Moving in together is a big step. How do you know when your relationship has progressed to the point that you’re ready to share a home? You and your partner may think of cohabitation as a milestone on the way to marriage or simply the next level of commitment. In any event, you’ve come to a place where you need to ask serious questions about your values as a couple and desires for the future. The answers may be revealing.
Are you past the hot and heavy stage?
Love is wonderful when the serotonin endorphins are surging, but the honeymoon phase is not the time to plan on moving in together. Hold off until you’ve weathered the first real fight (at least) and grappled with your differences.
How strong is your commitment?
Do you understand your partner’s expectations? Are you both in agreement on the boundaries of your relationship? Moving in together is not a good idea unless you both share the same commitment to making your partnership work
Are you open about finances?
There’s more to consider than deciding who pays for groceries and who’s responsible for the mortgage. Fairness demands honesty from both partners about their financial histories. If one of you loses a job, will the other be able to handle both of your bills? Drawing up a budget together should be one of your first steps.
Is splitting the rent the main attraction?
Do you want to spend more time with each other, or are you looking for a roommate to pay half the rent? Living together makes more sense if you’re already spending most of your time together. It’s a good sign if you only go home to pick up clothes. But if the main attraction is to share household expenses, you may be moving too fast.
Will the move surprise your best friend?
If you are fully a part of each other’s lives, your family, friends and co-workers won’t be learning the news that you’re a couple on move-in day. You should already know how your partner interacts with your nearest and dearest before taking this step.
Have you talked about your future?
Making the decision is about much more than sharing the same digs. You’re sharing a life and it’s important you agree on values. Do you both want marriage? What about children? You should discuss what’s ahead so that there are no surprises or disappointment after you’re all in.
How will you handle a breakup?
No couple wants to think about the possibility of an eventual breakup before they even get settled in their new home. However, working out an exit strategy is a lot easier while you are amicable. Making tough decisions about money and logistics is especially tough after you’ve decided you don’t want to continue in the relationship. Neither of you wants to be scrambling to find a place to live if you ever decide to split.
Are you both saying the “L” word?
If you’re not telling each other “I love you,” your relationship may be too new to consider taking a big step. If you are feeling the love but haven’t said the words out loud, you may not yet have the kind of communication you’re going to need to weather living together. Cohabitating under the same roof can bring up all kinds of conflicts. You’ll need a significant degree of communication, commitment, and affection to deal with those issues.