Hi, this is Kate. Moving in together marks an important relationship milestone, the ramifications of which may affect your finances and your future as a couple. How can you determine when is the right time to move in together?
Every relationship is different
Just as every relationship has its quirks, taking your relationship to the next level follows your own unique timeline. Some relationships rush forward at breakneck speeds, leading to the couple living together in a few short weeks.
Meanwhile, other relationships may see months and years pass before one partner changes their address. Consider the following factors when deciding to move forward to the joint tenancy stage of your life with your boyfriend.
Signs of when is the right time to move in together
When considering living together, you no doubt want some peace of mind that you’re making the right choice. While no one can predict the future, certain signs nevertheless bode well for successful cohabitation.
Partners who cohabit well not only know each other’s household habits but also accept the fact that their partner may leave the toilet seat up or chug milk directly from the carton. Never make the mistake of believing your partner will change their ways simply because you’re moving in together. If your boyfriend’s habit of casually tossing his gym clothes on the bedroom floor drives you crazy now, a year from now you may find yourself posting roommate-wanted ads online.
Many couples first consider living together when the effort and time of driving back and forth between houses and packing a suitcase every weekend grows old. Also, it starts to seem pointless to pay two sets of household bills. If moving in together makes spending time with each other more convenient, that’s a major plus! You’ll save money while getting to spend more time with your beloved.
Is it normal to be nervous about moving in together?
Surprisingly enough, feeling nervous indicates that cohabiting may work for your relationship. Getting butterflies means that you’ve carefully considered the pros and cons of sharing a lease or mortgage payment. It also shows an understanding of how this change will impact not just your own life, but your partner’s life too.
Moving into a new house means managing one household budget and deciding whether to adopt a family pet or have kids. Make sure you feel comfortable talking about money with your significant other too as deciding how to divide household expenses is a big part of living together. The reality is that money is one of the major causes of divorce.
Sharing goals is important too
If you or your partner already have kids, make sure you include them in the cohabiting discussion. And, if you’re dreaming of becoming the next octo-parent, make sure your partner shares your love of the pitter-patter of little feet before getting that 4-bedroom house.
Consider it a positive sign for moving in together if you and your boyfriend have similar life goals and aspirations. Partners in healthy relationships support and validate their partner and share in celebrating their successes. If your dream involves taking a year off to backpack through Europe but your partner prefers to stay stateside to advance their career, either make sure you can handle a temporarily long-distance relationship or wait until you’ve gone from Britain to Belgium before cosigning a lease.
When is the right time to move in together: Signs you should wait
Knowing the warning signs that moving in together may ruin your relationship is as important as realizing the signs to proceed. Let your intuition guide you. Does the thought of moving in with your boyfriend make you feel more anxious than excited? If so, it’s probably not right to share a roof over your heads.
Also, if you resent your partner for anything, from never calling when they’ll be late to past infidelities, wait a bit before moving ahead. Resenting your partner leads to constant criticism of them, and even the most easygoing of partners grows weary of constant nagging.
Even minor disagreements about messy household habits grow old after a while. So, if you still feel the need to correct your partner constantly, hold off on living together.
Financial hardships force some couples to consider moving in together too early in their relationship. That’s despite the fact that a lack of compatibility on money matters destroys as many relationships as cheating. Avoid moving in with a partner solely for economic security. That’s especially true if you’re already reeling emotionally from a layoff or an unexpected bill. Move into mom’s basement if you must but don’t turn to your partner for financial aid. Otherwise, you risk feeling trapped with them and growing resentful about not having economic independence.
More red flags in relationships
What about those who wish to have exactly three children, two dogs and one rambling farmhouse in the country? It would probably be best to refrain from moving in together with a partner who adores the urban life and never intends to change a diaper. Disagreement on major life goals causes many cohabiting couples to eventually part ways with hurt feelings.
Lastly, while this ought to go without saying, if your partner shows overly possessive or controlling behavior, head for the hills, not go home with them. Learn the red flags that indicate potentially abusive behavior, and avoid making future plans together. Remember, moving in together never stops the abuse — if anything, it exacerbates it.
Whether to move in together, move on, or neither?
It could be that you decide to give moving in the green light. Or maybe you throw up a yellow caution or a red stop sign instead. Whatever you decide, knowing that you took the time to consider your relationship means you made the best choice for yourself right now. Never let living together with your partner make you feel trapped in a nightmare. When done with care for you and your partner’s needs, living together can lead to great family life!
About the writer
Kate is a lifestyle and wellness journalist from Pennsylvania. She particularly enjoys writing about topics related to women’s health and well-being. If you like her work, you can subscribe to her blog, So Well, So Woman.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.