The decision to share a living space with your partner can be an exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience all at once. In those moments of uncertainty, you may find yourself wishing for a moving in together checklist. A guide that can help you piece together the when, how and why of this puzzle.
After all, it is not just a big step in your relationship but also a new chapter of your life. To make sure this chapter plays out well, you need to address questions such as how long should you be dating before you move in together?, what should you discuss before moving in together?, can moving in too soon ruin a relationship? and how to plan this transition swiftly?
We address these questions and more to assist you in this all-important decision.
How Long Should You Be Dating Before You Move In Together?
Cohabitating has more or less become the norm in long-term committed relationships today. There are very few couples who progress from dating to tying the knot straight away. A majority prefers to live together first, and then, see where the relationship leads.
Living together may or may not be a stepping stone to marriage. The reasons behind this move also vary from couple to couple. Some do it because it seems like the natural order of progression, others because they’re madly in love and others still for practical reasons.
Similarly, it is hard to put a pin on how long should you be dating before you move in together. Some couples could be ready for moving together after 6 months of dating, others may wait up to a year before taking this decision.
Based on the analysis of a Stanford University study and a popular survey, a majority of couples decide on moving in together within a year of dating. The findings also indicate that moving in together after 2 years or more is far less common. It is almost unheard of for couples to wait for 5 to 7 years before taking this decision.
Related Reading: 4 Creative Ways To Ask Your Girlfriend To Move In With You
However, this does not mean that you feel pressured to move in together in the first year of the relationship. Or that waiting a couple of years indicates that something is wrong with your relationship.
You also have to consider can moving in too soon ruin a relationship. If you rush into this decision, it can turn out to be a disaster.
In case, you’re not sure whether you’re in a place in your life and relationship where you can take this next step, introspect a little about how soon is too soon to move in together.
What Should You Discuss Before Moving In Together?
This brings us to another crucial dilemma many couples face when contemplating living together. How do you know if your reasons and timing for the move are right? Here is what you should discuss before moving together to find out:
1. Why do you want to move in together?
This is the one moving in together advice all couples must abide by. When you and your partner discuss living together, talk about why you want to do it. And see if your reasons for taking this decision align or not.
2. Money talks on moving in together
Money is always an awkward topic in relationships. But if you’re going to merge your lives, you ought to address this elephant in the room. Both partners must be open and transparent during money talks on moving in together.
Talk about your individual financial standing, discuss debts and assets, and figure out how you will split the expenses when sharing a home.
3. Discuss how you will divide chores and responsibilities
This is just as important as money talks on moving in together. You and your partner must discuss how household chores and responsibilities will be divided once you start living together. Keep expectations realistic and set firm ground rules.
For instance, if your partner is a terrible cook, assigning them the responsibility of making breakfast or dinner will lead to squabbles and bickering. So what can they do to makeup? Perhaps, doing the dishes or laundry could be their responsibility.
4. Talk about each other’s past
It is also important that you have an honest conversation about your past relationships and why things didn’t work out. This becomes even more critical if either of you has lived-in with an ex.
Addressing these issues helps in ensuring that you don’t carry the baggage of the past into your future.
5. What are your expectations from the relationship?
Where do you see yourself and your partner five years down the line? And where do they? Is moving in together a stepping stone to marriage? Do you want to have kids? If yes, then when?
Discuss these long-term expectations to rule out any unpleasant surprises in the future.
6. Share vulnerabilities and secrets, if any
When you’re dating, it’s easier to be the best version of yourself whenever you’re with your partner. Living together is a whole different ball game. That’s when you both get to see the ‘real’ person you’re with.
This also means hiding any shortcomings, secrets or vulnerabilities becomes that much harder. It can be anything from a struggle with addiction to fear of spiders. Address these not-so-nice aspects of your life before making the big move.
7. What if it doesn’t work out?
It is a real possibility. Admit it, that scenario plays on your mind when you’re thinking about moving in together. So, why not just talk about it like two mature adults? Who will stay and who will move out in case you break up? How will you divide up the stuff? How will you handle money and assets in this situation?
This discussion may seem completely out of sync with your present state of mind but it is essential to have it. It will help slay a lot of apprehension and doubts that you’re not even consciously addressing.
Related Reading: 7 Golden Rules For A Live-In Relationship
The Ultimate Moving In Together Checklist
Once you have addressed whether or not you’re ready to move in together, comes the task of actually doing it. Finalizing the nitty-gritty of what your cohabitating arrangement can be a demanding process in itself.
This ultimate moving in together checklist will help you through the planning, preparation and execution of the move:
1. Finalize your first apartment with your boyfriend or girlfriend
First and foremost, you need to finalize your first apartment with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Discuss where will you both like to live? Will they be moving in with you or you with them? Or would you prefer getting a new place? If so, what will the location and budget be like?
2. Agree on the division of bills
So, you have already gone through the rigmarole of money talks on moving in together when deciding whether you’re on the same page or not. Now, is the time to get into the finer details.
For example, how will you divide the rent? Will it be half and half or based on individual earnings? What about paying for groceries, utilities etc? Would you like to set up a joint account for the running expenses?
Address these questions before you sign a lease or start packing up your boxes.
3. Set ground rules for house guests
Both you and your partner are bound to have your individual social life. This may involve hosting people or having house guests every once in a while. Talk about how you both feel about it.
How often would you like to entertain? How long can a friend in need crash on your couch, if at all?
4. Talk about the impact on your sex life
The initial days of any relationship are defined by that can’t keep your hands off each other phase. But that is bound to change once you start living in together. The stability and rhythm of a settled life will make the passion fade a little.
Have a conversation about it to see how you both feel about this possibility. How you and your partner react can be a litmus test for whether or not you are moving in with your boyfriend too soon.
5. How much screen time is acceptable?
Burying our heads in our phones or staring blankly at laptops and TV screens has become just an inherent part of our personalities that most people don’t even recognize when this tendency becomes excessive.
However, this can become a sore point in a relationship. Every minute spent looking at a screen is eating into your time together. So, it’s important to set a mutually acceptable limit on screen time beforehand.
Related Reading: While Living in With My Partner I Realised I Could Never Marry Her…
6. Eating habits must feature on moving in together checklist
Even if you have been sleeping over at each other’s place often enough, it is important to talk about eating habits and get them in sync as much as possible. This will make your living arrangement smoother and hassle-free.
This doesn’t mean that you have to have the same food meal after meal, day after day. But it’s nice to be on the same page.
This discussion becomes even more imperative if your eating habits are poles apart. For example, if one partner is vegan and the other a hardcore non-vegetarian. In such cases, you must learn to make peace with each other’s preferences.
7. What about me-time?
Living together doesn’t mean being joint at the hip at all times. You will both need your personal space and time to catch a breather once in a while or just to unwind after a long hard day.
Address how much alone time you need when cohabitating with your partner. When you’re doing up your first apartment with boyfriend or girlfriend, earmark a room or a corner as personal space.
8. Prepare couples first apartment essentials list
Moving in together means you will be setting up your first home with your partner. So, do your homework on couples first apartment essentials and prepare a list of all that you are going to need. From furniture to mattresses, curtains, linens, cleaning supplies, utensils and kitchen essentials, tools, first aid kit and décor items.
Be sure you’re both involved in deciding what is needed and buying it.
9. See what you want to keep and toss out
This new home that you’re setting up with your significant other will have a lot of ‘we’, but it also must have some ‘you’ and ‘I’. While you decide on things to buy when moving out of your place, also consider what things you’d like to keep.
We all have stuff that we’re sentimental about. It can be anything from a favorite blanket to a comfy chair. But make this choice prudently. Keep in mind that your new place ought to have space for your partner’s stuff as well as all the new things that you’re buying.
10. Divide up storage space
Before moving into your first apartment with boyfriend or girlfriend, divide up closet space fairly. It’s a given that women need more space to fit in their personal belongings. But that shouldn’t mean that the man is left with a measly drawer or two in a chest kept in the living room.
Related Reading: 5 Things A Girl Does In A Live-In Relationship
11. Decorating the first apartment with your boyfriend or girlfriend
Once you have taken all the valuable moving in together advice into account and done the groundwork comes the exciting part. Decorating the first apartment with your boyfriend or girlfriend. How do you want to go about it?
What will the vibe of the house be like? Do you want to keep it cool and casual? Or chic and classy? What color would you like on the walls? How about the curtains and rugs? What kind of coffee mugs and wine glasses?
There is so much room to play around here. It’s hands down the most fun and exciting part of moving in together. Enjoy it and make lots of memories.
12. Put your moving in together checklist in writing
Given that there are a lot of factors to consider and a lot of choices to make when moving in together, it helps to put all that you’ve discussed and agreed upon in writing. No, we’re not asking you to draw up a document akin to Sheldon’s roommate agreement from The Big Bang Theory.
Just some broad outlines on finances and key ground rules that you can refer to in times of disagreements or when you forget what you had agreed upon. Of course, the dynamics of your relationship and cohabitation will change as you grow as a couple and individuals. So, this written moving in together checklist mustn’t be set in stone.
But it can act as a reference point in those initial days when you’re learning the ropes of sharing a home.
That should set up you for turning over a new leaf in your relationship and life. A few careful decisions is all it takes to make it last.