Moving in together is a declaration of two people's commitment to each other, but the devil can be in the details. (Illustration by Rinah Kang, Rhode Island School of Design)
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Cohabitating, shacking up or cuffing: Whatever you call it, moving in together is a big deal.


I love my freedom. I love waking up to a drool-soaked pillow that only I giggle at. I love walking around in my underwear with matted bedhead and mascara streaks.

I love eating cereal alone at my kitchen table. And then I lift up the spoon and there’s a baby cockroach in the milk. And I scream and fling the spoon across the kitchen. And then I inspect the drowned insect and squish its carcass in a paper towel and continue eating cereal with the same spoon … because I live alone and there is no one I have to impress.

I know the solitary life I love is going to change when my boyfriend and I inevitably move in together. He and I set the conversation in motion a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t be more excited, or terrified.

No matter how you slice it, moving in together is a big deal. There’s a considerable amount of planning and loads of decisions to make, but I found there are a couple things you can do for yourself to help ease into the discussion.

These simple #mindhacks will help you and your partner approach the topic of moving in together with ease and hopefully ensure a swift, well-thought decision.

Get Yourself in the Right Mindset

Don’t start talking unless you’re sure you’re ready. Don’t get caught up in what your partner is going to say until you’ve decided how you feel. Understanding your feelings is the first step. It’s normal to be anxious when approaching the conversation; it’s scary to put yourself out on the line. But it’s not scary once you know definitively where you stand.

Spend time alone thinking about you want before you ask what your partner wants. However, if you feel you’re ready, don’t hold your feelings in. State your intentions clearly and boldly. I read an article that suggested tiptoeing around the topic by “saying something cute.” I’m sorry but that’s a sexist, bullsh—statement and I couldn’t be more offended. It’s 2019; sack up and tell your partner how you feel with zero regrets.

When I brought up moving in together to my boyfriend, I was nervous he wouldn’t feel the same way. I was so nervous that when he surprised me by reciprocating the feeling of being ready, I froze like a deer in headlights. I was so caught up worrying about his judgement that I didn’t stop to consider that his reaction was exactly what I’d hoped for.

Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume they won’t feel the same way; go into the conversation with an open heart and mind. After all, moving in together is a mega-huge commitment, and it’s normal for them to need a hot minute to decide how they feel. Don’t assume they don’t want to be with you and relationship is doomed if they aren’t sure; give them time to think about what they want and assess.

Sweat the Details

My time as a newspaper editor taught me to be critical and pay close attention to every misused comma, misplaced modifier and accidental semicolon. My time as a girlfriend teaches me to be patient and forgive small missteps.

Unfortunately, when it comes to talking about moving in together, I can’t overstate it’s better to be an editor than a loving cuddle buddy. If you avoid discussing the miniscule details, it’ll only bite you in the a— when you’ve been living together for five months and no one agreed how to split the electric bill.

Finances are the first set of logistics that should be hashed out completely before signing a lease. Talk about how you are dividing monthly bills. Are you splitting groceries and toiletries or going Dutch? Opening a joint account may be an easy fix.

Sorting out money details early will help you avoid common arguments couple face. Also, let’s be real, money should be the last thing you and your partner need to argue about; it’s so trivial and you don’t need to waste your breath.

Another important set of details to discuss is basic living arrangement agreements and expectations for conduct. How will you handle overnight guests and friends coming over? Who is responsible for cooking meals and doing dishes, or is each person simply responsible for themselves? Do you care if they leave their wet towel on the floor after a shower or does it drive you insane? These and more are the questions that should be asked when delving into the details of living in a shared space.

Neither of you will be living alone anyone. Gone are the days of friends staying over until 3 a.m. playing XBOX and leaving a pan to soak in the sink for a week, unless you and your partner agree those are acceptable behaviors. The important thing to remember is it’s not just you anymore, and you both need to find terms to agree on.

Find each other’s “goal”

There’s a motivation behind everything you do, and when talking about moving in together, it’s a good idea to understand what each person’s goal is. You and your partner should come to an agreement of why you want to take this big step and put yourselves on the same page.

Are you moving in together because you’re both broke and need to save on rent? Maybe you’re living with a crazy deranged roommate and need to get out of your apartment before she turns it into a full-blown meth lab. I roomed with a girl who essentially turned our walk-in pantry into an edible table at a farmer’s market, so I know the struggle can be real.

I consider these reasons a little superficial but still realistic reasons to move in together. But I think the major goal to discuss is the commitment factor; are you moving in together to further the relationship and express desire to tackle a new chapter of life together? This question might be the most daunting of all to ask out loud or even contemplate in your mind. I mean, it’s not easy to blurt out, “So, where do you see this going … are we endgame or just a tournament?” However difficult, force yourself to confront the fact that the decision to move in together needs to come from a place of wanting to be together for the foreseeable future.

As you approach the conversation, remember your partner is the same person they were before you wanted to move in together.

Wanting to make a shift in your living arrangements and stating that desire doesn’t change them into some disagreeable, commitment-fearing troll. Even if they aren’t ready, trust in the honesty you two have built in the relationship thus far and let that guide your forward.

If they aren’t sure or know they can’t handle cohabitating yet, they will tell you and you can go from there. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. The best part about a decision like this, however scary at first, is that you get to make it with the most special person in your life. Life can’t be that bad when you face it together.

Talking about moving in together isn’t as scary as the movies, articles or your older sister make it seem. Wipe the enormous amount of under-boob sweat off and settle yourself in for an afternoon of thinking, because you’ve got a decision to make!

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Tatianna Salisbury

Northern Illinois University

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