Cohabitation: How to Know When Moving in Together Is a Good Idea

couple sitting on couch

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The idea of moving in with your partner can be incredibly exciting—and also a bit daunting. You two clearly enjoy spending time together—but cohabitation has its drawbacks and it may even present a slew of new challenges that could shake the foundation of any strong relationship. To prevent a beleaguered move-in that results in a move-out (and a move-on), here are seven key signs that you’re both ready to share a bedroom—and bathroom.

01 of 07

You Know The "Why"

A couple with moving boxes and a dog.

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Moving in with your partner is a major step in any serious relationship and it's a big decision that should be made on your own, without caving to any pressure you're getting from your partner, your friends, or your family. Likewise, just because you’ve been a couple for a certain amount of time, you think it'll save you both some money, or because you'll cut your workday commute in half, those aren't good reasons, either. Not only should it feel right (and you really, really need to want it), but you also need good reasons why. Be sure your self-confidence is such that it's exclusive of your partner's existence before taking the plunge. That said, being in love and feeling a deep connection to one another—to the point that you're both invested in the growth of the relationship—signals you're ready to take this next step.

02 of 07

Arguments Are Healthily Resolved

Their love is more important than their differences.

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When you move in with anybody, let alone your partner, such close proximity really shines a 1000-watt spotlight on someone's foibles. You might suddenly become annoyed that your S.O. never, ever washes the dishes or that they avoid changing empty toilet paper rolls like the plague. The ways in which you two have discussed your frustrations and resolved conflicts in the past will only be magnified once you're both trapped under one, often tiny, roof. If you're already constantly bickering, fighting dirty, being passive-aggressive—and if most of your arguments lead to WWIII—resist the urge to cohabitate until you can iron out your issues in productive, constructive ways. The same holds true if the two of you haven't ever really had a big fight. (It will come, trust us.) Once you're living together, it's not easy—or healthy—to just up and leave...because you'll have to head home at some point. But if you already know you're compatible and know and accept one another's annoying habits, then you should be good to move forward.

03 of 07

You've Discussed Your Future

Gay couple enjoying a Sunday afternoon in discussing the future of their relationship.

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You should both be on the same page regarding what lies ahead. Having at least a few discussions about your expectations and what moving in means for your relationship is crucial, as is figuring out whether it's the next life step you'll be taking to prepare yourselves for marriage. Hopefully, an open, honest chat about the potential of your relationship, and its ultimate trajectory, will uncover and clear up underlying doubt, confusion, hesitation, and deal-breakers. Cohabitating with the anticipation that you'll somehow change your S.O.'s mind about never wanting to "get serious" or tie the knot is a bad move, as is doing so if you're the one who's having second thoughts about the relationship.

04 of 07

You're Completely Comfortable

Young man with a TV on his head and woman wearing a dinosaur mask.

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Are you both fully comfortable and freely able to be your authentic selves whenever you’re together? Sure, your partner has seen you all showered up, hair straightened, and dressed for a night on the town. But what happens when you're living together, with morning breath in full effect, unshaven pits, and smelly from your last workout? Are you ready for such in-your-face, real-life scenarios? You both should have already established that you're relaxed with one another—even after you've (god forbid) clogged the toilet. It's perfectly okay to leave some things to the imagination, but moving in when you don't know each other well enough—warts and all—won't somehow spark some newfound openness. A modicum of easy-breeziness must exist beforehand, otherwise, moving in together will feel too forced.

05 of 07

You're Honest

Couple sitting on a sofa at home, laughing, and talking honestly with one another.


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If you’re hiding aspects of your past or you’re planning to reveal a real whopper once you’re both settled into that fourth-floor walk-up, think twice before going halfsies in life. Relationships built on open communication, mutual trust, honesty, and respect are the healthiest ones—and secrets won't serve either one of you. And neither will bottled-up emotions: If you're already being forthright about your boundaries, and the words and actions of your partner that make you angry, sad, and otherwise (even when it makes you feel super-vulnerable), then you're on the right track.

06 of 07

You've Discussed Money

Lesbian couple discussing financial bills and spreadsheets on a kitchen island.

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Just the mere mention of money can bring any well-meaning relationship to the brink of ruin. Still, you'll both need to talk about it—and ask yourselves all the tough questions. Whose name will be on the lease? Are we splitting the rent, the internet, and the cost of the new flat-screen? What about groceries, utilities, furniture, and everything else? Are you in debt? How bad is it? All romance aside, with money, failing to plan means that you're planning to fail: Even if it feels awkward, unseemly, and unnatural, you need to thoroughly discuss the money issue well before moving in and enact a budget you'll both be expected—and able—to follow.

07 of 07

You've Had Some Dry Runs

Happy couple on vacation in their hotel room wearing white bathrobes.

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If you've already spent prolonged periods of time together under one roof, whether during a vacation or sharing a bed on a regular basis, and it only leaves you wanting more, then you're probably ready to share an address. If not, you'll need at least a few more trial runs before you mentally throw away your S.O.'s ugly, smelly recliner and start imagining your lives happily ever after.

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