Moving in with your partner is a significant step in any relationship. There’s nothing like the thrill of knowing you’ll go home to the one you love.
But how do you know if you’re ready for it? How soon is too soon to move in?
The best thing to do is to examine your relationship closely and recognize signs that will point you in the right direction.
Here are 16 signs that it isn’t the right time to move in together. Later on, I’ll also share the ways to know if you’re ready to dive into this new chapter in your life.
1) Your relationship is still relatively new
In the early stages of a relationship, we tend to look at our partner with starry eyes. Everything about them is perfect, and it seems like they can do no wrong.
This honeymoon phase is a time of giddiness, laughs, and lots of intimacy.
And while it’s happening, the only thing to do is enjoy it. After all, it really is a special time for couples.
But one thing is sure: it’s not the right time to make huge decisions.
It’s just a phase, and while we’d rather it never ends, the reality is it does.
Eventually, it all settles down, and you begin to see your partner with clearer eyes and notice their flaws.
Over time, you’ll know if you can love your partner and live with them peacefully despite these flaws.
2) You’re only doing it to save money
With rent and mortgage payments getting higher, it’s understandable that couples want to move in together to cut down on costs.
But if that’s your main reason for sharing a home with your SO, you may want to rethink your decision.
While money is certainly an important consideration, it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.
You could find yourself in a difficult position if it doesn’t work out. It may even end up costing you more money with all the legal complications involved.
3) You avoid discussing money
Speaking of money, you’ll know you’re not ready when you can’t discuss finances with your partner.
Living together means you’ll be sharing expenses and merging finances.
It’s crucial that you can trust your partner with money. You need to be able to discuss spending, saving, and other financial concerns honestly and openly.
4) Your partner doesn’t talk much about the future
Moving in together is a natural step in the evolution of a relationship. However, many couples need to learn how their partner feels about the future before they can move forward.
Are you planning to get married? Have kids together? Will you eventually buy your own home?
These are questions that bear asking since you’re investing so much time, energy, and emotions in your relationship.
You don’t need to have all the answers right away, but what matters is that you routinely talk about what the future holds for your relationship.
If your partner constantly puts up a wall or shuts down any conversation about the future, it’s probably too soon to move in together.
5) You and your partner constantly argue
If you and your partner always find yourselves caught up in an argument while you’re still living apart, I’ve got some bad news for you.
It won’t get easier once you move in.
It will probably get even worse because you’ll be fighting about the small stuff, and you won’t have the space to take a moment and breathe.
One of the keys to a fantastic relationship is knowing how to compromise. If neither of you can do this, you’ll find it difficult to live together.
6) You haven’t talked about an exit strategy
When you move in, it can be tempting to think it will all be smooth sailing.
The painful truth is that some relationships end, no matter how you try to fix them.
Unfortunately, with couples who move in together, breaking up gets more complicated when you share a home and all the stuff in it. Throw a pet into the equation, and it becomes even trickier.
It’s challenging to have a mature and honest conversation about what to do if you find that you have to part ways.
For example, if you have a pet, who will keep it? Or if you bought your furniture together, who gets the couch or the TV?
Talking about these things isn’t being defeatist. It’s just the responsible thing to do.
7) You’re dealing with significant life changes
As we all know by now, life is full of ups and downs. And some of them can be a time of major upheaval—a career change, grieving a loss, or coping with a serious injury, among others.
Making a big decision, like moving in with your SO during such times, isn’t such a good idea.
While you may be needing comfort or a sense of stability, moving in is actually another change you’re adding to your already full plate.
According to Loewenstein and Lerner, our emotions play an essential role in decision-making.
However, they may also cause us to have biased judgment and act recklessly, especially during times of intense stress.
Instead, focus on coping with the change and reserve making decisions about moving in for another time when things are calmer.
8) You don’t know your partner’s family
Taking your relationship to the next level means you’re serious about sharing a life with your partner. That also means you’ll likely be around one another’s families through the years.
Meeting the parents and the rest of the family is a huge step for any couple. It signals that your partner is serious about you.
It also gives you an insight into the dynamic you’ll experience in future family get-togethers.
Even though meeting your partner’s family may not be possible due to certain circumstances (for example, they could be living out of state), they should still know about your role in your partner’s life by now.
Otherwise, it’s questionable–does he think his parents will disapprove of you? Is he hiding something? Or is he simply not taking your relationship seriously?
9) You don’t like each other’s friends
Remember when you were in high school and had to hang out with your boyfriend’s friends and vice versa?
Well, the same is true even for adults.
When you share a home with your partner, this becomes even more important, as you’ll have your friends over from time to time.
It’s essential to have a good relationship with them to minimize friction between you and your partner.
10) You have completely different life goals
When you’re in love, it’s easy to think that love is all that matters, that it should be enough to see you through the hard times.
Unfortunately, in real life, it takes more work than that.
When you’ve got opposing life philosophies and goals, it can be challenging to deal with these differences once you’ve moved in together.
Let’s say your partner is an ambitious, driven person who wants to live a high-flying lifestyle. You, on the other hand, prefer a simple, laid-back life.
In this kind of scenario, it’s easy to imagine the cracks appearing down the road.
People say opposites attract, but that’s actually a myth. Couples who share similar values and goals are more likely to have a successful relationship.
While having a different vision for the future isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, you do need to find a compromise if you want the relationship to work.
11) You still pretend to be perfect
Sharing a home with someone means being able to admit your weaknesses and owning up to your mistakes.
Be honest—are you still unable to admit your faults? Do you still feel the need to present yourself perfectly every time you’re with your partner?
If the answer is yes, you’re probably not ready to cohabitate with them yet.
12) You haven’t practiced cohabiting
It’s quite a big leap you’re taking if you’re moving in with someone with whom you haven’t practiced cohabiting yet.
Playing house is like a trial run. Before you decide to move in, you should have already experienced spending most nights a week together, maybe four or five nights a week.
This should give you a sense of what’s it like to be waking up next to your partner, sharing intimate spaces, and going through a regular daily routine with them.
13) You feel pressured
As someone who once watched friend after friend getting married, I know what’s it like to feel rushed and scared about getting left behind.
I felt so antsy about the lack of direction in my own relationship and tried to nudge it along with little hints about moving in.
Thankfully, a dear friend asked me a question I needed to hear—if nobody was getting married, would you still want to move in together?
That made me stop and think.
It made me see how I was allowing external forces to make such a life-changing decision for me. I didn’t have to let other people’s timelines push me in the wrong direction.
P.S. We eventually did move in, but only when we absolutely wanted to with all our hearts.
14) You have trust issues
If your main goal for moving in together is to keep close tabs on your partner, let me stop you right there.
It’s never a good sign when your motivation is borne out of fear and a lack of trust.
Sadly, without this, your relationship is bound to fail, whether you move in or not.
It’s best to first work on letting go of the insecurities that keep you from building trust in your partner.
15) You’re in the early stages of recovery or struggling with mental health issues
Ever wonder why, in pre-flight demonstrations, the flight attendants tell you to strap your oxygen mask first before anything else in case of an emergency?
That’s because you have to make sure you’re okay before you can take care of anybody else.
The same holds true in relationships.
I’ve never believed in the saying, “You complete me.”
I’ve always thought that we should come into our relationships already whole, and our partners are just there to complement us and make our lives infinitely better.
If you have issues of your own to take care of, like you’re in the early stages of sobriety or dealing with a mental health issue, it doesn’t mean you can’t be in a relationship.
However, it does mean you shouldn’t be making huge commitments at this stage. Instead, focus on getting better and give yourself time to adjust to your new normal.
That way, you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you’ll be ready to tackle the challenges that arise when you move in with a partner.
16) You feel anxious about living together
Having some doubts about the big move might be normal, but when it’s accompanied by a feeling of dread and anxiety, it becomes a serious red flag.
Pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel safe and secure with your partner? Do you feel comfortable voicing out your opinions even in the middle of an intense argument?
Doubts are a normal response to stress, but it’s important to examine why you’re having such doubts.
More often than not, there’s an underlying fear at the root of it. And if you can’t communicate these fears to your partner, it might be better to put your cohabitation plans on pause.
15 ways to know it’s the right time
Now that you know what red flags to watch out for, let’s look at the other side. How do you know when you’re all set to move in together?
1) You have successfully resolved conflicts together – including a major fight
Arguments are inevitable in any relationship, and it’s essential that you both know how to communicate and resolve conflicts in a mature way.
When you’ve already had a really big fight and were able to overcome it, that’s a great sign! It means that you’ve figured out how to handle conflict in a healthy manner.
And if you can get past the big issues, you’re likely to do well with the small stuff, too.
2) You’ve had an honest conversation about money
Nothing puts off romance like an upfront conversation about finances.
But there’s no getting around it—money is a significant issue that needs to be tackled.
Have you talked about how you’ll share the rent and expenses? Have you agreed on a budget? Is money your main reason for moving in? Do you have any financial secrets like a hidden credit card debt or bad spending habits? Are you going to share a joint bank account?
You’ll know you’re ready when these questions have been answered to the satisfaction of both parties.
3) You’ve successfully traveled together
Traveling together isn’t just about having fun. It’s also a trial run to see if your relationship can stand up to the rigors and stresses of traveling.
While going to new places is always an exciting experience, it’s also packed with stressful situations.
It’s an interesting way to find out if you and your partner can resolve the problems that pop up on the road.
You’ll find out if they’re willing to compromise and how they fare in unfamiliar situations.
If your trip turns out to be a lovely experience despite these stresses, you’re good to go.
4) You have had practice living together
Jumping right away into complete cohabitation can be a recipe for disaster.
A more thoughtful way to go about it is to do a trial period. Spend a few days every week at each other’s places and observe their habits and attitudes.
This will give you a peek at your future life together.
If you’ve done this and found that you still enjoy each other’s company, then you’re ready to live together.
5) You’re on the same page about the relationship
One of the common mistakes people make when moving in together is assuming that they are headed in the same direction.
You might think it’s a sign that your relationship is a committed, long-term one and is heading toward marriage.
Meanwhile, your partner might not feel the same way and sees living together as the final stop in your relationship.
That’s why it’s crucial to sit down and make sure that you both understand and see where your relationship is headed.
When you and your partner see eye to eye on your path to the future together, cohabitating then makes sense.
6) You’re secure enough to talk about an exit strategy
That said, while you both want your relationship to stand the test of time, you should also be mature enough to understand that sometimes things don’t work out.
That includes knowing you’ll need a plan for that, too.
Take the time to talk about what will happen if you break up. Details like who gets the furniture or how you will resolve any financial issues need to be faced upfront.
7) You can be yourself
Do you love sleeping in a ratty old shirt you’ve had since college? Do you put your hair in curlers overnight?
When you move in together, it’s impossible to look and behave perfectly all the time. And you shouldn’t!
With the right person, you can be free to be yourself—no need to feel embarrassed or pressured to keep up appearances.
Your partner will get to know the real you anyway and love you for who you are.
8) You’re financially ready
Sure, you’re sharing an apartment with someone and splitting costs, but the question is, are you financially set to cope with these responsibilities?
Life is unpredictable—accidents happen, or either of you could lose your job.
Being financially ready means you have enough to pay your way. Aside from that, it’s good to have a backup plan in case something happens, and one of you is suddenly unable to contribute.
9) You’re supportive of each other’s goals
A huge part of it is due to the presence of support, which is closely tied to one’s happiness and self-esteem.
Support for each other is a crucial pillar of a healthy relationship.
When two people live together, they come with their own separate dreams.
Whether it’s personal or career goals, you and your partner should let each other make your own choices and be each other’s cheerleader.
Being supportive doesn’t mean you go along with what your partner wants all the time, though. Sometimes, it means challenging them when you feel they’re going in the wrong direction.
Simply put, you should make each other become the best version of yourself.
10) Your schedules are compatible
Living together is an opportunity for couples to learn more about each other and see if they are compatible enough to get married.
That includes your work schedules and even your body clocks.
I once had a friend who complained that she never saw her boyfriend, even if they lived together. He was a nurse and often assigned to the night shift.
On an intellectual level, she understood it wasn’t his fault—he couldn’t just refuse to work at night, or else he’d lose his job.
But over time, the difference in schedules made them drift apart until they were practically roommates passing each other in the living room.
Concerns like this call for a discussion so that you can formulate a plan to deal with it.
11) You share the chores and responsibilities
Those days when women were expected to do everything around the house are long gone.
Thankfully, things are more on an even keel, with both parties dividing housework equally.
Do you absolutely hate taking out the garbage but love washing dishes? Whose turn is it to cook dinner?
Questions like this might seem so trivial but believe me, it’s the little things that matter in the long run.
In fact, couples who share routine housework are more satisfied in their relationships. That includes their sex lives! Who knew keeping the house clean together could be so rewarding?
12) You can handle each other’s flaws and messes
Sure, it can be annoying to sleep beside a heavy snorer. Or to have breakfast with someone crunching cereal noisily beside you.
We each have our own pet peeves, and little habits like this can drive a lot of people mad.
But if you can deal with your partner’s irritating habits without wanting to bite their head off, you’ll be okay sharing a roof with them.
13) You’re able to set healthy boundaries
Your home is a haven where you should feel relaxed and content. With both of you living in the same space, you’re bound to get some unpleasant surprises along the way.
For one, it can be difficult to get some alone time. But no matter the stage of your relationship, you want to maintain your own hobbies and interests to avoid codependency.
You also want to be able to set clear boundaries in certain situations.
For instance, I don’t like it when my partner brings home guests for dinner without a heads-up. That’s an area where I needed to make my preferences known.
If you can communicate your needs to your partner and they can respect it, then you’re ready to share space together.
14) You’ve met each other’s family and friends
As I mentioned earlier, meeting your other half’s loved ones is a big deal. It tells you that your partner sees you as an important and lasting presence in his life and is proud to let his family and friends know that.
After all, your lives will be deeply intertwined once you share a home, and that includes your social networks.
15) Your gut says yes
If you’re moving in together, excitement should be the overriding emotion you feel. That’s your gut telling you you’re doing the right thing.
It’s a new chapter in your love story, and though it’s normal to be nervous, it’s a happy kind of nervousness.
After you’ve had the necessary conversations and gone over every little concern with your partner and you’re still looking forward to it, then moving in together might be the right step for you.
Moving in together could be the best thing you’ll do for your relationship, but only if you make your decision at the right time.
There’s no hard and fast rule about it—it’s very individual to each couple.
Some couples might have been dating for only six months and feel ready to live together. Others might have been together for 2 years or more and still prefer to live apart.
Ultimately, it’s not a question of when but of why you should live together. You must move in for the right reasons and feel excited about the prospect of living together.
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