The decision to co-habitate with your partner is a serious milestone in the relationship—not something to be treated casually or done hastily and spontaneously. Moving in together indicates that you’re both committed to each other, and are heading in the direction of permanence or even marriage. This means there are many things to discuss if this next phase in your relationship is on the horizon.
Before signing a lease, choosing the furniture and décor, then showing off your “lovenest” to family and friends, consider these questions first. Communicate your expectations for living together. Talk about the concerns or hesitations you might be feeling. Address the logistics in advance and make compromises if needed. Be honest with each other about whether taking this plunge is the right move for your relationship—because there is no denying, it’s a major, life-altering decision for both of you.
How Are You Planning to Divide the Expenses?
The allocation of finances can be a sensitive topic, but you need to know ahead of time what household expenses you’re each accountable for. Otherwise, it will cause tension in the relationship if you don’t have a concrete financial game plan that both of you understand and agree with. Are you sharing all expenses and purchases equally? Are you merging bank accounts or keeping them separate? Are you in charge of your own medical costs, insurance payments or vehicle repairs? Are you both responsible for home maintenance and utilities? One of the most common sources of friction between couples is money, so make sure you both are involved in budgeting and regulating the finances.
Who Is Going to Manage Which Responsibilities?
Another subject to deal with upfront is how you both expect to distribute the chores and errands that come with running a household. You might assume that you and your partner will contribute to everything as a unit, while they might prefer to divide and conquer the responsibilities. Communicate what your individual expectations are, then work together to find an arrangement that each of you are comfortable with. For instance, perhaps you create the menu, handle the grocery shopping then cook the meals, and your partner straightens the kitchen, loads the dishwasher then takes out the garbage. In addition, certain tasks such as cleaning and laundry can be shared between both of you.
What Are Your Priorities for a Living Situation?
There are multiple factors to think about when choosing the place you want to call home, and chances are that each of you has a list of non-negotiable priorities. Would you rather move into a house or apartment? What kind of location do you prefer—something urban with a Chipotle on the corner or something more quiet, rustic and secluded? Which amenities are imperative? Do you need access to a swimming pool, 24-hour fitness center and Wi-Fi connected lounge spaces? Know exactly what’s included in the contract, and “maintain an open dialogue with your potential landlord or property management throughout the process,” advise the leasing experts at EPOCH Apartments.
Have You Discussed Your Relationship’s Future?
If your relationship has lasted more than five minutes, you’re all-too-familiar with “the talk” in which both of you attempt to define where this dynamic is going. But cliché as it sounds, discussing your goals and desires for the relationship is an important precursor to moving in together. You need to establish if your long-term intentions are compatible with your partner’s, and if your vision of the future aligns with theirs. If your objective for co-habitation is to work toward getting married, but your partner’s main concern is being able to share expenses, then you might consider reevaluating. Anyone can find a roommate, but living with a significant other is a commitment to the person you love.
This milestone isn’t just about putting both your names on the mailbox and snuggling on the couch for Netflix binges every night. It’s a major transition in your relationship and needs to be approached with a strategy that’s realistic for both of you. Planning ahead can mean the difference between greater intimacy or heightened conflict, so just keep all this in mind when considering your options.