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A guide for couples moving in together

After some time in the relationship, many couples take the plunge and decide to move in together.

What may seem like the most straightforward decision can come with questions. How will you divide the chores and decorate your space? What happens if you disagree or argue? Overcoming these obstacles is key to a peaceful home.

How long should a couple be together before moving in?

There’s no concrete answer to this question — how long you wait before moving in together depends on your situation. You may live in different places and want to wait before one of you commits to a new area. On the other hand, financial circumstances may mean you want to combine incomes and rent a home together.

Many relationship experts suggest waiting at least a year after you start dating to consider moving in together, while others say two years is the optimal amount of time. Waiting longer allows you to understand how the other person lives and address what you want from the living situation.

Signs you are ready to move in together

Have you been with your partner a while and considering moving into your first home together? Look for these signs to help back up your decision.

  1. You are OK with their habits

Recognising someone’s habits is one part, but accepting them can signify you are happy to spend more time with them.

  1. You can share your favourite things

We all have our favourite mugs, pillows, and so on. Being willing to share these with your partner is crucial to living together and another way of showing love.

  1. Your schedules are compatible

It’s no use moving in together if you’re barely going to see one another. Having compatible schedules means you’ll be able to spend quality time with each other — likely a significant reason you’re moving in together in the first place.

  1. You’ve taken a successful trip together

Going on holiday is an excellent way to test the waters of how living together could look. If you’ve taken a successful trip together and look forward to extended periods, it might be time to move in with each other.

  1. You’ve survived an argument

Living in closer proximities comes with its downfalls, namely in the way of disagreements and arguments. Surviving a fight and resolving differences are good skills before moving in together.

What should couples know before moving in together?

Young couple calculating their domestic bills at home

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to move in together, you must address a few things beforehand. Make sure you know these things before beginning the next step of your relationship.

The stage of the relationship

The most valuable advice for couples moving in together is to make sure this is what you both want. Open and frank discussions about where you’re at in the relationship prevent later heartbreak.

Financial states

Be honest with each other about your financial situations. If one of you earns a lot less than the other, this could determine what size property you rent or where you live. Having a secure financial status also lets the other person know you can pay your share of the bills for the foreseeable future, providing more confidence in your decision.

How you’ll split the rent and bills

Many landlords ask that rent is paid from one account — is this something you or your partner are comfortable with? Will one person pay the bills, or will you be responsible for certain accounts? How will you divide this? Addressing these questions is necessary to manage your joint outgoings.

How you’ll divide chores

Sharing household responsibilities ensures an equal and harmonious living experience. Perhaps you’ll each cook dinner on particular nights of the week and alternate the tedious task of cleaning the bathroom. Maybe you’ll establish a system for taking out the bins and how often the sheets are changed. Drawing up a moving-in-together agreement and addressing these smaller tasks earlier on means they’ll quickly become second nature.

Long-term goals and desires

Moving in together looks like different things for different people. One person may be doing it to save money on rent, while the other sees it as the start of a settled home. Discussing your long-term goals and desires, including how long you intend to stay in your chosen home/area, is crucial. Being on the same page on what this home means for you allows you to live a comfortable life together, working towards the same things.

Relationship advice for couples living together

Two young happy women talking while playing acoustic guitar and relaxing on the floor at home.

How you navigate a relationship changes once you move in with your partner. You can’t take a few days away from each other after an argument, and sharing your space with someone else requires more consideration.

Relationship problems after moving in together are likely down to a lack of communication or compromise. Quickly addressing and resolving any issues ensures a happy living experience.

Make room for ‘me time’

Having dedicated ‘me time’ and giving each other space within the home means you’re more likely to appreciate the joys of living together. Suggestions include a personal spa evening or a solo movie night. Baking or cooking your favourite dish just for you is also incredibly therapeutic.

Don’t make household decisions alone

Some people take a while to unpack and settle into a new place, while others are natural homemakers. Respecting your partner’s process is crucial if you belong to the latter. Don’t rearrange the furniture and decide on a new colour scheme in one afternoon. Making important household decisions, such as how to decorate your new place, is a great bonding experience and ensures you’re both comfortable.

Communicate your grievances

Moving in together will likely reveal many things about your partner you didn’t know before. If something bothers you, don’t wait for these feelings to grow. While calmer, share your issues with your other half and find a way to work through them. You may be surprised to learn they also have some grievances to unload.

Make a break-up plan

Discussing breaking up may be morbid, but for couples moving in together, having a contingency plan on what happens if you do part ways can be helpful. Setting out practical plans of action on what to do, including who stays in the home while you find other places to live, can take the pressure off cohabitating. This way, you’ll be able to have more fun renting together and maximise the perks.

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