Maybe it’s been months, or even years that you’ve contemplated moving in with your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner. But there’s a whole range of reasons and fears that prevent you from doing so. Your parents, friends and colleagues think you’re too young. Or maybe you’re just not ready to give up all of your gross habits. I am twenty-one and have been living happily with my boyfriend for almost two years. We both have busy schedules, so sharing an apartment makes it easier to hang out. If the thought of moving in with your significant other feels exciting, and even a little scary, go for it! Our culture makes this seem like such a grown-up marriage thing, but it really doesn’t have to be. We all need a home. Here’s what you should consider before making the move:

Observe their current living habits

I know you might be unconditionally in love with this person, but you have to treat them like a roommate for a second. If you’re a neat and tidy person and your partner is not, this will cause serious issues. You’ll end up resenting them for never washing the dishes and may take this frustration out in other damaging ways. Harmony in habit = harmony in the relationship.

Splitting up rent & other expenses

Figure out how much income is being made between the two of you and decide on a proportional rent budget. It’s best to make things as fair as possible. If your partner makes more money than you do per month, they should pay more rent. Then look at other expenses, like water & gas, internet, and electricity. Split the most expensive one and divide the others. Do your grocery shopping together – it’s fun and cheap(ish)! You can split the bill according to your grocery budgets.

You will share literally EVERYTHING

You’re going to sleep in the same bed, share all your groceries, use the same shower products, pee in the same toilet, you name it! Unless of course you buy something ridiculously expensive and/or personal and want it all for yourself, which is totally understandable. You’re also going to be sharing emotions. We all have our fluctuations of happy and sad, and you might see a side to each other you never knew before. But if you create a support system and separate the effects of the day-to-day grind from your love life, the relationship will prosper.

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Have a life outside the home/relationship

Let’s be real – we all get annoyed with each other eventually. She hates the way you talk to her, and the way you cut your hair. You hate the way she drives your car, and you hate it when she stares. But 99% of the time, you both just need some space. It’s healthy to miss each other every once in a while. Go to the club with your girlfriends, sing-a-long with Taylor Swift, talk shit. Wake n’ bake with the bros and play FIFA all day. Whatever. By the end of the day you won’t care that she forgot to get quarters for laundry. Again.

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Clarify your intentions

Moving in with your significant other means different things to different people. For some, it is very serious and considered a pre-marriage step. For others, it can be fun and casual. Communicate why you want to live together. However, if you are considering the move strictly for financial benefit, I would suggest holding off for a while. This next step in your relationship should be based on the love and passion you have for each other, not temporary financial convenience. It is also important to note that uncertainty about the future is ok. We are young, and most of the time life does not go according to plan. Just make sure you communicate a mutual openness to the changes that will come.

Have a plan for when shit hits the fan

You made an adult decision to move in together, so you have to act like adults if you break up. Put both names on the lease so that you are equally responsible for rent. That way neither of you will get screwed over with all the costs later on. Have a back-up place to stay while figuring out your next move, otherwise it’s going to be pretty awkward sharing the same bathroom and kitchen with your ex. Also, be aware of who paid for what possessions so that you can take what is rightfully yours upon moving out.

Living with your sig. other will be tough at times, but mostly (hopefully) it will be a blast! There’s nothing better than creating unforgettable memories with someone you love, and sharing a home is just an extension of that.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty.”                  – Theodore Roosevelt

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