5 Things to Consider When Moving in with Your Partner

moving in with your partner

So you’ve decided the time is right to move in together. How can you make sure the transition runs smoothly?

There are a few points you should consider and discuss before moving your relationship to the next stage.

Are your goals and values in tune?

If one person is keener on moving in together than the other or you have wildly different ideas about how you choose to live your lives, there may be trouble ahead. 

Before you make it official, take the time to discuss why you each want to make the move and what it means in terms of your relationship — one person may see cohabitation as tantamount to marriage, whereas the other views this progression as a casual arrangement that does not necessarily mean one step closer to wedlock.

Agree on boundaries and expectations

Living together is completely different from dating. Avoid unpleasant surprises after you’ve signed the lease or mortgage by talking through your expectations. 

Do you both have outside hobbies and friendship groups that you wish to maintain? Or is one of you expecting to be together 24/7? Do you need a little “me” time even when you’re both at home? Would you expect your partner to check in with you a certain number of times a day or under particular circumstances? 

Developing a shared understanding of what living together will look like on a day-to-day basis will avoid niggles and dramas later on.

Talk money

Sharing a home could mean talking about your personal finances with your partner for the first time. Many people are fiercely private and defensive about their finances, so this can feel awkward at first — especially if there is a significant discrepancy between your incomes, debts or how you manage money.

According to feedback from therapists, differences in how partners manage their finances is the number one reason for arguments during the pandemic. Make sure you have a frank and open discussion about finances before moving day. Will household bills be split evenly or in proportion to your incomes? Are you going to set up a joint account or keep your finances separate? Do you approach budgeting in the same way? If your partner has racked up thousands of pounds worth of credit card debt and you’re a savvy saver, this could lead to disagreements if not addressed head-on.

Discuss the practicalities

If you both currently own or rent a property, you’ll need to agree on the practicalities of combining two homes in one. This could mean one of you giving up a rented property or selling your home to move into the other’s property. Alternatively, you could both cut ties with your existing property and buy or rent together. 

Selling a property on the open market can be a lengthy and stressful process. If both of you have a home to sell, this could put undue pressure on the relationship before you even move in together.

House sales are currently taking even longer than usual to complete due to a huge backlog of transactions since the property market reopened in May. Cash buyers and property buying companies are the best way to achieve a fast house sale. You’ll be saving money by cohabiting, so a slightly below market value offer will have less impact. 

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Moving in together is an exciting and exhilarating time, and many couples choose not to “pollute” this heady period with practical talks about “what if”. 

However unpleasant and sobering, discussing how you would manage if the relationship breaks down is a sensible and important step in the process of moving in with your partner.

Unmarried cohabiting couples are now the second largest family type in the UK according to statistics from the Office for National Statistics. Yet many couples are living together under the misconception that as “common law partners'' they have similar rights to married couples if the relationship breaks down or one person dies.

Only married couples or partners in a civil partnership have such legal protection, which is why setting up a “cohabitation agreement” is a wise decision. This can make the division of property much more straightforward in the event of a break-up.

Moving in with a partner is an exciting time filled with hope and promise. Enjoy the moment but spare a thought for the practicalities involved and make sure that your expectations match. This may feel like putting a damper on the situation, but it will reduce the potential for arguments and stress after moving day.

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