Moving in together. Maybe the idea has been floating around for a while now. Whether you’ve been together for years or you’re just feeling like he or she is the one, there are a few ways to evaluate whether or not you’re ready for this next step.
Here are 10 ways you know it’s time to move in together:
1. You really, really like each other.
It should go without saying, but if you’re not totally besotted with your partner, merging lives and spaces is going to be a challenge. When you’re confined to the same place, you’re going to see each other at your bests and worsts. If you still want to curl up in bed next to your significant other at the end of a cranky, sick, stressful day, making the move might be that next logical step.
If you get sick of each other easily, sharing the same four walls might feel claustrophobic. If you can’t get enough of each other, and find most quirks endearing, you’ll be better prepared for the adventure.
2. You spend most nights together already.
Do you already have a key to her place? Do you have a toothbrush and change of clothes at his condo? If you’re already spending quite a few nights a week together, the transition to cohabitation will seem natural. You’ve seen the bed hair, experienced the morning breath, observed hygiene and tidiness habits, and understand sleeping patterns. You’re totally comfortable with one another. You’ve grocery-shopped together. You have more realistic expectations entering cohabitation when you know that he leaves his socks on the floor, or that she never replaces the toothpaste cap.
3. You want the same things from the relationship.
If he says he’s not interested in marriage, don’t move in as an attempt to secure a diamond ring. Before moving in together, make sure you’re on the same page, relationship-wise. Does someone have kids on the brain? Is this considered a trial arrangement, or a (hopefully) permanent situation? Make sure you’re both heading in the same direction when it comes to commitment.
4. You’ve fought — and worked it out.
Don’t move in together until you’ve had a fight or two. You don’t know how solid a relationship is until it’s been tested. Good conflict resolution skills are essential when living in close quarters. (Fact: When living together, there will be conflict.) Do you fight fair? Are you committed to resolving disagreements in a way that both parties are satisfied? Can you reassure one another after tense moments?
5. You’ve talked about finances.
Money: It can be uncomfortable to talk about, but can contribute to major conflict if the subject is ignored. Merging expenses raises a number of questions: Are you on the same page financially? How will you split expenses? Whose name is on the lease? Will you have a joint account? Is one person the primary provider?
While the notion of living together is romantic, the practical side needs thorough discussion.
6. You can discuss expectations.
Before you move in together, talk about your expectations. Are you hoping that you’ll both be home for dinner each night? Are you hoping this will lead to marriage? Be sure to discuss your expectations for routine things like chore-division, too. Your significant other can’t read your mind. If you fail to share your hopes and dreams for this next stage of your relationship, you’re likely to end up disappointed.
7. You’ve survived vacationing together.
Before you share a home, go on a holiday together. Did you barely survive it, or did you have so much fun that you’d do it again? A weeklong vacation will have you making decisions together, dealing with finances, unforeseen changes of plan and stress. When you’re sunburned and hung-over in an unfamiliar place, do you still enjoy each other’s company?
8. You’re ready to sacrifice some independence.
While living together is hardly a prison sentence, there are certain adjustments one has to make when moving in with someone. You’re ready to cohabitate when you don’t mind checking in, you can consider someone else when you fill up your calendar, and you’re prepared to share a bathroom sink.
You aren’t giving up your individuality — your partner loves you for who you are and isn’t interested to suffocating you — but you do need to ditch the selfish living.
9. Your lifestyles are compatible.
If one of you is a night owl — and frequent party host — while the other needs 9 hours of sleep, you’re setting yourselves up for stress. Are you lifestyles compatible? Can you compromise to ensure both of you get what you need? Similar values when it comes to faith, finances and plans for the future help establish a solid foundation for a shared life. Note that if one of you struggles with a vice that the other isn’t tolerant of, bitterness and frustration will likely threaten the relationship.
10. You can communicate openly and honestly.
Can you discuss this list, sharing your concerns and dreams for the relationship with each other? Are you open and honest with one another? When you’re upset, are you comfortable being vulnerable and open with your partner? Passive-aggressiveness, silent treatments and unspoken expectations only hurt a relationship. When living together, honesty really will be the best policy.
Living under the same roof can be an incredible experience. Just don’t jump into it blindly.