Living together can be a fantastic experience. It takes your relationship to the next level and can bring you two much closer together.
Still, it is not always easy, and the thought can be overwhelming. No matter what stage the relationship is in, many couples ask themselves: how soon is too soon to move in together?
It is completely normal to be a bit nervous. Other couples who have been together for years can benefit from taking a step back and assessing the pros and cons before taking their committed relationship to the next level.
This article aims to shed light on the signs you’re ready to live together.
Moving in as a New Couple
Some new couples think about living together as soon as they start dating even if they have not spent a significant amount of time with each other.
The dynamic is slightly different from seasoned couples because the new couples are still getting to know each other. The seasoned couples also get to know each other more subtly (though no less interesting).
The issue with the new couple is that the love they feel in the early stages of a new relationship can be intoxicating, and lots of them tend to make rash decisions when they are intoxicated.
There is nothing wrong with moving in with someone soon after you have met them, but for your and that of your partner’s mental and emotional health and well being, it is wise to take a step back and think about what moving in together will involve.
Most couples find that they are still getting to know each other after a year, two years, or even five years. Understand that you, your partner, and everybody else are far more layered and complex than what you first see.
Factor in the intoxication and blinding fascination of fresh love, and we become even more complicated. It takes a long time to get to know the real them. You may think you know them because you are familiar with their quirks, you have met each other’s family or you got together with best friends.
You have seen them be extremely open and vulnerable, but their layers go deeper.
Responses and reactions to big decisions, behavior in times of conflict, a level of personal accountability, and a capacity to listen and follow through with promises are characteristics that will be revealed in a person for the first time, even years after first meeting them.
Moving in as a Long-Term Couple
If you are in a long-term relationship, it may be a clear sign to move in together.
By this stage, you two should see each other eye to eye, and, likely, you have already cohabited.
Maybe you have stayed with your partner for an extended period, or you have been on many vacations in a shared hotel room with your partner. You are now very familiar with your partner’s behavior.
Still, this does not guarantee that moving in together is the right thing to do.
How to Know When it is the Right Time to Move-In
There is no exact measure for when it is the right time to move in. It comes down to preparation, willingness to commit, and intuition.
One of the best ways to tune into your spirit and ask your deepest self whether it is right or not is to take a lateral approach. Do not just consider how much you like the person.
Think about all of the reasons for moving in together and not just some potential reasons you may have.
For example, is the only reason you want to live with your partner is because the rent would be cheaper that way? Do you only want to live with them because spending all your time with them makes you happy? Do you want to live with them just because you like the place where your partner lives?
Couples can cohabitate for those reasons, but they are not healthy reasons for living together. They look for a quick fix to an issue and do not consider the emotional aspects of sharing physical space with an intimate partner.
Things to Consider Before Moving In
Sharing the same space with someone you are intimate with requires being extra mindful of yourself and respectful to your partner. You may think you two are strong enough to get through anything, but the true colors of one’s personality show when the date nights wane or you quickly learn how someone is like in your daily life within close quarters.
Now, that is not to turn you off from living with your partner, but a reminder to consider everything before you make that big decision of moving in together.
Begin by answering the following important questions and reading through some serious relationship advice before making the move.
1. Have You Guys Cohabited Already?
Have they been spending time at your place for a week or longer? Or have you stayed at your partner’s place for longer than a week? If not, it is best to try it first before you decide to start living together.
Of course, not everyone can afford that luxury. Maybe, one of the reasons you want to move in together is because you cannot spend enough time with each other at your respective places because of restrictions set by your or your partner’s family.
So, if you have not lived together yet, it is wise to practice living together first before you make such a big decision or big step. Try to spend weekends at their place or have them stay over at yours for a few consecutive nights a week and see how you feel.
You may get some important insights into your cohabiting experiences. Moreover, sharing an intimate space can bring existing relationship problems under a magnifying glass.
That may sound like a bad thing, but it is a great opportunity to hash things out before deciding to make a more challenging decision with choosing to live together.
2. How Do You Feel About Your Alone Time?
Sharing a house or apartment is exciting in the early days, but how will you feel when you need your own space? Do you guys share the same opinion and respect for each other’s space?
Having alone time is an important part of any healthy relationship, including personal development. The strongest relationships are those in which both partners can feel safe and secure in the relationship while also allowing the other person to have as much time alone or without the partner as they need.
If you have not had this conversation yet, try to have it sooner rather than later. This can be a major problem for new couples, especially as you drift out of the honeymoon phase and things start to feel more familiar.
It may be the case that you can cohabitate effectively and efficiently, where both of you get to take some guilt-free space away from each other but have a conversation about it first.
3. Do You Have a Backup Plan?
Hopefully, things will work out well, and you guys will continue to live together for the foreseeable future. However, if you have already been through a few relationships, you know that things do not always work out the way you expect.
Wiser couples learn to expect the unexpected and respect that feelings can change over time.
If you move in together, what is your action plan or game plan if both of you believe that it is not working? What is the exit strategy?
Have you got friends and family members to stay with temporarily or help you with all your stuff if you need to move out? If you two break up, do you think you can still live together until a suitable option arises for moving forward?
4. Have You Had Your First Fight?
Arguments and conflict are a natural part of a relationship.
Still, the couple’s first major fight is about being open with each other more often than not. It says a lot about how each partner handles conflict.
If you are going to live with your partner, it is best if both of you are good communicators. Every couple faces occasional conflict, but what makes or breaks a couple is how they deal with it.
If you live with your romantic partner, make sure you both have successfully entered and exited a conflict-type situation with a clear resolution. Living together can be a struggle when issues are swept under the rug rather than dealt with honestly and maturely.
5. What Are Your Financial and Future Plans—Are You on the Same Page?
Are you guys willing to work on your living expenses to save money? Or is one of you a lavish spender? It may not seem important at first, but each partner’s approach to finances is one of the red flags to watch out for because it and can cause relationship conflicts in the future.
Are you still trying to pay off your student loan? Or maybe both of you are? How does it affect your rent or mortgage when you live together? What are your career plans to sustain your finances or get financial relief?
Is there an ulterior motive to live together? Is it possible that one of you may keep financial secrets from the other, such as spending shared money without the knowledge of the other or spending more money on risky behaviors like gambling, which will play a big part in negatively affecting the other person?
Can you openly discuss finances with each other? How are your spending habits? Are you both saving money for the same things? Do you have the same life goals? What does a five-year plan look like for each of you?
You may not have all the answers right now, but if both of you know that your lives will be incredibly different after a year or 18 months from now, then is it worth the effort you have to invest in securing your own home?
Maybe you would like to live together for 6, 12, or 18 months as a trial run, in which case those questions are less urgent. But if you’re considering a licensed marriage, then you should consider if your partner is the right person to commit to.
Signs You Are Ready to Move In Together
You have to consider the relationship dynamic before you move in with someone and if this arrangement can help the relationship move to the next level in the long run:
- You have healthy, open, and mature conversations about your individual and collective financial goals.
- You have established a healthy communication channel so that when things get tough, you both know what approach to take to communicate openly and promote healthy conflict resolution.
- You are genuinely excited to live with your partner, and you are not trying to move in with them to lessen your mortgage.
- You see a future with your partner, there are no commitment issues, and you have both discussed the potential outcome of your relationship.
- You have both agreed that you are okay to try living together. When things fail, both of you have a way out.
- You have cohabited, traveled, and spent a lot of time together, and feel like you know each other so well that no shocking behaviors will arise from living in the same house or apartment.
- Neither of you feels pressured to live in one house, and your desire to live together stems from taking your healthy relationship to the next level.
- You are happy to give your partner alone time when needed and vice versa.
- All the conversations you have had about living arrangements typically arrive at the same conclusion that it is the best idea and you both feel the same way.
Note that these are not hard and fast rules on deciding whether makes sense. But you can gauge if you have a solid foundation to build a life together in good time.
It Does Not Have to Be A Long Term Commitment
It is always wise to ask yourself the questions above if you are thinking about moving in with your partner.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of taking your relationship to the next level, but once that excitement passes, you may end up wishing you have made a different decision. Still, living together with your partner is not forever.
If you are at the stage where you are signing off on a mortgage, then you are probably certain that you two will share this house. If you both agreed to rent a new place and decide to live together until you want to move out, that is fine.
You just have to make sure that both of you are on the same page and you both feel comfortable about any decision either one makes. If one of you realizes that you are not ready after moving in, it is okay.
You Can Change Your Mind
Each partner needs to respect the other’s freedom to change their mind and to take the appropriate steps necessary to facilitate such changes. For sure, it may be frustrating especially if you’ve already decided on important things.
You may have gone through so much to move to a new house, but it is unrealistic to expect a person to make the right decision for themselves and their relationship 100% of the time.
So, before you move in, have a completely honest conversation with each other about the potential outcome, such as moving out.
This article may not completely change your mind because you have probably decided and are just seeking some assurance. At the very least, think about your reason again and whether or not you have considered everything in your current relationships.
If you are going to live with someone, do so because you love the person, not for selfish reasons.
Relationships, jobs, and technology move incredibly fast in this modern world.
Let your mutual decision to live together stem from true love and real commitment. Alternatively, let it be because you both agree that there may also be a move-out date and that it is an inevitable part of any relationship.
Make sure that you are both emotionally ready to accept the possibility of a future breakup in a healthy way if things do not work out exactly how you want them to.
How soon is too soon to move in?
When one or both partners are not ready. Other than that, it depends on your unique dynamics as a couple. Don’t feel pressured that moving in together soonest is the best thing to do.
How much time it’s been since you started dating is not the sole factor. Some people succeed in moving in together after just a couple of months of knowing each other, while other relationships set six months or even a one year mark. Some couples need several years before they feel ready. One is not better than the others.
Living together means being around for each other when one’s deepest vulnerabilities come to the surface. If you are not ready to share such an intimate emotional space with your partner, living together may cause some struggles.
If you are both willing to be there for each other when things get tough, living together can be a lot more enjoyable and fulfilling.