If you’ve been a couple for quite some time, you might start to think about what the two of you are going to do next. Couples will think about living together most of the time. It might just be the biggest leap a couple could make if they don’t live under the same roof just yet.
Moving in together is exciting for most, but it’s also a huge decision to make. It’s hard to go back to your old lives as simply partners if things don’t work out.
Move in together because you both want to, and not because you think you have to. There isn’t a right time or age to do it. When you’re both ready and really want to do it for the right reasons, then maybe you can both agree that the time is right.
Here’s a 12-item checklist to see if you’re both ready to move in together.
You’re dating exclusively (or clear on the nature of your relationship)
This seems pretty obvious or basic. Having no questions or doubts about your exclusivity (or your mutually-agreed-upon arrangement) lets you know where your relationship stands, and where it’s going.
You’ve talked about finances
Money is a tough topic. You have to talk about your financial situations and what it might look like in the future. Moving in together also means having to manage bills and finances together. Love alone cannot feed you nor pay for your rent. You should be able to discuss your debt-to-income ratio, how you’ll split the bills, and how you can ensure that you’re saving more than you are spending.
You’re comfortable in each other’s presence
When you’ve moved in together, you’ll do everything within each other’s presence, even the most embarrassing things. You’ll also be spending the most mundane days together. It will be hard holding back or constantly be hiding when you live together. You have more exposure to your partner, and they’ll see your flaws and imperfections. If you’re comfortable with showing the true you to your partner, that’s a good sign that you’re ready to live with them.
You know how to patch up arguments
Arguments, disagreements, and rough patches in a relationship are inevitable. It’s normal for couples to go through things like these. If you were able to successfully patch up the arguments and disagreements you had before, then you’re probably ready to move in together. You’re likely to have more fights and arguments when you live in one space. You have to understand each other’s stress responses and coping mechanisms, know the best way to tackle problems, communicate in a calm manner, and comprehend your partner’s side too.
You’ve talked about cleanliness and your ideal living space
Living with your partner shouldn’t make you feel like you’re their parent or maid. Both of you should be able to clean up after yourselves, and leave no mess that will be a burden to your partner.
Aside from cleanliness, you should also consider each other’s needs when it comes to space. While you’re looking at places to move in, take a look at how you’ll be able to arrange your things in such a way that you both get what you want and need (or at least meet halfway).
You’re both willing to make sacrifices
The first sacrifice you’ll make when you live together is losing your personal space and time completely alone. But if you’re willing to sacrifice your independence to be and live with your partner, this will not be such a big deal.
Living together isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. You’ll face problems together, and some of them may mean having to make sacrifices. Sometimes you really have to make sacrifices together in order to get something better in return.
You’re already playing the part
If you spend most of the time at each other’s places, then you could already have a clearer picture of what it’s going to be like when you move in together. Living together might be good for you if you have little to no problem when staying together.
You’ve talked about the future
Thinking about the future helps you plan out the things you have to do in the present. You and your partner should be on the same page, or at least know each other’s plans for the future. If you’re part of each other’s plans and you’ve considered each other when you are thinking about the future, moving in together could be the best step. You can work together as a couple to get to the future you both want.
You understand each other’s habits
We all have our own habits when at home. They may be nasty, funny, embarrassing, or odd. These habits are part of our identity, and they often make us feel comfortable, satisfied, and the like. Moving in together might not be best for you if you feel bothered or annoyed with your partner’s habits. Can you imagine living with that all day, every day?
You’re both independent
Even though you live together, it’s still a good thing to be independent. You should be able to handle yourself and make your own decisions when your partner is at work or out of the house, or when your partner is preoccupied with something else.
You know each other’s boundaries and limits
Know each other’s boundaries and when something is already too much or getting out of hand. Remember to not cross these limits and boundaries even when you’re already living together. Challenging their boundaries and limits may result in huge arguments — we want to avoid that as much as possible, right?
No one is half-hearted or is being forced
If you want to move in with your partner, make sure you both totally want it and you’re doing it for the right reasons. You shouldn’t consider moving in together if you’re just going to use it as an avenue to “change” your partner, or just because you want to have someone share with the expenses.
The right time to move in together is when you’re both completely ready and whole-hearted about doing it. It’s a huge decision to make. Think about it carefully.