Is it a good idea to live together? How can you be sure? What types of relationships are best suited for living together?
You’ve been dating for awhile and are wondering if it’s a good idea to move in together. Living together is more acceptable than ever in today’s culture, but there are still some negatives that you may want to consider before making this big decision.
Your first step is to realize that this IS a big decision. It will affect every aspect of your life and is difficult to remove yourself from once you’ve moved in (or let someone move in). So be sure before you jump.
Secondly you will want to examine your relationship and determine where you hope it will lead. Are you seeking marriage? Do you see yourself still with this person in a year? If marriage is desired, your best bet is to have already addressed this issue before moving in together. Moving in together often way lays the urgency to get married, especially for men. So know what you want.
You should also examine the relationship for how you communicate and interact with each other. You should be on a level of complete openness and trust before considering living together. You should also relate to this person well emotionally. Also spend some time doing domestic things together to see how well you get along during everyday mundane tasks. You may also want to consider the other person’s style of housekeeping. Is she a slob and you’re a neat freak? Things like this can be overcome but will have to be talked about and negotiated thoroughly otherwise they will be major issues in your relationship.
Next come financial considerations. Can you both contribute equally to the household’s expenses? You will most definitely need to talk these things through before making a decision. Is your decision to live together based on financial reasons alone? Cheaper rent, shared responsibilities? Have you addressed the issue of who owns joint purchases in the event of a break up?
Living together should be taken very seriously. It should only be undertaken with a person whom you respect and who respects you. It can be a very positive experience but it can also just as easily be a negative one.
Consider making a list of the pros and cons of living together, to compare the differences. Your pros might include: cheaper rent, more disposable income, spending more time together, exploring whether you want to get married, having a sense of family, companionship, security, moving to a more committed stage, building a life with someone. Your cons might include some of the same issues: having to check with someone before making purchases, having to decide who keeps joint purchases, depending on someone else to keep up with their half of the bills, feeling claustrophobic/ not having enough space, privacy, or alone time, resenting your sense of duty and obligation to this person, having to interact with his or her family, losing your sense of independence, being irritated by your lover’s habits.
Living together as a romantic couple is a much bigger deal than just choosing a roommate, although some of the same considerations still apply. It’s very hard to decide that living together isn’t working and still date this person or keep them in your life. Relationships rarely survive such huge steps backwards. So be prepared to end the relationship if your living arrangement doesn’t work out, although this is not always the case.
On the subject of marriage, if you are a person who has no plans or desire for marriage you should be very upfront about this, especially if things get to the stage of talking about living together. Make sure you and your partner are headed in the same direction and don’t move in together purely for practical reasons if you’re not willing to deal with the mess it may cause in the end.