Deciding to move in with a partner is a big decision! Living together can be an important step to take in a relationship, but moving in with anyone can cause some struggles, especially as you adjust to your new situation. At our Andover counseling office, we’ve noticed that couples who communicate more prior to the move tend to have a smoother experience when they decide to combine households. Moving in with a partner is an exciting time, but staying on top of communication is important before and after moving in together.
If you’ve ever moved in with someone without asking them questions like the ones below first, that’s okay!
It’s hard to know what you don’t know, and you’re always doing the best you can with the information you have. It’s pretty easy to get swept away in the rush of the relationship and neglect to ask certain questions before you move in together.
However, if you’ve ever had a roommate, you know that it’s tricky to live with another person! Everyone has little habits that drive someone else up the wall, even if it’s someone you love very much. Little annoyances can lead to tense living situations, but so can major miscommunications or assumptions about who is responsible for what and what the household expectations are.
Sometimes it’s frustrating to have to spell everything out for your partner. After all, they’re supposed to know you better than almost anyone in the world. Shouldn’t they know what you want? We might wish that were the case, but lots of times when there are misunderstandings like this it’s because communication and expectations weren’t clear beforehand.
Even someone who knows you really well has their own stuff going on in their head, so they won’t always be able to pick up on your nonverbal signals. Our partners also can’t read our minds. Even if we think we’re being crystal clear about something, unless you’ve had a direct conversation about it, it’s possible that you’re not on the same page.
To avoid misunderstandings, unclear expectations, and hurt feelings when moving in together, communication is the key.
We recommend getting into the nitty gritty with your potential live-in partner before you sign the lease and make any plans. We suggest that you take into consideration how each of you views sharing a home and dividing household responsibilities. Even if you spend a lot of time together before officially moving in, there are still things that might surprise you. Living together full-time is different – you have the shared responsibility of a home and you don’t have a separate place to call your own to cool off at when things get heated.
If you’re wondering what kinds of questions to ask your partner before moving in together, start with this list.
These questions will help you get to know each other’s living style, long term expectations, fears, concerns, and give you a space to clear the air before you take the step of moving in.
Here are 60 questions you can ask your partner before moving in together:
- Why are we moving in together in the first place? What does moving in mean to each of us? Is this to save money on rent, or because it is the logical next step for your relationship?
- What will change for the better when we move in together?
- Whose place will we move into? Or will we find a new place?
- Will we be moving things ourselves, or paying for movers?
- Do we plan to eat meals together?
- How do you approach having guests over?
- How will we split grocery shopping, cooking, and doing the dishes?
- How will we decide who does what around the house?
- What time do you like to go to bed and wake up?
- Do you have a routine in the mornings?
- What are some ways we can prioritize our relationship after we move in together? Regular date nights? Relationship check ins? Daily appreciation?
- Will we be splitting furniture and home improvement expenses equally? Whose furniture will be kept in the shared space?
- What are your long term housing plans? Would you like to rent long term or own a home? Would you prefer to live somewhere like a townhome where you pay for certain amenities?
- How do you think we’ve dealt with challenges or obstacles in the past?
- Do you feel we work well together as a team?
- When we argue, how do the arguments usually go?
- Where do you see us in 5 years? 10 years? 20? Beyond?
- What does a successful relationship look like for us? How will we assess if our relationship is working for us?
- How do you handle your bills?
- Who pays for what?
- What kind of beliefs did your family have about money growing up? What kind of example did your parents set with money?
- Who will actually make sure the bills are paid?
- Do you want to open a shared household bank account, or should we handle expenses separately?
- Will we be splitting expenses 50-50, or as a proportion of income?
- Will both of our names be on the lease or the deed?
- Do we travel well together?
- Do you feel comfortable with each other’s friends?
- What kinds of household chores do you not hate doing?
- How often do you go grocery shopping?
- Do you tend to fix things as they break or wait awhile and fix everything at once?
- What happens if we break up?
- Who will stay, who will leave? Will the person staying help pay for the other person to move out?
- If you have shared pets or kids, what’s the plan for them? How will we split joint purchases?
- How do you act when you’re sick?
- What if one of us falls ill or needs long-term care?
- What do you consider a deal breaker in your living space?
- What are your expectations for what constitutes infidelity?
- How do you handle jealousy when it comes up?
- What kind of personal space do you like to have in your home?
- How often do you like to tidy? How often do you like to deep clean your space?
- How often do you do laundry?
- What will we be doing for holidays?
- How often does your family come over? Do they show up unannounced?
- What are your pet peeves?
- What is triggering for you in an argument? Is there anything I should avoid doing to help you feel safe?
- What’s your love language? How do you like to show and be shown love and affection?
- Do you have any debt? If we combine finances how will paying off debt factor in?
- How much money do you have saved?
- What’s your credit score, and do you have any financial goals?
- Is there anything I do that bugs you?
- Are our sleeping habits compatible?
- If we work opposite shifts, how will we make time for one another?
- How do you think moving in together will change our sex life? What are our expectations for how often we’ll have sex?
- How do you like to be approached for sex? Do you prefer to initiate or do you prefer I do?
- What’s the plan if we have a major relationship disagreement? Are we open to counseling?
- How will we ask one another for alone time when we need it?
- What bothers you about the way we handle conflict now?
- Is there a fight we keep having over and over?
- Do you fold laundry and put it away as soon as it’s done, or do you leave it in the basket?
- Where do we want to live? Would the commute be manageable for everyone, or if you work from home is there space to do so without driving each other crazy?
- How do you handle home maintenance? Are you a DIY person or a ‘hire a professional’ person?
- Do you have strong opinions about how to decorate our home?
No questions about religion? Birth control questions? What happens if a baby comes along? Who is doing the cooking and cleaning up after?
Dear Concerned, these are all great thoughts! And this is just a starting list. If two people are in a relationship to the point of moving in together, hopefully religion has come up. But you never know. But having an additional conversation about this topic is never a bad idea! Same about birth control. Again, this is a starting list and moving in together should consist of multiple conversations. Maybe a follow up blog is in the future. Regarding cooking and cleaning up, I believe if you look over the blog one more time, you will find that this is addressed. It asks about tidying up, etc.
Thanks again for your feedback! I always welcome these thoughts!
Emily and Eli congrats on making it to the end