be difficult, especially if you were raised with different rules. Before you move in together, accept that living together will open your eyes to another side of your partner, and consider setting some ground rules.
3. Understanding Each Other’s Space
Agreeing to give each other space is one thing, but understanding what you each consider “space” is a different story. Before you and your partner decide to live together, talk about how much space you need to be comfortable. Perhaps you like relaxing on the couch without forced conversation, or need peace in the mornings to enjoy your coffee and paper.
Openly talking about your expectations for personal space can avoid major conflict. Do this from the start and you won’t have to face these issues down the road.
4. You’re Lovers, Not Roomies
Your partner is not your roommate, so there’s no getting away with being sloppy, loud or gross. While your pals may have put up with your bachelor-esque lifestyle, your partner will not. Look at both your habits before moving in together, and address issues from the start.
It’s also important to consider each other’s schedules. If your partner works nights and sleeps days, and you have a home office, then moving in together may be a problem. It’s not easy to change schedules, so before you decide to live together, look at your lifestyles and confront any concerns.
5. Make a Financial Plan
Money can be the cause for disaster in any relationship.To avoid tension down the road, talk honestly about your savings and expenses before making any financial commitment together.
Decide how you would split expenses. Would rent be 50-50? Who would pay for utilities? Will you create a joint bank account for shared expenses? There’s no right or wrong way to do this, it’s just key that you make a plan that works for both of you. These topics may not be romantic, but they’ll shun blowouts in the future.
6. Share Your Expectations
You may think your partner is the Yin to your Yang, but you’re still two individuals with different wants and interests.
Talking about your differences before moving in can shed light on some of the compromises you’d have to make to survive each other’s company.
Maybe you’ll have cut down on going out during the week, or accept that ordering in pizza doesn’t count as a “nice dinner.” You may not like what you learn, but sharing your expectations ahead of time will prevent future battles.
It may sound premature, but discussing how you’d split household chores can be a deciding factor for moving in together. If your partner is all for the “divide and conquer” method, then you may have a keeper. If they seem to think that you’ll be the one doing the dirty work, you may need to reconsider your relationship.
7. Keep Dating
Moving in together is a major relationship milestone, but it’s also a major reason why couples “stop dating.” Since you’ll technically see each other every day when you live together, it’s harder to remember to make that time together count for something.
Face these facts and let your partner know that if you do move in together, you expect to continue dating each other as you did living separately. The key to any healthy, long lasting relationship is to keep the spark alive.
8. Talk About the Future
Before deciding to live together, be on the same page where the future is concerned. You may think moving in means you’re one step closer to getting married, but your partner may consider it a chance to test the relationship and save money.
Talking about your expectations ahead of time is the best way to prevent future disappointments or arguments. This may be an awkward conversation to have, but if you’re thinking about moving in together, you should be comfortable enough to have these talks and face the good with the bad.