When you move in with your partner, you take a massive step toward a shared future. Cohabitation makes sense for a lot of couples, even those who don’t plan to get married anytime soon. After all, shared costs make life a whole lot more affordable. Make sure you navigate this decision properly.
1. Think About the Future
Every year, more unmarried couples choose to live together. Does this idea work with your plans for the future? Think long and hard about where you see yourself in the next few years. Do you want to travel or pursue an education? Both of you should be aware of what the other envisions for themselves. When you share and support each other’s goals, it’s easier to create a more permanent life together.
2. Establish the Right Reasons
Cohabitation is often a great financial move for couples. You split rent, utilities and groceries, which helps to save money in the long run. Don’t move in together for this reason only, though. In other words, forget about the money aspect. You should want to live with your significant other because you love and see a future with them. Make sure that’s what drives the overall decision.
3. Research Different Home Styles
All couples are at various stages in their relationships. As such, moving in together doesn’t always mean finding an apartment to rent. You may want to build a home or purchase a townhouse. There are perks and downsides to each — but all depend on where you’re at with your significant other. Long-term couples may want to create a more permanent life and buy a property. Others prefer to rent.
Either way, consider your goals and finances and take the time to look at different options.
4. Conduct a Trial Run
Before you hunt for an apartment, conduct a trial run — stay together for several nights in a row. Then, you can get a sense of how a shared home will feel. If this is already the norm for you both, that’s even better. Practice cohabitation at least once, so you know what to expect down the line. You can think about what needs to change before you take the more permanent step. Look for behaviors that could cause problems and discuss them.
You don’t want to jump into a rental agreement without an indication of what the experience will be like.
5. Agree to Disagree
It’s no secret that couples argue. In fact, to an extent, this is normal. Do you handle these disagreements the right way? Think back to your last conflict and try to remember how you resolved it. Cohabitation has its ups and downs, so you need to be ready to face them. If you sense you both could use a little help, look into productive tips or consult a relationship therapist. Don’t move in together until you have a healthy way to cope with issues.
6. Take a Vacation
If you’re unable to conduct that trial run, take some time away with your significant other. Rent a cabin for a weekend or book a beachside vacation. The goal here is simple — think about whether or not you genuinely enjoy consistent time alone with them. We all get annoyed or frustrated sometimes, but cohabitation should feel natural. This way, you can recognize each other’s habits more clearly.
7. Discuss Finances
So, you’ve been together for five years. That’s a long time, but there’s still a chance you don’t know everything about your partner. Money isn’t easy to talk about. Still, it’s a central part of this process. Put all the financial stuff out in the open. Do you have student loans? Are they in credit card debt? No matter the situation, learn about it and formulate a strategy. When you cohabitate, you become even more of a team.
Remember, you aren’t responsible for the other person’s issues — but you do share them.
8. Make a Plan
The more you can prepare for the future, the better. Sometimes, even the best relationships don’t last. Put emotions aside and think of a plan in case things go south. Think about who’s going to stay in the apartment and who will take the dog if you break up. It’s an uncomfortable discussion, but still necessary. When you make a plan, you can consider your future more carefully.
Make sure your significant other is likeminded in this aspect. You have faith in your relationship and are prepared for the worst at the same time.
Think About the Future Together
You already know that cohabitation is a big step, so it’s important to consider all scenarios in your relationship. There’s no need to rush. Think about your future and do the necessary research before you take this leap. This way, everything will pan out accordingly.
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