If you’re in a new relationship, you may have started to wonder when is the right time to move in together, and if you’re ready to live with your new partner. When should you move in together? And how soon is too soon to move in with someone?
Moving in together can seem daunting — whether it’s after six months or two years of being in a relationship — and you could have lots of questions to ask before moving in together.
Social media paints a fun picture of moving in with a partner, and if your friends have already made the leap then you may be keen to jump in as well.
However, moving in with a new partner is a huge relationship milestone, so it’s important that you and your partner both feel ready to move in together. Communication skills are key for you to move forward and ensure you’re both on the same page.
How long should you date before moving in?
There is no universal “right” amount of time to wait before moving in with your partner. All relationships are unique and you’ll go through different experiences together, so try not to compare yourself to friends and family members who have moved in with their partner before you, or at a faster rate. Deciding to take your relationship to the next level is a big step and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
So, what is the average time to move in with someone? That being said, 50% of American couples moved in together after a year according to a 2017 study by Stanford University. Others waited a little longer, with up to 70% making the move after two years. Some still took the jump in the early stages, with 25% of Americans setting up homes with their new partner after just four months.
If it feels right for both you and your partner, have a conversation about moving in together and ignore what you think you think ‘should’ be doing.
How do you know if you’re ready to move in together?
Sometimes it just happens naturally. Maybe you already spend five nights a week at your partner’s house and you don’t see the point of having separate apartments, or you both know that you’re committed enough to make the move work. Maybe COVID or a significant life event fast-tracked your decision. But are you ready to take the next step in your relationship?
The most important way to decide whether you’re ready to move in together is to be open and honest with each other. If you’re in the honeymoon phase, it can feel like the natural next step to move in with your significant other but it’s a big decision that should not be taken lightly.
If you’re moving in with each other to solve a problem — like arguing or money troubles — and this isn’t spoken about in-depth beforehand, it will no doubt make the situation worse, not better.
Likewise, if either of you has reservations about moving in together, sit down and have a non-judgmental conversation about it.
Moving in together could mean changing your lifestyle completely, so talking about it now could ease both your worries, whether it’s about money or how big of a change it could be.
Key considerations before living together
The idea of living together can feel fun and romantic, but there are some practicalities of cohabiting that you need to discuss before reaching this relationship milestone.
The first factor you should consider is if you can live together. Ask yourself:
In reality, can you both afford it?
Do you enjoy each other’s company to be under the same roof seven days a week?
Can you respect each other’s boundaries and independence?
Will you lose patience every time your partner leave dirty dishes to “soak” in the kitchen sink?
Moving in together may sound romantic, but reality can set in quite quickly, especially if you may have trust issues or have very different expectations.
Whether you’re renting or buying, you’ll need to be honest about your finances and spending habits with your partner. Decide on a budget and how you’re splitting the bills every month. Will you take charge of paying the bills, or will they?
You should also consider each other’s lifestyles when moving in together. If your partner loves being sociable but you’re a homebody, you should talk about compromises on both sides. Give yourself enough time to evaluate your compatibility before putting your future plans in place.
Spending quality time together, rather than being like ships in the night, is important for all relationships to grow. Sharing a living space doesn’t equate to spending quality time together, so you’ll still have to make an effort to foster moments of intimacy with one another to avoid falling into a relationship rut.
Even though spending time together is important, moving in together doesn’t mean that you should give up your personal space. Make sure you put healthy boundaries in place to preserve your own space and avoid co-dependency. After all, alone time is a big part of preserving your mental health and guaranteeing a successful move-in process.
It may seem morbid but it is also a good idea to consider what might happen if you break up. When you move in together, you should discuss a backup plan with your friends and family just in case your long-term relationship, unfortunately, comes to an end.
Questions to ask before moving in together
To know that you and your partner are on the same page, it’s important to communicate how you both feel in a healthy way before you start living together.
Moving in together is a big step and shouldn’t be done without talking about it first. By taking this time to check in, it makes it easier to spot any red flags and avoid any big fights down the road.
If you’re unsure about how your partner feels about moving in together, or whether you are both ready, here are five questions to ask before it happens.
How would you like to manage shared spending? Suppose you haven’t already spoken about money. In that case, you need to know that you both have similar views and are willing to share the financial responsibilities — whether that’s rent, weekly groceries, or paying household bills on time.
What are your biggest hopes about living together? When you both have the same expectations (or understanding of each other’s expectations) it can lead to fewer disagreements, as you’ve communicated your future relationship goals to each other.
I can be difficult to live with because… Living together can bring special moments, however when you don’t know someone’s worst habit, like leaving towels on the bed or being messy, then you’ll be disappointed or angry when it happens. This question also requires you to reflect on your own “quirks”. We all have them!
How do you think household chores should be split? Chores can be boring to talk about, especially when you’re in the fun bubble of moving in together, but once you’ve decided on how the chores can be split you won’t be arguing about whose responsibility is what. Research also shows that couples are happier when they split household chores fairly.
Do you have worries about moving in together, if so, what? This is a chance for you both to be honest with each other, moving in with a romantic partner is a big change and can be stressful. Take off the rose-tinted glasses and communicate your worries with each other.
Talk about your childhood home: Moving in together is a great time to dive deeper into understanding what home means to you. Part of that is shaped by what we appreciate and disliked from our own childhood home. This is why it is important to discuss the emotional repercussions of your upbringing and how that affects your views on your shared home.