Moving in with your significant other is a big step — a huge step — in that you walk in the door with your moving boxes kind of knowing you're committing to them in a much more real way than ever before, and this will either go one of two equally terrifying ways: you end up together forever, or you break up and it's horrible because you live with them, and in the process of losing love you also potentially lose your home. Comforting, right?
Moving in together is not a thing you should ever consider doing unless you're pretty sure. Like, really, pretty sure. Love may not be about being certain, but trying anyway — yet you do have to know whether or not you want to try. You're not going to be able to figure out whether or not you should or even want to be together unless you truly try to be. But if you're at the point of domestic unity, a step past possibility lane and circling around commitment cul de sac, you need to know less about that and more about what it takes to truly put forth the effort. Here, something to get you started — eight things you need to talk about before you move in together, no matter how certain or uncertain you feel:
Why — Aside From Finances And Convenience — You Want To Move In Together
If you can't come up with a reason besides that, you probably shouldn't be doing it. More importantly, if you can articulate and then agree upon why you're choosing to take this next step together (you love each other, you want to commit to each other in the long-run) you'll have that to fall back to focusing on if things get rocky. (When things get rocky, let's be honest).
How You Expect Your Relationship To Change Post-Move-In
This mostly has to do with how you define your personal time and personal life outside of your relationship — because now, your relationship is your home-ostasis (see what I did there?). How do you need to be respected, what do you expect out of a roommate and living partner? How is this different from your relationship as it is now?
The Nitty, Gritty, Dirty, Honest Details Of Your Financial Situations
This isn't a means of exposing anything you're uncomfortable with, but if you can get as much on the table as possible, you'll only be better for it. Having a concept of one another's financial situations not only makes things easier in terms of keeping you aware of what you can and can't afford during the month, but connects you on a pretty intimate level. These aren't details you share with just anyone, but they are details you should be sharing with the person you're going to be spending (and splitting) your existence with.
How You're Going To Split The Household Bills And Chores, Exactly
Be really clear about what you expect going in, and what you hope/need/can't compromise on from them. Be specific. Talk through your daily life in a lot of detail. Don't focus on the big picture, focus on the day-to-day. Remember that your partner isn't psychic, and it's easier to ask for what you want when you're not in the heat of the moment of not getting it.
The Issues You Run Into After Spending An Entire Week Together Nonstop
Not to be completely negative, but if you're going to move in together, you should spend an entire week together (on a trip, at someone's apartment) and then at the end talk about the issues you run into, if any. Be really honest. There's a time and place to focus on all the love and excitement and comfort you feel when you're together, and that will be when you actually move in together for real — but now it's time to focus on what may be standing in the way of ever enjoying that, before it becomes an issue.
What You Want In The Long Term
Is this just a long-term-live-in-pseudo-roommate situation? Is the next step marriage? How soon in the future is that? Can you state an exact number of months or years? Do you want kids, either way? These questions are hard, albeit undesirable if you haven't discussed them prior to the move-in conversation, but they are absolutely essential. Think of it this way: it's better to end your relationship now because you don't want the same things than to combine your lives and then have to end it because you had this talk a little too late.
What You Need As A Person Outside Of Your Relationship
It's really easy to get swept up in a relationship, especially when that relationship is at home after work and there on Saturday mornings and for every event and night and hour in-between. It becomes more than just how are you going to be romantic partners: it's how are you going to be life partners, house mates, companions. The way to understanding that prior to it happening is to talk about what you need as an individual, not an individual within a relationship. Is that Saturdays to yourself, trips alone, nights to work late uninterrupted? Be specific, and be honest.
An Exit Strategy
Plan for doomsday. Not so you can focus on it, but so if things ever go south or become uncomfortable, there is a way out. Never commit yourself to a situation like this without knowing how you'll get out if you're not OK. The scary but honest truth is that nobody ever thinks things will get very bad until they do. Save yourself the trauma: figure it out now.