This week I had a great email from someone who wants to know “when is the right time to move in with my girlfriend?”, explaining that he and his partner had been together for just over 8 months and both their leases were coming up. When looking at moving in together, there’s lots of boxes you should tick off first.
Firstly, and really important, what are your reasons for moving in together? Studies have shown a split between two main reasons for moving in together. The first is orientated around love and the plan for future marriage, the second around finance and convenience. No guesses as to which group had better success.
That isn’t to say however that you shouldn’t move in together for finance or convenience reasons, but if you do, to be sure that you both really love each other. Living with someone can be stressful and you learn a lot of new things about them, so you have to be confident in the stability of your relationship.
A lot of people will look at the length of their relationship to determine if they are ready to move in together yet. Everyone agrees that before 6 months is too early, 6-12 months is ok and 1-2 years is normal whilst 3+ years is weird. The fact is, every relationship is different, and it’s only between yourself and your partner to decide if you’re ready.
So sit down with your partner and together go through these few points to determine how you feel about moving in together and if you both feel that you’re ready. There may be parts you think need to be discussed more, or given time to think about. Don’t feel the need to decide right this minute whether you’re going ahead or not.
- Finances – Most couples like to split rent/utilities/groceries 50-50. At first it sounds like the most fair, but some couples look at their own salaries and adjust accordingly. I have friends who split their rent 2/3 and 1/3 because of the difference in their income. If you’re paying less in rent, you can always do more towards house chores ect to add to your contribution.
- Location – First of all, are you going to be moving into yours/theirs? Or will you be finding a new place? Second, is it situated near one or both of your work places? Do you feel you’re both happy with the location, and it’s within your budgets? These are all things you should talk over and be happy with before moving in together.
- Me Time – If you’ve been together a while, you’ve probably spent many nights or even weeks together at some point. You should at least know you’re happy to be around each other all the time. But when you move in together, you also need to make sure you have your own personal space at times. When couples first move in, there’s a honeymoon period where you’ll be tied at the hips, but you need to both know your own limits and personal needs.
- House Rules – You should make sure that your lifestyles are compatible for living together. For instance, is your girlfriend going to be ok if the boys come over for beer and football every weekend? Are you going to be ok with her mum popping over unannounced? You need to decide on what your guest policy is and what you’re both comfortable with. You’ll need to compromise with each other.
- Disagreements – The fact is, everyone fights every now and then. But you need to decide if you and your partner can handle getting into a fight whilst you live together. For instance, will you feel the need to shack up with a friend if you get into a fight? Will you have a silent war for weeks? Will one person end up sleeping on the sofa each time you have a fight?
- Cleanliness – This goes for all housemates, but cleanliness is only something you really find out after living with someone. You have to both decide on whether you can handle each other’s messes. Will you both do your share of the tidying up? Will you be ok if the shower is constantly clogged with hair? Will she be ok seeing your socks everywhere?
- The Future – Are you both on the same page? What do you expect to happen in the long term?
Hopefully all of these points has helped you think over the important parts of moving in with your partner, and you have a better idea if you’re ready or not.