Wondering if you and your significant other are ready to take the monumental step of moving in together? After moving in with her beau last year, DD's founder, @madirez, shares her thoughts and essential questions to ask yourself before signing a lease.
As someone who loves their freedom and alone time, I never sat down and thought about what it would be like to move in with a significant other. I knew it would eventually happen, but I just never thought about it regularly. But, as legends state, "when you know, you know," and last year during the pandemic (crazy, I know), I moved in with my boyfriend. At first, I was a little nervous, but who wouldn't be? We had been dating less than a year, but it felt like the right decision for our relationship. Fortunate for us, we love living together. Now, after a year of living together, I am sitting down to reflect on my own experience and give advice to people who may be wondering, am I ready to move in with my significant other? I have come up with the most important questions to ask yourself before taking that huge step in your own life and the lessons I have learned along the way.
Have you tested the waters?
The most important thing to do before moving in with a significant other is to test the waters. Testing the waters can mean different things for different couples, but it generally includes having successfully stayed together for an extended period. For example, my boyfriend and I started staying together at one another's apartments for extended periods last year. Then after a couple of months of that, I moved into my boyfriend's apartment when my lease ended. Personally, this was "testing the waters" before my boyfriend and I got our apartment together, and it worked well for us. It also gave us the extra opportunity to see how things went before we signed a lease together.
I definitely found differences between living with someone for an extended period and moving into the same space. This is something you should have a good distinction on before signing a lease with your significant other, which carries on to the next important topic, the space you are moving into together.
Have you found a functional living space?
When finding a space to live in, functionality for both of your lifestyles is vital. Do you and/or both of you work from home? Do you want your own bathroom? Do you need multiple floors? All of these questions are important things to ask before moving into any space with your significant other. After moving into my boyfriend's apartment, I distinguished certain things that I wanted to find in our next apartment.
Since there was a solid chance we would both be working from home, I wanted to find a two-bedroom to create an office and one and a half to two bathrooms. These were not exactly non-negotiables, but they were things that both my boyfriend and I knew we would love to find, which did affect our search, the areas we looked in, as well as budget.
Do you have compatible lifestyles?
There are so many aspects that play into the question of compatible lifestyles. In my experience, having similar work schedules is helpful. Still, we have also experienced having different work schedules and times of one of us being unemployed while the other is working, which impacts your relationship. Whether having Zoom calls all day or phone call schedules, all of these are good to think about, especially with WFH.
My boyfriend and I are also very similar. For example, we would both rather watch a movie and eat take out any day over a night out at a bar. Now, if you asked me a couple of years ago, that answer would be different, but that is where we both are at now. Now let's say I wanted to be at bars until 2 AM and my boyfriend wanted to play video games every weekend, then that would be something to consider. Neither is right or wrong, but enjoying the same things has been important to our experience while living together.
How do you communicate about the hard stuff?
Okay, this one is tough and essential. If you are moving in with a significant other or just dating in general, do you communicate effectively with one another? Many topics are hard to talk about, but a few include confrontation and taboo topics. For example, make sure you're able to have honest conversations about taboo issues like finances. It may feel weird at first, but it's super important to communicate. Communicating also comes into play with confrontation.
A perfect example of my relationship is that I am incredibly organized, and my boyfriend is the opposite. So, if I am ever frustrated about the apartment being a mess (and it isn't my mess), I have learned to tell my boyfriend what I expect and want inside of dropping passive-aggressive hints. It may seem simple, but there is bound to be miscommunication without clear communication on both sides of a relationship. An apparent confrontation that comes from a positive headspace is always helpful.
Living with your significant other is when many couples learn more about where they see the future of their relationship heading. It is important to be communicative about where you are at throughout the process and to be honest. Everyone's timelines are different, I have never lived with a boyfriend before last year, and some may say we moved in together fast, but timelines are arbitrary.
Focus on what you want, what your partner wants, and what will make you both happy. With these factors in mind, you will do great whenever this next step is right for you.