Deciphering how soon is too soon to move in together is a question that weighs on the mind of every couple at some point. If you’re in a steady relationship, you’re likely to have entertained this thought even if you haven’t exactly had the conversation with your partner yet.
Understandably so! After all, living together can be a big step for any couple. One that can push you to the limits and test your relationship in ways you couldn’t have imagined. To make sure you take this step at the right time and for the right reasons, we address some of the most common concerns people have when they consider moving in with their partners.
How Long Should You Wait Before Moving In Together?
Until the 1960s, living in together before getting married was frowned upon and considered socially unacceptable even in modern Western societies. Clearly, we have come a long way since. A study on premarital cohabitation finds that the incidence of couples staying together before marriage has grown by 900 per cent in the past 50 years.
A sizeable two-third of couples live together before deciding to tie the knot. Which brings us to the all-important questions of when. How long should you wait before moving in together? And can moving in too soon ruin a relationship?
Now, there is no definitive timeline for couples to move in together. However, studies and surveys do give us a broad spectrum you can use as a point of reference.
According to a survey carried out by Stanford University, here’s how long different couples take to move in together:
- 25 per cent of couples consider moving in together after 4 months
- 50 per cent of couples decide on moving in together after 1 year
- Only 30 per cent couples put off moving in together till after 2 years
- Less than 10 per cent consider moving in together after 4 years:
As per another survey, these are the acceptable timelines for moving in together:
- 30 per cent think of moving in together by 6 months
- 40 per cent consider moving in together between 6 months and 1 year
- Almost 20 per cent move in together between 1-2 years
- Less than 10 per cent hold off moving in together beyond 2 years
If you go by these statistics to decide how long should you wait before moving in together, the clear takeaway is that nearly 50 per cent of couples in a committed relationship move in together within the first year.
Related Reading: 7 Golden Rules For A Live-In Relationship
Is moving in together a big step?
Is moving in together a big step? Most definitely, yes! Whether it’s your first rodeo or you’ve done this before, deciding to share a living space with a partner is always a big deal. After all, this decision entails a lot more than sharing closet space and the same bed.
Cohabitating comes with an inherent expectation of a greater commitment in the relationship, with the possibility of marriage in the future. Besides, living in takes off the shiny packaging from your relationship and pushes you a step closer to the mundane nitty-gritties of sharing a life.
From financial discussions and decisions to the specifics of running the house, there is a lot of not-so-romantic ground to covered here. Who will pay the bills? Who will fix a clogged toilet? Who’s turn is it to take out the trash? Who cooks dinner?
That’s why questions such as can moving in too soon ruin a relationship or does moving together kill a relationship aren’t unfounded.
Living together can test even the strongest of relationships. You must also spare a thought to what percentage of couples break up after moving in together? Statistics suggest that 39 per cent of couples who move in together break up eventually, and only 40 per cent go on to get married.
Of these, 21 per cent may just decide to continue living together without feeling the need to legitimatize their relationship through marriage. The odds of surviving moving in together can be stacked against you if you act on impulse and take this step too soon.
Related Reading: While Living in With My Partner I Realised I Could Never Marry Her…
Does moving together kill a relationship?
Then, there is the question of does moving together kill a relationship. To address this concern you have to consider the fact that moving in together means intertwining your lives, sometimes irrevocably. When two people share a living space, they go on to share mortgages, assets, pets, and so much more.
In such cases, if things don’t work out between you and your partner, parting ways can become a messy affair. Primarily because cohabitating doesn’t come with the protection of the law. Unlike a marriage, where the division of assets and liabilities are taken care of in a divorce settlement, here you’re pretty much left to fend for yourself.
The situation can become even messier if there are children involved. As such, many couples continue to stay in unhappy relationships because the process of parting ways is too overwhelming.
When you consider these caveats, then yes, moving together can kill a relationship without necessarily ending it.
This is not to say that you should swear off the idea of cohabitating with a romantic partner. A lot of couples do it, and successfully so. There is no reason why you cannot.
The only moving in together advice that you should take into account to mitigate these risks is to not take this decision lightly. The secret of successfully living in together is to do it when both partner exhibit clear commitment toward each other and their relationship.
How Do You Know When You Are Ready To Move In With Someone?
Our expert Prachi Vaish, a couples’ therapist with over 15 years of experience, weighs in on how do you know when you are ready to move in with someone. According to her, moving in with someone can be a big milestone and a whole lot of thought must go into the decision. Here are some points to consider:
- Comfort Level: How comfortable are you in each other’s space? It’s one thing to hang out at each other’s place when you carefully select what you’re going to wear and what you’re going to do. But this togetherness becomes 24×7, things are not so simple. You will want to hang out in pyjamas and not do your hair. Or leave your solid underwear lying around. And have you thought about the poop and pee noises that you so carefully control around them? So yes, make sure that you’re super-comfortable in each other’s space
- Ground Rules: What are the ground rules? Are you moving in to find out what it’s going to be like being married? Then there’s going to complete involvement in each other’s lives. If you’re moving in to be able to spend more time together, then you’ll need to figure out how much right you’re giving to each other. Also, figure out how you’ll maintain personal space while living under the same roof
- The Outcome: What is the objective? Are you treating this as a trial to see whether you can take your relationship to the next level? Or are you just taking it as a natural next step in the evolution of your relationship? And are just planning to enjoy this with no ulterior motives?
Based on these factors to consider when you contemplate moving in with a partner, here is a checklist of 10 signs that you’re ready to take the leap:
1. You’re past the honeymoon phase
How long should you wait before moving in together? At least, until the honeymoon phase of your relationship is over. You know that oxytocin-powered stage of the relationship where you view everything with rose-tinted eyes. The sex is great, you can’t keep your hands off each other. You can’t seem to find any imperfections in your partners and you both are still at your best behavior around each other.
Only when you’re past this stage in your relationship and have learnt to love and accept each other with all your shortcomings and flaws can you share a living space for the long haul successfully.
2. You are in a committed relationship
If you’re grappling with doubts over can moving in too soon ruin a relationship, then this is an important aspect to factor in. The right time and stage to take this step are when you two have been vocal about your commitment toward each other.
You have been exclusive for some time now and have clarity about boundaries and expectations in your relationship. In case you’re not in a monogamous relationship, these attributes can be harder to define. So, if you’re in an open relationship, for instance, being each other primary partner can be an indicator that you’re ready to take this big step together.
3. Move in together when your lives seem integrated
You can be sure you’re ready to live with a romantic partner when your lives are practically integrated. Everyone around you knows you’re a couple. You have not only met their friends, family and coworkers but also socialize with them regularly. And vice-versa.
Basically, if there is more ‘we’ in your relationship than ‘you and I’, you know you are ready to move in with that person.
4. When you share a vision you are ready to move in with someone
A lot of couples view moving in together as a stepping stone to marriage or at least spending their lives together. When you and your partner share a vision for the future, it’s a surefire sign that you are prepared to start sharing a living space.
This means talking about whether you want to get married. If yes, then when. Whether you want to have children. How many and at what stage of your lives?
5. You have a financial plan in place for cohabitating
Living together is not just about sharing your personal space and inviting each other into the innermost folds of your lives. It’s also about sharing responsibilities and finances. So, is moving in together a big step? It most definitely is.
One of the signs you are ready to take this plunge is that you and your partner have discussed and worked out a financial plan to support this arrangement. You know who will pitch in how much each month for the rent, groceries, supplies, maintenance etc. And you’re both on board with this plan 100 per cent.
Related Reading: We live-in together with my boyfriend’s parents
6. You’re practically living together anyway
This can be a litmus test for how soon is too soon to move in together. You and your partner are practically living together anyway. It’s either you sleeping at their place or they at yours. Or perhaps you alternate between the two.
You both have closet space in each other’s apartment and feel a genuine need to be around each other. In this scenario, it makes sense to officialize this arrangement and start sharing a home.
7. You are both ready for it
You are not contemplating this decision because you feel obligated to say yes when a guy asks you to move in together. Or a girl, for that matter. You and your partner have talked about moving in together at length and you’re both eager to execute this plan.
That’s when you can be sure you’re ready to move in together.
8. You have been through a rough patch in the relationship
How do you know when you are ready to move in with someone? This one indicator is as important as getting past the honeymoon phase, if not more. You can be sure you and your partner can stick together and make it work if you have been through a rough patch and your relationship is stronger because of it.
9. Your lifestyles are in sync
Does moving together kill a relationship? This can be a pressing concern for many. This concern can, in fact, come to pass if you and your partner have conflicting lifestyles. If you are a night owl and they are a morning person, it can be a recipe for disaster.
In this scenario, both your sleep cycles can get affected, leaving you irritable and snappy. That can begin to take a toll on your relationship eventually.
When you’re assessing how do you know when you are ready to move in with someone, consider if your lifestyles are in sync. Or you are, at least, willing to make adjustments to accommodate one another’s way of life.
10. You are open to making compromises and adjustments
Living with someone means making room for them in your life in every way imaginable. That requires certain changes, adjustments, tweaks and compromises. After all, there are no two people with identical personalities, likes and dislikes.
Are you willing to do that without resenting your partner for it? Is your partner on the same page too? If yes, you are most definitely ready to move in together.
Whenever you are gripped by doubts over how soon is too soon to move in together and how do you know when you are ready to move in with someone, refer to this checklist of signs. If you can tick a majority of indicators listed here, you can confidently take this significant step in your relationship. At the same time, remember the most crucial moving in together advice – do it at the right time, for the right reasons and after a lot of thought and contemplation.