You’re in love, ready for the next step, and thinking about when to move in together.
But doubts are creeping in, and you’re probably wondering, “Is it too soon to move in together?”
You don’t want to rush into this level of commitment if the timing isn’t right or you haven’t done your due diligence.
So when is a good time to move in together?
To help you make the best decision, we’re breaking down the ins and outs of cohabitation.
How long should you wait?
What are the red flags?
How will you know when it’s time?
Let’s dive in!
How Long Should You Date Before Moving in Together?
If you’ve landed here, you’re probably grappling with a couple of questions: “When should I move in with my boyfriend?” or “How soon is too soon to move in together?”
Conventional wisdom advises couples to wait at least a year before cohabitating, but experts insist two years is the magic number.
Ideals, however, don’t always align with the actual stats.
According to Dr. Brenda Wade, “same-gender couples, on average, move in together within 6 months. For all other couples, it seems to be on average about 2 years.”
Interestingly, Americans like to move in together before getting married. According to one study, 70% of marriages where the woman was under 36 when she got hitched started with at least three years of pre-wedding cohabitation.
How Soon Is Too Soon to Move In Together? 15 Red Flags The Timing Is Not Right
The experts give general advice, but every couple is different.
Some people move in together within a month and stay together for the rest of their lives.
Others wait a decade to move in together and separate within six months of a cohabitation experiment.
So what about you? Where does your relationship fall on the scale?
Since every relationship moves at its own pace, using benchmarks is a logical way to determine when to move in together.
To that end, let’s start with the cohabitation red flags.
1. You Avoid Discussing Money
If you’re not at a point where you’re comfortable discussing and mingling finances, the relationship is likely not yet strong enough to survive cohabitation. You’ll be sharing bills and need to trust each other monetarily.
Life is like a white-water rafting trip. Sometimes, it’s calm, smooth floating; other times, you’re battling raging rapids.
And when you’re navigating a rough patch, it’s usually best not to make significant changes. Wait until you once again reach serene waters to change your living arrangements.
3. You’re in the Early Stages of Recovery
Congrats! You’re clean and sober and feeling great. But you shouldn’t be making huge commitments during your first two years of sobriety — regardless of what plan you’re following. Give yourself time to get to know the new you.
4. You and Your Partner Constantly Argue
If you constantly argue while living apart, moving in together will be a zillion times worse. Sometimes we end up dating people who are ultimately wrong for us, and frequent fighting is not an encouraging sign.
5. You Have Yet To Play House
It’s a good idea to “play house” before officially moving in together. Spend a month at one of your places. How does it go?
Are you itching to have your own space after three days? A trial run will give you a clear idea of the relationship’s health.
6. You Can’t Support Yourself
Times are tough, and cutting expenses in half may sound like a good idea. But think thrice before making this leap for this reason.
If it doesn’t work out, you could be stuck between a rock and a hard place, owing more money than you would have.
7. You’re Being Pressured
It’s your life. Don’t let peer pressure — or any type of pressure — back you into a cohabitation corner. If you enjoy having your own place, keep it! Take Virginia Wolfe’s advice and maintain “a room of one’s own.”
8. You’re Not In Love
Are you in love or settling because everyone around you is pairing off, moving in, and getting married? It can be frustrating.
It may feel like you’re being left behind. But remember that each life unravels differently. It’s better to be true to yourself than keep up with the proverbial Joneses.
9. You Hate Each Other’s Friends
Although it’s unromantic to think about, successful relationships take more than just love. There must be a sense of camaraderie — not with just each other, but with each other’s friends.
That doesn’t mean you have to love every single person he hangs with, but you shouldn’t hate when he has the gang over either. And the same goes for your crew.
10. Your Life Goals Are Completely Different
You want to live off-grid and grow your own food. He wants to be a Wall Street tycoon who aspires to one-day have a butler. How you ended up together, nobody knows.
For a while, it’s fun. It’s your “opposites attract” phase.
But in the long run, relationships like this rarely stand the test of time. If you’re too different, living together will likely sour quickly.
11. Your Eating Habits Are Diametrically Opposed
You’re a committed kosher vegan; the only two food groups he consumes are milk and dairy.
This is another scenario with terrible odds. It’s challenging to live with someone whose lifestyle is diametrically opposed to your own. And when cohabitating, food becomes a huge deal.
12. You Still Pretend To Be Perfect
Learning to acknowledge your faults is a big part of growing up. If you’re still at a point where you blame others for your misdeeds — or project your insecurities onto friends and family — you’re probably not ready to cohabitate with a lover.
13. Lack of Trust Is Motivating Your Decision
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: changing a zebra’s stripes is impossible. If you’re dating a dog, you can’t force him to be faithful.
So if the only reason you’re moving in with him is to keep him from cheating, prepare to have your heart crushed.
14. You Don’t Know How To Compromise
Be honest: Are you a princess? Do you freak out if things don’t go your way? Is your partner willing to accommodate your every whim? If not, maybe you’re not yet ready to move in with someone.
15. Your Gut Says “No”
Sometimes, your gut knows you better than your brain. If it’s telling you to slow down and hold off, listen.
There’s a reason you’re not enthusiastic. Figure that out before advancing the relationship.
When Should A Couple Move In Together? 15 Signs You’re Both Ready
We’ve discussed the red flags to consider before deciding whether to move in with your partner. Now, let’s take a glass-half-full approach and explore 15 signs that you’re both ready to cohabitate.
1. You Basically Live Together Already
Do you pretty much live together already? If it’s been many moons since you’ve stayed apart, and you’re getting along fine, it’s probably safe to consolidate.
2. You’re Both on the Same Page About the Relationship
Have you talked about where you both see the relationship headed? Are you on the same page? If you’re not mature or committed enough to talk about a future with each other, moving in together may not be the wisest step.
But if you’re walking in the same direction toward something serious, then cohabitating may make the most sense.
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3. You’re Financially Ready
Money matters when you live with your lover. Are you ready to pay your way? Do you have debt that could affect your arrangement? Have you told your partner about it?
If you can’t support yourself, moving in with another person may not be a good idea. First, get on your own two feet. The process is a lot more enjoyable if you are.
At the very least, make sure you’re open and honest about your fiscal situation with your partner. If they plan to support you, get it in writing.
4. You’re Financially Communicative
You must be open about your base financial situation, but you also should be willing to communicate about money continually and effectively. Hidden purchases and expenses always eventually erupt.
But if you’re open and honest with your partner, and feel comfortable with their financial health, pat yourself on the back. You’re adult enough to take it to the next level.
5. You Know How To Communicate With Each Other
Can you easily bring up difficult topics with your significant other? Do you know how to disagree without immediately blowing up?
Can you tell when the other person needs space? You’re probably ready to cohabitate if you can confidently answer all these questions with a “yes.”
6. Saving Money Isn’t Your Only Motivation
It’s not just about saving money. Instead, you two are ready to elevate the partnership to the next level.
7. You’re Supportive of Each Other’s Goals
Is the relationship lopsided? Does one of you put more effort into the relationship? If you have each other’s back, then you’ve checked off another cohabitation requirement.
8. You’re Comfortable With How To Split the Rent
You’ve talked about how you’ll split the rent, and you’re both 100% comfortable with the agreement. It’s also wise to discuss a backup plan if one of you cannot fulfill your end one month.
9. You Can Deal With the Other Person’s Mess
Sure, it may annoy you sometimes, but your partner’s messes don’t send you over the edge — and vice versa. What about chores? Have you decided how to split them up? If you’ve covered all these bases, you’re probably ready to share a roof.
10. You’ve Successfully Taken a Long Trip Together
Many relationship therapists suggest taking a long trip together. It’s a great way to gauge how you’ll react when forced to be with the other person all the time.
If you’ve done it and enjoyed the closeness, that’s one more clue that you may be ready to live together.
11. You’re Not Hiding Major Secrets
If you’re still keeping major secrets from your significant other, it’s wise to reevaluate the relationship. Why don’t you feel comfortable telling them certain things?
However, if you can share your deepest, darkest secrets with your partner, it’s a sign that you’re ready to cohabitate.
12. You’ve Survived a Huge Fight
Couples that always fight usually don’t survive — but neither do couples that bottle up their feelings.
If you’re thinking about moving in together, you should have at least one major fight under your belt. Living together can be tricky, and you need to have experience working your way through conflicts.
13. You Feel the Same Way About Pets
Pets can make or break a relationship — so talk about them before moving in together. Are you on the same page in terms of four-paw family members?
Do you agree on the cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, or reptiles question if you’re both pro-pet?
If you both have the same attitude toward non-human “children,” that bodes well for taking the next step toward cohabitation.
14. You’re Secure Enough To Talk “Worst Case Scenarios”
You’re not ready to cohabitate if you’re uncomfortable talking through “what ifs” — including “what if we break up.” Always have a contingency plan. Life is unpredictable.
15. Your Gut Says “Yes”
Consult your gut. As we mentioned above, it’s a capable radar. Trust it if it’s signaling that all systems are ready for liftoff! But even so, put your head and heart above your gut on this decision.
Sometimes you can mistake a romantic notion for intuition.
FAQs About Moving In Together
Is three months too soon to move in together?
Most relationship experts advise couples to wait at least a year before moving in together.
But that doesn’t mean people who cohabitate after only three months won’t last. However, folks who wait a bit longer have a better track record.
Is seven months too soon to move in together?
Seven months is enough time for some couples to know if they want to cohabitate. However, most marriage counselors recommend waiting at least one year. That said, if you can check off certain relationship milestones, you may be ready.
How do you know if it’s too soon to move in together?
If you’re constantly fighting, have yet to discuss finances, and one of you still has several secrets tucked away, you’re probably not ready to share a home with your romantic partner.
Cohabitation is a big step, and it can be fulfilling and fun. However, think carefully before making the leap prematurely. Moving out is not as fun as moving in.