Moving in together is no easy task! Much thought and discussion are necessary throughout the process to feel comfortable and confident with the decision to merge your life with your partner’s in such an intimate way. After all, your home should be your safe space, the oasis you turn to after long days at the office or stressful days in this uneasy climate we are in. If you are considering moving in together, it is important to dive into the big conversations that will alleviate underlying concerns.
What does your future look like?
If you are ready to make this big step, chances are you’re thinking about a long-term commitment with your partner. Even so, it’s important to ask the big questions about your feelings on children and marriage, your goals and dreams, and if you consider yourself grounded where you are or if you are looking to move elsewhere in the future. These types of questions help determine the amount of investment you feel comfortable making in the relationship. Aligning your goals with your partner’s can help instill a stronger connection between the two of you and lead you down the path of a shared journey.
What does your communication look like?
It is important to think about how you communicate with one another. How do you handle a disagreement? Are there a lot of lines you need to read between to get the full picture? For couples who struggle with this area of their relationship, moving in together could heighten disagreements that would normally lie dormant or seem less than important. Whether your communication needs some work or has always been in tip-top shape, you may benefit from couples counseling.
Even couples who communicate well with each other can seek out couples counseling as a way to reinforce their strong bond. Gauging the willingness to try out counseling with your partner can also provide more perspective to the relationship and its ability to last. If you are willing to work on the relationship and your partner isn’t, or vice versa, it can paint a clearer picture of if the relationship can endure.
What do your finances look like?
Even in the beginning stages conversing about moving into together, it is important to talk about finances. Everyone handles their money differently. You could be great at budgeting, saving your money, and managing your debts, but your partner could live paycheck to paycheck, really struggle with maintaining their checking account, and have debts they haven’t paid on in years. Maybe the situation is reversed and you are suffering with your financial wellness while your partner is confident in their financial literacy and life. Not everyone has the same journey toward financial independence, so it is important to be completely honest with each other about your situation.
If you are thinking of buying a home together it is gravely important to be honest with each other about finances. Your credit score, debt, and income are all things that factor into whether or not you can even obtain a mortgage pre-approval, let alone buy a house. If debt seems to be the biggest thing standing in the way, it may be prudent for the partner with outstanding debts to consolidate them through a personal loan. While this may mean holding off on purchasing a home for a little longer, you’ll be in a better position to achieve your goals.
What do your lifestyles look like?
It doesn’t matter how long you have been in the relationship — it could be five years or five months — how you behave in your home is different when you live on your own versus when you live with your partner. Everyone has little quirks that go unnoticed until they start living with someone. You could be a closeted slob or a compulsive neat freak. It is important to introduce your partner to those parts of yourself, too. Understanding your potential housemate can help you both create a nice flow of household responsibility. By playing to each other’s strengths you can determine details like who will take care of the laundry, take out the trash, or handle the cooking.
Your lifestyle also includes your style in general. Creating a home that both of you can relax in and enjoy is vital to making your transition last. There are different challenges and conversations you may face depending on your moving situation. If you are moving into your partner’s place or they are moving into yours, finding the balance between you and your partner’s style can be tricky. On the other hand, if you are moving into a completely new space together, it will likely be easier to have an even representation of each of your styles. If possible, establish spaces in your home that each partner can call their own.
If you and your partner are considering moving in together, don’t avoid discussing the answers to these four questions. More than likely, other important questions will arise, too, leading to a more fruitful and productive dialogue. Your future self will thank you for taking the time to carefully discuss the matter before taking such a huge step forward.