Moving in together is an important step in a relationship. For many people, it’s a signifier that you intend to stay together for the long haul, which, in some ways, turns into an important step before marriage.
Of course, there’s no perfect time to decide when to move in together because every relationship progresses differently depending on the people involved. Still, it is absolutely necessary for all couples that they are ready and have talked about their expectations and wishes before moving in together. Communication is key.
You need to be honest with yourself and your partner about what you want and would like in return once you actually begin cohabitating. Here are six questions to ask your partner and, more importantly, yourself before signing that co-lease.
1. How organized are you?
Many of these questions require complete honesty, which can be hard for some people, but if you’re truly dedicated to the relationship, you must be willing to talk about anything, even topics that make you uncomfortable.
Being organized is important to some people. You might live in your room with a neat pile for each article of clothing that will not fly everywhere when you try to pull one certain piece out, but more than just your living space, are you able to get your daily life organized? Being forgetful on occasions is part of being human, but if you’re just recklessly forgetting important things or dates, then that’s likely to get on your partner’s nerves.
It goes the other way as well. If your partner is messy or extremely forgetful, how will you go about making sure this doesn’t become a problem for you? Maybe you’ll both be a little bit messy and moderately forgetful, but use each other as a way to improve on those issues. Whatever the case may be, make sure you and your significant other know how important organization is for you.
2. What is your motivation for deciding to move in together?
You need to know exactly why you want to take this step. If you are feeling pressured, whether by society, your family or even your partner themselves, then take some time to think about why you are encountering this pressure. Pressure is not a good reason to move in together.
You may not truly want it if it’s someone else’s ideas in your head. Or maybe you are just looking for a way to decrease rent and you think “I’ll just ask my significant other to move in. Seems easy enough.” Sure, easy enough to ask, and it even reduces rent for a while, until you realize that neither of you were actually ready to live together and things are, well, not so easy.
Make sure the decision to move in is mutually wanted. Moving in together should be a happy step forward in your relationship.
3. How well do you handle disagreement?
Disagreement comes in many forms. It can be anything from whether you make an effort to match your socks (I don’t) to whether you make your bed in the morning (I also don’t). While those are rather trivial examples, sometimes small things end up having the biggest impact on a relationship. It begins with one small issue, which is usually easily overcome, but when more influential things go wrong, maybe stress at work or illness or family problems, these little things can become the final straw.
Before moving in, think about how disagreements have played out in the past. If they’ve been really tense and have caused large-scale arguments over something relatively small, then maybe you aren’t ready to live together yet. Once you’re under the same roof, putting their messages on “do not disturb” is not enough to be able to ignore them.
Disagreeing is natural. You can’t always agree on everything, but make sure you know how to disagree respectfully without causing unnecessary issues. You may not always agree with your partner, but you are always supposed to love them.
4. How will the finances be divided?
Nobody likes the money talk. It’s boring and tedious and, generally, pretty depressing. Still, it’s an important and necessary conversation to have.
In an apartment, you should seriously consider making sure that both you and your partner’s names are on the lease. While no one wants to put that kind of inadvertent pressure on their relationship, if worse comes to worse, you’ll be grateful you took precautions. There’s also rent, bills, groceries and many other expenses that will need to be covered.
Money is likely to cause recurring problems, so it’s best to discuss these matters beforehand in order to reduce the severity of the talk and save a lot of future stress from happening.
5. Are you willing to compromise?
Like disagreement, compromise over even the smallest debacles is essential. You may have to find middle ground on who gets to eat the last piece of the pie, or who does laundry that day, or whose family you’ll go see on Christmas. Some people have a hard time compromising. They may be selfish and demand that their needs and wants are constantly put first, or they may be stubborn and refuse to budge on anything. Either way, it’s good to know about this trait in yourself and your partner.
The past is always a good indicator of the present. So, if in the past, your partner was repeatedly stubborn and unmoving on many issues, or maybe you were (don’t forget to hold yourself accountable), then think about ways you can work on this before deciding to move in.
6. What do I want?
It’s a necessary question for a lot of big life moments. What exactly do you want to come from making this decision and, more importantly, what do you want for your relationship? Like I said, some people consider living together a precursor to getting married. So, that’s something to keep in mind. Do you want your relationship to move in that direction? Or what do you want it to mean?
While that may seem like a frivolous question, if you are not honest about what you want from moving in together, your partner may get the wrong idea and it can cause complications. Knowing what you want can be hard because sometimes, but before choosing to live with your partner, you must try to ask yourself in order to make sure both of you are getting the most of out of your life together.
These are only small but essential questions that you could go through in making this decision. Constant communication is important to maintain a relationship and also during a potentially life-changing choice. Keep all of this in mind and remember to stay honest throughout the process. Moving in with your significant other can become one of the best (or worst) thing you’ve ever done.