If you’ve recently decided to move in with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner: Congratulations! Moving in together for the first time is an exciting step in any relationship, whether you’ve been together for years or just a few months.
Everyone’s situation is unique, but in general, moving in together can be a great long-term compatibility test for any relationship. That’s because when you live with your partner, you’ll practice working through new responsibilities together, experience new types of conflicts, and ultimately get to know them better than ever before. It’s exciting, to be sure, but it can also be a little overwhelming!
When Should You Move in With Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend?
Like it or not, you’re not going to find specific guidelines on the “perfect time” to move in with your partner. The truth is: There’s no hard and fast rule on how long you should be dating before moving in together for the first time.
Every relationship is different, and it’s up to you to assess your own unique situation to determine when you two should move in together. And not for nothing: There’s no rush! This is an important discussion that can take some time. Think through your feelings, anxieties, and expectations with care since this decision will greatly impact all aspects of your life.
With a recession on the horizon, apartment rental rates skyrocketing, and the housing market so difficult to navigate, it’s no surprise that cohabitation is on the rise. But despite all of this, it’s important to remember that living with your significant other is a big step that should not be taken lightly.
In other words: Don’t let convenience be the main reason you move in with your partner for the first time.
What to Do Before Moving in With Your Partner:
Once you’re ready to make the move, it’s important to discuss logistics. You’ll want to ask each other important questions like:
- Where will you live? Will you move into an existing home or apartment, or will you get a new home together?
- How will you split utilities and responsibilities like chores, cooking, and shopping?
- Will you be expanding your family soon? (This can include children or pets!)
- What are your expectations regarding decor? Do your tastes and preferences clash?
These are just a few examples of questions to ask your boyfriend or girlfriend before you move in together, but the list goes on. It might be tough to figure out where to start, so just focus on what’s most important to you and your partner first.
Related: How to Organize a New Home as You Unpack
Feeling Nervous About Moving in Together?
If you’re feeling anxious about living with your partner for the first time, it is helpful to do a trial run by spending some days or nights together in each others’ homes.
This can be difficult if you’re both living with roommates or parents, but do your best to try and get to know each other better, even if it’s just by asking questions and spending time together. Until now, you’ve likely only seen the “best sides” of each other. Now that you’ll be living together, it’s essential to be prepared to see all sides of your partner every single day.
How to Move In With a Significant Other for the First Time
Once you’ve taken the time to think through your decision, it’s time to put things in motion. Here are our top 10 tips to help give you a seamless, stress-free transition into moving in together:
1. Make an active decision to live together
Especially if you’ve been together for a long time, it can be easy to slide into living together rather than actively deciding. Be sure to have a deliberate conversation about why you’d like to move in together. It’s important to know your partner’s expectations and that they know yours. What are your goals, and what goals do they have?
Related: It’s Official: You Need to Move. Where to Live?
2. Be proactive about discussing the future
It’s important to discuss the current stage of your relationship and hold honest expectations of what moving in together means for the future. If one person in the relationship believes that moving in together implies marriage and family are in the cards, but the other is content with simply living together without further commitment, this will obviously cause issues down the line. Approach these discussions honestly and ensure you’re both on the same page.
3. Decide where you’ll live and what you’ll bring
Logistics are crucial when moving in together for the first time. Will you combine homes or find a new place to call your own? Nailing this down early can help set expectations and get you excited rather than stressed about the move. Once you figure this out, you can determine what you’ll bring into your new home.
Pro tip: Moving is a great time to downsize, declutter, and reorganize. Take advantage of this fresh start, even if your new place has enough room for all of your things.
Related: Donation Pick Up or Drop Off Options Near You
4. Think about how you’ll split utilities and responsibilities
It’s no secret: Rent, utilities, and other home expenses are not cheap. Get in front of these potential stressors by discussing them early on in the moving process.
You don’t necessarily need to share all of your financial information with your significant other. But it would help if you talked about finances, utilities, and other expenses you may incur while living together and how you intend to split the costs. The same goes for responsibilities like taking out the trash, doing the dishes, general housekeeping, etc. Setting these “house rules” from the start can help avoid conflict in the future.
Related: How to Keep a House Clean Every Day of the Week
5. Decorate your space together
Home decor is a more exciting topic for some than others, but it’s important to consider when moving in together. It goes without saying that one person should not make all of the decorating decisions for your new home. (Even if the other person insists they don’t mind!)
Since you’re sharing this new space, your tastes and preferences should be equally expressed in the decorations you pick out. Discussing your home decor likes, dislikes, and expectations can help create a space where you both feel relaxed and at home.
6. Take time for self-care
In the excitement of living together, it can be easy to spend all of your free time with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner at first. But don’t forget: It’s essential to set aside “me time” and create your own individual spaces within your new home.
To be able to care for others, you need to care for yourself properly. Even if you have a small apartment, be sure to find ways to give each other independence. Maybe you can set up a personal desk or workstation for your creative projects, or a cozy reading nook in the corner of your bedroom. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!
7. Learn how to communicate
When people live together and spend ample time together, there are bound to be disagreements, bad moods, and spats of all kinds. We’re all human, and unfortunately, we all have bad days.
Moving in for the first time means learning to live together successfully on a day-to-day basis. You’ll get a feel for their random quirks, bad habits, pet peeves, and more. If something bothers you, don’t let it fester. Chances are, if your partner is doing something that’s upsetting you, they may be doing it unknowingly and unintentionally. Bring up any issues in a mature, respectful way, or you may start to resent each other over things that could’ve easily been avoided.
Kindness, understanding, and proactive communication are crucial to overcoming these inevitable hurdles.
8. Have a contingency plan.
We know it’s not something you want to think about right now (or ever). But creating a contingency plan in case you break up may give you and your significant other peace of mind as you move in together. That way, there’s less pressure if things don’t work out.
This can be as simple as keeping separate personal bank accounts while opening one joint account to handle shared bills and utilities. Leases and household items are also up for discussion in these scenarios. It’s good to outline how these items will be divided up and who is the primary leaseholder, if you’d both sacrifice your security deposit and break your lease early, etc.
Make Moving in Together a Breeze
If you’re considering moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, talking it over is the first step. Of course, no one can ever predict the future. But regardless of what happens, living with a significant other can be a great experience in many ways. Not only will you have the opportunity to get to know your partner more deeply and intimately, but you might learn some new things about yourself along the way, too. Take your time and enjoy the ride!