Moving in together with your significant other is not a step to be taken lightly.
Most people do it with the idea of moving toward the next level of their relationship, a greater commitment, and not just for convenience.
To help you decide whether or not it’s time to move in together, we asked experts to share their insights.
Registered Clinical Counsellor | Registered Psychotherapist Director, Real Life Counselling
Moving in together is a big step. It brings huge changes to the relationship, so you need to be prepared for the fact that things will inevitably be different in some areas.
For that reason, your relationship must be stable enough so it can last through this transition and continue to flourish under the same roof.
You should be together long enough to know and respect each other’s habits and hobbies
Maybe your partner likes sleeping in on the weekends while you’re used to enjoying your morning outside. Or maybe you like eating in bed while something like that is absolutely unacceptable for your partner.
Little incompatibilities are fine; it’s unrealistic to expect that your habits will match 100%. However, you need to be honest with yourself first and determine what you can and cannot tolerate and communicate that with your partner.
If you previously traveled together, which can be like a mini version of living together, and you actually enjoyed it, it’s a good sign. It means that your habits and living styles are probably a match and that, on top of other good signs, living together could be a good idea.
You are both open communicators and good problem solvers
One simple question is exceptionally important for determining this, and that is – how do you argue/fight? Are you and your partner able to discuss issues rationally and with control, or you’re easily taken over by your emotions and fight dirty?
Do your fights end with the compromise or with one/both sides being unsatisfied or hurt? Does one of you always have to have their way? Disagreements will inevitably emerge when you start your life together.
What makes the difference between success and frustration is your and your partner’s ability to listen, understand and work on finding a mutually acceptable solution. Having these tools makes a life together so much more enjoyable.
You feel accepted, appreciated, and emotionally safe around your partner
Last but not least, when you move in with someone, they will see many sides of you that they may don’t see before. This will not only create a positive atmosphere and help you feel comfortable but will also be a great source of support in difficult times.
To avoid possible emotional and financial devastation, it’s also important to know what are not the right reasons to start living together.
If it’s just a matter of convenience, because you just want to spend more time together, or you want to save money, or because you hope this change in your relationship will also change your partner and solve previously existing problems, maybe it’s better to wait a little bit more before you’re ready to take the next step.
Devon Jorge, MSW, RSW
Psychotherapist, Trillium Counselling
You have trusted them with some of your most painful experiences
You still feel safe to be with them and open up. Why waste your moving in together if you don’t feel you can be yourself and share what’s on your mind.
You enjoy spending time together
You already enjoy spending all your free time with them even after the ‘initial chemistry’ of a relationship has warned off.
You feel that your relationship strength needs to be put to the test
Adjusting your living space to accommodate someone else is a big deal. If you want to see if this relationship has what it takes to make it to the next level, moving in together can be a ‘make it, or break it’ situation.
If you feel this relationship has the potential to turn into marriage this is a great way to see if this relationship is the real deal.
You feel like you have learned everything you can about them through dating
There are some things you can only learn about someone by living with them. If you want to really get to know a deeper level of your partner sharing a space together can bring out different parts you might otherwise not learned about them through dating.
You’ve both shown that when things get tough you can come together to talk it out
If you can manage conflict outside of living together this is a good sign that your relationship has the maturity and skill to handle the continuous little and large disagreements we have when we are sharing space and learning to live with someone else.
You feel like you just want to be around them even if you aren’t doing things together
There is a special level of comfort and connection that is really healthy in a relationship. When neither one feels like they have to fill the silence or to hold a conversation.
You have traveled well together
Traveling literally takes you and your partner out of your comfort zone and puts you in unfamiliar situations. When couples can work together through the stress of traveling and managing the unpredictable together its a sign that they have what it takes to work as a team together.
Meredith Prescott, LCSW
Psychotherapist, Alyson Cohen Therapy
Making the decision to move in together with your significant other can bring tons of excitement but stress too. That is why timing is crucial. Each partner in the relationship should feel secure and comfortable taking on additional responsibilities and acclimating to a new life together.
Set your boundaries
Setting boundaries for living together is vital in allowing both partners to feel heard and safe in this new environment. Is living together with your partner the next step to getting married or is this purely a financial decision?
Both parties need to be on the same page about the reasons for moving in together in order for the relationship to be successful. The timing is particularly important because if you move in too early when you don’t really know someone very well, this can put your relationship at risk.
Ask yourself “why are we moving in together and why now?”
Are you moving in for the right reasons or because you have received pressure from friends/family? I often hear a couple is moving in together because they think they “should be” since they have dated a certain amount of time and those around them are.
I disagree with this notion as the timing has to be right for you and your relationship. Moving in to please friends or family when you are not ready can destroy your relationship.
It is imperative in a healthy relationship to discuss life stressors or challenges before moving in together
These topics can be anywhere from managing finances, to how you will spend your time together, where/how you see your future, important routines/rules in the apartment, and topics that you both find important/value.
It is always interesting when I hear a couple that lives together but has never discussed topics that are important to one or both parties but avoid it as they worry about a conflict.
I always encourage my clients to discuss their values and things that they feel are non-negotiable prior to living together. I help couples work on better communication skills utilizing strategies to help partners truly hear each other and respond in an empathic way.
Relationship and Dating Expert | Co-owner, Platinum Poire
Moving in with your significant other is a big step and both parties should be on board. There are several questions you should ask yourself and your partner as well as signs that that can help decide if it’s time to move in together.
You’ve met each other’s close friends and family before you decide to move in
I know that I am someone who respects my loved one’s opinion and my partner has to pass the “family and friends test” – well at least with the majority of them. This person will be in your life and spending time with the people you love. If you’re uncomfortable introducing them to your close people – red flag.
You and your partner have spent a significant amount of time together
These can be road trips, long vacations, etc. then you should have a clear idea of the good, the bad, and the ugly. You need to see someone through all seasons before you make that leap.
If you feel confident that you have seen all sides of your significant other (and can accept/handle them) then you are ready to move in together.
You are comfortable communicating about what each partners’ expectation in the living arrangement will be
Make sure you are comfortable having a “finances” conversation. Will you be sharing expenses? What’s each partner’s expectation here? Set your ground rules.
You see a future with your partner
You can interpret “moving in together” as moving “on-up together”. Before you move in, make sure you have a conversation about what your future looks like. What does move in mean to each of you?
Dating and Relationship Coach, Beyond Ages
Moving in together is a big step for a couple so it’s natural that you are a bit nervous or apprehensive about it. There are a lot of “unknowns” when it comes to living together that you don’t find out until you try it.
Because of this uncertainty, you can’t expect to feel completely confident or comfortable before deciding to move in together.
Take a look at how the two of you are already behaving
You want to look at why you want to move in together, where you see the relationship going, and what would happen if it didn’t work out. These are all major considerations you have to think through.
Determine if the positives outweigh the negatives
There are many benefits to moving in together (from financial savings to more time together) but also some significant downsides. You need to think these through. You shouldn’t feel pressured into moving in together if it doesn’t feel right. If after serious thought it makes both logical and emotional sense, that’s a great sign.
You also need to consider where you and your partner see the relationship going
If the two of you have similar thoughts on your future, are in it for the long-haul, and want to spend more time together moving in can be a good idea. These expectations need to be communicated and understood by both sides. When you are confident this is the case you are in good shape.
Thinking through what would happen in case of a breakup is difficult but very necessary
The more difficult and expensive one of you moving out after a breakup the more confident you need to be before moving in. Couples moving long distances to be together, bringing a lot of property, of impacting other family members by moving need to feel especially confident that this is a long-term decision.
If after considering all of these factors you and your partner are both fully committed you are in good shape to take the plunge!
Certified Relationship Expert, Maple Holistics
You spend a lot of time together
If you and your partner already spend a significant amount of your free time in each other’s company it’s a sign that you might be ready to move in together.
Keeping a toothbrush at your partner’s place suggests that you already spend most of your nights together and are therefore used to waking up to your partner’s face in the morning. You’ve essentially already had a ‘trial run’ of living together.
It doesn’t feel rushed
When you’re ready to move in with your partner it won’t feel rushed. If the relationship is growing organically, without external pressures, moving in together becomes a natural process of your relationship.
The truth is that if either of you is feeling the pressure surrounding the idea of moving in together, you might want to compromise and find another way to take your relationship to the next level.