With rents rising all over the country, the idea of moving with a significant other is more tempting than ever. How do you know if your relationship is ready for this particular plunge, however? We asked someone who recently moved in with her boyfriend, and she joked that you know it’s time when your girlfriend has given you an ultimatum (as she did to her boyfriend). This made us laugh, but the threat of a breakup is probably not the most ideal circumstance under which to make a move. Here are eight better signs it’s time to shack up with your significant other.
1. You’re well over 23
At one point, the media told us that moving in with a significant other before marriage was likely to lead to divorce. This study-based advice has since been refined and now purports that the correlation between cohabitation and divorce is dependent on the age at which two people move in together. According to TIME, the further you get from the age of 23 when you move in with someone, the more likely you are to stay with that partner long-term. One study even shows that for each year a woman waits to move in with her significant other, the chances of divorce are lessened (until her early thirties, at which point the trend reverses). So, we’re definitely not saying you should move in with someone because you’re 23. Instead, we’re saying you should be at least 23 before you consider taking this particular plunge.
2. You’re not just looking for more discretionary income
Paying half-priced rent is great for your wardrobe, but if saving money is your only motivation for moving in with someone (or their only motivation for moving in with you), it may be wise to slow things down. Taking this train of thought a step further, if you’re desperate with respect to money and this desperation is the impetus for cohabitating with your significant other, it’s less likely the relationship will last, especially if you’re both desperate for money. We suggest you try a roommate first.
3. You have an adequate emergency fund
We don’t mean to be cynical, but moving in with someone doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up together forever. The last thing you want is to end up feeling trapped in the home you share, or panicked because you need to find new arrangements ASAP but you spent what would be rent money on Revolve.com. Make sure you have a nest egg saved up before you move in with someone—this will allow you to speak your mind more freely once you’re cohabitating, without having to fear the financial consequences of a breakup.
4. You are aware of your partner’s cleanliness level
Amongst our friends, we see that this tends to be the biggest point of contention post move-in. Everyone has a different tolerance for mess and dirt, and if a compromise can’t be reached, this will almost certainly end up being a deal-breaker. Are you a person who leaves dishes in the sink, or who washes them right away? Make sure you actively and honestly discuss this before deciding to move in with one another. It also helps to stay with your significant other for a long, uninterrupted period of time before moving in with them in order to evaluate their habits accurately—they can only be on their best behavior for so long.
5. You’ve talked about money
You don’t want any surprises in this area. It’s important to have an open discussion about money before moving in so you’re not caught off-guard if your partner suddenly can’t come up with the cash to pay rent. You’ll also want to have a clear understanding of who is paying for what, or what the bill split will be, before you start to shack up together.