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When to move in together

The way couples approach and evaluate moving in together can affect the future health of their relationship. There are different approaches to relationships: married vs. unmarried, cohabitation, premarital cohabitation, and no cohabitation. It’s not uncommon for couples to make their decisions based on convenience, proximity, and short-term thinking—or a more thoughtful analysis of long-term planning and goals. 
Although cohabitation without marriage has increasingly become a more socially accepted family structure, the choice to move in together rather than marry may reflect views about the institution of marriage, finances, or something else.* Deciding together as a couple that waiting to live together until or after getting engaged or married may help in the decision-making process. 
However you approach your relationship, it can be a good idea to clarify expectations about commitment, long-term goals, and how you plan to grow as a couple before making big moves. Being intentional about the evolution of your relationship and agreeing about your goals as a couple can be beneficial. 

Questions to ask before moving in together

Here’s some questions to ask before moving in together to help set yourselves up for success. 
  • Discuss how much each of you can contribute financially. Couples often have uneven incomes and decide to split expenses in proportion to earnings. Make sure you’re on the same page about what you can each afford—after saving for important goals like retirement or a house. 
  • Decide where to live. Moving in together may require waiting for a lease to expire, selling an existing home, and renting or buying a new home. You may decide to look for a new location that suits both of your needs. 
  • Decide what to do with existing stuff. Weigh your options and decide if it makes sense to put items that aren’t immediately needed in storage. Determine if storage will be an ongoing expense, if items are still valuable, or make plans to combine. 
  • Talk about household responsibilities. A lot of ongoing labor is necessary to keep a household in order—cooking, cleaning, shopping, and yard work. Being aware of things that need to be done can help you prepare for the conversation. 
  • Talk about emotional labor. Like chores, emotional labor can be tiring. For example, constantly reminding your partner about their chores. It may not be your job to do the dishes but if you have to ask your partner multiple times before they’re done—that’s emotional labor. Being aware of the mental space it takes to divide responsibilities or otherwise provide support, may help avoid unnecessary arguments. 
  • Develop a plan for paying bills. Whether you split everything 50/50, create a household account, or have your own strategy. It’s important to discuss how bills like the internet or rent (mortgage) will be paid. 

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*Heather Foran, Janina Mueller, Wolfgang Schulz, and Kurt Hahlweg, “Cohabitation, Relationship Stability, Relationship Adjustment, and Children’s Mental Health Over 10 Years” Frontiers in Psychology, February 2, 2022,

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.