Living together is a big step and one that should not be taken lightly. There are many fun and exciting aspects to moving in together, and there are some fairly serious considerations as well.
It is important that you talk openly about your expectations and plan for this change in your relationship. Here are some important topics to discuss before moving in together:
Why are you choosing to live together?
Is this change a step towards marriage or do you intend to simply live together without it leading to marriage? It is very important that you understand each other’s intentions and motivations. You want to be sure that you are on the same page and seeking the same things from this change.
Research is very clear that the divorce rate is higher among couples that live together before marrying so I encourage you to take this decision seriously.
Talk openly about why now is a good time for you to take this step in your relationship. All too often couples choose to live together because one partner has a lease that is about to expire. While this can be a very practical reason, make sure that convenience is not a primary motivator in your decision-making. It is fairly easy to move-in it is much more difficult to move-out so it is important to think things through completely.
If it doesn’t work out what would you do?
It isn’t terribly romantic, but it behooves you to talk calmly and rationally and create a plan about what to do logistically if living together doesn’t go well. Who will move out? Who will incur the expenses with the change?
How will you handle the financial considerations?
You need to determine how you will handle financial elements of your new situation. How are expenses divided? Who will pay the bills and be responsible for getting payments made on time? How will you handle the expenses of utilities, groceries, household expenses like repairs?
Again, these things aren’t necessarily fun to discuss, but living together is a grown-up thing to do and all of the grown-up responsibilities need to be addressed.
Pay special attention to how these discussions play out as a couple. Can you talk openly about money? If you find these discussions are strained or become emotionally charged you may want to consider Counseling to better understand the dynamic and improve communication skills.
How will household responsibilities be handled?
Be clear about your expectations about roles and responsibilities. Determine who will be responsible for everyday household chores. It is lovely to think you will both chip-in and things will work out, but it is easy for disappointment and resentment to set-in if one person feels that they doing more than a fair-share around the house.
Living together is a big change, and one that is worthy of careful consideration and thorough discussion. If you are concerned that it is difficult for you to discuss important topics or that you’re not sure you’re in agreement I would recommend you seek Counseling as a way to better prepare for this change.