You’ve got a lot of thinking to do and a great deal to consider if you’re thinking about moving in with your significant other. This is not something to be taken lightly. Once you’ve made this commitment, your life and your relationship will change significantly and the more you prepare yourself for this, the more successful the move is likely to be.
One way to prepare for such a significant undertaking is to ask yourself these three questions. If deep within your heart you know you have answered honestly, then you will know too, whether or not it is time to move in with each other.
Question One when moving in with a significant other ~ The big question: Finances! How might you handle joint expenses? ~
Moving in together will either mean you will both be accepting joint responsibility for household expenses or you will agree beforehand that one partner might cover most of the costs. Circumstances will have a lot to do with this decision but it is a one you should be very clear about from the start. If one partner is working while the other is at college and the employed partner is happy to take the majority of financial responsibility, perhaps the other will suggest ways to redress the balance. For instance by taking on more of the household chores.
If you both agree to share expenses, be sure you agree on how bills will be paid. Will you have a joint account from which to pay the rent/mortgage and utility bills? How much do you expect to spend on food? If one partner earns more than the other, are they willing to pay a little more towards joint expenses or do they expect everything to be shared fifty-fifty?
Money can often be at the root of major disagreements within households so find out from the start where you both stand in this respect.
Question Two when moving in with a significant other ~ Why are you moving in together? ~
Think of all the reasons you both feel ready to make such a big move. Indeed be sure you are both ready! If one partner wants this more than the other, is it not a better idea to wait until you both feel the same?
Are you thinking about moving in together for practical or economical reasons, for instance it’ll be far less expensive than living apart? Might you be moving in with each other as a practice-run before marriage and is this a good enough reason? Why do you feel you need a rehearsal for such a big commitment? Are there some doubts a marriage would not work? Could it be one of you isn’t ready for matrimony but will accept moving in together and if so, is this really enough for the other partner?
Think of all the reasons why you are moving in together, discuss these and consider whether they are strong enough reasons to make the final move.
Question Three when moving in with a significant other ~ Do you know all the legal implications?
Many people think that living together gives them the same rights as being married but often this isn’t the case. There are differences in living together from a legal standpoint and you should seriously consider these and make yourself aware of them before making such a significant move.
There are no legal requirements for moving in together whereas marriage is a legal and binding commitment. Moving in together makes it easier, should the relationship end, for you both to walk away. Marriage must be ended by divorce which can a costly, time-consuming and emotionally draining process.
A divorce settlement will lead to the couple’s property being divided through a legal settlement. At the end of co-habiting the couple can divide joint possessions how they wish.
Other considerations include financial ones should anything happen in the future, the higher-wage earner of a marriage would have an obligation to provide financial support for the other whereas there would be no such obligation should a couple living together split up.
Consider too the possibility of children being born to the couple and the legal rights associated with this in the future.
Such questions can be complicated and may seem unnecessary or a little dramatic during the first phase of moving in together but considering them now could make a big difference to how you handle your relationship in the future.