It can be really difficult to tell when you and your partner are ready to move in together, like really ready. Especially because at a beginning of a relationship, there's a good chance that you want to spend all your time together. But it's important that you wait until you're ready, rather than just feeling madly in love or doing it out of convenience. As much as you might not want to wait, it's a big step, so you want to make sure that it's really the right relationship and right person to be moving in with.
Firstly because, if the relationship isn't actually good for you, you don't want to end up stuck living together and then find that out — when you have no where to go. Secondly, your relationship — even if it's good — can suffer if you move in too quickly. If you go straight from the highs of the honeymoon period to the nitty gritty reality of living together (aka dirty dishes and sleep farts, all day every day) it can leave you feeling a bit disappointed. You want to make sure you have a good grounding in the relationship before you make the leap and get that up close and personal.
"Items that seem small but can end up causing huge rifts include leaving lights on or off, keeping doors unlocked or open, and the depth of cleaning you like to see in each room," relationship coach and founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. "Maybe you like sleeping with your dogs in bed and your partner doesn’t. Or maybe you really want a dog or cat but your partner is opposed to it. These are all important things to consider before moving in together. Asking these kinds of questions is very important. Otherwise people end up adjusting for their partner because they didn’t have the conversation before they moved in. What kind of an adjustment are you going to have to make? Are you adjusting so much that you’re changing who you are? If you have or attempt the discussion and discover you and your partner can’t reach an agreement on these issues, it might be best to hold off on moving in together."
So here are seven signs you're ready to move in together, and saving money on rent doesn't count:
1. It Feels Like The Next Step (Naturally)
A good indicator of being ready to move in is if it feels like the natural next step. You're already spending all your nights together, even if you see your friends or coworkers first, you have so much stuff at each other's houses, and commuting between the two is starting to turn into a pain in the ass. It's not all you need to be ready to move in together, but it's a good indicator that you're looking to take your relationship to the next step.
2. You've Gone On A Long Vacation Together
You don't know if you're ready to live together until you've spent a lot of time together — without an escape. When you can't just go back to your own place. Vacations — with their stress and small rooms— are a great test to see how you compromise and if you'll do OK without a break from each other. Make sure you've done it at least once to see how you manage.
3. You're Not Just Doing It To Save Money On Rent
Even if you're "basically living together anyway so we might as well save money", you should be moving in because you're genuinely ready., too. Also, if money is tight it's especially important to talk about finances before you move in. Armstrong explains you need to talk about saving, shared bank accounts, and spending habits before you decide to merge: "Bottom line: if you can't agree with money, that will be a killer down the road."
4. You Know What Annoys You About Them
You love your partner, right? They're amazing and lovable and supportive — but it doesn't make them perfect. If you move in together, make sure you're being realistic about them before you call the U-haul. Everyone has annoying habits (yes, even your bae) and if you haven't seen them yet, that means there's a good chance you don't your partner well enough to be moving in together. You need to see the dirty laundry first. Don't make big decisions when you're still in the honeymoon period.
5. ... And You Can Deal With It
Not only do you need to have seen their baggage, to paraphrase Rent, you need to be sure it goes with yours. There are always going to be tense points, but you have to be settled with the things that bother you about your partner and be sure that you can handle them. Don't think that your problems will get better by moving in together. Make sure you've covered that first.
6. You've Talked Logistics
How are you going to split up bills? How much alone time do you both like? Will you have rules about having guests over? Although moving in together is exciting for your relationship, there are a lot of practical things that you need to deal with as well. "Some people want an active and open house," Armstrong says. "Some people want a more closed house. Some people don’t care. If you’re the type that likes to have guests over all the time but your partner prefers quieter evenings, it’s best to talk about this before deciding to move in together." Do it first, before you're in over your heads.
7. You've Fought, But You Know How To Communicate
It's not just the practical stuff that you need to go over, you need to be able to communication about everything. Make sure that you've had a fight and can deal with the way each other behaved. When you're living in one place together you need to air things out or else it can be a pressure cooker, where every annoyance builds up and up and up until you snap. Make sure your communication is open, clear, and compassionate. Once you're there, that's a big part of being ready to move in together.
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