Every relationship is different. I have friends who got engaged after three months of dating, and I have friends who still don't live with their partners after years of dating. (Both couples are happily together FYI!) While relationships can move at different paces, sometimes you and your significant other might move at different speeds, too. If you find yourself moving at a leisurely pace while your honey is operating at a full sprint, you might find yourself not ready to exchange keys when your SO brings it up. If this is the case, don't panic. It's totally normal and not an indication that you have cold feet, second thoughts about your relationship, or commitment issues.
I spoke to Monica Parikh, founder of School of Love NYC, about the emotional significance of exchanging keys and she says, "At it's best, it's a step of progression — we are allowing access to our private space to another person. It says, 'I trust you. I want you in my life (literally).'" And even if you also want your partner in your life, you might not be ready to grant full access to your living space — which is fine! Parikh also cautions that exchanging keys can sometimes have a negative underlying meaning. She says, "At its worst, it can be a mechanism of control — especially if both people aren't on the same page."
Karenna Alexander, matchmaker and dating coach, also believes there is emotional significance to swapping keys. She says, "It implies you are getting much closer, not quite living together, but you have special access to their place, which for many clients is a big step." Alexander believes in initially taking things slowly in a relationship and says, "I personally don't advocate clients taking the keys too early on." So if you're uncertain about adding another key to your keychain, remind yourself that that's perfectly normal. Here's what to do.