hen it comes to relationships, everyone is different. What works for one couple will likely not work for another. But what relationships do have in common are the big milestones: the first kiss, meeting the parents, and moving in together — to name a few.
Not all relationships will get to these milestones, but if you’ve been together for six months or longer, chances are that you and your partner will experience some change in your relationship.
And one of those big milestones is moving in together.
Most couples will reach this point in their relationship if they are together long enough. But how do you know when it’s right to take the leap into sharing an apartment or a house?
The answer will of course be different from person to person, couple to couple. We can’t tell you when you should move in with your significant other, but we can tell you what to be aware of before taking the plunge into domesticity — because there are some important things you should keep in mind prior to renting a UHaul.
Once you’ve discussed the subjects on this list with your partner, you can at least rest assured that you’ve covered your basics before moving on to the next big milestone in your relationship.
Talk about your finances
Money is usually the big elephant in the room that couples shy away from. We get it: talking about money can be weird and uncomfortable. But if you and your partner are going to be living together, the subject of money will have to be on the table at some point.
Finances can break up a relationship, but it doesn’t have to. If you and your partner discuss what is in your wallets before moving in together, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Below are just a few of the subjects revolving around money that you and your partner should discuss.
- What your money philosophies are
- How much you each save and spend
- How the rent will be paid
- Who will pay for add-ons like pet rent, utilities, and internet
- What your credit score is
- How much debt you each do or don’t have
Talking about money is much scarier before you actually do it. Once you and your partner unveil your financial pasts and preferences, the road to living together will be a lot less bumpy.
Who will do the housework?
Another big point of contention for many people in domestic relationships is housework. An unequal division of labor in the home can create tension between you and your partner.
When you’re not living together, housework probably does not come up that often. You are more likely focused on the fun dates you and your significant other are going on or the cool trips you have planned.
But housework should not be pushed to the side, especially when you and your partner are considering moving in together.
It’s impossible to create a division of labor that will be completely equal in every way, but you should certainly try your hardest to create a division of labor that works for your relationship.
A good place to start the conversation about dividing up the housework is discussing what you both like, don’t mind, and absolutely despise doing. You might find that you hate sweeping but your partner gets a lot of satisfaction out of it.
Another aspect of housework to keep in mind is that, like most of life, it is fluid. You and your partner’s needs will change over time. Your housework schedule might work for a few months and then completely fall apart when someone gets sick, and that’s okay. As long as you and your partner are continuously open to discussion about who does what around the house, the chores won’t seem so bad.
Prioritize making space for one another
If you’re anything like us, you love to decorate. Creating a home that is welcoming, cozy, and exactly to your liking is an art form — and that art form is much easier to do when you live alone.
Moving in with a partner changes that.
Suddenly, you’ll have someone else with their own individual tastes and preferences. They might not like the vintage lamp you got from a flea market five years ago hanging in the living room. And you might not like their leopard-print couch.
But the truth of the matter is that neither of you will (or should) eliminate your style for someone else. Instead, you should just make space for your partner.
This can be a bit tricky in a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, but it’s definitely doable. Try giving each other one wall to decorate. Or perhaps one person gets to spruce up the living room and the other gets to go crazy with the bedroom.
If you make room for both of your styles in your shared living space, you’ll still be able to express yourself while merging your life with the person you love.
Think about how well you know your partner
One of, if not the biggest factor that will determine when you and your partner move in together is your compatibility. You may think you get along great on dates and hangouts, but living together is a completely different story.
Because the two of you will be together all of the time. 24/7, 365.
It’s easy to get space away from your partner when you’re dating and not living together. But the minute you both sign the lease, expect to see their face constantly.
Hopefully, for most people, this will be exciting. Getting to wake up next to the person you love every morning is a beautiful thing. But what happens if you like to sleep in and your partner prefers to get up early? You might end up clashing. Hard.
So before you move in together, it’s absolutely vital to know how compatible your lifestyles are with each other. Sit down for a nice meal and quiz each other: how do you live your life when the other person isn’t there? Ask your partner how they like to cook or when they prefer to take their dog for a walk.
If you've been together for a while, you will probably know most of this information about each other. But there are always things you miss — after all, you can never know someone completely. You’ll want to be as prepared as possible for any potential incompatibility. If you know what you’re up against, it won’t be so difficult when you actually face it.
What happens if we’re incompatible?
It’s easy to talk about preparation and what you both will and won’t do to make living together easy. However, no matter how much you talk it out, there will still be instances of conflict. It’s a natural part of relationships and can’t be avoided, no matter how many advice blogs you read about romance.
When you do encounter conflict in your partnership after you have moved in with your significant other, the best course of action is to compromise. It might drive you crazy the way that your partner never puts the dishes away after they are washed, but yelling at them to complete the task won’t help much.
This is where the preparation element comes in.
When you compromise, you’re settling what would otherwise be future arguments — in other words, you’re preparing for the future.
If you hate the way that your partner doesn’t immediately clean up the dishes when you usually do, you’ll need to form some sort of compromise. This might look something like putting the dishes away every other night.
Just like you talked out your preferences prior to moving in together, you should continue to talk it out when you do. Compromise is an ongoing activity, and if you both put time into working with each other’s needs, you’ll be much more content.
Something that’s helpful to remember during any conflict is that the two of you aren’t against each other (or at least you shouldn’t be).
You both wanted to move in together because you love and care about one another. Each of you has a vested interest in making your new living arrangement work and that puts you on the same team. Even if it doesn’t feel like that at some points.
Treat your compromises, and your partner, with kindness and you’ll find yourself happier in the long run.
So how soon is too soon to move in together?
Well, the answer is complicated.
No one can know for sure what will work for you and your partner except for yourselves. But we can give you a helping hand in the form of preparation. If you start discussing these important subjects now, moving in together will likely accomplish what it’s supposed to do: deepen your relationship with the person you love.