So you’re in love. You both like pizza and Vampire Weekend. Your stars align in the bedroom. Now you’re thinking of moving in together. Amazing! But this is not a decision to take lightly. While it might be a thrill to think of waking up together every day, and you can’t wait to split rent two ways, moving in can spell disaster for otherwise healthy relationships. Before you take this big step, it’s wise to put your realist hat on and ask yourself these three tough questions.
Have We Had The Hard Conversations Yet?
If not, have them now. You know those tough conversations: children or no children? Marriage or perpetual freedom? But also: holidays with family or movies and Chinese take out? Clean the bathroom once a week or once a year? Home-cooked or eat out? Netflix Fridays or friends around to watch sport? Before you move in together is when you need to start raising these issues, big and small, to understand whether the two of you are ready, or if you’ll ever be ready, to move in. Sharing a living space is about more than splitting rent. You’re going to have to adjust to each other’s habits in ways you may never have considered before, so if there is something you want to ask, don’t wait. Ask now.
How Will Our Finances Work?
No matter how similar you and your partner are, it’s unlikely that you earn the same amount. If one of you earns significantly more, you’ll need to be honest about your living standards and requirements before you call in the removalist. This applies even if you’ve decided to keep your finances completely separate except for shared costs. Will you rent a place that one person can afford but the other can’t? Will the more affluent partner pick up the slack financially in order to raise the lifestyle for both of you? And if so, are both of you okay with that? Will one person want to heat the house to jungle temperatures in winter while the other would rather rug up and save on the energy bill?
Have We Done a Practice Run?
If not, do! Before you move in, it’s a good idea to have a month-long (at least) sleep-over in each other’s homes. This period of low-pressure cohabiting will give you both an opportunity to spot those habits that drive you insane as well as the lifestyle choices that you appreciate and are looking forward to sharing. Dating and falling in love is a wonderful bubble to be in. But it doesn’t always pay to jump straight from that bubble into each other’s intimate space. A couple of rehearsals for the real thing are essential to help you understand the adjustments the move will require of you, and whether you’re ready to make room for someone else.
Whether you’ve been dating for one year or ten, moving in together is an exciting and important step in any relationship. Before you decide to sign a lease together, ask yourself these key questions to help you remove those rose-tinted goggles and look at the situation objectively.