When it comes to love and relationships, every single couple is different. This is wonderful because it means that every love story is special, but it makes it difficult to know whether you are making the right decisions.
There is no guidebook on how to navigate your relationship, and no one has ever had to make the exact same choices as you.
Because whatever the conventional wisdom is about a dating-related question, it may be completely off the mark when it comes to your relationship.
This makes it incredibly difficult to give good answers to questions like “How long should you date before marriage?” or, “How soon is too soon to move in?”
What works for one couple won’t necessarily work for another.
Some people move in together after just a few weeks and then end up getting married and living happily ever after.
Others wait years and then discover too late that they are not actually compatible.
So, when you ask yourself how soon is too soon to move in with your partner, consider both the specific dynamics of your relationship and the key findings about marriage and cohabitation. Then make whatever decision feels right for you and your partner.
How soon is too soon to move in
Your relationship has the best chance of success if you move in together after between two and three years. It is too soon to move in if you haven’t talked about what your lifestyle, cleanliness habits, and financial arrangements will be. It is probably also too soon to move in if you haven’t had a serious argument and resolved it.
Our real-life experiences of dating aren’t always compatible with the recommended timeframes for relationship milestones.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t other ways you can gauge whether you would be jumping the gun if you moved in with your relatively new partner.
Before you even begin talking about the logistics of moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, ask yourself whether you are ready to honestly discuss your finances, your lifestyle choices, your values, your cleanliness habits, your medical bills, and so on and so forth with them.
These are both important questions to consider when it comes to how you will have to adapt your lifestyle when you move in with your partner.
If you’ve never argued with your significant other, you may also be thinking of moving in too soon.
To live together happily, you need to be able to healthily talk through your frustrations and points of friction.
Having weathered the storm of at least one serious argument will enhance your ability to communicate and prove that neither of you is going to bolt when things get tough.
Have you had experience responding to “I love you” when you’re mad, and have you figured out what to say over text if your girlfriend (or boyfriend) is sad? These are just a few examples of issues you’ll be navigating more frequently once you move in together and are seeing more of each other.
What are the statistics about moving in together?
Well, I’m not sure whether this is good news or bad news, but most couples are either separated or married within two years of moving in together.
So be aware that if you decide to make the transition to a cohabiting relationship, you will probably either be married or broken up within the next 24 months.
Beyond that, the stats about couples who move in together are relatively positive.
Two-thirds of married American adults lived with their partners before marriage. So, if marriage is your goal, moving in together is certainly a step in the right direction.
Think about why you want to move in together
There are many reasons couples cohabitate.
These range from financial pressures (it’s cheaper to rent one place than two), to the realization that you’re spending all your time at each other’s places anyway, to a desire to establish a family home with a view to getting married.
Before you make any definite decisions about the future of your relationship, consider why you want to move in together.
If your only reason is that it will save you on rent, you may be failing to see the forest for the trees. If you move in with a partner, your housing situation is entirely dependent on the state of your relationship, and relationships are hard.
Unless you want to live with a partner because of a genuine desire to spend more time with them, you probably shouldn’t.
Are you comfortable enough to move in together?
This is the biggest question of them all.
Relationship expert after relationship expert will tell you that whether a couple survives moving in together has very little to do with how long they have known each other and much more to do with the quality of their relationship and communication.
Some couples could happily move in after just a few weeks because they have already had open and honest conversations about a wide range of issues, and because they don’t shy away from discussing their feelings.
Others would struggle to live together even after many, many months have passed because their communication styles just aren’t compatible.
When people get into new relationships, they often hide who they really are to please the person they are with. It can start with small things like pretending to like sushi to impress a girl on a first date. But his kind of dishonesty is very difficult to maintain when you are living with someone day in and day out.
This means that partners who aren’t fully themselves in each other’s presence will have a much harder time living together, because they are having to put on a persona in their own home.
People who are completely themselves with their girlfriend or boyfriend will find it much easier to live with them.
You should be comfortable seeing your partner with no makeup on, hearing them break wind, and comforting them when they cry before you sign a joint lease or contract of sale.
Let’s talk about…finances, baby!
First and foremost, you have to think about how you would deal with the financial realities of living together. Would you split the rent or mortgage evenly? Does that make sense considering how much each of you earns?
A partnership is a private relationship between two people. You can make whatever financial arrangements you want, so long as both of you are genuinely comfortable with what you have decided.
If one person is paying more because they earn a higher salary or because the other person is taking on more of the housework with a view to being the primary child carer, that is fine, as long as both people are aware of all the implications of this arrangement.
Financial conversations will obviously also be different if one person is moving into the place their partner is already living. They will also depend on whether the newly shared space is going to be rented, is already owned by one party, or is going to be bought by both.
When you add the nuance and possibility for conflict that all these factors contribute to a relationship dynamic, you can see why there is no easy way to answer the question “How soon is too soon to move in?”
That said, there is no need to despair. As long as you and your partner can speak openly and honestly about your own financial situations and what your financial expectations are of being in a co-habiting partnership, you shouldn’t run into any prohibitive issues.
If you don’t feel ready to lay bare your checkbooks and bank balances, however, it may be too soon to move in with your partner.
Do you want the same things for the future?
It is certainly too soon to move in together if you haven’t had an open and honest conversation with your partner about what you both want from your relationship. If you’re only moving in together to save money, or because it feels like the natural next step in a relationship, you should probably reconsider.
Generally speaking, you should only move in with someone if you can see a long-term future with them. If you haven’t talked about whether the two of you want marriage or children, you need to do so stat––and certainly before you go halves on a mortgage or give up your individual rented apartments.
Not everyone’s ideal future involves a wedding gown and band, and not everyone gets weak in the knees at the sight of baby hats in clothing stores. That’s absolutely fine.
But whatever future you want, you need to make sure that it aligns with what your partner wants before you commit to living together. If you don’t want the same things for the future, not only will it lead you to split in the long-term, but it will probably lead to resentment and arguments in the short term.
What will you do if you break up with a live-in partner?
Unfortunately, this is a question you have to ask yourself before you commit to moving in with your significant other.
While getting a shared pad is exciting, you should be realistic about the fact that it is not a guarantee of relationship success. Having a back-up plan for where you will go if things don’t work out is important.
Again, the specifics of this plan will completely depend on your circumstances. If you are buying a house, will one of you buy the other one out? Or will you sell it?
If you’re sharing a rented apartment, have you given any thought to who will keep it?
And most importantly of all, do you have a place you can stay for a short stint of time should you need to leave your shared accommodation because you have argued with your partner or feel unsafe?
While you don’t have to discuss all these questions with your partner (even though you can if you want to!), making sure that you know where you stand on these issues before moving in with them is important.
You might prefer to live in a romantic fantasy world and think you aren’t going to have to deal with these problems because you are sure your relationship is going to work out, but this can have consequences down the line.
Even couples who love each other so much sometimes break up, and if you have no savings and no way of getting independent accommodation, you will find yourself in a less-than-ideal situation.
Don’t move in together if you have doubts!
Don’t let yourself be pressured into moving in with your partner before you are ready.
Whether it is your parents who are hoping you’ll progress to the next stage of your relationship or your partner who keeps asking you to move in, don’t make such an important life decision without being completely sure it is the right thing for you.
You don’t want to be sitting there, keys in hand, wondering how to respond when someone calls you dramatic because you asked your boyfriend to please wash his plate after he uses it.
If you are dating someone who works nights and think you’ll struggle with how this might interfere with your sleep schedule, don’t rush into cohabitation.
Only you know your partner and the nature of your relationship well enough to know whether moving in together would be a good idea.
Don’t try to convince your partner to move in before they are ready
Just as convincing someone to date you means you’ll probably always be the person who is more invested in the relationship, convincing someone to move in with you means you’ll be more excited than they are about the move.
They will be more hesitant about the whole situation, and if things start to sour in your relationship, or if the living situation isn’t working for them, they will blame you.
Ultimately, it is too soon to move in together if one of you isn’t sure it is the right decision. You need both members of the partnership to be enthusiastic about the move if you want it to work.
It will only be a fun experience if your boyfriend or girlfriend is just as excited as you are about spending time scrolling through real estate sites, looking at homeware, and dreaming about the dinner parties you’ll throw for your nearest and dearest.
Don’t start living together without talking about it
The workplace trend of quiet quitting has been getting a lot of airtime recently. The basic idea is that you silently start doing less and less until you are only doing the bare minimum at your job and are only working between the designated hours.
This trend raises questions about the other areas of our lives in which we change our behavior without communicating what we are doing.
How often have you heard someone say, “We were basically living together anyway at that point”?
Pretty often, huh? That’s because a lot of people effectively do a “quiet moving in.” Yes, folks, you heard it here first.
Quiet moving in, so-to-speak, is spending so much time sleeping over at your partner’s place that you begin leaving your toothbrush there. Followed by a spare change of clothes. Which soon becomes a whole pile of spare clothes. To which you add a few of your books. And so on and so forth, until you are effectively living in your partner’s apartment.
In some cases, this split is equal, and both people spend approximately the same amount of time at each other’s places. However, for many couples, one person’s place is simply more convenient or a better fit.
If one person has an annoying roommate and the other lives alone, it is far more likely that you’ll be spending time in the living space where you won’t be interrupted.
However, if you basically move into your partner’s apartment without talking through logistics first, resentments might start to develop.
For example, one person may start to feel that it is unfair that they are paying all the rent for the place the other person is basically living. The partner who is always travelling and living out of a suitcase may start to resent the extra effort they always have to go to, and the fact that they don’t really have an equal claim to the place they’re always spending time in.
To avoid any of these problems from developing in the first place, have a conversation about moving in as soon as you notice that a “quiet moving in” has begun.
Hey, it’s me, Steven. Dating and relationships have always fascinated me. On Dategosu, you will find my best tips to make sure your next date is a great success!