How soon is too son to move in together? The question is bound to appear when two people transition from the dating phase of a relationship to an actual relationship.
On one hand, moving in when the relationship isn’t ready can cause lots of avoidable conflict or even a premature breakup of the relationship. Also, dealing with leases, finding a new place to live and/or common law marriage is absolutely not fun.
On the other hand, why delay the next phase of a relationship if both she or he want and are ready for a more serious relationship? Living together does have some awesome benefits, and is its own way of getting to know if someone is a long term partner or potential spouse.
In any case, knowing when is the right time to move in together is a tricky decision to make and is almost impossible to separate emotion from a truthful analysis of the quality of the relationship.
Below are some useful criteria that can tell you if the relationship is ready for the two of you to move in.
11 Signs you should (or should not) move in together
Your arguments rarely or never blow up
This is a big one. Living together implies a lot of compromising and problem solving to properly manage a home.
If arguments in your relationship have been civilized and respectful (meaning no insults, name calling etc.), then it’s an excellent sign this pattern will continue when the two of you live together.
The same principle applies even if arguments become heated. Showing passion in a relationship discussion is no bad thing, so long as your significant other actively tries to argue a point and not put you down or offend you.
You get extra points here if:
- You’re so out-of-this-world compatible you resolve issues with a short conversation.
- You experienced a major, near relationship ending conflict but managed to resolve in a way that satisfied both of you.
I would wait at least a year, also I think couples should experience at least one big conflict that they resolve together in a way that satisfies both of them before they sign a lease. It’s really important to know that you can manage conflict with each other before living with a partner.– Blog reader quote
You’re already spending a lot of time together
Couples often have a slow transition from living separately to moving in together.
At first they spend 1-2 days a week together, then 2-3, then 3-4, then 4-5 and finally move in permanently.
It’s actually a great way to go about it. If you’re comfortable living with someone 3-4 days a week, and have done so for weeks or months, then you’ll know what to expect if you live together all the time.
If you haven’t had this slow transition and are mostly seperate, then it becomes a lot harder to judge how ready the relationship is.
It actually felt right to me.
If it was up to my SO, we would have moved in together after 3 months of dating. Because he kept asking me once a month and I rolled my eyes at him.
After a year and a half, we were spending every moment together anyway. When he got off work, he went to my apartment instead of going home and usually spent the weekdays at my place. We spent weekends at his place and I felt guilty for leaving my cat alone.
It was like…why are we spending all this time together but paying two separate rents?– Blog reader quote
You’re comfortable with his/her daily habits and quirks
Does your partner have annoying daily habits or quirks? If yes, be prepared for these to annoy 2-3 times as much when you live together.
It’s easy to overlook these issues when you live separately. You either don’t see them, or they happen so rarely you just accept them as one-offs.
When you move in however, these habits and quirks will happen on a daily basis and they will affect you in one way or another.
If you spend a lot of time together then you’re probably familiar with these and know what to expect.
If you find that your own habits are compatible with your partner’s and don’t conflict all that much, then there’s not much to worry about if you moved in full time.
On the other hand, if you do spend a lot of time together and have found that you don’t see eye to eye on how to do certain things, then maybe it’s best to go over these issues with your partner and try to sort them out.
A really difficult situation arises when you don’t spend a lot of time at one another’s place, and you simply don’t know enough about your partner’s daily habits and how they do things.
In this case, it’s almost a coin toss if your lifestyle will mesh with theirs.
If spending more time together isn’t possible (for example, a long distance relationship), then communication is crucial figure out each other’s lifestyle and set boundaries and expectations if you were to move in together.
You have an understanding who does what chores
Are chores divided fairly between the two of you? If they aren’t this can cause a lot of resentment for the partner who feels they do most of the work.
If you want to move in together, you should ideally have some sort of agreed arrangement regarding who does what chores.
Does one partner clean while the other cooks? Does one partner handle the laundry while the other cleans after the household pet(s)?
If you’ve already kind of figured out who does what (and are somewhat satisfied with the arrangement), then chances are this pattern of fairly dividing chores will continue when moving in together.
If you haven’t sorted out chores and overall division of labor, then communicating on this aspect is key.
Is moving in a step towards marriage or long term relationship?
This goes at the heart of why the two of you are actually moving in.
Whichever way you look at it, moving in with someone is a clear indicator of long term commitment which will either end in marriage or (if the two of you don’t like marriage as a legal concept), as life partners for the foreseeable future.
If the two of you haven’t spoken and agreed to such an idea, then the only reason you’re going ahead is because it’s convenient for the moment (to share finances, cut commute times etc.).
However, what’s there to connect the two of you once there’s no more incentive to stay together under one roof?
Taking the time to figure out the answer to “where is this relationship going?” can potentially save both of you from a lot of mental anguish down the line.
You partner upholds promises and agreements
Running a household and a happy relationship in general, always requires partners to make promises to each other to do (or not do) certain things.
Things like talking nicely about each other in social settings, visiting a partner’s parents on their birthday or Christmas Day, contribute X amount of money for household finances or promising to handle a problem with the house (plumbing, fixing stuff etc).
If your partner does what they say, or at least puts in their very best effort, then that’s a good sign that they’re serious about the relationship and are committed to making it work even when you live together.
It’s always a bad sign if your partner often tries to weasel themselves out of promises they made or if they frequently find excuses why they didn’t do something (or worse, blame you for holding them to their word).
If this happens often enough, it raises the question if they’re capable of carrying their own weight in the relationship.
A partner that already ducks responsibility in the dating phase of a relationship won’t magically change just because you moved in with them.
Holidays and traveling vacations run very smoothly
Traveling and vacations are clear indicators if you can move in. It’s basically a microcosm to see how much of a good fit the two of you are since it condenses a lot of decision making in a short period.– Blog reader quote
As counterintuitive as it sounds, holidays can be a surprisingly stressful affair. There can be a lot of moving parts involved (like which family to visit and when), dealing with less pleasant family members or situations etc.
Vacations that involve traveling for 1-2 weeks basically means the couple plays house, but on hard mode. They have to decide on a destination they both like, deal with all the tedious minutia like how to get there, what hotel to book, not blaming each other for crappy situations, decide which attractions to visit and which to “leave for another time” etc.
If all of the above doesn’t resonate with you at all it’s probably because:
A) All of your holidays and traveling vacations have been near perfect and with practically no arguments.
B) You haven’t traveled or spent holidays together.
If it’s option A, then it’s near certain that the two of you are highly compatible and know how to make a relationship work. You’ve both mastered the art of compromise in a way that both people feel satisfied and listened to in the relationship. In this case, transitioning to living together should feel natural and pretty effortless.
If you haven’t traveled or vacationed together yet, then consider having this experience first and see how well the two of you, as a couple, can handle the experience.
Finally, if you have traveled or vacationed together and experienced conflict, this doesn’t mean you are incompatible. It could be that the two of you are compatible on a personal level, but haven’t yet figured out an efficient way to communicate and solve problems.
The honeymoon period has worn off
If you’re still in the honeymoon period of the relationship (sometimes called the limerence phase), chances are your emotions are too strong and will cloud your judgement from making a rational decision on whether you should move in with someone.
You probably still see him/her through rose tinted glasses and aren’t able to correctly see their flaws and just focus on the positives.
Once the honeymoon period has gone and the rose tinted glasses have fallen off, you’ll be able to see your partner for the person they really are – the good and the bad.
This will make it a lot easier for you to decide if you want to be with this person on a daily basis.
At least 18 months. That’s when the honeymoon period is wearing off and you see the real person without infatuation goggles on.
When you are ready you discuss everything: how finances will be handled, what expectations there are around house chores, etc.– Blog reader quote
A roommate once said to me “Anybody can be on their best behavior for a year” and she was right. A year is usually the honeymoon stage of a relationship. After that people show who they are. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People will pleasantly surprise you. My fiancé did before we moved in together and we came out of lockdown communicating and working together. I’d wait until a year mark. Don’t rush this.– Blog reader quote
How big is the space you’re moving to? (and whose is it?)
This isn’t a very common problem in the USA (since most homes are very spacious), but when moving in together you really should emphasize that the place you’re staying has sufficient space for both of you.
Even if the two of you live together, you still need privacy and space where you can enjoy hobbies and passions without disturbance.
Many couples argue and fight simply because they live in a space too cramped for their needs.
No matter how good they are at problem solving and arguing, the living space itself doesn’t offer the possibility to reach a good compromise.
Finally, another big issue is who owns the place?
This has quite a lot of implications because if the other person owns the house or apartment, they will always be in a subconscious position of power because they own the place and can say “my house, my rules”.
If you own the place, then the other person will have this feeling of inferiority.
In either case, it’s something that needs to be discussed and brought up in conversation.
Things will be more straightforward and “fair” feeling when buying a house or signing a lease together.
How do you feel about his/her’s friend & family
Moving in with someone is a big step in any relationship and will almost always involve you more deeply with your significant other’s family and friends.
This may not be as big of an issue as the other criteria mentioned above, but it’s still something to take into account and weigh in when making a decision.
You’ve talked things over (money, legal stuff, chores etc.)
It doesn’t have to be one major conversation, but could be a bunch of smaller discussions spread out over the course of weeks or months before the final decision.
What matters is that the talks happen and reach on agreement on how things should work out.
Topics that are important to discuss are:
- Money. Who pays what or how to share finances.
- Medical stuff (if applicable).
- Legal issues (lease, common law marriage).