Moving in with someone is, clearly, a pretty huge step for any couple. You're making a major shift in your relationship from dating to forming a home together.
Simply put, this isn't a decision to take lightly.
But figuring out if you're really ready to make this leap – and when – isn't always easy. I know firsthand. Before getting married, my then-boyfriend and I moved in together after a year and a half of dating and then continued to live together for three more years before we tied the knot.
Before we combined furniture (and our utility bills), we did a lot of thinking about whether it was the right move. Luckily, things worked out, even after I discovered my future husband's crazy-making habit of never closing cabinet doors and drawers after getting something out of them.
While the so-called "right" timing is different for every couple, here are some questions to ask yourself to determine your readiness for cohabitation.
Question 1: Why do you want to live together?
This is the most important question to answer. And, with it, comes a bunch of sub-questions for you to consider as well. Are you moving in together because you already spend so much time at each other's separate places?
Are you hoping to save money by paying only one rent? If the answer is yes to both of these, you may want to slow down a bit. Moving in together isn't something you want to do out of convenience but because you really feel ready to up the ante in your relationship and take things to the next level.
Some more sub-questions for you to mull over: Is it important for you to live together before you consider getting married? Are you at a point in your relationship where you see yourself spending many years together?
Of course, living together doesn’t mean you have to get hitched – in the near future or ever. However, if you do see yourself having a long future with your partner, it can be a good idea to move in together and see if you're as compatible living in the same home – where all quirks and habits are out in full view – as you are living separately.
Question 2: Are you on the same page about your future?
Some people move in together thinking that taking this step will lead toward a more solidified commitment. So, before you both sign that lease, be sure that living together means the same thing to both of you.
To one person, moving in together may just be a fun living arrangement. To another, it means that you're getting married within the next year. Being on the same page is crucial for the sake of your relationship.
Question 3: Do you feel ready to be moving in together?
Yes, this seems like an obvious question; however, it's one that people can often overlook in the whirlwind of searching online for open apartments and dreaming about every night being date night in your shared home.
Take some time for yourself to really think about what moving in together would be like: living in close quarters with your partner, checking in before having friends from out of town stay over, giving up nights you typically spent alone (and in complete charge of the remote control). It's far easier to wait a couple more months than it is to change your mind once you've already moved in with your partner. Don't rush yourself if you're not quite ready.
Once you both answer these questions and talk with each other about your respective answers, you and your partner will have a clear picture if you're ready to share a home together. Cohabitation is an exciting step in your relationship and, when you have compatible intentions and expectations, you'll be able to enjoy it to its fullest.
Be sure to check out our picks for the signs that you are definitely ready to move in together.
- Men's Health: 7 Things to Consider Before Living Together
- Glamour: 13 Signs You're Ready to Move in Together
Journalist Natasha Burton has written for Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Maxim, Cosmopolitan.com, and WomansDay.com, among others. The author of "101 Quizzes for Couples" and "The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags," she is regularly called on as a relationship expert by various media outlets around the world.