Relationship advice: Moving in together

Moving in with your partner is usually the next big step in a relationship. Although the thought of waking up next to their, admittedly gorgeous, face each morning is exciting, are you ready to deal with the tough stuff? And have you talked through what you both expect? Moving in together can make or break a relationship. So The Mix is here to help you make the right decision.

A young couple are walking. They are moving in together.

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When to move in together

Deciding when to move in together can be tricky. Giving relationship advice on moving in together is equally tricky, but we’ll give it a go. 

First off, it’s worth thinking about why you’re considering it in the first place. Maybe you think sharing household bills is just a practical way to save money, or it’s the easiest way to see each other around your intense work schedules. These are both totally valid reasons to move in. But you also need to examine what it means to both of you emotionally before you dive in the deep end.

“Ask yourself, what moving in together means to you?” says Dr Janet Reibstein, psychologist and professor at Exeter University. “Is it about convenience, or is it the next step in your relationship? Ideally, you need to decide this before even bringing it up with your partner.”

How to know you’re ready to move in together

This is different for every couple and, ultimately, it’s your decision. So we’re not gonna sit here and give you a precise checklist. However, there are a few things you should probably think through first:

Are you ready to alter your private life?

Your private life – when you see your mates, how late you stay out, what and when you eat, how much TV you watch – essentially every habit you’ve built for yourself, is no longer just yours. Now, you’ll need to find a way to compromise with your significant other. Are you ready for that?

Moving in won’t work if you carry on as if you live alone, just with your partner sharing your bed. You’re now sharing a place together – your actions will affect them and vice versa. It isn’t exactly romantic, but you need to have an honest conversation about your needs and ways of living. That way you can decide what’s what before signing a lease.

“Your choices no longer just affect you, they have an impact on someone you love,” says Dr Janet. “You’re both giving up your private rights. So you need to renegotiate them. You should also be prepared for the relationship to play an even bigger role in your life now that you’re essentially part of it 24/7”.

All of these drastic changes mean that it’s really, really important to think this through beforehand. If you’re not ready to share and compromise your lifestyle, then maybe moving in isn’t the right move for you right now.

What does moving in together mean for both of you?

You may think moving in is a great way to save money on rent and household expenses. And get a bit more sex in mid-week on the side. That’s completely fine. But what if they’re thinking: ‘this is the next step towards marriage or a civil partnership’? And, after a certain amount of time, they’re assuming a proposal is on the cards? 

With that in mind it’s time to bestow our number one piece of relationship advice when moving in together onto you. You absolutely have to get on the same page before deciding to move to a new place. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for a co-habital nightmare filled with unsubtle hints and passive-aggressive comments.

A lot of couples move in together before they get married or have a civil partnership,” says Dr Janet. “This means that often people assume living together is a step towards this. Understandably, this leads to confusion if that doesn’t happen. Of course, it’s a really hard conversation to have. But you have to have it. It’s important to discuss what moving in means in terms of your future.”

Think about the logistics of moving in

So, emotionally, you’re ready to share a bathroom. That’s great. But hang on a minute. There’s a few more wrinkles you need to iron out first.

Have you thought about:

  • WHERE to live? Have you found a location that will work for both of you? If one of you has a much longer commute, or doesn’t like living somewhere noisy but you do, this can lead to resentment.
  • HOW to combine your stuff? Two lives worth of crap = one messy disorganised mess of a home. Have you chatted about what you’re bringing with you? Remember, even little things like what to hang on the walls can cause friction. That’s why you should set boundaries to create a happier home. Just make sure to discuss them sooner rather than later to avoid any potential misunderstandings. 
  • CAN you live with the inevitability that you’ll soon know what your partner’s poo smells like? And still fancy them?

Keeping the love alive after moving in together

Since sprawling out in front of the TV together in stained, old underwear isn’t really the height of romance, you’re going to have to put a bit of effort in to keep that flame burning. This means: 

  • Inviting your partner on a date night. Yes, it’s a cliché. But spending time together outside the house is extremely important.
  • Interacting with others, as a couple. Seeing your partner chatting animatedly will remind you there’s another side to the stressed-out person whose morning breath you wake up to each and every day.

Share your relationship advice for moving in together

Head over to our discussion boards to share your stories about moving in together with other young people.

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By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 22-Jun-2022