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 鈥榬ents, it can be so very tempting to just go for it. But according to relationship guru Susan Winter, it鈥檚 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鈥檙e not ready to share an abode don鈥檛 describe your relationship.

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1.You haven鈥檛 defined who and what you are to each other. 鈥The talk鈥 is the first step to a long-lasting relationship, says Susan. Have you addressed important questions such as, 鈥淎re we exclusive? What are the parameters of our existing relationship? What are the expectations we both hold concerning each other鈥檚 participation in this relationship?鈥 Susan points out that, 鈥淵ou can鈥檛 just assume you鈥檙e on the same page.鈥 It may be a tough conversation to have, but it鈥檚 *essential*. You can鈥檛 keep going with the flow when you鈥檙e sharing your home without risking some major emotional strain.

2. You haven鈥檛 established your relationship end-goals. This chat is hard to bring up, because it鈥檚 HEAVY, Susan acknowledges. But she says it鈥檚 a necessary conversation. 鈥淢ake sure you鈥檝e fully discussed where you see the relationship going, and exactly what you want in terms of a future with this person,鈥 she points out. 鈥淒o they see the same desires when they think of a future with you?鈥 Make sure you鈥檙e aligned with your partner, so that you feel super comfortable and excited to be taking things to the next level.

3. You haven鈥檛 clarified who pays for what. 鈥淣o, it鈥檚 not a tacky question!鈥 exclaims Susan. 鈥淚t鈥檚 essential. Expectations around joint finances need to be spelled out 鈥 in detail. Otherwise you鈥檙e courting future arguments. Be very specific on each point, and each person鈥檚 responsibility.鈥 Maybe even consider making a joint budget.

4. You鈥檙e 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. 鈥淲hat you hope living together will do for you may reveal just the opposite. Living together only intensifies what you have already,鈥 she explains. 鈥淭hat means the issues, as well as the good times. For example, if there鈥檚 trust issues, it won鈥檛 go away now that you know where your partner is at night. Living together can鈥檛 be a tool to monitor your partner鈥檚 behavior.鈥 Bottom line: Build the relationship you want before apartment hunting.

5. It鈥檚 a last ditch effort to save your relationship. Heed Susan鈥檚 advice here: 鈥淚f you鈥檙e hoping this will fix what鈥檚 wrong, it won鈥檛,鈥 she says. Unfortunately, 鈥淚t鈥檒l magnify all the issues you have as a couple.鈥 She points out that 鈥渓iving together is a team effort. If you鈥檝e had ongoing battles with your mate, then this could become an explosive situation. Remember, there鈥檚 nowhere to go in order to 鈥榞et away.鈥欌

Have you and bae navigated this territory? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!

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