You’ve had this lingering question in the back of your head for a while now. Does your significant other feel the same? You want to take the next step but it’s a big one, right up there with saying those three little words for the first time. No, we’re not talking marriage. We’re talking moving in together. No more lugging your toothbrush from one place to the next. No more waking up early just to go home and get ready for work at your place. It makes sense and seems like a logical move, but what if you’re misreading the signs?
Before you start making copies of your keys, read on. Today, we’re discussing five ways you can discern whether or not you’re really ready for that type of commitment. After all, this is a whole new type of togetherness and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ll learn so much about each other through this process but it isn’t for the faint of heart. Here are a few questions to ask yourself first.
1. Their quirky habits don’t surprise you.
So he loves to clip his toenails in front of the television. She locks the bathroom door when getting ready and doesn’t emerge until two hours later. There is a weird collection of pet rocks in the closet from an old middle school project. You’ve seen it all and you’re not surprised or repulsed by any of it.
If you think there might be skeletons lurking in his or her closet that you aren’t aware of, or if you haven’t spent enough time together to have seen these oddities emerge, you might not be ready to take this huge step yet. While living together can be a great time to learn more about each other, you don’t want to wait until your toiletries take up permanent residence in his medicine cabinet to find out that he only does laundry once a month or she loves to sleep under a giant blanket of german shepherds.
Make sure you understand how your partner lives and spends his or her free time at home before agreeing to move in with one another. If not, even the tiniest little annoyances can turn into major rifts once you find them out.
2. You’ve had the money talk.
Assuming your partner pays rent or a mortgage, have you had the discussion yet on how you’ll split the bills? Normally, if you’re eating food from the fridge, using the utilities and watching the cable you’ll be expected to foot at least some of your part. Are you nervous to bring up money in front of your significant other? Do you avoid the topic at all costs and just hope that it works itself out along the way?
This strategy might work fine when you’re trying to figure out where to go for dinner, but this is a major life move you’re considering. If you aren’t at the point in your relationship where you can talk openly and honestly about finances, it’s time to take a step back.
3. You know it’s not one giant sleepover.
Scroll social media long enough and eventually you’ll find more than a few couples posting pictures together with a caption like “This is so much fun! It’s like a big sleepover with your best friend every single night!” Remember to take images and captions like these with a grain of salt and keep in mind that these platforms are where most people share their highlight reels, not the grainy footage of their daily lives. As such, while living together can be incredibly fun and exciting at times, resist the urge to see it solely through rose-colored glasses.
Moving in with one another can also be really tough and stressful at times. Suddenly, you’re not living solo or with your roommates anymore. A hard day might come along when you just want to be alone and there’s no solitary corner to hide in. Especially if you value your independence, this step can come with a major adjustment period. If you’re ready to go forward with it under realistic expectations, you’re already way ahead of the game.
4. You’re comfortable around each other.
We all know that one couple who can pass gas, use the bathroom and pluck their nose hairs around each other without missing a beat. We aren’t talking about going to that level, per se, but you should at least be comfortable enough around each other that co-existing and sharing private spaces isn’t an awkward mess.
If you always feel the need to keep an air of secrecy and privacy around your life, you might not be ready to share it with someone else quite yet. On the other hand, if brushing your teeth with someone beside you doesn’t repulse you, that’s a good sign. If you’re on the fence, try to learn more about your partner’s preferences and personal habits so you can get a clearer picture of what to expect. Does he prefer shaving his beard at night? Does she sleep with her arms all over the place like a madwoman? Your personal space is about to be crowded just a little and if you’re not comfortable with it, moving in together should be put on the back burner.
5. You’re independent but value quality time.
Are you moving in with your partner because you’re so co-dependent on him or her you can’t imagine it any other way? Have you gotten used to being chauffeured around after your nights together or always wearing his clothes to bed? If your hobbies are melding with his or no one can tell where he ends and you begin, it might be time to inject a little more space in your relationship rather than close the gap further.
On the other hand, if you value your independence and have a life outside of your home, this might not be as big of a deal. It’s important to keep your separate hobbies and interests so that at the end of the day, when you are back together again, you can appreciate and enjoy those moments together. Remember, the impetus behind moving in together shouldn’t be the fact that you absolutely cannot live without each other, but that you simply don’t want to.
Taking that Next Big Step, Together
Ultimately, deciding to move in together must be a two-way agreement. If one party is gung-ho about moving forward but the other is hesitant, the arrangement might work at first but will ultimately become strained with resentment. While you might think it’s fun and romantic to surprise your significant other with the proposal over dinner or on a special anniversary, think twice about blindsiding them.
Rather, this needs to be a serious decision that you both come to after plenty of conversation, introspection and deep thought. If you can answer “yes” to all of these five points, you may be on the right track, but the contemplation period should still be there. Then, when you’re both on the same page, you can fall asleep and wake up beside each other without a care, doubt or regret in the world.