Things you should and shouldn’t do before moving in with your partner

Regardless of how well you and your partner may know each other, moving in together is a massive step in the relationship whichever way you look at it. When you do finally take that step, you’ll likely be finding out plenty about your partner that you didn’t know before, and it can be a scary, intense, and exciting challenge all at once. It can be hard to put into words.

There are so many emotions involved in making this leap, and even though it will be difficult at times, the end result should be a positive one. Still, there are some ground rules to follow if you’re considering making the leap from partners to roommates.

Do talk through the basics and don't hide your bad habits

A 2015 report notes the amount of young and middle-aged Americans living with a partner they’re not married to has doubled in the 25 preceding years, while a whopping 66 percent of married couples are choosing to live together before tying the knot, bucking a long-held trend. The most important things to be upfront about when considering moving in together, marriage and family therapist Moraya Seeger DeGeare, told Refinery 29, are why you want to do it and how you’re going to split the finances.

Don’t get swept up in the romance as you’ll need to be realistic about how well you actually know this person and the people they’re close to, along with how comfortable you actually feel around them, too. When it comes to money, “Even if you don’t have bad spending habits, most people are going to have different relationships with money,” DeGeare says. If you’re in debt, make it known rather than saddling your unsuspecting person with your issues. Approach tackling it as a couple. 

Building a life together takes time and patience

There will also need to be a discussion about how to split chores particularly considering, in heterosexual couples, the woman is often assumed to be taking the lead even if she doesn’t consciously do so. Establishing a household together is one of the most wonderful things you’ll do as a couple, but it’s all about boundaries and compromise. “A lot of people go into relationships with expectations like ‘that’s just how people grow up,’ without really thinking about it,” DeGeare warns. 

Stay open-minded and remember why you’re doing this. Don’t be put off if living together means taking the requisite space from each other too, as being in such close quarters can be difficult. Relationship expert Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, told Bustle, “Your partner asking for space is about their desire to get their social, emotional and intellectual needs met by others outside of their primary relationship.” 

Don’t be afraid to talk things out, to fight and work through issues, and to ask for what you need. Melding two disparate lives together is always going to be tricky, but if you’re both committed to making it work, chances are, it will.

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