Deciding to move in with your significant other can be a huge decision, and a big step to make in your relationship. It is definitely not a decision that should be made lightly, and there are a few key questions that you should try and confront before making the leap.
First, you will want to sit down and break down your individual finances, and then create a separate spreadsheet that lists the expenses that you will be splitting. One of the biggest reasons that couples move in together is to save money, so it makes sense that you should break down the shared expenses together. If you cannot agree on how to share the expenses, this may be a sign that you are not yet ready to move in together.
Although some people may view moving in with a significant other as comparable to moving in with a roommate, the reality is that it is not the same. With a roommate you might split rent, electricity, gas, water, and Internet & cable, but it is less likely that you are going to be sharing expenses for big purchases (e.g., furniture, remodeling), or for food and entertainment. Set a budget and stick with it, if and when possible.
Second, know and understand your viewpoint on moving in with a significant other prior to marriage. If your religion played a key role in your life prior to making this decision, then religion should probably be reflected upon before making the literal move. If your family would frown upon the decision, then analyze how you think this will affect you.
Third, utilize forethought in this decision-making process. For instance, if you break up three months into a twelve-month lease, you need to have a contingency plan. Is your apartment a one bedroom? Can someone else sublet from you? Can either of you afford this apartment/townhouse/condo/house on your own? How much would it cost to break a lease? Where can you stay if you get into an argument?
Fourth, think about how the two of you are going to delegate duties. Would it seem fair if you do all of the cooking and cleaning, but you pay a smaller proportion of the rent? Do you know that your significant other will actually share in the delegation of duties? Are either of you set in your ways as to how often you clean, the ways in which you clean, and how much time should be allotted to keeping your home tidy?
Fifth, make sure that this is the right decision for the both of you. Moving in together can be an extremely stressful and difficult process. Anytime you take two people and try to make them live together harmoniously, well, it isn’t always easy. Your family and friends are always a good place to turn to, so if you struggle during the adjustment phase, take a break, take a breath, and grab a drink or coffee with someone with a kind and listening ear.