5 Things to Consider Before Moving In With a Significant Other
No offense to The Beatles, but love isn't all you need to make a relationship work. While love is certainly the bedrock of any strong relationship, commitment, compromise, and communication are also fundamental — especially when you're considering moving in together. When the time comes for you and your significant other to have the "co-habitation talk," be sure to cover these bases before loading up the moving truck:
1. Assess your financial expectations
Negotiate your financial expectations before you even start apartment hunting, especially if there's a disparity between how much you and your partner are capable of spending on rent and other shared expenses. Once you've moved in, devise a system to make sure expenses are paid fairly and consistently. Whether it's alternating grocery shopping responsibilities every two weeks or putting one partner in charge of sending the rent check every month, sticking to an expenses rotation makes finances one less source of contention.
2. Be honest about your habits and compromise on house rules
Are you a total slob, but your partner is an unreasonable neat freak? You're nocturnal, but they're in bed by 9pm? A relationship doesn't have to fail because of disagreements over cleanliness and bed times, so talk openly and honestly about your living habits before you sign the lease. Even if your habits aren't as compatible as your personalities, compromise on house rules that work for both of you — and hold each other accountable to following them.
3. Determine a policy on guests and parties
Set ground rules early on for having house guests over. Do you need to inform your partner if you're having guests over when they aren't home? Is advance notice required for house guests in general? Is their mother (with six siblings in tow) welcome? If you plan to host parties frequently, make sure your partner is equally eager to co-host. Better yet, determine planning and cleanup logistics well in advance.
4. Discuss how your expectations of the relationship will change
Moving in together will change your expectations of one another in more than just household duties. How little is too little (or too much) privacy or personal space? How often do you want to have date nights? Do you expect your partner to always be home for dinner? With work schedules and social calendars, it's important to understand each other's expectations and compromise accordingly.
5. Are you ready to really commit to the relationship?
Living together requires more commitment and sacrifice than simply being in a relationship requires. Ensure that you and your partner are willing to give up some independence and commit to taking into account someone else's needs on a daily basis.
At the end of the day, moving in together isn't something any couple should seriously dread. If you communicate your needs and expectations honestly, handle logistics ahead of time, and are committed to each other, moving in together can help your relationship grow. After all, it's only one step before marriage...