Moving in and living together

There may come a day when you evaluate your living situation as a couple.

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Moving in together: Tips and considerations

The way that couples approach and evaluate the decision can be predictive of the future health of their relationship. Some researchers call the different approaches into relationships and cohabitation "sliding versus deciding."

Sliding is characterized by making decisions based on convenience, proximity, and some short-term thinking. Deciding implies a more thoughtful analysis of long-term planning and goals. A 2013 study found that couples who go through deliberate discussions and decision-making were more likely to report high levels of dedication to the relationship than couples who may have moved less purposely into their long-term commitment.*

You may decide as a couple that waiting to live together until after getting engaged or married would help the decision-making process or you may not. 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 together before making big moves. Being intentional about the evolution of your relationship and in agreement about your goals as a couple may be key.

Moving in together checklist

  • Discuss how much you can each 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.
  • Decide where to live
    You may both already have a place 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 too.
  • Decide what to do with existing stuff
    You may not need 2 sets of everything and putting some stuff in storage may not always make sense. It can be an ongoing expense and you may never use that old couch again.
  • Talk about household responsibilities
    Cooking, cleaning, shopping, yard work, maintenance: A lot of ongoing labor is necessary to keep a household in order. Going into the situation aware of the things that need to be done can help you choose a place to live and hit the ground running.
  • Talk about emotional labor
    Similar to chores, emotional labor can be tiring. One example of emotional labor is reminding your partner about the chores they are responsible for. It may not be your job to do the dishes but if you have to ask your partner 3 times before they’re washed—it’s emotional labor. Being aware of the mental space it takes up and dividing responsibility or otherwise providing support may help avoid some 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 you’re going to make sure the internet stays on and the rent (or mortgage) is paid.
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