Is it Time to Move in Together? 6 Ways to Tell for Sure
You've been dating for a while, and have even said the scariest three words in the English language: "I love you." And the two of you are beginning to wonder out loud if it's time to take the relationship to the next level and move in together.
But are you ready? How do you know? If you can honestly answer "yes" to the six questions below, you're ready to set up housekeeping in shared space.
Are your discussion/negotiation skills good enough to handle a fight about toilet paper?
You may think I'm kidding, but I'm not. There are two types of people in the world: those who like their toilet paper to come from over the top of the roll, and those who insist that toilet paper was meant to come from underneath the roll. And each camp is convinced that theirs is the right way. Check with your sweetie before you rent the moving van: is he or she an over-the-topper our out-from0the-bottomer? And if (gasp!) you suddenly realize you're in a ‘mixed' relationship, don't panic. If you can't work it out, either get two separate toilet paper holders, or do what my husband and I do: don't put the paper in the holder at all - just leave it on the counter. That way the cat can't unroll it all over the floor, which is an added benefit.
A sub-category of the toilet paper roll war is the toothpaste tube skirmish where the battle lines are drawn four ways: cap-ons, cap-offs, squeeze-from-the-middles, and neat-rollers. Don't even go there. Get your own personal tube of toothpaste!
Are you spending most or all of your free time at each others' homes already?
And are you doing so without either of you feeling hampered or suffocated? If you both enjoy each others' constant non-working time company, then you're good candidates for sharing a land phone line and a refrigerator.
Do you want to live together for more than financial reasons?
Two really can live more cheaply than one, but it's a crappy reason to move in together, and the relationship is not in good shape if that's all you're thinking about. However, if it's because you're contemplating a more permanent relationship, or you really do like each other that much (notice I said like, not love. Like is just as important, if not more), then I say go for it!
Can you two agree on which would be the best place to live: your place, your sweetie's place, or a totally new place?
Be honest. Is there enough room at either place for two people and all their stuff without the original sole occupant feeling encroached upon? Talk about this a lot and I mean a lot, before you decide.
If your sweetie once shared his or her place with a former love, you may very well feel like you're moving into the ex's ‘home' and not a ‘home' you two can forge for yourselves. If you even think you might feel this way, get a place that's totally new for both of you.
Can you come up with amicable compromises about pre-existing pets, ugly but beloved furniture, and home décor?
When I first moved in with my husband Alex, I already had two cats. He was not a cat person, and had never lived with one. Once Alex learned the hard way that cats really don't need shampooing, he and Torey and Speedy achieved a sort of "live and let live" détente that they maintain to this day.
When I married my first husband, I also inherited the world's ugliest couch. It was a relic from his parent's family room, the one that hadn't been renovated since 1950. The couch was seven feet long and covered with the most hideous avocado green vinyl you can imagine. Once we got something more stylish, I wanted nothing more than to drop that couch off at the nearest nuclear waste storage site where it belonged! David would have none of it. That damn couch was a family heirloom! We compromised and stuck it in our own basement. He probably still has it.
If you like traditional or antique and your sweetie is all about contemporary Scandinavian minimalism, can you work it out without making your home look like it was decorated by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
Is your sweetie also your best friend?
Answer these questions:
Do you save up little items of interest from your day to share with your sweetie?
Do you turn to your boyfriend or girlfriend first whenever there's a problem?
And does he or she respond in a positive, supportive manner?
Do you sometimes just cuddle for the heck of it without the contact leading to anything more sexual, and that's okay?
(If you said yes to all of these, you might want to consider moving in together and planning a wedding.)
Moving in together is a huge decision, and you will also need to consider such factors as family attitudes about non-married co-habitation before you get the keys copied and add a name to the mailbox.
But if you answered yes to all of the above questions...it's time to call up your friends and bribe them into helping you move. Pizza and drinks usually work well.
I hope I'm invited to the housewarming party!