How Close Are You?
I don't mean whether or not you're comfortable hanging out on the couch watching TV all night together, although that's always a nice thing to share occasionally. When I refer to closeness, I mean: how much do you know about each other's values, background, aspirations, needs, weaknesses? What intimate details have you shared, and where are there gaps?
It might seem a bit silly to bring these items up randomly in conversation if they haven't already naturally, but they're all equally important when deciding if you should move in together or not. Perhaps your partner wants to eventually live in the country, raising horses and running a summer camp on the side, while you're a city person through and through. Or, maybe they don't practice a specific religion on a day-to-day basis, but they require some of their religious beliefs incorporated into their physical home. Having these kinds of discussions not only fosters closeness, it helps both of you determine if cohabitating is really the best choice for your individual lives and partnership.
How Committed Are You?
Most people, when asked how committed they are to a romantic relationship, will struggle somewhat with an answer. Saying, "Yes! I'm committed to my relationship," and describing how they're committed to a relationship are two very different conversations, with the second the more challenging of the two.
Therefore, you need to first ask yourself how committed you are to your relationship. Will you work through problems with your partner, no matter what happens? Are you completely invested in the relationship, or are there things you're still not sure about or willing to jump in for? Are you truly ready to commit on a large scale? Honesty with yourself will only help improve your connection with your partner. Plus, when you ask your partner the same thing (or better yet, think about how they've shown their commitment or lack thereof in the past), you'll have done the work yourself already.
Any lack of commitment to the relationship on either of your parts should signal a red flag, as well as an opportunity for discussion. Wouldn't it suck if you did move in together, just to have one of you rashly move out when something bad happens, because someone wasn't able or willing to work through it, no matter what?
How Well Do You Communicate?
If you've made it this far, you know the questions I have here for you are tricky and in-depth, with some level of soul-searching required. How you and your partner speak with one another also fits the heavy conversation bill, but it shouldn't be a tricky one to answer.
Do you both clearly, honestly, and loving communicate with one another, even during times of distress, angst, anger or confusion? Tactfulness is a plus, but really it comes down to whether or not you and your partner respect yourselves and each other enough to communicate in a kind and thoughtful manner, most of the time. Yes, we all get upset and say things we regret, but that has to be the exception, not the norm.
Do You Trust One Another?
Trust is a huge word, especially when dealing with relationships. Do you trust one another to: pay the rent on time? Give you a heads up when someone's on their way over? Knock before opening the bathroom door? Take responsibility for any mistakes made? Not cheat on you or lie to you?
Sure, some of these are bigger issues than others, and you may have other trust-related questions that come to mind. If so, ask yourself those questions, about yourself and your partner. If you can both wholeheartedly say you trust each other and have faith in the relationship, you're well on your way to cohabitating happily.
Okay, so no relationship is perfect. That much we agree on. But there are some red flags that, no matter what your situation or partnership, equate not moving in together. If any of the situations on this list even vaguely resemble your life, I strongly urge you not not move in together, and taking more time to resolve these issues, first:
- One of you is still legally married to someone else;
- One of you is physically or emotionally abusive;
- One of you suffers from mental health issues and/or has an addiction and aren't under the active care of a health professional;
I've also got a small list of "yellow" flags, meaning they aren't 100% deal breakers, but they do warrant some serious discussion before you move in together:
- You're having doubts about the long-term viability of your relationship, and want to move in together as a "test";
- You and your partner fight constantly, or your friends and/or family comment on the amount of fighting in your relationship;
- You're moving in together primarily to save money, reduce commute times, or another practical reason that doesn't involve a loving, romantic commitment to your partnership;
- You've only known each other a few months;
- You're using moving in as a way to force your partner to commit.