Many couples take the big step of moving in together without first considering the full ramification of the decision.
When you started dating, you most likely each had your own space to live. Now, though, you will be sharing a space together.
How you both communicate, resolve conflict, and deal with emotional and day-to-day stress are important considerations. That’s why it’s crucial to have several discussion about this big decision.
Consider these (12) questions:
1. How Do We Get Along?
This is a question you might not have considered before, but it’s still important. How do you both get along with each other on a day-to-day basis? Are you fairly agreeable with one another or is there conflict? Remember that you will be living with each other—and seeing each other—a lot.
2. Do We Communicate Effectively?
The next question to ask is whether or not your communication skills are effective as a couple. It’s easy to sit on the couch together watching TV while making small-talk. Yet, effective communication requires listening, understanding, and problem-solving. Most especially, it requires that you have empathy for the other person.
3. Have We Practiced Problem-Solving Together?
What’s the biggest problem you have had together? Were you both satisfied with the results? Knowing how to problem-solve is an important skill for any couple. There are always challenges that arise when sharing a home together. Consider how you each approach solving problems individually and as a couple. If you are unsure, then it’s time to put yourselves in some test situations. For instance, if you haven’t already done so, go on a trip together or plan a dinner party, and see what happens.
4. How Do We Cope with Stress?
Another benefit of placing yourselves in challenging situations is learning how you cope with stress. Again, this includes you both as individuals and as a couple. Does one of you get angry while the other shuts down? How do you communicate your stress to each other, if at all? Think about specific situations and how you might handle them. For example, what if one of you gets sick or injured or losses their job?
5. Do We Treat Each Other With Kindness?
Kindness is a necessary quality for any successful relationship. Are you affirming your care for one another or is one or both of you sarcastic? When one partner is struggling, does the other say “…just get over it” or do they reach out to help? Without mutual kindness, it is hard to imagine any relationship surviving.
6. What Are Our Strengths and Weaknesses?
As you consider this joint venture together, think about your strengths and weaknesses as a couple and as individuals. What qualities do you each bring to the table that makes the relationship work? What weakness will put the relationship at risk if you move in together? Is one of you the planner while the other is better at follow through? Identifying those strengths and weaknesses is essential.
7. Do We Truly Listen to Each Other?
Listening is a true art form that requires being attentive to each other and absorbing what the other person has to say. When you do this, you are creating a firmer connection between the two of you. Also, your partner will feel understood and you can both work together to find mutual agreement.
8. Is Respect Central to Our Relationship?
Do you respect your partner as their own person? What qualities about your partner do you appreciate? Having respect for one another is important when you’re moving in together. After all, you will have to be two equals collaborating together in this new chapter of your relationship.
9. Do We Trust One Another?
You need to trust your partner when you live together. This trust can range from counting on that your partner will complete a chore to having confidence that they will contribute financially to the household. Have you stopped to consider if you trust your partner?
10. How Will We Manage Finances
One of the major issues that couples fight about is household finances. Surprisingly, many couples move in together without ever having a discussion on their perspectives around money. Don’t make this mistake. Things to think about:
- How will financial decisions be made?
- How much money will you need?
- How will you share expenses?
- Does either of you have significant financial debt?
11. What’s the Long Term Goal?
Couples who don’t discuss their assumptions about why they want to live together and what they expect to happen put their relationship at risk. Clearly tell each other why you want to live together. Will you be there short term or do you both want a long term relationship? Are one or both of you both in love? Are one or both of you thinking about marriage?
12. Does This Feel Right?
Ultimately, you both have to consider whether this feels like the right decision for both of you. This means listening to your heart and your gut—not just your head. If it does feel right, go for it. If not, then ask yourselves why. Perhaps you have some things to work on.
As you can see, moving in together requires a lot of thought and introspection. However, in the end, the decision really does come down to whether you believe this is the right step—and the right person.
Moving in together is a big step. Many of us can’t see all the potential roadblocks to sharing a home together. Sometimes, it helps to get an outside opinion from a neutral person with a more objective view. Meeting with a professional relationship counselor can you help identify and resolve any issues that may get in the way of your happiness.
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