17 August 2012
Essential questions to ask yourself before you move in together
by Fran Creffield
It is a big step and one that shouldn’t be taken without due consideration. Even though it may seem to make perfect sense it is difficult to undo further down the line so here are some useful questions to ask before you make the leap.
Moving in together is exciting and an important step in a relationship. Sometimes it is a prelude to marriage and others an obvious solution to a long distance relationship. Whatever the reasons are behind your decision it is essential that you go into it with your eyes wide open. Checking out some of the questions below can help you feel more secure in your decision and if there are things you haven’t discussed yet they could form the basis of a conversation it would be good for you to have before the big day.
Remember you will both be nervous and excited and these questions are simply to put your mind at rest before you make a lasting commitment.
Is it what you both want?
Sometimes people get swept along on the tide of someone else’s enthusiasm and it becomes harder and harder to express your doubts. No matter how far down the line you are in the planning take a quiet moment together to check that it is what you both want. The following questions may help.
Are you being led by your head or your heart?
The ideal answer is ‘both’.
If you are being ruled totally by your heart you are likely to be picturing romantic meals and lazy Sundays lovemaking and may be ignoring the fact that you are moving in with someone who works shifts – in other words your head is in the clouds but there is little going on in the way of practical considerations.
If you are being led mainly by your head you may be more focused on the benefits of halving your household expenses and chores and the practical advantages of having a partner. You may not have really taken the time to consider whether you really love this person and be seeing it more as a sensible business arrangement.
Can you resolve conflict between yourselves?
Even if you have had little cause for conflict before you move in together the chances are you will afterwards as you adjust to each others habits and lifestyles. Have you had any conflict and if so how was it resolved? Have you seen your partner under stress? It can be a shock when you first see someone lose their temper and living together it is inevitable that you will come to see both the best, and the worst of each other, can you handle it?
Talking to your partner about how they express stress and frustration and how you can handle it between you will help you both feel more confident. Some people like to be left alone when they are angry, others to go for a run and others prefer to shout and kick things – talk honestly about how you are so it isn’t a shock when it happens and your partner will have some idea about how to respond.
Have you ever been on holiday together?
If you are considering moving in together going on holiday for two weeks first can be a good rehearsal. You will get a much better idea of how you rub along together and an insight into each others personal habits.
Are your lifestyles compatible?
This is a very important question. If you are moving in with someone who has been living a bachelor lifestyle with friends around all the time and weekends watching sport are they expecting this to continue after you move in together? Whatever your lifestyles are as single people talk about how much you want to continue when you live together.
Your place or mine?
Moving into someone else’s home or them moving into yours will always be difficult as, for a while at least, it is likely that you will feel like a guest. The house may also have a lot of history and memories and inevitably the person whose place it is will have well established routines which you will have to fit in with. If you can’t get a new place together talk about how you can create fresh space and energy in the home which you will share maybe with new decor of furniture – a new bed, or mattress, is very symbolic and a good way to start your life together.
What are your expectations?
Expectations can easily lead to resentment if they are not expressed. Talk about the tricky things like money and what it is you are prepared to contribute to the household. As long as you keep communicating openly and honestly moving in together can be the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your relationship.