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Cohabiting seems like the next logical step in any successful relationship. After all, it’s only natural that you would want to live with your partner, whether you plan on getting married or not.
But for those couples who do plan on getting married, it makes sense that more couples have begun to cohabit a space. Sharing a home and living in close contact with someone can reveal daily habits that you might find endearing — or impossible. In fact, Glamour reports that more than 18 million single adults are living with their partner and more than half of these individuals are Millennials.
About 43 million Americans move every year, but are you ready to live with your partner?
There’s no secret formula to determine when you and your partner are ready to take the next step in your relationship. However, there are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to help make that final choice. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when you’re thinking about moving in with your partner.
Do we have similar financial goals?
Money is one of the most pressing issues a couple will face throughout their relationship. Splitting bills and making investments are two factors that every couple will have to face head-on. If you’re not on the same page financially, this could lead to a slew of other issues.
Before you move in, you should outline important financial considerations. For example, while some people might feel comfortable splitting the rent in half, others will prefer to pay based on monthly income. Additional factors such as student loan payments, groceries, and bills might also come into play. Before you agree to move in together, a chat about financial responsibilities is essential.
And what about investments? Millennials have become increasingly strong investors and almost 90% of current investors hope to stake their claim in the real estate market, whether that means funding new projects or trying out house flipping. While these goals can seem lofty to some, talking to your partner about strategic plans and monthly budgeting can establish feasible investments. After all, hard money loan-value ratios are typically at 70%, making it a great option for savvy spenders.
You might want to try budgeting a trip together or discussing financial goals to get a better idea of you and your partner’s spending habits. If you’re moving in with someone for the sake of finances, however, you may want to reconsider cohabiting.
Have we tried cohabiting before?
Trying out living together before you actually take the plunge is a great way to gauge your compatibility as a couple. While some couples are able to enjoy spending time together, others prefer to have a bed of their own at the end of the night.
One way to determine if you can live with your partner is by going on an extended vacation. This vacation serves two purposes: it reveals aspects of your partner’s personality and it helps you to determine if you’re comfortable sharing a space with them for extended periods of time. While a bad vacation shouldn’t make or break your decision to move in together, it can give you a better indication of what you should expect when you actually do take the plunge.
Family therapist Moraya Seeger DeGeare notes that people handle stress differently — but you won’t be able to avoid a foul mood or a tense situation when you live together.
“Are they more likely to pull away, or are they more likely to go after the problem?” she asks. “Those are the conversations you want to be able to comfortably have before you move in together.”
Have we seen each other at our worst?
When you love a person, you love them for all their faults and flaws, too. If you only see your partner when they’re happy and healthy, you might not know what to do when they have an accident or get sick. Slips and falls are the number one accident seen at hotels and restaurants and a person might get multiple colds throughout the year. Before you pledge to be there for them through sickness and health, you need to see them at their sickness stage. This includes any issues that might occur with mental health, as well.
Some experts recommend that pre-marital counseling can help suss out these issues and get partners on the same page. Exploring goals and establishing communication goals with a professional is a great buffer against the trials and tribulations that come with cohabiting.
How much space do we need?
This point is important both literally and figuratively. Recent studies have shown that Millennials are happiest when they cohabit a space with 1,810 square feet. Meanwhile, Millennial couples are most dissatisfied when they share a space of 1,566 square feet or less.
While having more space will give you some extra breathing room, you should still maintain figurative space as well. It’s easy for couples to neglect their own hobbies, interests, and friends when they move in together. To prevent cabin fever from setting in, taking a break from your partner every once in a while is vital. Go out with friends or become one of the 45 million people who take up hiking. Trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone will help build you up as a person when you start to fall into monotony. Just be sure to talk about these goals so that resentment and any other issues with communication are kept at bay.
It might be frustrating, but there isn’t a set time or date that means you’re ready to move in with your significant other. If you’re considering this option, be sure to run through these questions before making the final decision.