There’s so much to prepare when you move in with your partner. Before you get into all the logistics, though, there are questions you need to ask before you move in together to set your new life up for success. You’ve got to be prepared to talk about future plans, money, chores, traditions, intimacy, and more, all before you start packing up the U-Haul.
Emotional exhaustion, meet physical exhaustion. And then meet couch.
And sure, the logistical concerns matter too. You have to find a place to live, after all, and schedule the movers – or your most pizza-motivated friends. Perhaps most importantly, you have to combine your mug collections to a reasonable number – 38 is reasonable, right?
But before you post that selfie of you, your partner, and the keys to your new place on Instagram, be sure you’ve hashed out all the things on this list first.
What to Ask Before You Move In Together
1. How will we split the bills?
Let’s get right into the juicy stuff. How are you going to split the costs of your rent, utility bills, groceries, and insurance? Sheesh, staying alive costs so much money these days.
There are a lot of options here, so don’t just assume your partner wants to handle money the same way you do. You may choose to split the costs down the middle, each cover specific bills, or get a joint account for joint expenses. But decide ahead of time so you don’t lose your Netflix subscription and miss the new season of Bridgerton.
2. How will we handle debt?
Life thrives in the bills of past, the bills of the present, and the bills of days yet to come. Didn’t anyone ever tell you how fun it is to be an adult?
Debt can affect your financial future as a couple, especially if you plan to buy a place. If you’re combining your finances, will you also be sharing your debts? How will debt payments factor into splitting your living costs?
3. What are your rituals?
Most people have rituals and routines, like a morning cup of coffee, an after work wind down, or a bedtime seance. Open up a dialogue about what your typical day looks like so there aren’t any surprises when you’re both vying for bathroom space at the same time each day.
Especially if you know you won’t be a sane roommate if your partner tries to chat before your morning cup of joe, or disrupts the portal to the afterlife.
4. How will our traditions come together?
We all have a tendency to assume the way our family does things is the default. But remember that you’ll be merging the customs and cultures of two families into one new household. You can each hold onto some of your own traditions, and establish some new ones together.
Ask questions like: will your family wear shoes in the house? Which holidays will you celebrate and how? Are you allowed to leave the lights on in a room for a singular moment that a person is not in it? The important stuff.
5. Who will do which chores?
There are so many chores that need to be done each day, and if the split isn’t fair, resentments will build. According to a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women in heterosexual relationships spend two hours more each day doing housework than men. So if you don’t figure out who is responsible for what, your partner may assume that estrogen makes you better at dish-washing. When it actually makes us better at eating grapes and being fanned.
The Fair Play Method can help you clarify everything involved in running a household so you can split the work in a fair and realistic way. Some couples even do a “chore draft” each week where they go back and forth selecting their responsibilities for the week to mix things up.
6. What’s for dinner?
We adults are cursed with the Sisyphean task of feeding ourselves every day. Will you sit down to a homemade candlelit dinner each night? Will you get your money’s worth from a DashPass? And whose problem will it be to figure it out?
It’s best to sort this out before one or both of you become inconsolably hangry. Trust us.
7. What’s our policy on guests?
You’re an introvert who hides away with a book after work. Your partner keeps hosting elaborate dinner parties with fancy dishes and an extensive guest list, and won’t quit it with the French accent.
It’s worth having a conversation before you move in about when it’s cool to have guests over. How often do you like to host guests? How should you go about letting each other know when you’d like to have them over? And, how far ahead do you need notice to shove all your mess into a closet avalanche?
8. How will we make time for each other?
Once you move in together, you no longer have to plan ahead to physically be around each other. Instead, you have to be more intentional about spending romantic time together. You can plan for a regular night out, breakfast in bed, or play a board game that takes an hour just to learn the rules. Whatever you little freaks are into.
9. How much sex will we have?
Moving in together makes it much easier to have sex. But that doesn’t always correlate to having more sexy time.
Will you want to have sex every day and every night? Or will your partner initiating intimacy every time you look hot (so, always) drive you nuts? Inversely, you can end up having less sex because you simply don’t plan for it. Manage your sexpectations before you move in together.
10. How will we handle alone time?
You haven’t shared a bedroom since your time in the dorm rooms. While the need to wear shower shoes isn’t likely to come back, you will need to communicate about personal space.
Will you share a bedroom? Where can you go for alone time? After a long day, do you need an hour of time to decompress before you’re ready to hang out with your partner for the night? Having these conversations in advance can help avoid conflicts in the future.
11. What do I do that bugs you?
When you’re living alone, only you face the consequences of not washing the dishes right away, missing a bill payment, or forgetting to replace the toilet paper roll. If you forget now, you’ll strand your loved one on the toilet, paperless.
Your bad habits are multiplied by 365 days a year. Don’t wait until the straw breaks the camel’s back to address pet peeves. Figure out what things will drive them crazy (maybe start with what about their current roommate drives them nuts) and work on avoiding those things.
12. How will we communicate about problems?
Nobody likes to be nagged, but nobody likes someone who somehow forgets to put their dish in the dishwasher every damn meal of every day.
Think about how each of you likes to get feedback: talking about it immediately, writing a note, or training a parrot to say, “Polly wants a clean sink.” Whatever it is, learn how to do it effectively to avoid blow-ups over silly things.
13. How will we fight?
Any relationships will involve conflict, especially as you’re merging your lives together and deciding which way the toilet paper roll will hang. Before you live together, you can avoid each other for a while if you’re feeling salty and come back to discuss once you’ve cooled off. But it’s harder to get space when your space is the same.
Choose your fighting style. Do you need to address issues immediately? Or do you need space to cool down before you can work through something? Make a plan for when tension rises.
14. What if it doesn’t work out?
When you’re hopped up on the excitement of moving in together, it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever want to be apart. But relationships end, no matter how many extremely helpful blog articles you read to prepare for the next step.
If things don’t work out, who will stay in your current home? Who keeps the furniture? Who gets the Nintendo Switch that has all your progress in The Legend of Zelda? Breaking up hurts slightly less when you have a plan for it, and a written agreement that the cat comes with you.
15. What’s the next step?
Moving in could be the dry run for living together until death do you part. Or it could just be the only economically viable option and you’d rather share a bedroom with your significant other than some guy on Craigslist.
Either way, clarify what moving in together means for your relationship. Are you expecting a ring in the next few months, or are you content with things the way they are now for the foreseeable future?
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