Moving in together is a really exciting time in a relationship. It's a big step that shows just how serious the relationship has become. It's also a choice that should be taken seriously and with a lot of forethought. Take it from someone who definitely used to have a "leap before you look" policy about cohabitation. Needless to say that, after the initial excitement, it didn't take long before we ended up staring at each other over a pile of unpaid bills wondering the exact same thing: Did we move in together too soon? (Yes. The answer was yes.)
Cut to a messy breakup and an even more dramatic moving-out scene. Lessons. Were. Learned. Anyway, if this is all starting to sound a little too familiar for comfort, there's a good chance that you also jumped the moving-in gun a little too early. If you're not sure, relationship experts say there are definitely some telltale signs that you rushed into living together and it's time to start getting on the same page before it takes a toll on your relationship or — if you're past that point — it's time to start thinking of an exit strategy. Here are the signs that you and bae moved in together too soon.
1. You had your first big fight AFTER you moved in together.
Before you move in together, couples therapist and sexologist Isiah McKimmie told The Huffington Post, you need to have one big fight. I know that may sound strange, but having an argument with your partner is super revealing, and you want to know as much as you can about how they deal with a stressful and emotional situation, McKimmie explained. “Seeing how our partner reacts when an argument or difficult conversation arises is an important factor in deciding whether or not to stay with the person," McKimmie said. "If you can successfully manage arguments before and after the honeymoon phase, living together will probably be more harmonious.”
2. You fight about the bills every month.
It’s totally normal to fight about money from time to time, but if every time a bill arrives or the rent is due the two of you are arguing, chances are you moved in before you had the important finance conversation. “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,” Fran Greene, dating and relationship coach and author of The Secret Rules of Flirting, previously told Elite Daily.
She added that it's also important to not only talk about how you plan to divide the expenses, but to learn about how each of you thinks about money. Are you both spenders? Savers? Somewhere in-between? If you don’t know that answer before you move in, that can be a recipe for cohabitation disaster. “Talk about each other’s relationship with money, i.e., spending, saving, or giving,” Greene suggested. “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!”
3. You fight about the housework.
Home is supposed to be the place where you can relax and feel at peace, but if you are too busy fighting about the dishes your partner left in the sink to relax, it may be a sign that you moved in too quickly. This is why Greene says it's so essential to talk to one another about how you like to keep your home and how to divide up the chores before you move in. “More than likely each one of you will have a preference," Greene said. "If you both love or hate the cooking or the cleaning, now is the time to sort it out,” she advised. And remember: Nothing is permanent. “The division of labor can always change and it doesn’t always have to be 50/50,” Green added.
4. Their habits are driving you bananas.
We all have our idiosyncrasies. They can be endearing and what makes us lovable, but they can also be what makes us frustrating to live with, so if you moved in and discovered that your partner’s little quirks are driving you up the wall, it's a sign that the whole moving in thing happened too quickly. Greene said it's best to talk about one another's pet peeves before you move in together to make sure you are compatible and so that you aren’t caught of guard by them. “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,” said Greene. That way you don’t end up fighting about these things later.
5. You just don’t feel comfortable in your home.
Probably the clearest sign that you moved in too quickly is that you simply don't feel like you are home when you are home. This means you don't feel comfortable because you either aren't the right fit to live together, or you rushed in before working out all of the kinks. Maybe it’s an issue of being on different schedules that don't match up. Dating coach Erika Ettin previously suggested to Elite Daily that you find out if your partner is a night owl or morning person, so that you can minimize the disruptions (and resulting grumpiness) if your schedules don't match.
Or maybe when you come home at night you expect some peace and quiet, but your partner has a more open-door policy for all their friends and family so you never get any sleep. This is why Greene said that, before moving in together, you need to get on the same page about your lifestyle, along the lines of “Are friends always welcome, or is it something that needs to be planned ahead of time?" The same thing goes for family visitors. According to Greene, it's important to ask, “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," she added.
So now what?
OK, so you’ve decided that you definitely moved in too fast, now what? Well, according the experts, it's time to make some decisions. You can take their advice and have the tough conversations now, because late really is better than never, or, if those don't go well and you feel like you just want out, then prominent dating and relationship therapist Dr. Gary Brown previously told Elite Daily that it's time to start considering your exit strategy. “The longer you stay in this kind of situation, the more you risk emotional damage to yourself, and the longer it is going to take to recover,” he said.
While that may not be the advice you hoped to hear, you can take solace in the fact that it does give you some control of a situation that may increasingly feel like it's beyond your control. Though it may hurt now, take it from me: The lessons you come away with from living with someone, even if it doesn’t work out, are absolutely invaluable. The key is to find the right living situation for you. If it happens to be with your partner and you can find that compromise and middle ground, fantastic. If not, and you have to move out, that's OK too. You got this.