After you’ve been with your partner long enough, moving in together just feels like the natural next step — especially in a society where living together unmarried is more common than jumping straight into marriage. No matter how many partners you’ve lived with, each experience is unique and exciting in its own way.
But while that’s most certainly the case, that doesn’t mean it is or even should be simple. As with every aspect of a relationship, it involves communication — and lots of it — especially before you decide whether or not moving in together is right for you and your partner. Without communicating even the tiniest details, you could end up with some regrets about taking this major step.
“All of this is so very critical because the novelty of moving in together lasts about a week,” Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. “Once the logistics kick in, it becomes about compromise, desire, individual needs, wants, fears, and habits.”
Because life is far too short for regrets, especially when it comes to someone you’re sharing your life with, sitting down and seriously discussing things ahead of time is a must. Here are eight discussions you absolutely need to have, according to experts.
1. Finances — All Of Them
“Talking about finances is hardly romantic,” bestselling author and relationship expert, Susan Winter, tells Bustle. “But worse than that is the reality that you’re the one shouldering the entire rent and utilities. So while it might be uncomfortable to have a preliminary discussion about your financial expectations now, guaranteed it will be far worse if left neglected.”
From student loans you’ve yet to pay off, credit card debt, who makes what, who will pay for what, how bills will be divided — all of it must be, literally, laid out on the table. You don’t want to find out months into living together that your partner can’t pay their share because Fanny Mae has come to collect on their outstanding loans.
2. Why You’re Moving In Together
In a place as expensive like New York City, plenty of people make the choice to move in together because it’s cheaper. Sure, you cut one overpriced rent from the equation, but that’s not a very good reason as to why you should move in with anyone, especially a romantic partner.
“Hopefully, you’re both on the same page as to ‘why’ you’re moving in together,” says Winter. “Nothing is worse than discovering the person you thought was [head-over-heels] about you actually wanted to lower their overhead.”
Winter suggests asking each other why moving in together is the right decision for the here and now: Is it about intimacy? Is it the next milestone? Is this a trial period before tying the knot? You need to know the why and be in agreement on that why.
3. How You’ll Figure Out Petty Arguments
Arguing is part of every relationship, whether you live together or not. But when you’re sharing a space with someone else, those arguments can become petty. You never really realize just how annoyed you can be by your partner until you come home after a long day to see they’ve eaten the last of the German chocolate ice cream you’d be daydreaming about since noon.
“You’ll get on each other’s nerves [when you move in together],” Justin Lavelle, relationship expert and chief communications officer for BeenVerified.com, tells Bustle. “You’ll learn very quickly what annoys you about your partner.
From leaving empty cups on the counter to having an incessant need to crack [their] knuckles, your partner’s annoying habits will become clear as day once you start living together.”
4. How You’ll Handle The Day-To-Day Of Living Together
“In the excitement of moving in together, couples can lose sight of clarifying their day-to-day functionality,” says Winter. “Have you talked about who does what? Do you both share in the household chores equally? Or do each of you have your own areas of preference?”
Winter says that while it might seem trivial to have this discussion about sharing chores prior to moving in together, after you do start sharing a place together, you’ll realize just how un-trivial the discussion was.
“While the glow is still warm and fuzzy, talk reality,” says Winter. “Don’t leave anything up to your partner’s assumption. The same holds true for you.”
5. What’s Important To You When It Comes To How You Live
What people consider “comfortable” living varies greatly. While some are content to sleep on a mattress that’s on the floor, others, after a certain age, wouldn’t dream of it. Some want a TV in the bedroom, others don’t like the idea. How you each live and see yourselves living together is a discussion that matters.
“This is the time to brainstorm and work as a team,” says Winter. “Come to some basic agreements now, and know that you can alter and amend them at a later date as needed.”
6. How You’ll Deal With Seeing Other Sides Of Each Other
Even if you’ve been having sleepovers almost every night of the week, you’re still not privy to what you’re going to be privy to once that space becomes officially shared by moving in with each other.
“Living together will probably flesh out incompatibilities you may [not] have encountered thus far, and it will certainly bring issues and conflicts to the surface much quicker,” Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. “This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the nature of the individuals, on their dynamic as a duo, and on their desire to share a life without running for the hills at the first sign of trouble.”
7. What Will Be The Policy About Having Friends And Family Over
Let’s be honest: You’re not going to love all of your partner’s friends, just like they’re not going to love every one of your friends. Then, once you throw in the dynamics of each other’s families, you have a whole set of issues that need to be ironed out before you even start looking for that perfect place to start your life together.
“You may think it’s great to have your college roommate come to visit and crash on the couch, but does your partner feel the same way?” asks Winter. “And what about your partner’s friends? Now that [they’re] living with you, does that mean their friends are free to come and hang out like they did before you shared a home?”
Your relationship and your friendships shouldn’t suffer just because not everyone in your life meshes the way you wish they would, so coming up with rules well in advance is essential.
“Make it a policy that whenever people want to come to the house,” says Winter, “you’ll discuss it with each other first.”
8. How You’ll Handle The Changes In Your Relationship
(and if you try, then good luck to you), people can evolve (or regress) in their own. When this happens when you’re living together, your relationship is inevitably affected if you’re not growing together. You want to discuss exactly how you’ll handle those changes, no matter how small or big.
“Your relationship will change [after moving in together],” Lavelle says. “People tend to change as time goes by. Many aspects of our personalities stay the same, but things like our goals and aspirations change. Expect to evolve more than you ever did before when you take your relationship to this level, and be prepared to adapt to make the relationship work.”
Yes, moving in together is amazingly exciting and wonderful and solidifies that you both want to keep evolving together, but it’s so important to discuss these things before you do move in together. It may feel awkward to bring some of these things up at first, but in the long run you’ll be so happy you did