How Long Should I Wait to Move In with My Boyfriend? This Study Says There Might Not Be Just One Answer

So: You’ve been dating your significant other for a while. You’re exclusive. Things are looking pretty rosy. Have you started wondering how long you should wait to move in together? Rent.com surveyed 1,000 renters on the topic in an effort to discover just that. We spoke with the apartment-finding site about the results — here’s what they found.

First off: There’s no set age or relationship stage at which most people think it’s time to move in together. 27 percent of those surveyed said that they moved in together after dating for less than six months, while 18 percent said they didn’t think people should move in together until after they’ve tied the knot. It’s probably worth noting, though, that of the ones who moved in together after dating for six months or less, a paltry seven percent recommend that others follow their path — so, y’know, a word of caution: The honeymoon stage may be enough to sustain you in the early days of cohabiting, but it might fall apart a little later on.

What everyone does tend to unanimously agree on, though, is what they wished they had talked about before they moved in—namely, how to divide finances. Financial divisions can come in many forms; for example, 34 percent of renters split all expenses evenly with their significant other, while 23 percent say their significant other pays all the bills. A little dishearteningly, 97 percent of that 23 percent are female; whether it has anything to do with the gender wage gap, I can’t say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

Meanwhile, 16 percent of renters split their bills based on their individual incomes. This is what my SO and I do, and I do have to say, it works really well for us. He’s an engineer, so he’s pretty much always going to make way, way more than I do; as such, we generally have a two-thirds/one-third split when it comes to rent, utilities, and groceries. Mostly so that I don’t feel like I’m mooching or anything, I try to pick up the slack elsewhere: Home maintenance, feeding and cleaning up after our cats, and so on. That way, what I can’t necessarily contribute financially, I contribute in other ways.

The biggest hurdle of living with your significant other? Perhaps unsurprisingly, cleaning habits. I say “unsurprisingly” because by my experience, cleaning habits is a huge factor in how well people live together, regardless as to whether or not they’re a couple. 31 percent of Rent.com’s surveyed folk say that cleaning can be a point of contention, and only 11 percent say they actually discussed how they’re divvying up household chores before signing their leases. A word of advice: Do this. No matter who you’re moving in with, have that talk beforehand — it’ll make things much simpler later on down the line.

Finances and cleaning, by the way, aren’t the only things you should probably talk with your partner about before moving in together. Dr. Danielle Dowling at MindBodyGreen recommends adding how much “quality time” you want to spend engaging with each other, how much “alone time” each person needs, and what the house policy is on inviting people over. And of course, as YourTango points out, there are plenty of questions to ask yourself about whether it’s really the right move for you, too. And if you decide it’s not what you want? That’s A-OK, too. Everyone has their own timeline, and it doesn't necessarily have to involve living with your significant other.

Check out the infographic below from Rent.com for more:

Image: Fotolia