My boyfriend and I have been exclusively dating for over six months. His lease ends in six weeks and we’re wondering if he should renew or move in together. My place is bigger and I feel excited about this idea. Do you feel we’ve been together long enough or wait to live together?
Caring to Cohabitate,
Since every couple’s dynamics are different there is no magical time for moving in together, though six months of dating is a good starting point.
This is an exciting, evolutionary time in your relationship, regardless of your decision. By building on your foundation and deepening your intimacy, love and affection will increase for each other.
The following criteria’s will clarify how ripe you both are to cohabitate.
1) You are already enjoying spending most nights together getting to know each other’s preferences, habits and routines and your partner makes you feel better about yourself.
2) You like each other’s friends and communicate openly and honestly if any of their characteristics rub you the wrong way. You both are comfortable spending quality time away from each other with friends.
Neither of you are overly jealous or is overusing drugs or alcohol. If so, solve these issues before moving in.
3) Clean and Cook. Have a friendly discussion regarding household chores. What standards do you both have about the level of cleanliness in your home? How will you divvy up these chores? Have you enjoyed grocery shopping together?
Being on the same page here can dissolve some of the greatest challenges in living together (besides #4). Guys: you may not think cleaning is sexy, yet for many woman having their man support them in keeping their home clean is foreplay. Now, does that shift your willingness to help out?
Do you both like to cook? Maybe the person who cooks the meal is free from cleaning up the dishes as long as he / she doesn’t make a complete disaster of the kitchen.
4) Rent and utilities. Will you split these expenses evenly or base it upon each of your income, if one of you makes more money than the other? If one earns less, consider that person doing more around the house to balance the scale. Renegotiate the agreement when situations change, i.e. the low earner gets a new job and can now afford to contribute more financially.
If you’re renting, make sure it’s OK with the landlord he moves in. Will you add his name to the lease? Make sure you both feel comfortable with your agreement.
5) Vacationing together is a crash course on shacking up. Have you gone away together for a few days to two weeks? Did you enjoy each other’s company?
Were both of you comfortable dealing with unseen changes or expenses? Did you laugh together when you got lost? Yes, to all of the above is a great sign you’re on your way to being lovers under one roof!
6) Fought and worked it out. Have you had a blow up argument, thought this was a deal breaker and then openly communicated and transformed the challenge.
Having the tools to argue fairly, the respect and desire for both of you to freely express your opinion is vital in keeping the love vibe alive and satisfied. Arguments from time to time is normal, this especially intensifies when living together.
If anger management skills are needed, seek out professional relationship counseling/coaching. Don’t feel ashamed, most of us at some point need assistance in learning these skills.
7) No surprises. Have fun discussing how you will combine your belongings in the space.
Will there be enough room to comfortably fit everything or might you need a storage unit for his surfboards? Maybe a “moving in” yard sale is in order to thin out what you don’t need.
8) Expectations. Have you had “the talk” about why you desire to move in together; discussing your honest thoughts/feelings about marriage and children? Are you both on the same page?
If not, do both feel comfortable with your choices and are willing to stay open; not pressuring each other, yet revisit these issues in six months from now?
Saving money on rent is a perk to moving in together, not a priority. After exploring each of the above criterias, do you agree on the majority?
Have you been completely transparent, open and vulnerable with each other; motivated and wanting to snuggle up to any of the rough edges? If yes, congrats! Get some moving in boxes.
Now that we got these logistics are out of the way and you both are feeling excited about your future together, let’s get back to some juicy living.
Cary Valentine is a Certified Relationship Coach, author of the forthcoming book, “In Love Forever: 7 Secrets to a Joyous, Juicy Relationship,” and a relationship and business performance expert. He can be reached at 346-6652 or email@example.com