There is no doubt about it. Taking on a roommate to share living expenses is one of the best ways to control your cost of living. It is practically a must if you live in some of the most expensive cities in the United States such as New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco. It is tough enough sharing an apartment with a stranger or even a friend, but you add love to the mix and there are certain things you should think about before moving in together.
Things start to get real when you live together. It can make or break a relationship. Odds are often better if you are already in a committed long-term relationship. According to Psychology Today, couples who live together before they feel ready could be sounding the death knell for their relationship. Communication and honesty will go a long way in preparing you and your partner for living together. There is much to talk, and think, about before moving in together. These tips will help you cover some of the most important things you need to discuss and decide before making the move.
Things to Know Before You Even Think About Moving in Together
- You want the same things from the relationship.
Make sure you're both thinking the same way about your relationship before moving in together. Are you both thinking marriage? Is this a trial run or a more permanent living situation? You should both be headed in the same direction for this to be a successful journey.
- You know how each other fights and you still want to be together.
Unless you have had an argument and were able to resolve it amicably, you should not be moving in together. Living in close quarters exposes you and your partner to stress and personality traits that neither of you would have to deal with if you could get some space at your own homes. Fighting fair and commitment to resolving disagreements are essential conflict resolution skills. If you haven't gone on a vacation together, plan a trip and go. This is a great test because it is a fixed period of time, you have to rely on each other, and there is nowhere to go if things get a little rocky.
- You both have a clear picture of the financial situation.
There are few things that are more uncomfortable to talk about than money, but that is why it is so important to talk about. It is one of the top reasons for conflict in a relationship. You need to know if you can both afford to move in together and how that will work. Making sure you can cover expenses and still have enough money to enjoy yourselves can alleviate some of the stress. Some options are to merge expenses and each pay half, assign certain expenses to one person or the other, or have a joint account to which each of you makes a percentage deposit proportional to each other's' income. There is no right way; there is only what is right for your relationship. Know what is in store beforehand to alleviate any resentment that could arise with not being upfront about your finances from the beginning.
You're Ready to Make the Move
- Where are you going to live?
Does one of you have a more desirable home that the other will move into or will you search out a new place for both of you to move into? Are you city slickers or suburbanites? Factor in each other's commutes and lifestyles when making this decision. The perfect place is out there, or, at least, perfect for right now.
- Take inventory of who has what.
Merging two apartments or households means duplication of a lot of items such as furniture, dinnerware, kitchen tools, electronics, and more. If either of you are not quite ready to part ways with your items, but there isn't enough room incorporate them in your new place, put them in a storage unit until you need them again. Either way, it is a good idea to go through everything and decide what can be thrown away, donated, or kept.
- Who's in charge of taking out the trash?
Decide who will be responsible for which household duties, and set some ground rules for standards of cleanliness. The person who has to clean the toilet deserves some respect and to know that they will not have to handle any conditions that are above and beyond the call of duty. If one person doesn't mind the cooking, then maybe the other would agree to clean up the kitchen afterward. Compromising and sharing the workload makes for a happy home.
These tips and conversation points should help with the logistics of moving in together. There are also some “what if” conversations to have in case living together really isn’t working out. What are some tips you think would be helpful to couples planning on moving in together?