With Shira Etzion
If you and your significant other are getting ready to move in together, congratulations! You’re about to take a big step forward in your relationship and that is truly exciting. Before you pack up your boxes, though, you want to be absolutely sure that you are making this decision at the best possible time and for all the right reasons. Chances are, if you genuinely feel ready, you won’t regret making this choice. But it’s important to ensure that you and your S.O. are on the same page and feel safe with one another before you start sharing a space.
I spoke to Shira Etzion, marriage and family therapist, about the signs that you are definitely ready to move in with your partner. There’s no rush, and as she explains, a “not now” doesn’t have to be a “hard no.” If there is any trace of uncertainty about taking this next step, it may help to wait. “Some manifestations of a relationship only happen once you are together in the same space with only each other to work through daily life in a home,” says Etzion. “You really want to make moving in together a declaration that you are ready to discover those dynamics. The surprises are not always ideal and seeing your partner as imperfect becomes inevitable.” If you think you can handle those imperfections and you can relate to the four signs below, then you and your S.O. should be good to go.
YOU ARE MOVING TOWARDS A COMMON GOAL
It’s easy to say that you wish you lived together when you’re sleeping over at your partner’s place every other night, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready for the commitment. Depending on your motivation for moving in together, it’s possible that it could turn out badly, just as well as you planned, or even better than you could have imagined.
“When you happen to be spending the night at each other’s places and you know you want to be together ‘forever,’ moving in together can be a good way to take both the relationship and the commitment to one another a step deeper,” says Etzion.
YOU HAVE THOROUGHLY DISCUSSED IT
Etzion says that not only should you communicate, but you should over-communicate. She suggests telling your S.O. where you see the relationship going, and asking where they see the two of you down the line. “Compare notes,” she says. “The most important thing is that these conversations happen honestly without judgement or blame. The worst thing is when a partner agrees on a big step in a relationship only to come back later and say they were ‘forced’ or ‘had no choice’ to say yes.” This decision should be made together to prevent any unnecessary resentment.
YOU TRUST ONE ANOTHER
You’re going to be sharing the same (likely very small) space, which means you need to trust one another completely. If your S.O. has questionable friends or will be working from home all day, it’s important to be aware of that. “The best place to be in a partnership is to know that you are not depending on someone who you don’t feel safe with or trust to house you,” says Etzion. If you have any doubts or fears that you feel you can’t share with your partner, that could be a red flag.
IT FEELS LIKE A CHOICE, NOT A CIRCUMSTANCE
You should never move in with someone as a last resort, solely to save money, or for any reason other than that you truly want to. Neither one of you should pressure the other into taking a step they’re not yet ready for. Not everyone moves at the same pace, and that’s OK. You shouldn’t use moving in to gauge where you are in your relationship or how much you care about each other. “Moving in together is not a sign of how much you love someone. It is a joint lifestyle agreement made together,” says Etzion. “It can create all sorts of obligatory feelings which stunt a direction a relationship may naturally go. Put the pedal on dependency until it feels like a choice, not a circumstance.”
Moving in with your significant other is not a choice you should make lightly. Whether or not you physically sign a contract, you’re making an agreement with another person. You want to be completely confident in your decision before you commit. And once you are sure, get ready for a never-ending sleepover with your favorite person.