Many people say that moving in together is a big step—it’s one of those decisions that may make or break a relationship.
With that being said, what are the factors to consider if you should or should not move in with your partner? Are there any guidelines that would help make this decision?
The following are experts’ advice on how soon is too soon to move in together:
Sara Sloan, LMFT, MA Counseling
Marriage and Family Therapist, Austin Concierge Therapy
It hasn’t been a year since your relationship started
When my clients ask me when to move in together, I recommend waiting at least a year to allow their relationship the time and space to grow on its own. Enabling the connection mature avoids putting unnecessary pressure on the relationship.
It allows each of you to get to know who you’ll be living with since a year is usually enough time to experience how you love, fight, and makeup.
It also gives you a taste of how you do the holidays and should provide enough time to get to know each other’s friends and families.
All of these things can be deal breakers in a serious relationship, so it’s better to figure them out before getting locked into a relationship that is complicated and sometimes defined by a lease.
Relationships that move too quickly can also fail by being pushed too far, too fast.
You don’t know each other well enough to be completely honest
When you move in too soon, you often don’t know each other well enough to be completely honest. In these situations, each of you may let important things go, which can feel like a betrayal when addressed later in the relationship.
For instance, it might not feel safe or polite yet to tell your new romantic partner and roommate that you don’t like them leaving their clothes on the floor.
However, once couples get engaged or married, they realize they can’t live with clothes on the floor forever, so years of frustration can blow up and lead to a break-up or a lifetime of the same recurring fight.
Often, the partner asked to make these changes, which have been allowed for the past year, feels personally attacked; this can lead to a series of bigger arguments that focus on the idea, “You knew what you were getting into.”
The stubbornness of this argument prevents the natural growth and development of the relationship and often leads to a stalemate.
One can miss someone either with an ulterior motive or an abusive personality
Another issue that can occur when people move too quickly is that one can miss someone either with an ulterior motive or an abusive personality.
I work with many clients who have suffered abuse at the hands of a romantic partner, and the one thing they nearly always have in common is that the relationship moved at record speed.
On average, these relationships often move together in six months or less and often get engaged and/or married within a year or two. Romance and fairy tales have made a whirlwind romance out to signify true love.
While whirlwind romances aren’t a complete impossibility, this intense period is often nothing more than love bombing.
Love bombing is a tool disordered people use to emulate true love by mirroring their partner completely, pushing them to commit prematurely.
Your relationship can feel like emotional vertigo
Once a disordered partner feels secure in the relationship, they drop the act and slowly tear down their partner. When relationships have moved too quickly, it can feel like emotional vertigo.
It can be hard to understand whether the problems in the relationship can be worked through or whether this was a bait and switch.
Whether you’re stuck with a lease, an engagement, or a marriage, it is much more challenging to sort through the relationship because you can no longer focus on the relationship alone.
There is no trust and confidence in the relationship
For most couples, by waiting at least a year to move in, they will have built the trust and confidence in the relationship to share their frustrations, rather than letting them grow and build into resentments.
Related: Trust Building Exercises for Couples
You use each other to fill an emotional void
It will also help highlight any codependency issues. Instead of moving in together to build upon a strong attachment, couples that move too fast may be using one another to fill each other’s emotional voids.
They may make each other responsible for their happiness and subsequent emptiness. Staying together becomes less about the relationship and more about avoiding the pain of the break-up, the rejection, or the lack of approval.
Great relationships don’t need to be on a timeline. If you are in a stable and loving relationship, there is no need to push forward too fast. Moving too quickly can destabilize even the best relationships in their early stages.
By waiting at least a year or more, it allows the relationship to evolve organically, providing a solid foundation to move forward together into the future.
Intimacy Coach | Host, “Good Girls Talk About Sex” Podcast
There isn’t enough time that magically qualifies you to move in together. But some markers can act as warning signs to not move in together.
You have trouble communicating
If you and your sweetie frequently have large and small conflicts, you probably have some work to do on learning to communicate effectively with each other.
Moving in together will set you up for even more turmoil because you won’t each have your own space to return to when things get intense.
You have jealousy problems
If you tend toward jealousy, you might think that moving in together will let you keep a closer eye on your partner.
This doesn’t work for a couple of reasons:
- A relationship built on a lack of trust is shaky to begin with.
- Your partner will end up feeling stifled by your watchfulness.
Spend some time uncovering what your jealousy is trying to tell you before you move in together.
- Are you afraid of being abandoned?
- Are you afraid you’re not good enough?
- Do you worry that you’re too difficult to love?
You have an idea of where you should be at this point in your life
If you’re moving in together because you have an idea of where you should be at this point in your life, and living with a partner is part of that picture, stop! Do not collect $200!
In this case, you’re having a relationship with a fantasy of what you want life to be rather than with the person in front of you.
Make sure you’re moving in with this person because you want to live with them, including all their quirks and eccentricities, and not because you’re trying to catch up with everyone else.
You’re not running out of time, I promise.
You are afraid to be alone
It’s incredibly lonely to be sharing an intimate space with someone you aren’t truly connected with. If you hate being alone, consider getting a platonic roommate or a companion animal rather than moving in with a partner.
Moving in together should be about wanting to be with that person, rather than being afraid of being without them.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Doctor in Integrative Mental Health
Many issues may jeopardize a new life as a couple. Problems that seem tolerable might get aggravated when you move in together.
Your relationship is not your top priority
You might be moving too soon when your relationship is not your top priority but your career, studies, traveling, or friends are. Also, suppose you experience hardcore emotional issues, such as long-term anxiety or depression.
Emotional baggage might ruin your relationship in the long run. It would be better to bring your emotions to an average level and not compromise your relationship.
You still struggle with some issues with your partner
Suppose you are thinking about a long-lasting relationship and still struggle with some issues with your partner. It might be that you are moving too soon or that they are not the right fit for you.
Chances are better if problems are discussed and agreements are made before moving in.
You may think twice when your partner behaves and acts in a way fostering numerous negative feelings.
Common feelings include:
They might not be the right person for you if you constantly feel disrespected, devaluated, unsafe, insecure, and unloved.
Here are some examples that you might be moving too soon or that they are not the right fit:
- They have an addiction that makes them unable to function.
- They negatively compare you with their ex.
- You feel they are jumping into a relationship with you to forget their former relationship.
- You have been catching them in frequent lies.
- They are too entangled with their family.
- They feel constantly overwhelmed due to a conflicting relationship with ex-partners and kids.
- They do not know how to set healthy boundaries with family members and work.
- Your pace is very different from theirs.
- They have bad hygiene habits.
- They do not know how to manage their finances.
- They are manipulative or verbal, emotional, and or physically abusive.
- They enjoy flirting with others.
- Others or other things are more important than you.
- They do not follow agreements.
- They criticize you or put you down in front of others.
- You generally feel bored with them.
- They are not emotionally stable; they commonly snap at you or people.
- They are always right, or they know everything.
- They always have an excuse or are not accountable.
- Your sex life is not good enough.
- It is hard to foster quality couples time as there is always someone or something in the way.
- They prefer to do activities in a group rather than with you.
- They have certain attitudes that go against your values.
- They have low tolerance and patience.
- They always jump to the conclusion, not fully listening to you.
Relationship Expert | Editor in Chief, Her Way
You and your partner haven’t met each other’s friends and family
Every couple is different, and everyone has a different relationship dynamic. Sometimes, you assume you know your partner well enough after spending only a few weeks together. Sometimes, you’re not ready for a life together, even after years in a relationship.
In my opinion and from what I’ve witnessed in practice, you should at least be together between six and twelve months before you even consider moving in together.
When you’re in a honeymoon phase, everything seems perfect. Many couples decide to move in together after only a couple of months of dating because they’re so in love with each other.
Nevertheless, once the butterflies are gone and reality hits you, you realize you’ve probably made a mistake.
Why is that so?
Well, first of all, strong emotions are not a reason enough to start living with someone. Of course, there must be love between you two but don’t forget about compatibility either.
- Do you want the same things?
- Do you have similar future plans?
- Are your spending habits too different?
- Are you used to spending time together?
These are all the questions that need to be answered before making a big decision like this one. So if you think things are great between you and this man or a woman you’ve just met, good for you.
However, that doesn’t mean that the two of you are ready to move in together.
- If you and your partner haven’t met each other’s friends and family
- If your relationship hadn’t survived a huge fight
- If you’re not on the same page regarding some important things
- If you don’t know each other’s living habits well enough
- If you have been dating for less than six months
One thing is for sure — it’s too soon to move in together!
Couples decide to take this step because of finances
A lot of couples decide to take this step because of finances. Even though it’s much easier when you have someone to share rent and other expenses with, please don’t let this be the predominant reason for moving in together.
You don’t know what you would do and where you would go
Finally, if you don’t know what you would do and where you would go if things don’t work out with this person, it means that you have to do some more thinking and planning.
I’m not saying that your new arrangement will fail, but you must have a backup plan in the worst-case scenario.
Dating and Relationship Coach, Love Starts Here Coach | Host, “Love Starts Here” Podcast
You haven’t gotten to see them at their best and their absolute worst
Of course, some people have religious or moral objections to living together before marriage, which I can understand and respect.
On the other hand, there is so much important information you can learn about a person only by living with them. You get to see them at their best and their absolute worst.
- You learn if they are a cranky morning person or an insomniac night owl.
- You observe how often they call their mothers and what their grocery shopping habits are.
- How loudly they eat cereal.
All of these things play into whether or not you are truly compatible with another person and whether or not they are someone you will actually enjoy spending your life with.
It will be an attempt to save money or escape your current living situation
That being said, moving in together is a huge commitment. It often involves signing a lease or other legally binding contract together.
It also usually requires you to:
- Get rid of your furniture.
- Co-mingle your finances.
- Talk openly about topics you may have previously avoided.
I believe you should only decide to move in with your partner because you both agree that you are ready for the next step in your commitment to each other.
That decision should never be made in an attempt to:
- Save money
- Revive a failing relationship
- Escape your current living situation
It is something you want to force someone else into
You also want to make sure the decision is made mutually and that you’re both on the same page. This is not something you want to force or manipulate someone else into.
If you have been together for over a year, you feel like you know each other very well, and you have met each other’s friends and family, you may be ready to take this step.
If you are already spending all your time together, taking turns sleeping at each other’s houses every night, and are actually enjoying it — you may be ready for this step.
The best thing you can do is to be honest with yourself and communicate openly and honestly with your partner about what each of you wants and expects from the relationship and go from there.
Content Marketing Writer, DDI Development
I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all rule. Everyone has their own life experiences, values, desires, and fears, which may well push to accelerate the development of a relationship or inhibit it.
Let’s look at two options that are common in people’s lives.
You make hasty decisions
Sometimes, people make hasty decisions because they are afraid they won’t have time to get married, have children, or live, after all. Driven by this fear, they mistakenly choose the wrong guy/girl.
As a result, everyone in the relationship is unhappy and blames each other. The only possible solution to the problem is to end this relationship as soon as possible so that…
That’s right, start another relationship as soon as possible, which will most likely follow the same pattern.
You constantly expect something better ahead in the future
Another life strategy is when a person constantly expects something better ahead in the future. At the same time, current relationships constantly seem to them to be somehow defective.
In such a situation, no serious decisions are made for a long time, and the girl or guy lives in a perpetual expectation of a prince or princess.
You are afraid to bind yourselves with the bonds of marriage
They are afraid to bind themselves with the bonds of marriage or responsibility. They think they deserve better partners, and their ones are not good enough.
Both cases are common in society, and this, in my opinion, is an indicator of immature personalities. Mature individuals, on the other hand, approach the issue of relationships with a healthy and grown-up attitude.
They realize that they must build the relationship themselves, not wait for someone else to do it for them. And yes, relationships can fall apart, which happens for various reasons. But you must be prepared for that and not live with rose-colored glasses.
Now I’m going to share my experience, and I have to say it was very varied.
I’ve been in and out of relationships, moving in with guys and breaking up, and it was all painful and tearful. I felt like a victim for a long time. And then I lived alone for a long time.
That period came in handy for me to sort myself out. I moved in with my beloved husband-to-be right after our first date. Today, we’ve been together for over two years, and we still have a tender but serious and responsible relationship.
At the time we met on Tinder, we lived in different cities. But we were smart enough to understand our life goals and priorities by the time we met. All of this helped us feel like we were right for each other.
So yes, we saw each other for the first time on a date, after which I went home, packed my suitcase and moved in with my boyfriend a week later.
A year after we met, we got married, our wedding anniversary was in March this year, and we have never once regretted being together in all that time.
So, again, there is no all-purpose recipe for a relationship, don’t look for it. It is better to work on your life and your psychology.
When your head is in order, everything falls into place, and the question “how soon can I move in with a guy/girlfriend?” won’t arise, I believe.
Senior Editor, Tandem
It varies on the situation of the relationship
In 2003, I was using an online dating service. I met a man (who is now my husband,) and we talked via internet chat for about a week. We then decided to meet in person. We hit it off, and less than six weeks later, we officially moved in together.
At the time, if you had told me the same story, I would have nodded my head as I listened but silently judged you. During that point in my life, I thought, “How can you move in with someone you’ve basically just met?”
I remember thinking exactly that when my cousin told me a similar story. And yet, I’m here to tell you that 19 years after I met that man (14+ of those years as part of a married couple,) it is possible to meet someone and move in together quickly.
Moving in quickly is possible, but you should still be prepared for different outcomes. I think that my story could be the exception, not the rule.
Here is some insight into whether you should or should not move in with someone quickly:
Go with your gut
It’s true that we should trust our instincts. When I met my husband, I felt comfortable. I wasn’t getting that feeling that something was off or wrong. I had met a few men before him who had made me feel uneasy.
Maybe it was the way they answered my questions or the way they treated me. Whatever it was, I trusted my gut, and I’m glad that I did.
Have a plan
Denis Waitley said, “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” This piece of advice is given along those lines. Sure, I felt comfortable moving in quickly, but I also knew that I wasn’t making a life-long commitment at that point.
If our relationship didn’t work out, I could move out and only lose my deposit. My relationship worked out, but what if it hadn’t? At least I had a plan in place for that possibility.
Listen to your friends and family
Friends and family have great insight into what is good or bad for us. Make sure to introduce your new partner to your friends and family and find out what they think.
These people will have objective sight and can tell you things they notice that you might not be seeing due to love-blinders.
Do your research
There are many online tools available today to gather information about other people. Utilize these tools and do a background check to ensure that the person in front of you is who they say they are.
You can do a complete check or simply visit their social media accounts to learn enough about them to make an informed decision.
To answer the question “How soon is too soon,” the answer is — it varies. For me, less than six weeks wasn’t too soon. For others, that short amount of time might be. Think about your situation, and you’ll know if it’s too soon or not.
Relationship Expert | Co-Founder, Platinum Poire
You haven’t spent the four seasons together
You can learn a lot about a person in a year, and I recommend that couples steer clear of living together before they’ve reached the one-year mark. The last thing you want to do is sign a contract you’re not ready for.
You don’t know where the relationship is headed
Do you even know if your partner is looking for marriage? If you’re not 100% set on this person, save yourself the hurt, confusion, and moving-out expenses of this rushed situation.
There is not a ring on your finger
An engagement leads to marriage, which gives you safety and security — in the relationship and beyond. If you and your partner are not even considering the idea of marriage, then, by all means, do not move in together.
Enjoy the dating process while keeping your separate spaces. See where the relationship goes from there!
You get anxiety thinking about moving in together
Despite the excitement of the relationship, your gut will tell you if it’s escalating too quickly.
You’re moving in together for the sake of financial relief
If your partner is becoming your roommate to lift a financial barrier between the two of you, you have moved in too quickly. You’re jumping ahead of crucial points in the relationship.
Psychology Teacher and Family Lifestyle Blogger | Founder, The Inspiration Edit
You are not particular about your future together
It’s a question many couples face at some point during their relationship. And it’s not an easy one to answer. There are many factors to consider, such as financial stability, relationship readiness, and living situation.
Following are some general guidelines to help you make this decision:
Consider your financial stability
Couples should wait to live together until they are particular about their future and feel financially stable enough to commit. Couples who move in together before they are ready often find themselves struggling to make ends meet.
Make sure you’re on the same page
Couples should ensure they are on the same page about their relationship before moving in together. They should be sure they are both ready for the commitment and have discussed their expectations for the relationship.
Consider your living situation
Couples should also consider their living situation before moving in together.
- Are you both ready to live in close quarters?
- Do you have compatible lifestyles?
- Can you afford to move into a more excellent place?
Talk about your expectations
Couples should discuss their expectations for the relationship before moving in together.
- Are you both looking for a long-term commitment?
- Do you want to have children?
- What are your plans for the future?
Trust your gut
This is a very important decision, and you should trust your gut. If you’re not ready, don’t do it. You’ll know when the time is right. When you’re both ready, it will feel like the natural thing to do.
Co-Founder, Select Date Society
When you’re just trying to save on living expenses while dating
The timing of when you move in together has more to do with where you stand in your relationship and how you communicate with each other than how many months or years you have been together.
Some couples can move in together after six months of dating and have a successful relationship, whereas other couples need to date for several years before combining households.
The most crucial factor to consider in deciding if it’s too soon to move in together is deciding what the move signifies for each of you and communicating openly with each other.
- Does moving in mean you are just trying to save on living expenses while dating?
- Does it mean that your expectation is you will be married within the next two years?
- Will it mean that there will be a significant change in how you view the relationship?
You feel pressured to make a move
Asking important questions and having an open dialogue will clear up any confusion. Make sure that your expectations align with your partner’s and that neither of you feels pressured to make a move.
If you decide to make a move, get ready for a whole new level of discussions:
- bedtime routines
- bathroom cleaning duties
- what to eat for dinner
Your love will be tested every time you decide how to split household chores!
Pareen Sehat MC, RCC
Registered Clinical Counselor, Well Beings Counselling
You’re going through many changes
There are periods in your life when you’re going through major changes. It may be losing a loved one, switching employment, or anything else. Often, even positive life changes can put a lot of strain on your relationship.
Keeping this in mind, it may not be the best idea to move in together when dealing with such a significant change in your life. Moving in with your partner is in itself a major shift.
Hence, adding it to your list of transitions could potentially skyrocket your already high-stress levels.
You have many disagreements with your partner
In a long-term relationship, reaching a consensus regarding how to approach the future is one of the most critical things. If you are not yet at that stage, it’s better to postpone moving in just yet.
Moving in together is a big decision and shouldn’t be done till you and your partner are on the same page regarding big life decisions.
For example, you might want to have children, but they could have different ideas in mind. So unless you both agree on decisions of this magnitude, moving in is not ideal.
Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers
You feel anxious about the whole move
Moving in with your partner can be a transformational step as it is more significant towards commitment. But how you time it and do it can count how well it bodes in the future.
Despite no hard and fast rules about when to move in together, six months may still be too soon because certain factors show that it might be too early to make that commitment.
Firstly, if you or your partner feel pressured into it, it is too soon, don’t do it just because you think you have to.
Every time the topic of moving incomes up, you feel anxious about the whole move. This could be a sign that you are not ready.
Your partner does not talk about moving in
You should have to do it out of pure love and comfort, not because of other factors such as saving money. In that case, get a roommate.
Also, believe it or not, there needs to be a clear sign that you are in a long-term relationship with the possibility of more outstanding commitments in the future. But if your partner does not talk about this thing, you may need to rethink this move.
Designer | Founder, Everwallpaper
You or your partner suffer trust or commitment issues
It is too soon to move in together if the only reason you both want to do so is so that you may work on your relationship issues.
Do you or your partner suffer trust or commitment issues? In such a case, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to start living together. If you believe that living together would miraculously solve all your problems, you should reconsider that belief.
Putting your relationship at risk by living together before you’ve dealt with issues would be the worst thing you can do for yourself and your partner.
You are running away from issues in your relationship
Running away from issues in your relationship by hastily deciding to move in together, even though you know some issues need to be resolved first, is a kind of cohabitation avoidance.
Unresolved issues will not go away; instead, they will grow much more significant and intricate than in the past, jeopardizing your partnership.
Relationship Expert | Lifestyle Coach, Healing Is Sexy
You do not know certain things about each other
Rather than basing your timeline on how long you’ve been together, it’s more important to base your decision to move in on how well you know each other.
As the saying goes, what matters most is not how much time you’ve spent together but how you’ve spent that time.
You should only consider moving in together once you know certain things about each other well enough to know you’re compatible to consistently share intimate spaces.
- How well do both of you handle disagreements or conflict?
- Do you know each other well enough to be upset for prolonged periods and still share the same spaces without hitting below the bell?
- Is one of you an OCD neat freak and the other a messy person?
- Do your at-home routines like watching certain TV shows, having friends or family over, and kids’ bedtime schedules align or cause friction?
- Have you discussed the details of what living together looks like monthly such as who pays which bills or takes care of grocery shopping, yard work, and even taking out the trash?
All of these topics are important to consider and have discussions about before moving in.
The last thing you want to do is go through the trouble of moving all your stuff into one home, and a fallout causes one of you to either to have to go through the trouble of finding a new place and moving out or to live with the tension of becoming an unwelcomed tenant.
Co-founder, Reboot Love Life
You just met your significant other within less than a month
Moving in with your SO in less than a month after you’ve met them would be rushing things. Preferably, you should have dated a person for at least six months before moving in with them.
Six months allow you to see a lot in a person and judge whether moving in would be a good idea.
Here is what to look out for before saying yes to moving in with someone:
Look out for their financial behavior
Money shouldn’t be the center of your relationship, but it is extremely important. If your date has the habit of making you pay or buying stuff for them every time, they’ll leech off you by moving in. Perhaps the first step would be gradually phasing out contributing to the rent.
Look out for their hygiene issues
Unless the person begins to meet your standards of cleanliness, avoid moving in. Thankfully, hygiene issues are not permanent, and thus communicating your expectations can make your partner realize where they’re lacking and can improve.
For people who get offended by these conversations, you’re better off not moving in with them at all.
Founder, Love Devani
As a relationship expert, the choice or the decision to move in with your partner is one of the decisions that need to be carefully considered before being executed.
You and your partner can’t agree on the same things
That being said, there are a few red flags you can consider as reasons you are too soon or not yet ready to move in together, and one of those red flags is if you and your partner can’t agree on the same things.
You can’t agree or choose to have the same or fair plans
If you can’t agree or choose to have the same or fair plans, your relationship might get complicated as you go through your big next step, which is moving in together.
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