10 Things You Should Know About Your Partner Before Moving In Together
Moving in with someone should be done thoughtfully, with lots of conversation and compromise. However, in my case, well... let's just say I didn't take my own advice on the subject. It just sort of happened — quickly and with basically no thought or deep discussion. While in the long run we made it work, if I had it to do over again, there probably could have been some more discussion prior to my move-in. Because really, there are certain things you should know about your partner before moving in together that will help make the whole transition go more smoothly — and make for a lot less fights about chores. Ahem.
Going from living on your own or with roommates to living with your partner is going to be a pretty big transition, no matter how much you discuss things beforehand. But there are some major deal (and relationship) breakers that you can iron out before moving in by asking the important questions and answering your partner's honestly. You may even learn your lifestyles are incompatible before forking out first and last month's rent. Or you may find that you're totally in sync! Mostly, it's important to have these conversations to protect yourself. After all, living together can be a pretty big deal. Both your personal and financial lives are going to be enmeshed in a way that only happens when you start sharing an address. So, before you even consider picking up those keys, here's what the experts say you need to know about each other.
1. How they like to maintain their living space.
You know all those cute little quirks your partner has that are just so dang adorable to you? They're about to annoy the hell out of you. It’s just different when you live together, so before you move in, you really want to be sure you know everything you can about one another's lifestyles. This will hopefully help you iron out any deal-breakers.
Start with how your partner feels about chores, like who they believe is responsible for what, and how clean or messy they're OK with your home being. You’ll need to have some conversations about who's in charge of what, but trust me, knowing this before you move in together will save you from having a ton of fights and harboring resentment. The good news is that figuring it out doesn’t need to be awkward, says dating and relationship coach and author of The Secret Rules of Flirting, Fran Greene.
“This could be a fun chat because more than likely each one of you will have a preference," Greene tells Elite Daily. "If you both love or hate the cooking or the cleaning, now is the time to sort it out.” And remember: Nothing is permanent. “The division of labor can always change and it doesn’t always have to be 50/50,” assures Greene.
2. Their idiosyncrasies and pet peeves.
Want to know the quickest way to send me into a blind rage? Chew with your mouth open. Guaranteed to make me want to scream into a pillow, and anyone who wants to co-habitate with me better know that long before moving day. Chances are, your partner has some pet peeves and idiosyncrasies of their own, so make sure you know them before you move in.
Greene agrees, saying it’s “better to talk about how you can never use the same bath towel twice, or cleaning should happen only once a month, or you only use the dishwasher and never hand wash the dishes,” so that these topics don't become a battleground later. “Instead, figure out a plan so you both can live happily ever after under the same roof,” she adds.
3. Their daily routine.
You may not even realize it, but you have a daily routine. Whether you’re a night owl or a morning person makes a big impact on how you organize your day. That's why dating coach Erika Ettin stresses you should really know your partner’s general schedule before you become roomies. It's important to know things like their sleeping habits, if they are a morning person, and if they expect you to adapt their schedule, so that you can go to bed at the same time.
4. How they feel about money.
Talking about money is awkward, but if you're going to be moving in together and sharing finances, you need to know what's up with each others’ coins — including all the details on their credit and debt, because it's not just your credit on the line anymore. As Greene says, “It’s vital that you have a heart-to-heart about how you plan to share living and household expenses, entertainment, saving for the future, vacations, gifts, anyone who counts on your partner for financial support.”
In addition to knowing about each others' finances, it's also important to know how you each think about money. For instance, you should know how they pay their bills — and if they do it on time. Are they good about saving their money, or do they like to spend, spend, spend and worry about bills later? Before you lived together, this was their business, but now that you’re moving in, it’s important you know. “It’s the perfect time to talk about each other’s relationship with money, i.e., spending, saving, or giving,” Greene notes, adding you shouldn't be afraid to “ask questions and talk about your money habits, no matter how uneasy it makes you feel. The more you know about each other’s financial fitness or lack of the better off you are!”
And of course, and perhaps most important of all, as Ettin says, you need to ask, “How will the payments [for] rent, utilities, food, etc. be allocated?” The more detailed, the better.
5. How seriously they take your relationship.
There are lots of reasons to move in with your partner — some of them better than others. But what matters most, says Greene, is that you and your partner are on the same page as to why you're doing it. She says it’s important to have “the talk” so you have a clear picture of the status of your relationship before you move in together.
“It’s essential that you both know why the other one wants to live together," Greene explains. "Regardless of the reason — natural next step, convenience, financial, marriage-minded — you both have to be on the same page with each other.” If what you learn in the process is that it's just about financial savings or convenience for one of you, Greene says “it’s time to consider a roommate instead.”
6. If they have any allergies.
As someone with a lot of allergies, I can attest to the fact that they can have a pretty significant impact on my lifestyle and, by extension, my live-in partner’s lifestyle. Everything from what foods can be in the house, to what fragrances, and even what animals can come through the front door can be very limited, so you need to know beforehand if they have any allergies that could create a problem. For example, Greene says to consider what would happen if “pets come along and how do you negotiate this if one of you has three cats and the other is allergic?” This isn’t the kind of info you want to discover on moving day, when you show up with your cat carrier in hand.
7. If pets are part of the package deal.
Speaking of furry little friends, you should probably know your partner’s pet policy before moving in. Having little unexpected roommates might be something you don't like. Or, on the other hand, it can be a real bummer to belatedly find out that you won’t ever be able to get a puppy, like, ever. So, make sure you know where your partner stands on adopting pets, and if they're into it, what their preferred timeline looks like.
8. How visitor-friendly they are.
When you move in together, the home becomes a shared space — duh. But that also means that if either of you wants to have someone over, you’re inviting them into a shared space, so you need to take one another’s preferences into consideration. Before you're living together, Greene says you need to ask, “Are friends always welcome, or is it something that needs to be planned ahead of time?” The same thing goes for family visitors, so make sure you know “how often you want to spend time with your family as a couple or alone?” By knowing this in advance, it can “alleviate or mitigate potential arguments."
9. What their sexpectations look like.
What’s the best thing about shacking up? The shared bedroom, of course. All that access means there's plenty of opportunity for sexy time. But this also can reveal any libido discrepancies between you and your bae, which is why you definitely want to know if you have similar sexpectations. If not, consider coming up with a plan to help you two get on the same page. No one wants pay first and last month’s rent, only to have the relationship fall apart because you can’t make it work in your sweet new pad's one bedroom.
10. What happens if it doesn't work out.
This last thing is kind of a bummer, but it's incredibly important. Hopefully you’ll never have to test it, but before you take the step of moving in together, you need to know what it will mean — financially and logistically — if the living together situation doesn't work out. “Have a clear understanding — ideally in writing — of which assets you retain (from puppies to property). This will make it easier to split amicably if that unfortunately happens,” relationship expert and host of the Dates & Mates podcast, Damona Hoffman, writes for FYI,. Think of it as a living together prenup. Ideally you'll never need it, but if you do, you’ll be so grateful it's there.
Ultimately, making sure that you know all these things about your partner before you move in with them is really all about protecting yourself — and each other. Some of these conversations can be difficult or awkward, but it's great practice for all the conversations that'll come when you live together, and as your relationship progresses and gets more serious. Plus, it will put you on the right path so that when you do finally start playing house, it can actually be fun and bring you closer. After all, isn't that the whole point of taking that step together anyway?
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