After a few months (or years!) of dating, you’re feeling ready to take the plunge with your significant other. And no, we’re not talking about marriage.
Moving in together is a significant step in any relationship. According to a recent study, living together even decreases the risk of divorce down the line. Today, more than 66 percent of married couples have lived together before exchanging vows.
It makes sense as you get to know your other half more personally — from how they handle their finances, their daily cleaning habits and even how they react to life happenings.
So, how soon is too soon to move in together? Know that saving money or my lease is almost up are not valid reasons to make this big step. Living together will bring up the smallest annoyances, and compatibility is essential to make a dream home.
How long should you date before moving in together?
Of course, this is subjective. The amount of time is not as significant as the feeling that you’re in a stable relationship. You shouldn’t feel rushed about outside parties (ahem, parents) or others’ timelines.
In a 2008 study, 37 percent of couples waited until they dated for six months to one year before moving in together.
While you’re weighing the pros and cons of moving in together, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you ready to give up a bit of your independence?
- Are you thinking about moving in together because you want to and not because it’s convenient and/or the next step?
- Are you ready to share more of your life — including finances, family and habits — with your other half?
- Are you prepared to talk frankly about your future together?
- Are you prepared to have honest conversations about beliefs, moral dilemmas, communication techniques and kids?
In the end, moving in together is a gamble, so make sure that you have all the facts before moving forward with the conversation.
How to talk to your partner about moving in together
Once you’ve simmered with your feelings and are ready to talk to your partner about moving in together, it’s time to put everything on the table. Yup, you heard us right. This is the time to be as transparent as possible to avoid any mistakes.
Set up a time to talk about this over, without distractions, since there will be some extremely personal things that you’ll be discussing:
- Who will handle the budget of the home? Discuss your money habits, accounts, budget, credit scores and, of course, any debt including student loans and credit cards.
- Are you on the same page about what your home and future will look like?
- Are you both OK with this next level of commitment?
- What happens if you break up? Discuss who gets the apartment and/or any joint pets or belongings.
- Review the way you communicate and solve conflicts. Remember, you can’t go to your other apartment when in a fight.
- You’re both OK with change — both in your home and in your relationship
Signs that it’s time to move in together
You took the time to meditate on this on your own and had a heart-to-heart with your significant other. Read on to learn the signs that it’s time to move in with your significant other.
1. Money talks happen often
Since you started dating, you’ve been transparent about your money situation. Whether it’s your salary at work, your savings account or the student loans you have, you’ve been open with each other since the beginning.
Sharing how much you would pay for a house or rent an apartment for your plan to pay down your debt with your other half continually signals trust and transparency in your relationship. Remember, this is a two-way street, too.
2. You’ve practiced cohabitating
Beyond staying at each other’s apartments a couple of times a week, you’ve already been thinking about cohabitating by doing a week trial. You both decided to stay together for a week, intentionally, to understand your schedules and habits.
3. Your habits are starting to match up
Based on your cohabitation trial, you can see your schedules, cleaning and eating habits are starting to sync up without much friction.
For example, if you wake up around the same time, you’re both willing to do the dishes, split up cooking and grocery shopping based on preference and more. Having similar habits can help keep harmony in the home.
4. You feel heard
When you bring up an issue with your other half, you feel like they listen to you and try to resolve the matter with you instead of dismissing you. This will be vital to your relationship when you move in together as it will help you resolve conflicts and fights more quickly.
5. Problem-solving as a team happens often
Before moving in together, make sure that you go on vacation together. During vacation, conflicts come up often — lost reservations, missed flights, food poisoning and also, interests may clash. Beach bums versus activity enthusiasts, anyone?
But if you’ve gone on a vacation and were able to solve any issues quickly without much frustration, you’re on the right path.
6. Marriage talks happen often
This is a big one. Often moving in together predates marriage, and if you move toward cohabitation, you may make assumptions. If you’re talking about marriage often, it’s probably a sign that it’s time to move in together.
7. There’s no pressure to do it, but you want to
Parents, friends, society — external pressure comes from all sides sometimes. But you’ve looked inwards, and as you think about moving in together, you feel like you’re moving forward together because you want to, not because it’s the next thing on the list.
8. Financial secrets don’t exist
You’ve been completely honest with one another about your financial journeys and issues, including debt, budget habits and other financial secrets. If you’ve been transparent about this to each other, you’re most likely to move in together.
People are 10 times more likely to break up if one of the partners is terrible with money. Money can create resentment within the relationship and poison the well if you will.
9. You know how to communicate
Whether it happened organically or it was with the help of a counselor, learning how to communicate with each other can lead to a more stress-free cohabitation. Take note of past fights: how did you talk to each other? How did you resolve the issue? Did you go bed angry?
If you feel comfortable with the way you talk during conflicts or arguments, it’s a sign that there’s compatibility, and it’s time to move in together.
10. You talk about the future often
Marriage isn’t the only factor in the future to discuss. Things like travel, kids, aging parent’s care, retirement goals, city versus suburbs and more are part of the future conversation.
Even if you end up living together without marriage, these things will come up. Discuss them now to avoid conflicts during an emotional time.
11. And finally, your gut says it’s time
Here’s the thing — if you love each other and all the boxes above check out, your gut most likely says it’s time. Only you and your other half know when it’s time. These conversations and questions can clarify what your gut is saying.
Ready to take the plunge?
Deciding to move in together is huge, but if you sit down to have an honest conversation and love each other, it should be mostly a breeze. This is an exciting time for both of you! Just remember to schedule things with friends outside the home, separately, but also invite friends over for a game or movie night to warm your home.