Relationships are full of milestones, like becoming Facebook official, saying "I love you," and meeting the parents. Moving in together is no exception. In fact, it might be a pretty big deal for some couples, so if you aren't quite ready to take that step, giving your partner a key to your place might feel like a good alternative. But, how can you tell that you're ready to give your partner a key? According to experts, you have to trust yourself.
"A key is a symbolic gesture of trust," Sasha Aurand, editor at Psych N Sex, tells Elite Daily. "It's more than a simple romantic gift as a gesture [of] appreciation and gratitude. You are allowing someone access to your heart and home base. You can usually be your true self at home, let it all loose — you're inviting someone into that. To see you at your most raw and comfortable."
To give your partner a key is to say that you're ready for them to see the part of you that the world doesn't see. The you that takes an hour to get out of bed in the morning and falls asleep in front of the TV while eating cereal for dinner. (No shame!) It means you're ready for them to see all of you, so it's important to make sure that you're truly ready to give them that key.
While it might seem like simply a convenient thing to do, it's important not to make huge a huge decision based entirely on making things easier. "Too often, folks may give a key because of convenience, such as letting them in after a long commute, or because you are often too far away to let them in," Tammy Shaklee, matchmaker for LGBTQ singles and relationship expert and founder of H4M Matchmaking, tells Elite Daily. "That’s not a reason to give your key. Only if you feel like this relationship is exclusive, and your feelings for them continue to increase."
Additionally, you'll likely know that you're ready to hand over a key if it's something you and your partner have actually talked about. Sure, it might take some of the romance or "surprise" out of the gesture, but it's important to do. "The biggest sign should be open communication," Aurand says. "Talking about what it would entail and setting ground rules of the key. How often can they use it? Can they come when you are not there? Is it so you don't need to buzz them in? Is the following step moving into the same apartment? With questions like these will come answers that are vital for understanding each other and your desires." You have to truly know your partner and both of your expectations for this relationship before letting them have a key, Aurand says.
The decision to give your partner a key is a big one, and both experts agree not to rush into things. "Giving your keys will only enhance the relationship in the amount that your partner is grateful and appreciative of your investment," Aurand says. So, if you've been open and honest with each other and know where you want the relationship to go, then you're probably ready to let them in.