Over the past few years, I have come to realize that there are some strong opinions and views out there when it comes to living together before marriage. In my mind, moving in together before marriage makes sense in order to have a “practice run” so you know what you’re committing to. Regardless of your viewpoint, I encourage people to think things through before making this decision. Figure out what makes the most sense for their relationship. Having regular, open communication about moving in together is going to be helpful in avoiding conflict. So here are seven questions you should be asking before moving in with your significant other.
1. Why are we moving in together right now?
Is it due to convenience and to save money on rent? Is it just because all of your friends are moving in with their partners? Or is it because it feels like your are truly both ready to take the relationship to the next level? Frankly, doing it just to save some money each month or just because “everyone else is” isn’t really a solid reason. Be sure that you are both ready for it.
2. Who is going to pay for what?
The one thing that couples fight over the most is money. If you are searching for an apartment together, make sure that it fits each person’s budget. Also, agree in advance who will write the check for utilities, cable, and rent. If one person is going to be responsible for paying the bills from his or her own account, the other should have a set due date of when to transfer his or her half of the bills every month. Who is going to buy groceries and when? Who is paying for dinners when you go out to eat? There are a lot of financial decisions to consider.
3. Who is keeping what and who will sell their stuff?
If you are each coming from your own place, it may be time to consolidate. Chances are that you won’t have room for two sofas and two dining room sets. If you are lucky, there is usually one person who doesn’t mind getting rid of their cheap furnishings (it’s usually the guy) -especially if it’s their old college dorm furniture to begin with. Avoid delaying your decision to get rid of items just to see whether it might fit in the new apartment. It’s a waste of money to pay movers to move stuff you ultimately won’t keep. Check out this handy infographic from moveline.com
4. How clean do you expect your space to be?
“Clean” can mean very different things to people. (As I have discovered by living with my current roommate.) There’s “everything is not visible to the untrained eye” clean, and then there’s “white glove clean,” with countless variations in between. If you’re like me, you can’t sleep, work or concentrate if there are dishes in the sink or dust on shelves. I’m slowly learning to adapt. But anyone living with me has to be sensitive to my OCD.
5. How will chores and cleaning be divided?
It is important to have the discussion about how the housework will be divided. Who is going to clean the bathroom? Who is going to vacuum? Who is going to take the trash out? Who is going to cook? Who is going to feed and walk the dog? Is each person going to be assigned certain tasks or will it be on a rotation?
6. How much alone time do you both need?
Everyone needs “alone time” to some degree. Make sure that your apartment accommodates those needs. Having another room to escape to is handy if you are used to having control of the remote or want a quiet place to work or read while your other half watches TV.
7. What happens in the event of a breakup?
This is the big one, but it can be hard to talk about when it seems like everything’s going great. In a world where pre-nups are virtually expected in getting married now if a divorce ever happens, it is also important to have some kind of plan in place for what to do if the two of you breakup while living together.
Living together is a monumental step when you are in a serious relationship. If you think logically about the details before diving in, it may save you a lot of headaches.