There are many reasons why people jump into a living situation with a partner prematurely. They may be worried that if they don’t do so they may lose the relationship. They may be feeling pressured. They may even be inspired by pride and the desire to prove themselves to those who said doubted the relationship. None of these justifications will work in the long run, though. The only healthy reason to move in with a boyfriend or girlfriend is if doing so will deepen the relationship. Committing to this course for any other reason is like setting sail in a leaking boat. Sooner or later, it’s going to sink.
A good rule of thumb is to hold off on living together at least until your relationship has passed the six month mark – the “honeymoon period.” Hormones and fantasies have too strong a hold on our minds during this early stage of a romance. We aren’t always seeing the other person clearly, and we can even lose our sense of ourselves in the equation. This can also hold true for people who have never lived on their own before. Moving from your parent’s house straight into a shared space with a lover can be a recipe for co-dependency. Take some time to get to know yourself in an independent mode. Prove to yourself that you can navigate life’s challenges on your own before you make the decision to share your intimate space with another.
It can be hard to know, beforehand, if sharing a living space will really deepen the intimacy in your relationship. So many dynamics change when we shift from “every weekend” to “day after day with no end in sight.” You can only make an educated prediction by taking an honest look at the status of your relationship in the present. Consider the frequency – and intensity – of any conflicts. Do you fight more than you used to? Has your bedroom chemistry significantly changed since the relationship began? If you’re not sure how your relationship might withstand daily contact you can “test the waters” by taking a week-long vacation together.
The decision to move in together should never be made for purely pragmatic reasons. The rhythms of intimacy do not follow the movements of the calendar and the clock. The fact that your lease may be running out soon, or that your partner could help out with utilities or that your parents feel it’s high time you were out of the house are not valid reasons to make a major decision that will affect your heart.
The time to discuss practicalities comes only after you both feel confident that living together is the right thing to do. At this point you can make detailed plans about how you will share and/or split financial obligations and come to agreements that feel fair to both of you. If trust, intimacy and mutual respect are present between you then the pragmatic considerations can easily fall into place. If the relationship is in trouble, however, then no amount of logistical juggling is going to put it back on track.
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