3 Signs That Your Relationship Is Rock-Solid Enough For You To Move In Together

by Annie Foskett

The other day, I did my taxes and found out that I owe the IRS money for the first time. It's a bummer, but it happens. After crying a little bit on my accountant's desk and indulging in the requisite panic, I thought: "WHAT IF I SUBLET MY APARTMENT FOR A MONTH?" While I was being somewhat dramatic, I do live in New York, so even halving my monthly rent would be super kind to my bank account. Cue my next idea: "WHAT IF I MOVE IN WITH A BOYFRIEND?" In New York, being "ready to move in together" is synonymous with "wow, rent is jaw-droppingly expensive."

I quickly realized that forcing someone to become my boyfriend and move in together immediately is not exactly a scheme that a woman of sound mind would orchestrate. I reassured myself that dipping into my savings was OK and taxes are weird when you are a freelancer and whatever. Still, the point remains: if you and your partner are considering moving in together to save money, I empathize.

But moving in together is a huge step forward in your relationship, and it's not the right choice for every couple. Unless you're in dire financial straits, you probably want to wait until you and your partner feel ready and excited for that milestone. You shouldn't shack up just to save a few bucks, nor should you rush into living together because your family is pressuring you into a certain timeline, or all your friends (and, uh, current roommates — uh-oh) are moving in with their partners.

There must be a way to know when it's actually time to move in together. I spoke to clinical psychologist and host of The Web Radio Show Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. about how you can tell that you're ready to move in with your partner. (Spoiler alert: he says taxes aren't a valid reason. I knew I was onto something.)

You Really Want To Do It

I know, I know. At first, I felt like this answer was the exact vagueness that I so did not want to hear. But the most important sign that you should move in with a partner is "because you want to, for you. Not for them," says Dr. Klapow.

But what if I never want to move in with anyone?! I love my space! I love eating potato chips alone in my underwear! Maybe it's just like falling in love — when you know, you know. "You should feel in your heart of hearts that this is something you want to do for you and for your happiness," explains Dr. Klapow. Basically, trust your gut. Guts are good.

You Don't Feel Any Obligation To Move In

If you don't feel like you need to move in with your partner, but you want to anyways, that's a great sign that you're ready. (Sort of like how I don't need to drink that piña colada but I want to anyways.) Be wary of "feelings of guilt, obligation, or fear of losing [your partner] if you don't move in with them," says Dr. Kaplow. "[These] are red flags that you must pay attention to." Just like a relationship, you should feel calm and certain about moving in together, you shouldn't feel pressured.

You Feel Ready For The Challenges That May Come Up

Moving in together for the first time is by definition a thing that you and your partner have not done yet, so naturally, it will bring challenges. "When you move in together your relationship will forever change and that often means challenges and problems that have to be overcome," says Dr. Klapow. "It’s not just about lifting toilet seats and cleaning hair out of the drain. Its about seeing the person in a less than favorable light, seeing them every day, and losing the novelty of the relationship that often drives the attraction in the early stages."

I mean, moving in with a roommate you don't share a bedroom is difficult enough, so chances are if you feel ready for things to get messy and you feel willing to deal with these new obstacles, you're ready to move in. Best of luck! You've got this.