The longer you're dating someone, the more relationship milestones you'll reach together: defining the relationship, meeting the parents, exchanging 'I love yous' and, of course, one of the biggest milestones of all —
moving in together. In theory, a never-ending sleepover with the person you love is a no-lose situation; in reality, a lot of things about your relationship will change once you live together, and it's not a decision to make lightly. It's a huge step, and there are certain things you should know before moving in together — most importantly, why you want to live together in the first place.
"The most important thing a couple should be aware of before moving in together is why they are doing it,"
Lesli Doares, Couples Consultant and Coach, tells Bustle. "If it is because they are consciously choosing to take the relationship to the next level, great. But if it is because they already spend almost every night together, or one person’s lease is up, or it’s closer to someone’s work, or they don’t like their current living arrangement — slow down... Keeping a relationship functional requires acting with intention, not just because it’s easier or comfortable."
But if you and your partner are both on the same page and feel genuinely ready to
intertwine your lives and share a home, here are nine things you should be aware of before the big move.
You'll Have To Have The Money Talk
One of the most important but
difficult conversations every long-term couple has to have is the Money Talk — and it's especially crucial to talk finances with your partner before deciding to move in together.
"Moving in together is often the first time you’ll start managing money together," Sam Schultz, co-founder of
Honeyfi, a free app to help couples manage money, tells Bustle. "That doesn’t mean you’ll need a joint account. But it does mean you’ll start sharing some big expenses, like rent, utilities, etc. So before deciding to move in together, you should have a conversation with your partner about money and make sure there aren’t red flags or big areas of disagreement."
You'll Discover New Incompatibilities
think you know everything there is to know about your partner already, but once you live together, you'll realize there are many things you weren't aware of — including some incompatibilities that might not have surfaced yet, whether differences in money management or cleaning habits.
"Living together will probably flesh out incompatibilities you may [not] have encountered thus far, and it will certainly bring issues and conflicts to the surface much quicker," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert at
Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the nature of the individuals, on their dynamic as a duo, and on their desire to share a life without running for the hills at the first sign of trouble."
Your Individual Lifestyles Might Change
When you have your own personal space, you pretty much have free reign to do whatever you want: you can stay up late, leave your dirty clothes on the floor, or watch as much reality TV as your heart desires. But once you live with your partner, both of you will have to make some minor (and maybe even some major) lifestyle adjustments.
"In order to make the move-in transition smooth, there should be a few discussions ahead of time regarding any specific preferences and lifestyle habits,"
J. Hope Suis, inspirational writer and relationship specialist, tells Bustle. "Is someone an early riser? Or a night owl? How about cleanliness?... Who is going to have control of the TV? These things may not seem like a big deal at first, but having your lifestyle turned upside down and suddenly having to share your space is not as glamorous as it may sound."
You'll Get To Know Each Other's Weird Habits
We all have our own weird little habits, which are easy to keep on the down-low when you live by yourself. Before moving in together, though, you need to make sure you're OK with the fact that both your and your partner's quirks will eventually come to light.
"[When you move in with your partner] you’ll get to know his or her weird habits," Justin Lavelle, Relationship Expert and Chief Communications Officer for
BeenVerified.com, tells Bustle. "You might discover soon after moving in together, that [partner] has weird habits you weren’t aware of before… And [they] will know yours, too."
You'll Get On Each Other's Nerves
It's normal to
get irritated by your partner from time to time, but when you live together, there's so much more opportunity for those little moments of annoyance — and you'll quickly learn what gets on your partner's nerves.
"You’ll get on each other’s nerves [when you move in together]," Lavelle says. "You’ll learn very quickly what annoys you about your partner. From leaving empty cups on the counter to having an incessant need to crack [their] knuckles, your partner’s annoying habits will become clear as day once you start living together."
You'll Have To Compromise About Guests
Relationships are all about compromise, and when you move in together, there will be no shortage of things to compromise on — like when and how often to invite guests over.
"You’ll have to compromise about guests," Lavelle says. "No longer will you be the one to call all the shots. You’ll both have the right to invite friends or guests over, but now you must do so with courtesy to your partner. Ask what your partner’s thoughts are about guests coming over and when a heads-up might be required."
Your Relationship Will Change
Moving in together doesn't mean you and your partner will evolve into different people overnight, but it's unrealistic to assume that
nothing about your relationship will change after you live together.
"Your relationship will change [after moving in together]," Lavelle says. "People tend to change as time goes by. Many aspects of our personalities stay the same, but things like our goals and aspirations change. Expect to evolve more than you ever did before when you take your relationship to this level, and be prepared to adapt to make the relationship work."
Good Communication Will Be More Important Than Ever
To maintain a healthy relationship, couples have to know
how to communicate effectively, and once you start living together full-time, it'll be more crucial than ever to be able to communicate openly and resolve arguments in a healthy way.
"When you have your own space, venting out relationship frustrations is easier," Lavelle says. "You have the luxury to cool down in an apartment all your own. Not anymore. Good communication will be vital at this stage of your relationship — especially after moving in together."
Spontaneity Will Help Keep The Spark Alive
Taking that next step and moving in together doesn't necessarily mean you're settling into a life of boredom — but it might take a bit of active work to
keep the romance alive so living together doesn't feel routine.
"When you’re living together, more things become mundane," Lavelle says. "Getting stuck in a 'settled down' routine too soon might just make you reconsider this whole moving-in-together thing. But spontaneity should help counter that and keep the relationship in a healthy state. To make cohabiting a success, don’t forget to be spontaneous. Have a spur of the moment date night to keep the spark going."
Even though there's a lot to consider before moving in with your partner, it's still an exciting, happy milestone that's worth celebrating. Yes, there will be some new challenges along the way, but as long as you and your partner are both equally jazzed to live together — and willing to communicate
and compromise — there's nothing stopping you from living happily ever after... under the same roof.