You’re in love with your partner — your Instagram is loaded with photos of the two of you doing everything together, their parents adore you, and you can’t imagine a future without them. Moving in together may seem like the logical next step in your relationship, but there’s a lot to consider before you take the plunge. Your whole life can change when you decide to live with your significant other, and there are some definite red flags that can signal living together may not be the best choice right now. Check out these 10 signs you shouldn’t move in with your partner to avoid unnecessary heartache later on.
1. Your life goals don’t align
Living together is a major step in your relationship, and if your future goals are severely different from your partner’s, then you should give moving in a second thought. Bustle highlights several different signs that you and your partner want different things out of life. If you plan to travel for the next few years and your partner wants to settle down, for example, this can cause major conflict when you live together. If your life goals share no similarities and discussing your differences doesn’t lead to compromise, don’t move in together. Sort out your differing ideas of the future before taking any major steps forward.
2. Your cleaning habits differ
If you’re the type to do laundry every day whereas your partner is happy to let it go for a week or longer, you may be in for a rude awakening if you move in together. The two of you should either have the same expectations or be willing to compromise together.
Tina Tessina, a marriage and family therapist, shares a few tips on this topic with Today. Tessina suggests identifying areas of the house that are “clean” or “messy” zones. The messier person can have their own little area where belongings can pile up, but then there needs to be a time limit on how long that mess can last. This gives the messier person time to clean at his or her own pace and the cleaner person peace of mind. Also, communicating and negotiating is always key. If you have different cleaning habits you’re unwilling to change, moving in might be a mistake.
3. One of you can’t afford it
Maybe you have a great job and you’re ready to move into a beautiful, brand-new apartment. Your partner, on the other hand, may make significantly less money and cannot afford where you’re looking. If your answer here is to financially support them so you can have your dream living space, stop right there. Moving in together will come with its own set of unique challenges, and money troubles shouldn’t be part of the equation.
Time recommends crafting a relationship agreement before you move in together. This agreement will outline how you’ll manage to pay for all shared expenses. Both you and your partner should agree on what each person is responsible for paying, and you’ll want to discuss any joint credit cards or bank accounts as well.
4. You really want to live alone
If you’ve spent the last couple of years living with college roommates, parents, or your friends, you may finally have dreams of living on your own. If this is the case, taking the plunge together isn’t in your best interest.
Additionally, if you’re secretly yearning for time spent away from your partner, you’ll want to learn some effective ways to say this without hurting their feelings. Mindbodygreen recommends expressing how more alone time will benefit the both of you. If you’re feeling like you’d rather live alone even though you deeply cherish your relationship, be open and honest. Eventually, you’ll feel more comfortable taking the next step.
5. You’ve never spent a whole week together
New relationships are always exciting, fun, and full of new possibilities. While you initially admire every tiny thing about your partner, you’ll eventually find behaviors you’re not fond of. If you only spend time with your partner on weekends or see them here and there for date nights throughout the week, then your significant other is most likely on their best behavior during these times. It’s only when you start to spend a lot of time with your partner that you’ll pick up on the behaviors they may not always want you to see.
If you haven’t spent an entire week with your partner before, it’s highly recommended you do so before moving in together. It will give you an opportunity to see the unpolished version of your partner — the one you’re potentially moving in with. You might notice some deal-breaking behaviors you really don’t want to live with.
6. You’ve stopped having fun together
If you and your partner are already struggling to have fun together, moving in is likely going to make the situation worse. Meaningful conversation and sex are important in any long-term relationship, but so is laughter. When the going gets tough (which it will) after you move in together, you’ll feel annoyed within the first week of cohabitation.
Before moving in with your significant other, work on getting that old spark back. WebMD recommends doing something that scares the both of you — plan a skydiving trip if you’re really feeling adventurous or rent a scary movie for date night. The same story also suggests taking a spontaneous trip somewhere. Don’t pack, don’t plan — just go and explore together. This will surely lead to laughter and fun.
7. Your arguments are explosive
Everyone argues with their significant other once in a while, but living together is not in your best interest if you have frequent scream sessions. Prior to moving in, talk to your partner about some boundaries that need to be set during conversations. Real Simple recommends learning how to fight fair by respecting your partner, taking ownership of any issues you have, and using “I” statements to avoid shooting an accusatory finger at your partner. Pick your battles carefully and learn how to resolve things without fighting. After you and your partner learn to diffuse potential arguments, then you can consider moving in.
8. You live totally different lifestyles
You may love the differences between you and your partner — perhaps your partner gets you out of the house more or you help your partner enjoy activities they would never consider previously — but having completely different lifestyles can cause tension. This may lead to one person compromising more than they want to, which can turn into resentment. It can also mean you don’t spend nearly as much time together as you’d like.
You may be able to minimize conflict, though. Try syncing your sleep schedules. The Wall Street Journal notes couples who don’t go to bed at the same time generally experience more conflict, so keeping this schedule the same may help. Make a note to go to bed around the same time most nights of the week to stay more connected.
9. Your communication needs work
You probably talk to your partner intermittently all day long — but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re communicating. If you constantly feel like your partner doesn’t listen to you when you’re speaking or you find yourself rolling your eyes when your partner voices concerns, then your communication needs to step up before you live together. Fortunately, Psych Central notes communication is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. When tensions rise, make sure to listen to what your partner is saying before you reply. If you’re ever unsure of what your partner is saying, try repeating back to them in your own words what they just said to you. This will allow you to focus on your partner’s message, ensuring you both feel understood.
10. They haven’t seen you at your worst
If your partner hasn’t seen you when you’re upset or you’ve never expressed any concerns before, this will keep your relationship pretty one-dimensional. Living together will bring out sides of your personality that aren’t your finest, and it’s unlikely even spending our suggested week together will end up revealing the worst.
Elite Daily explains there are plenty of reasons why allowing someone to see you at your worst can bring about an even stronger connection. If your partner has seen you when you’ve been low before, they may know exactly how to lift your spirits — and they’re not likely to run away, either. You want the person you’re moving in with to know you through and through, so let them.