How Do You Know When It's Time to Move in Together?

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If you and your partner have been seeing each other for some time and things are going well, the thought of moving in together will start to cross your mind. 

However, living together is a pretty big step, so whether it’s your first time or you’ve lived with a significant other before, you probably want to make sure you’re ready to take that leap.

“​​Moving in together means that you are making a significant investment in the relationship,” says Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a professor and clinical psychologist in New York City. 

Signs That You’re Ready to Move in Together

Romanoff lists some signs that you’re ready to move in with your partner, as well as some indications that you’re not quite there yet. 

You’re Basically Living Together Already

If you feel as if you’re basically living with your partner already, it could be a sign that you’re ready to move in together. For instance, you might spend five or six nights a week together, and find that this arrangement works seamlessly for you both.

You’re Ready to Deepen Your Commitment

Another sign is that you want to make a greater commitment to your partner. The prospect of waking up next to them every day should excite you rather than inspire feelings of terror. 

You're Both on the Same Page

Having a shared understanding of the move and the future that you have with your partner is essential so you can travel together on the same path instead of drifting apart due to different expectations and timelines for what each of you want. 

Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

Before you move in, you should have a conversation about what the move means to each of you and what you see for your collective future.

— Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

You’ve Discussed Finances 

Moving in with a partner is different than living with a roommate as the financial structure of the relationship is not as clear and concise. There are many more grey areas, which necessitates a thorough conversation about finances

Feeling stable in your financial situation with your partner, having open discussions about money, and navigating fiscal planning together indicates that you are not only ready to move in together but that you are equipped to manage most of the hardships couples struggle with in the early stages of cohabitation.

You’re Not Moving in to Solve a Problem

People who move in together to solve a problem tend to struggle because moving in will only be a short-term solution to a problem that will exist deeper into the relationship. 

Couples should move in together when they feel that this step is symbolic of becoming more committed to each other, while also holding the understanding that you are each two separate beings who can maintain a level of independence from each other.

You are not ready to move in if you are primarily motivated by factors that seem like solutions to problems. Examples include: wanting more time together, moving in for financial reasons, or trying to resolve trust issues by physically keeping track of your partner. 

For instance, folks who move in together to solve trust issues in the relationship tend to be naive to the fact that those conflicts will remain and morph into more sophisticated methods to carry out the problem. Partners will become more secretive or deceptive, despite spending more time together. 

You cannot solve problems through indirect or external circumstances; they must be managed head on. Moving in at this stage is not the answer.

Mental Health Considerations of Living Together

“When you move in with a partner, it's important to create and maintain your own alone time and independence,” says Romanoff.

"It is essential for partners to maintain their own distinct worlds and then come back together to invigorate and strengthen their relationship. If each partner does not make efforts to do this, they can easily become co-dependent and resentful of each other," according to Romanoff. This can take a toll on your mental health and your relationship.

Tips to Help You Adapt to Living Together

Romanoff shares some tips that can help you adapt to living with your partner. They are listed below.

Check-in With Each Other Regularly

The early stages of moving in are important because you are both learning about each other and navigating this new experience together. 

Be sure to check-in with each other on a regular basis to explicitly state what is working well and what could be improved. 

This fosters a sense of consideration and acknowledgment of the things you appreciate about each other and what could be done to improve the relationship.

Keep Communication Lines Open

Overcommunicate about everything. If something irritates you about your partner, be proactive in creating solutions and communicating what doesn’t work for you. 

Communicating your needs and priorities upfront will save you a great deal of time and stress down the line, before problematic behaviors become entrenched patterns. 

What to Do If It Doesn’t Work Out

If the living situation is not working, Romanoff recommends asking for what you need instead of staying silent. She says even if you and your partner were secure and in-sync before the move, this is a significant transition and will require a great deal of flexibility, self-reflection, and compromise on each partner’s part.

“Go in with the expectation that this will be challenging, and make the commitment to each other to speak up when something doesn’t work, with the intent of preserving the relationship,” says Romanoff.

A Word From Verywell

Deciding to move in with your partner is a big decision that has a significant impact on your relationship and your life. 

It’s important to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and that you and your partner are aligned on factors like your future and finances. You should feel ready to deepen your commitment to your partner and excited about the prospect of living together.

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