It used to be that moving in together was a MAJOR step you took (usually toward marriage) after much deliberation. Nowadays, between really really expensive rent in cities and millennials no longer wanting to live at home with their ‘rents, it can be so very tempting to just go for it. But according to relationship guru Susan Winter, it’s critical that you ask some tough questions before moving in together in order to have a healthy transition period. So if you and your S.O. are thinking about taking the leap, make sure these five signs you’re not ready to share an abode don’t describe your relationship.
1.You haven’t defined who and what you are to each other. “The talk” is the first step to a long-lasting relationship, says Susan. Have you addressed important questions such as, “Are we exclusive? What are the parameters of our existing relationship? What are the expectations we both hold concerning each other’s participation in this relationship?” Susan points out that, “You can’t just assume you’re on the same page.” It may be a tough conversation to have, but it’s *essential*. You can’t keep going with the flow when you’re sharing your home without risking some major emotional strain.
2. You haven’t established your relationship end-goals. This chat is hard to bring up, because it’s HEAVY, Susan acknowledges. But she says it’s a necessary conversation. “Make sure you’ve fully discussed where you see the relationship going, and exactly what you want in terms of a future with this person,” she points out. “Do they see the same desires when they think of a future with you?” Make sure you’re aligned with your partner, so that you feel super comfortable and excited to be taking things to the next level.
3. You haven’t clarified who pays for what. “No, it’s not a tacky question!” exclaims Susan. “It’s essential. Expectations around joint finances need to be spelled out — in detail. Otherwise you’re courting future arguments. Be very specific on each point, and each person’s responsibility.” Maybe even consider making a joint budget.
4. You’re hoping that living together will bring you closer, give you monogamy or make your partner love you more. These desires are red flags, says Susan. “What you hope living together will do for you may reveal just the opposite. Living together only intensifies what you have already,” she explains. “That means the issues, as well as the good times. For example, if there’s trust issues, it won’t go away now that you know where your partner is at night. Living together can’t be a tool to monitor your partner’s behavior.” Bottom line: Build the relationship you want before apartment hunting.
5. It’s a last ditch effort to save your relationship. Heed Susan’s advice here: “If you’re hoping this will fix what’s wrong, it won’t,” she says. Unfortunately, “It’ll magnify all the issues you have as a couple.” She points out that “living together is a team effort. If you’ve had ongoing battles with your mate, then this could become an explosive situation. Remember, there’s nowhere to go in order to ‘get away.’”
Have you and bae navigated this territory? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)