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One thing’s certain: You do not want to end up in a situation where you go through all the effort, expense, and risk of finding a place together just to realize it was the wrong thing to do and have to move all over again, or worse, break up. To make sure your relationship is ready for this step, read through our checklist of all the conversations you should have and milestones to hit with your significant other before you reserve the U-Haul.
You’ve agreed on a budget.
Who doesn’t love Zillow stalking, drooling over your dream home? But when it comes time to find new digs—especially with your partner—you have to burst the fantasy bubble. Before you start going to open houses, it’s important to have an honest conversation about your price range, and how much you’re willing to spend on rent (or a mortgage). It’s the only way to manage your partner’s expectations.
You’re not doing it just to save money.
Sure, moving in together knocks one rent out of the equation and condenses two sets of utility bills, but the end of your lease doesn’t automatically equal move-in time. Jessica Massa, author of The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want, warns, “You have to say with 100% confidence that moving in together has nothing to do with your finances.”
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You’ve already practiced cohabiting.
Are you spending four or five nights a week together (hopefully without too much midweek back-and-forth, to stay pandemic safe)? Good, says Amy Laurent, who wrote 8 Weeks to Everlasting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting (and Keeping!) the Guy You Want. “You should be getting a sense of what it’s like to be waking up to your partner every day before you move in together.” If you’re thinking about merging your living spaces but haven’t done a trial run yet, Laurent suggests giving it a go, especially if you’re used to spending only a night or two together now.
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Your schedules are compatible.
Playing loud music late at night when your romantic roommate needs to be up early in the morning is a relationship killer. And now that many people are working from home, there are so many more aspects of scheduling to think about. If you’re both on Zoom calls all day long, you need to be able to share the room with the good lighting. And loudly doing the laundry or cooking while the other person tries to meditate won’t work. If you are your partner have wildly divergent schedules, or lifestyles, try making a shared calendar. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. It’s your home too.
You regularly talk about your finances.
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Money is one of the last great taboos. But when you’re living with someone and sharing the cost of living with them, it’s important to get into the habit of discussing your finances. Try casually working it into your dinner table conversation, or folding the money talk into your regular weightier discussions.