If you’ve been with your partner for a while, the question is bound to pop up. Is it time to move in? Perhaps more importantly, can your relationship survive the stress of combining households? Moving in is among the biggest leaps taken in most relationships. Not only is it a new level of commitment, but it’s downright difficult to undo. When it works, though, the feeling of coming home at the end of the day is worth every small squabble.
Even the most successful relationships have their growing pains, so be prepared. When you anticipate these bumps, you’re more likely to see through the temporary frustrations and reap the rewards of a new home with your sweetheart.
Is Your Relationship Ready?
First, it’s absolutely essential to ask yourself these hard questions before making the jump. Remember that the more painful an answer, the more important it is to look directly at the source of that discomfort. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy, and heartache by being straight with yourself about the state of your relationship.
- Do you both want to share a home? If one partner isn’t thrilled about it, resentment is likely to develop. Wait until the desire is mutual.
- Have you ever had a fight? If not, don’t even think about moving in! Successful relationships aren’t devoid of conflict. They’re partnerships where both parties know how to fight fair. Differences of opinion are inevitable when your coveted teapot and your beloved’s antique taxidermy compete for mantlepiece real estate, so know how to problem solve, maintain boundaries, and compromise in advance.
- Have you passed the 72-hour test? Have you shared space long enough to see them scatter their toenail clippings on the carpet, chew on peanut butter straight out of the jar, leave the cabinet doors open, and rest their smelly feet all over your throw pillows? Other human beings are gross, and even your soulmate has a mildewy shower.
- Do you know why you’re moving in? Oftentimes, it’s the natural progression of an evolving relationship. But if the first answer that springs to mind is, “I just want to save on rent,” “Maybe now we’ll get married,” or the perennial favorite, “My ex will be jealous,” you may soon regret your decision.
Preventing Household Horrors
If none of those relationship questions unsettled you, congratulations! You just may have what it takes to live together. But have you anticipated all the logistical struggles that come with move-in day? Here’s another checklist of practical concerns to help you avoid a domestic deathmatch. If you’ve considered everything on the list, load up the truck. But if your answers make you uneasy, you’ll want to address the issues before you’re locked into a long-term agreement.
- Does your new place have enough space? Few things make passion shrivel like a personal space shortage. If there’s nowhere to be alone, or if the bathroom has no door, irritation is inevitable.
- Is your new place convenient for both of you? If the location of a new home is a major sacrifice for one partner in terms of proximity to work, family, friends, or hobbies, there’s the potential for discontentment and even resentment down the line. When possible, select a place that requires a little give and take for both partners.
- Whose furniture are you keeping? When two bedrooms become one, someone’s mattress, dresser, and nightstand probably won’t make the cut. Have you worked out who’s bringing what? Remember that you can get tax breaks for charitable donations, and besides, it can feel positively therapeutic to finally be rid of that paisley lamp your aunt gave you.
- How are you going to decorate? Unless you met at an interior design conference, you’re each coming to the dining room table with an independent sense of style. And when “quaint seaside cottage” meets “modern penthouse,” the result is not exactly Home and Gardens material. You’ll need to have a harmonious vision in mind to avoid a living room look you both despise.
- Do you have a plan for chores? Just because she’s a master of romantic gestures or he never forgets your birthday doesn’t mean you should expect that same consideration in the face of a sink full of week-old dishes. Plan ahead to divide chores fairly and squarely.
- Are you really okay with your partner’s decor? So maybe not all of your partner’s room accents are sophisticated. But no matter how immature or tacky you may find your partner’s taste, don’t denigrate it, or worse, try to subtly persuade (i.e., manipulate) them to move their giant beer glass shaped like a boot into the garage. If you catch yourself doing this, ask yourself why it matters so much. The need for control often points to an insecurity of your own.
Making it feel like home
Just because you’ve added two sets of furniture doesn’t mean you have a home. As countless needlepoint wall-hangings attest, a home is more than a house full of IKEA goods—it’s got to feel cozy, safe, and welcoming, too.
Fortunately, you and your partner chose each other, and have succeeded so far, based on something magic. There’s a spiritual power that emerges from your connection. It’s like a word: throw some letters together, and a meaning that didn’t exist before springs to life. Your relationship also creates new significance in the world, and with careful guidance, your home can be the shelter for your relationship.
So the final tip for couples on the verge of this enormous step is to do everything with intention. Never lose sight of the fact that, even in the most mundane and frustrating moments, your new shared home is both the refuge and manifestation of your love.
Is it the right time to move in? Not sure if your partner’s the right one? KEEN advisors can help you find domestic bliss.