Deciding to move in with someone is a big deal — in part because, to some extent, the decision is really a leap of faith, but with more paperwork. Ultimately, you never know what's going to happen or what impact cohabitation is going to have on your relationship. However, all of that means you might want to consider having some serious conversations about what moving in is going to mean long-term, which is why it's so important to have questions to ask your partner about the future so you have a better idea of what's to come before you sign that lease. You want to make sure that both you and your partner’s future goals align and that you are on the same page about what this means for the relationship and where it's going. Not to mention just the short-term realities like how you'll be handling all the finances.
So, to help figure out the most important questions to ask your SO about the future, I reached out to the experts: Grace Lee, co-founder of A Good First Date Online, and Chris Armstrong, founder of the relationship coaching company Maze of Love. Both agree that having a real, frank conversation about long-term goals and desires is an essential step before moving in together. Here are the questions they suggest you ask.
This question may be more of an immediate future question, but it's still very important. For one thing, it will help you avoid a lot of fighting over finances in the future — and, as Armstrong explains, improves your chances of the relationship being successful. “I've seen so many situations where couples move in with each other and the one who moved in did not pay their fair share in the eyes of the person who was already living there,” says Armstrong. “This is a very short-term question that is necessary to enable financial planning on both sides and reduce fighting. Money is a doozy in almost all relationships so determining expectations and affordability is a must before making the moving leap.”
Does moving day seem too early to be talking about kids? Well, the experts say no. In fact, as Armstrong says, “This is something that should have been asked long before deciding to move in with each other. Now, it may be that neither couple wants kids, but if one does and the other doesn't, moving in just to move out later will be a hard emotional investment that could have been avoided.”
Lee agrees, adding that whether or not children are in your plans may have a big impact on where you live in the future, and you need to be sure both of you are open to living in somewhere more family friendly. “Many young people may start their early careers in big cities but when it comes to raising a family would prefer to live closer to home or in the suburbs,” explains Lee.
This may not be the most romantic topic to bring up before you move in, especially when you're excited to be taking the next step and getting more serious with the person you love. However, Lee says it's really important to have an exit strategy, just in case. “Think of this as a non-official prenuptial agreement, loosely defining what happens will give each partner security,” says Lee. “Some things to consider: How long the other person has to find a new place and how to divide up furniture or even the dog.”
Ultimately, Armstrong says, these conversations come down to talking about your “needs” before moving the relationship — and your mailing address — forward. “Really, any conversation about needs not wants must occur before two people move in with each other,” he explains. “In short, needs are non-negotiable aspects of a partner and life that, if not met, will make a partner miserable. Too many times, people break up after so much investment (financial, emotional, physical) because there were no questions and answers about needs.” While you can never fully predict the future, having some basic understanding of how each of you envision it can go a long way toward making the right decision about moving in together.