Originally posted on Bustle
Moving in together is a huge step in a relationship. A lot of my married friends have said that moving in together was actually more significant than getting married, because it was a much bigger change. And there’s no right time to do it— though taking it slow is advisable, simply because it’s a huge decision.
“Moving in together creates a lot of pressure for a new relationship, and has extreme consequences if it doesn’t work out,” life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. “You could lose thousands of dollars, fight over personal belongings, and get in trouble with landlords, etc., if things go south. Always wait at least a year before moving in with someone, to be sure the relationship is stable enough to last under the same roof.”
But how do you know when it’s time to make the move? Firstly, it’s shouldn’t be something you should doing for another reason other than wanting to take that next step. Saving money is not a good enough reason to move in together. Neither is the fact that you spend a lot of your time together — lots of people do that in the honeymoon period. The signs you need to look out for should be the ones that show that you’re actually ready to make the move for your relationship, rather than just thinking it’s convenient or what you’re supposed to do. Here are seven ways you know, according to experts..
1. You Understand Each Other’s Habits
Fun fact: little things can piss you right off when you live with someone. “Items that seem small but can end up causing huge rifts include leaving lights on or off, keeping doors unlocked or open, and the depth of cleaning you like to see in each room,” relationship coach and founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. “Maybe you like sleeping with your dogs in bed and your partner doesn’t. Or maybe you really want a dog or cat but your partner is opposed to it. These are all important things to consider before moving in together.”
Make sure that you know some of your partner’s living habits and that they’re compatible with yours. A lot of sleepovers, traveling together, and maybe even staying with them for a full week here or there can be good indicators.
2. You’re Good At Talking About Money
“Money is a major cause of anxiety in relationships,” New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. “People are not usually honest about money — until there is a problem.” And when you’re already living together, it is too late to have that conversation. Make sure you’re open and happy to talk about finances before you get to that place. When bills are coming and things start to break, you’re going to need those skills.
3. It’s Getting Inconvenient Not To
Spending a lot of time together isn’t a good enough reason to move in together — but if everything else lines up, it may be a good sign that you’re ready. One of my the ways I knew it was a good time to move in with my girlfriend was when it was feeling like it was a hassle not to. I was sick of carrying clothes and toiletries with me, and sick of feeling like I was only ever in one place for a couple of nights at a time.
4. You Know It Will Be Tough
If you think living together will be a dream, you’re probably not being realistic. It’s important to acknowledge what challenges might come up. “I would say that communication and expectation-setting are key,” clinical psychologist Janna Koretz, Psy.D, tells Bustle. “Discussing potential issues before the move is an excellent way to avoid conflict and mismatched expectations. When we move in with someone, we know at least some things about them.” So make sure you’ve talked about how incompatibles might play out — and what you’ll do if there’s tension.
5. You’re Independent
If you’re totally co-dependent, moving in together may just make everything worse. “Keep your own hobbies and interests and don’t be home all the time,” Karenna Alexander, a NYC matchmaker and dating coach, tells Bustle. Not only is it healthy, but it keeps the spark alive.
“That spark is so important when living together because if it dies, [it’s] a fast death,” Alexander says. Being able to maintain boundaries and have your own lives is a must before you move in.
6. But You Make Quality Time For Each Other
That being said, it’s also time to make time for each other to keep your bond strong. “While the fire won’t always burn as strong as it did in the beginning of your relationship, it doesn’t have to dim either,” Ravid Yosef, dating and relationship coach at LoveLifeTBD.com, tells Bustle. “That’s when you lose interest in one another and seek outside stimulation.” Make sure you’re able to make quality time for each other.
7. You’re Great Problem-Solvers
Moving in together means dealing with lots of unforeseen issues. My girlfriend and I were tested when, having barely moved in together, the boiler broke. Again. And again. And again. It was seven bouts without hot water before the repair man could work out what was going on. I was very grateful that we were both good listeners and problem solvers during that stressful— and slightly smelly— time. “The most essential ingredient in a relationship is two partners are willing to work on it,” dating coach and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Pella Weisman tells Bustle. “If you have this, you have everything.”
Moving in together can be an amazing, rewarding step in a relationship — if you’re ready. Make sure that you’re prepared for it, because it can change everything for better or for worse.