So you’ve been dating your S.O. for awhile, and you’ve decided it’s time to move in together. Well, hopefully — this really shouldn’t be an “Oh crap, my lease is up and I didn’t plan” situation. But even when you’re trying to do everything “right,” making the leap to full-time cohabiting is still a big transition. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of not having to pack a bag to spend the night together or getting to split your rent, but the fact is, there’s a lot more to living together than just making over a living room. Whether you’re thinking about taking the plunge or you’re already in the middle of it, here are some tips to keep your relationship healthy despite all the challenges of sharing a space. And a bed. And bills. And laundry. And a thermostat.

Excited couple moving into the new home

1. Make sure you really want to do this. Like we said already — this shouldn’t be about needing a place to live. Some totally valid reasons to hold off include: You don’t think they (or you) can carry their fair share of the financial responsibility, you’re not sure you see the relationship lasting long-term or you just plain don’t want to give up having your own space. Your lying-around-in-your-pajamas-wearing-a-face-mask-and-browsing-online-sales-with-no-one-bothering-you time is important.

2. Don’t make a big deal out of it online. Not only are your “OMG our love” Insta posts super annoying, it could also be an indication that you’re not as secure in your relationship as you think. If you do find yourself over-sharing about the intimate details of your bae’d-up life online, take a hard look at why. You shouldn’t move in with someone if it’s just another way that you’re “performing” happiness or what you think is expected of your relationship.

3. Be deliberate about spending quality time together. Just because you wake up next to each other every morning doesn’t mean you no longer need to put in an effort to really see each other. In some ways, it gets even harder to schedule quality time, because you hardly notice you’re not doing it. It might sound cheesy, but you still need “date nights” — even if it’s just a Netflix date.

couple breakfast eggs

4. Share household responsibilities equally. You’re not your S.O.’s parent, so you shouldn’t have to remind them to make the bed or that the bathroom needs to be cleaned. But you also shouldn’t be doing it all yourself. Figure out who’s doing what on a regular basis, whether that means you always dust the living room and they always clean the kitchen floor or you rotate tasks each week. Whatever your system, the most important thing is that you have one, because it’s not fair for you to have to be the chore nag.

5. Have a plan in case you break up. It might be unpleasant to talk about, but it doesn’t mean you’re saying it’s inevitable. You’re just being realistic about the fact that, in every relationship, it’s a possibility. If you’ve discussed things like who would move out, who would keep the security deposit and who gets the furniture, it’ll make everything a lot less painful and stressful if the relationship does come to an end. Even if you think something’s obvious (like of course you’d keep Mittens, he’s your cat), it’s best to make sure.

What are your tips for moving in with an S.O.? Tweet them at us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)