So… You’re at that point in your relationship where you and your love are considering taking the next big step: moving in together. It’s a huge milestone in any relationship timeline, and while it’s a very exciting decision, there is a lot that goes into it. Recently, I saw a reader question come in asking how I knew when it was the right time to move in with William, and it got me thinking that this topic would make a great Ask Lauren post. Since the idea of moving in together generates a lot of different thoughts and opinions, I wanted to break down 10 big questions to ask yourself before you move in with your beau. I recommend asking yourself the questions below and also having an open discussion about them with your significant other. I feel pretty confident that if you really think and reflect on these, you’ll have your answer! Without further ado, here is my checklist of 10 questions to ask yourself before moving in…
1. Am I doing this for the right reasons?
In my opinion, this is the first and most important question you should ask yourself before moving in together. Are you moving in with this person because you see it as the next step in the relationship and you want to share your life with them? Or are you doing it because it’s financially convenient? If you’re doing it out of convenience, that is fine—you will just want to make sure you define the reasons so that your expectations will follow. One too many times I’ve seen friends move in because they don’t want to pay as much for rent, and they tell themselves it’s casual. But then there can be expectations for a bigger step in the relationship, which is tricky and confusing. Make sure you are moving in for the right reasons and that you’ve talked it through so that you’re both on the same page before you cohabitate.
2. Do you have a financial plan?
I know it’s not super romantic, but making a financial plan is probably the second biggest thing you should consider when moving in together. It’s a really good idea to figure out who will pay for what bills, decide what expenses will be joint, and so on. Some of the biggest arguments in relationships can come from not being on the same page with finances, so I would highly recommend get squared away on your financial plan before bunking up.
3. Do you have the same definition of “clean”?
This might seem trivial, but you’d be surprised to learn how easily a wrench can get thrown into a relationship over small things like dirty dishes in the sink. If you’re a clean person who has lived with a messy roommate, or if you’re someone with a more relaxed attitude about tidiness who has lived with a neat freak, you probably know how draining these differences can be. Make sure you are clear on your significant other’s definition of “clean” before living together so that you know what to expect.
4. Do you have the same health habits?
Knowing how healthy or unhealthy your partner is seems minor but it’s a pretty big lifestyle factor. Do they eat junk food every day while you’re an avid yogi? Do you like to have ice cream in the freezer at all times while they wouldn’t be caught dead with the stuff? Knowing the answer to this question will minimize stress when it comes to buying groceries, sharing meals and being active together. It might also make you realize how important your health habits are and how much they dictate your happiness.
5. Do you like to entertain?
If you are the type of person who likes to have friends over every weekend, but your beau prefers quiet time and movie marathons, this difference could be something to consider before cohabitating. If you do have a different view of how often you like to entertain, come up with some rules about when you will have friends over and when you will have down time. And definitely discuss weekday entertaining too—your love might prefer that you have your Bachelorette-watching wine nights at a friend’s house instead of your own, just how you might prefer Sunday football game-watching to happen at his buddy’s house.
6. Do you have a game plan for your pets?
For all of you pet owners out there, this one is a big question to ask yourself: Is your significant other on board with your pet? When you move in together, one person’s pet automatically becomes a joint pet. Responsibilities will be shared, whether or not that was your intention. Late coming home from work? You’ll probably call your partner to take the dog out for a walk… And vice versa if your love is the one who owns a furry friend. Make sure you’ve asked yourself if your game plan for your pet is set in stone before you sign a joint lease.
7. Are you willing to commit to that level of the relationship?
Knowing what level of relationship you’re committing to is a huge step when you’re moving in together. It might sound obvious, but make sure you realize that moving in together is a big step and it will cause big changes (both good and challenging) in your relationship. Make sure your answer to this question is “yes”!
8. Are your schedules compatible?
Scheduling is important when you live with someone. Do you and your partner both work a 9 to 5 job? Or, does one of you have a creative job that keeps you up ‘til the wee hours of the morning? Regardless of how similar or different your schedules are, it’s good to discuss things like when you usually go to bed, what time you wake up, how late you stay out on weekends, etc.
9. Do you trust this person?
Since you’re going to be sharing a whole new element of your life with this person by shacking up, you want to make sure you have a big foundation of trust in them. Trusting your partner before you move in together means you know that they’ll be reliable, pay bills on time, pick up groceries when they say they will, help with your pets, and more. Trust is huge. If your relationship is new or you’re building up your trust, keep that in mind. It might make you consider waiting a little longer until the trust is built before moving in.
10. Have you talked it through?
A lot of times these moves happen without a major conversation—and it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of it. There will be parts of your comfortable, everyday life that you will have to compromise when you make this move, many of which I haven’t even covered in this post. Do you sleep with the TV on? Do you know what furniture you’re bringing to your new joint space? Once you know all of the answers to the questions I’ve asked you above, the next step is to sit down with your partner and talk it through. When you know where each other stands on finances, pets, and everything in between, the transition of your move will be much more exciting and effortless, and you’ll know that you’re doing it for the right reasons. And remember, if you have doubts or hesitations about the relationship in general, living together makes breaking up much harder.
I hope thinking through these 10 questions will help you arrive at the right answer if you’re asking yourself whether you should move in with your significant other. Shacking up is a big decision, but in the end if you take some time to yourself to think it through, you’ll know when the time is right!
What topic would you like to see me cover in my next Ask Lauren post?