Taking the next step in a relationship and deciding to live together can be major, as it's tough to adjust to having another person around you more often and losing some of that personal freedom and space. However, when it's right, you'll just know, and by looking for the signs indicating that it's time to move in together, you'll be able to feel reassured and happy with your decision.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on feeling confident in their relationships and also finding a proper balance of personal, individual time and space, as well as that intimate togetherness that is so abundant after the great move occurs. Learning what proper ratio of time spent alone and time spent with your significant other, as well as where to get it outside of the home, can really benefit a relationship long term and prevent any tensions of brewing. Taking the leap to move in together can be great long-term, as it shows that the relationship is moving progressively forward and may predict greater future happiness. Use these eleven tips to know when it's time to move in together and achieve that desired balance, a key aspect that can increase the likelihood of the move working out for the better.
1. You've Handled Stress & Conflict
"When you are dating someone, you spend isolated chucks of 'fun time' where you are usually being exposed to them at their best," says Chicago-based therapist, Chelsea Hudson, LCPC, over email with Bustle. "When you live with someone, you are more likely to see them when they’re tired, sick, and irritable. Moving in together will give you more insight into how your partner handle’s stress and exhaustion," she continues. If you've been there for the tough times and seen this other side, it might be safe to take this next step.
2. If You Are Interested In Getting Married, You See The Potential For Marriage In The Future
"If you are considering a serious long-term relationship, it will serve you both to tackle the 'move-in' adjustment phase before walking down the aisle," advises Hudson. "The first year of marriage is challenging enough, so moving in together ahead of time will give you the opportunity to overcome domestic differences to ease off on stress during early marriage," she adds. If you know marriage is in the cards, moving in together will be great practice and help with the transition.
3. You Have Similar Lifestyles
If you have similar habits, such as going to bed around 11 p.m., eating dinner around 8 p.m., or exercising early in the morning before work, then it'll be easier to move in together and co-exist within the same routine. If you find that both of you share these lifestyle elements, it's worth giving co-habituation a shot.
4. You Often Stay The Night
If either you or your partner sleeps over regularly, and your toothbrushes, face wash, pajamas and other necessities are set up in each other's homes, then it's fair to say that living together won't be as much of a sharp transition. If you are used to going to bed together and waking up in the morning, you've got a better shot and filling in what's in between in a calm, relaxed way and finding a groove that suits you both.
5. You Share Duties Equally
If you and your partner share chores, such as washing and drying dishes after cooking a meal together, and trade off on purchasing of items, then there's a better chance that you will be able to figure out a budget, spending priority list, and equally portioned assignment of chores and home tasks before taking the leap. Plus, experts say that couples who share chores equally are happier than those that have a divide.
6. You've Been On A Vacation Together
If you have spent time away together before, where you have had to share a small space (and often hotel rooms are smaller than what would be a shared home), and be around each other for basically 24 hours in the day, you've had a taste of what living together would be like, but in an even intensified short-period form. In the long-term, you'll have more alone time in the day to yourself and for work; however, if you enjoyed the vacation time and extra company, it might be a good sign to move in.
7. You're On The Same Page About Guests
If you and your partner have an understanding about when to have guests over, either for the night or just a dinner or party, then you should be able to move in together and live a similar lifestyle. Talk with your partner before a move and figure out where he or she stands on parties and visitors. If you both can respect each other's private time and not flood the home with guests when the other is needing some space, then a move will be a lot easier.
8. You've Openly Discussed Money
If you have directly talked about money, and how it is allocated towards spending, trips, home expenses, and groceries, and you've felt satisfied with the conversation, then moving in might be a great opportunity for your relationship to move forward. Having a discussion about money prior to moving in is key, as money can a be a major issue and stress for relationships relative to grocery shopping, drugstore, cleaning and kitchen products, and rent.
9. You Are Comfortable With Each Other
Once the honeymoon phase has ended, and you become more familiar around your partner, you'll likely experience feelings of comfort and openness, where you can be yourself. If you feel as though you can fart around your partner, walk around naked, watch Housewives of New York City with a pint of ice cream in hand, or be moody after a grueling day at work, then you've reached the point where you can live the way you want and enjoy company, without judgment.
10. You Just Know
Sometimes the feeling cannot be verbally expressed; it's simply a gut feeling that is too strong to ignore or distrust. If your instincts are telling you it's a good move, it's wise to go for it. Ask yourself a few questions: Do you love spending time with your partner? Do you miss him or her on the nights you are apart? If the answer is yes to these questions, then taking that big step could be great for your relationship to grow stronger.
11. You Have A Life Outside The Home
If you have a life outside the home that is separate from your partner's, whether through work, girls' or boys' nights, or self-care habits, such as a workout class or a spa appointment, then you'll be better able to handle spending the mornings and nights together once moved in. Don't forget to save some time for other people in your life and to get out of the house for some fresh air throughout the day. Having a balance will make moving in together more doable and appealing.
If you have been with your partner for a long-enough time to know that moving in is a practical, exciting and appropriate step in your relationship, then thinking of these topics before the move and discussing them openly with your partner can set you both up for being on the same page and really making sure that this step is a mutual decision. If so, enjoy this next great opportunity in your relationship!
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