Moving in together can be an exciting step for couples – and with rent, mortgage and living costs going through the roof, it might be something you’ve decided to do a little more quickly than usual.
“Moving in together can be a great way to deepen your commitment to one another. It will also allow you to see how your relationship works day-to-day, rather than only seeing each other’s highlights reel on your dates,” says Hayley Quinn, a dating expert for online dating platform, Match.
“You’ll be able to build a more authentic connection as you spend more time together. There can also be some practical benefits – moving in together often means you can save money as you split your costs.”
However, as joyful as this move can be, there will be lots to think about – living together brings up new considerations and dynamics to navigate and it’s important you can communicate.
“When you live apart, you have ample room for breathing space. If you have an argument, or like to have more independence, then you may like to have more physical space. Not everyone flourishes by spending more time with their partner, as some people have a higher need for independence than others,” adds Quinn. “This isn’t necessarily an issue, if both of you have a similar idea of how much time you’d like to spend together. But moving in can definitely exacerbate any issues that are already in the relationship.”
Talking about things in advance can help couples get to know each other’s needs and expectations, and set you on a good track for being able to communicate and work through issues as they arise. So, what should couples talk about before moving in together?
1. Your expectations
“Some people will see moving in together as a step towards even more commitment within a relationship, whilst others will see it as something that works for them right now, without looking too far ahead,” says Quinn. “Make sure you’re both on the same page – and don’t assume moving in today means married tomorrow, or even next year.”
2. How you’re going to divide household chores
Quinn says: “There’s a lot that comes with sharing a space – a lot of dirty dishes, piles of laundry and shopping to get. Chat about who is going to be responsible for what before diving in,” she suggests. “Whilst helpful to be organised, it’s also a good exercise to ensure that both parties of the relationship are committed and it’s not one-sided.”
3. Costs and finances
Many of us shy away from talking about money. But it’s really important for couples to be able to discuss this, says Quinn.
“With the cost of living crisis dominating headlines, now is a great time to be more candid about your finances with a partner,” she says. “What can you afford? What’s your credit history? What things are worth prioritising? And how are you going to divide up rent and bill payments?”
4. Who else is going to be sharing your space?
You’re setting up a home together – so boundaries around who else is going to be coming and going is definitely something to think about.
“Although this may not be an immediate question to ask, it is still a valid point to consider,” agrees Quinn. “Does someone want a pet? Does one of you have a best friend who is always crashing on the couch? Is one of you more sociable and prone to throwing parties than the other? Does someone work from home?
“These questions will enable you to get clear about how you’re going to use the space and divide it equally,” says Quinn. “Although it will be a shared home, remember that you’re more than entitled to your own quiet sanctuary to revert to when you need.”
5. What’s your emergency plan if it doesn’t work out?
This might sound negative or even potentially hurtful to some people – but it’s actually a healthy sign to be able to talk about these things with care. This might include an action plan, as well as both individuals having an ’emergency savings fund’ should you suddenly need to move out.
“Of course, you shouldn’t be going into something with the view of getting out. However, sharing a home is a big commitment, so it’s practical to consider an emergency back-up plan if it doesn’t work out,” says Quinn. “Consider if there is space for you to co-exist until you can use the break clause in your rental agreement to get out, and who owns the furniture that you bought together.”