You love them. They love you. But will you still love each other after you’ve moved in together? Don’t be so quick to assume. You might think you know your partner inside and out – but moving in together opens up a whole new can of worms. So before you split that rent check…here are the questions to ask before moving in together.
How are you going to split things financially?
Does one of you make more money than the other? Is this a touchy subject? Are you expected to split everything 50-50, including groceries and entertainment? Or should it be a percentage system – where one of you pays more because one of you makes consistently more?
These are things to discuss before you even THINK about LOOKING at places to live.
Money is awkward. It’s a hot-button issue for a lot of us and can bring up icky insecurities we didn’t have to face when things were separate. Beforehand it really didn’t matter how much money we made because as long as we paid our own rent and our own bills, everything was fine and nothing needed to be discussed. But now that you are going to be combining your living quarters, it’s going to be a lot trickier to keep finances completely separate.
Who pays for cable? One of you *loves* watching sports every Saturday while the other can barely keep up with the Kardashians. Who pays for groceries? One of you works from home and eats practically every meal there, while the other has a lot of lunch meetings across town. And who pays for the furniture? The kitchen appliances? The wall decor? The new mattress? The new bedding? The bathroom air freshener because somebodyyyyy won’t stop eating gluten?
Whew. That’s a lot of things to consider. And one of you could feel super taken advantage of if you weren’t expecting all of these costs, or worse – are left to pay for all of it yourself.
Your relationship has gone through a lot to get to this point. Don’t set yourself up for failure now. Talk about these things. Make sure you guys have a set game plan about what is supposed to be split evenly down the middle, what has a percentage breakdown, and what is left to the individuals to purchase.
How are you going to run the household?
Are you guys going to be dividing up chores? Are you going to be outsourcing household help? (And who is going to pay for it? – see above.) Who has to clean the bathroom (also see above) and who has kitchen duty? Is somebody going to be solely in charge of cooking, or are you going to be ordering in every night?
I understand, you don’t have to have a set calendar that dictates your cooking/cleaning/maintenance schedule, but you should have a pretty certain idea about what your general day looks like before jumping into a lease together. Here’s a guarantee – if one of you DOES NOT view cooking, cleaning, laundry, or DIY as a hobby – you both have a lot of work ahead of you. Two people under one roof equals twice as much work. Period. Dot. The. End.
The best thing you can do is talk *honestly* about how you live your “private life” at home right now. I know you might not want to admit that you probably cook about once a week (usually whenever they come over after work you little show off) and that you actually haven’t washed your sheets in four weeks (you’re gross) but you have to come clean about it now (OMG I LOVE PUNS). This is the time to discuss the realities of your impending decision and not skirt around the issue.
If you hear something you don’t like – that’s ok – it doesn’t mean the deal is off. It just means you need to discuss expectations, boundaries, and deal breakers clearly before moving forward.
How will you handle fights?
Everybody fights. I don’t care how perfect your relationship is – you have had a fight before. And if you haven’t – OMG GET READY GIRLFRIEND BECAUSE LIVING TOGETHER WILL DEF CAUSE ONE.
So how are you guys going to handle getting in a huge blow out when you live in the same space? Beforehand you could go back to your apartment and let off some steam. You probably had a little routine, too. Bitch and moan to your roommate, stomp around your room, listen to some angry music, switch over to Netflix, calm the hell down, wait a handful of minutes, and then reach out. It worked for you guys!
But now you guys have the SAME space. So what’s the protocol?
Is leaving the apartment ok, or is that a trigger? Do you guys have a zoned “safe space” you can resort to if things get heated and you need a timeout? If one of you leaves, does the other need to leave to?
Yes, this is uncomfortable to discuss. But by talking about this before it actually happens, you are a zillion steps ahead. Fighting sucks, yes. But fighting sucks way more under the same roof. And it can make you question why you ever did this crazy thing in the first place! But living together is so awesome, so try to make it as easy as possible for you by having these tough talks before taking the plunge.
What does quality time look like?
A lot of times when couples move in together, the concept of “quality time” gets a little blurred. When you live together, you are going to see each other more often. Le duh. But what constitutes quality time, and what constitutes just being under the same roof together?
It’s an odd question but it’s an important one. Just because you are increasing the amount of time you see each other does not mean you are increasing intimacy. Make sure to talk about expectations for quality time so that your relationship doesn’t evolve into being glorified roommates. Being together so much actually increases the need for more romantic effort. Yes, it seems counterintuitive, but it’s crucial to be aware of this risk and to be proactive for your relationship.
Who gets to keep what?
Unless you guys are fabulously wealthy, you probably don’t have enough room for all of your stuff combined. And even if you did have enough money to put up that much square footage, do you really want to bring all that clutter into one space?
So…who’s bed are you bringing to the new crib? Who’s artwork gets to hang in the living room? Who’s comfy couch are we going to be lounging on? What about kitchen supplies? Electronics?
And more importantly…if one of you is NOT the chosen supplier, where does the money go when you sell the unwanted belongings? Is it split up evenly, or does one of you get to have a fun shopping spree while the other has to supply all of their furniture to the cause?
Lots of questions. Lots of potential land mines waiting to explode in your face. It’s best to talk about this stuff thoroughly – people have odd attachments to objects. Let’s just say you definitely don’t want to assume the ratty bed comforter your significant other has been rocking since college is going in the dumpster when it’s been betrothed to your new bed.
Have fun with that one.