At some point in a couple’s life, it becomes apparent to both parties that having their own space no longer outweighs the double rent and the constant shuttling across town. That’s as true in Podunk, Mississippi, as it is here in San Francisco. But word to the wise — timing is everything, and that’s especially true when it comes to the big move-in decision. No matter how alluring your partner’s place, or how much money you’d both save, the commitment has to be there first. Assuming that’s all in order, here’s my practical advice for moving in together (finally).
Talk it Through First
If you can’t talk money first, your relationship isn’t ready for the next step. Make a plan together for paying the bills. A good rule of thumb is to split these costs in a way that reflects any disparities in your respective incomes, which means you probably won’t go 50/50. Whatever you decide, it should be a budget that you both find fair.
Be Prepared for Problems
Moving in together puts all of those minor annoyances under a microscope and it unearths incompatibilities that hadn’t yet seen the light of day. This is normal and not necessarily an issue, as long as you can work together to handle conflict. Ideally, you have some understanding about your partner’s lifestyle habits — night owl or early riser, tidy or a slob, TV in the bedroom or no, those kinds of things. Still, recognizing it from the safety of your own space and having to live with it are two different things, so talking these things through ahead of time is wise.
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Going into cohabitation with a pragmatic outlook — an understanding that it won’t be all lazy Sundays and charming habits — is important. Things change when you live with someone, and making minor adjustments is part of the deal. You’ll get on each other’s nerves, and arguments will happen. But keeping your relationship healthy means investing in it, and that doesn’t change when you’re sharing living space. Act with intention, understand that conflict happens, and practice communicating effectively.
Moving in together is a milestone in a relationship, but before you take the plunge, make sure you can clearly explain why you’re doing it. If your reasoning is all practical — you spend most nights together anyway, her lease is up, his place is better — it’s worth slowing down to think things through. It’s a big step, and your decision shouldn’t hinge on whatever’s easiest.
What About Buying a Place Together?
That’s a topic unto itself, and there are pros and cons to buying a home with a significant other to whom you aren’t married. If you’re thinking of buying a new place together, I can’t advise on your relationship, but I can help you with the move!