Making the decision to move in together is a really big step in any relationship. If you are discussing moving in with your current partner, odds are that it is the most important, and perhaps most serious, discussion you have ever had. Beyond obvious red flag issues, there are some specific practical problems and emotional issues that have to be sorted out before you should move in together. Here are some of the questions you should discuss before taking the next step.
- What is your motivation for living together?
Living together is the most common step couples take when they want to increase the level of intimacy and commitment in a relationship. Unfortunately, not all relationships are symmetrical, meaning that in many relationships one person involved is more serious and committed than the other. Sometimes, the more committed person in the relationship will put pressure on the other to move in together as a way to force them into a deeper commitment. If you think that this might the case, it is probably better to allow things to develop naturally and move in together when both parties feel equally committed to the relationship.
- Are we in a committed relationship or are we doing this for practical reasons?
Nothing can smother the flames of new relationship faster than premature and forced intimacy. Even if your relationship seems perfect, moving in together because you want to share a vehicle or cut down on expenses is likely to put unwanted to pressure on your relationship. Practical considerations like transportation, splitting rent or getting onto the same cell phone plan are reasons why you split an apartment with a friend or room mate, but not the ideal way to deepen a romantic relationship.
- How will you handle various practical matters?
Financial disagreements are often more difficult to overcome in a relationship than anything else. How are you going to split up the bills? Is everything going to be 50/50 or is one person in the relationship in a better financial position than the other and able to contribute more? In any cohabitation situation all of these matters have to be openly discussed and the expectations must be absolutely clear to both parties. Nothing contributes to animosity between people faster than the feeling that someone is not pulling their weight.
- How is your communication?
Moving in together will test your communication. Many couples communicate very well romantically, but hardly at all when it comes to things like household chores, spending and more intimate things like hygiene and other personal habits. However, when you move in with someone, you are going to see a side of them that you are not yet acquainted with. Therefore, communication is key to keeping your relationship from hitting snags. If you can’t communicate over whose turn it is to vacuum or do the laundry, how are you going to handle serious issues?
Moving in together is a big step and can be even further complicated when children and extended families are involved. For this reason, it is important to communicate openly and respectfully with everyone involved in the situation. Most important of all, don’t take cohabitation too lightly. Search your heart and make sure that the relationship is ready to take the next step.