I moved in with my husband after three weeks of dating.
Yes, you read that correctly. Three weeks. When we made the decision, we hadn’t even had the ‘conversation’. Are we official? What does our relationship look like?
I knew straight away that I couldn’t spend a night without lying next to him. I knew that I wanted to wake up next to him every day, and the idea of that not happening tortured me. And without prompting, he admitted to that too. He said that to me first.
We were that type of couple. We moved at lightning speed, yet it felt incredibly comfortable. There wasn’t a moment I thought we were moving too fast.
But the people in my life were hesitant. “It’s too early to move in together,” they would say, almost in unison. “You haven’t been together long enough.”
While I understood their objections, I didn’t agree. Why did we have to know each other for a certain length of time first? What is the most acceptable amount of time before you live together? What do you have to do in your relationship to be able to live together?
When it comes to living with your partner, I’ve realised there are no rules.
Except for the ones you make together.
How Does The Idea Of Living Together Feel?
Before you even discuss living with your partner, you need to feel the desire. You need to be able to imagine what your life is like with the changed status quo. Sharing your space with someone new, and being together more than ever before.
Imagining this feeling is important. What does it feel like for you? Does it scare you? Does it make you feel comfortable? Does it feel like something you want to do?
The emotions that come from this imagining will dictate the path you want to take. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t imagine any other scenario. It was the idea of not living with him that hurt more.
Focusing on you first is important because one day the idea may land in your lap, and catch you off guard. It’s easy to become caught up in the excitement of taking big relationship steps when you aren’t ready. It’s the heat of the moment decisions that are often regrettable.
I Can’t Feel It. What Now?
For some people, imagining what’s it like to live with a partner is impossible. The memories of living with your former partner haunt you. The fear of commitment is so overwhelming that it monopolies your ability to think rationally. The reasons are endless. So test it out. Try:
- Going away for a few days and see how the experience is
- Extend your next holiday to weeks, not days. Spend considerable time co-habituating as a unit.
- Agreeing to house sit for a set amount of time. A three-month stay, for example. This arrangement is a commitment to live together with a cut-off date for the living arrangement.
How Does Your Partner Feel About It?
I remember feeling like it was the right time to move in with my ex, yet he didn’t.
He said he wasn’t ready, and that was something I had to respect. I didn’t like it, I couldn’t believe our two feelings didn’t meet, and it caused me to question our entire relationship.
But there are two people in every relationship. And it’s impossible to ignore the feelings of your partner. At the end of the day, if it’s something they don’t want, it won’t end well.
My ex and I didn’t last long after we moved in together. He said he had eventually come around to the idea, which turned out to be a lie. The mutual agreement to co-habitat wasn’t there at all.
They Don’t Feel It. What Now?
If they don’t feel the same as you, it doesn’t mean they won’t ever. People shift and move ideas about their relationships continually.
Be prepared that their thoughts and feelings will change, as much as yours do. Consider circling back around to the conversation at a later date.
Are You Moving Because It Logistically Makes Sense?
Sometimes living together makes sense, compared to your current logistical nightmare.
Travelling puts a significant strain on the best of relationships. Though we often ignore the issue that our partner lives hours away or even a plane ride away, it can cause tension.
Often the argument arises about who travels the most, or who spends the most on travel. The time and money could be put to better use, to grow your relationship.
Sometimes one half has to compromise and move closer for the sake of the relationship. Often couples choose to live together immediately, but it’s not unconventional for you to agree to live in the same city first.
Is Convenience A Reason To Live Together?
Couples can find themselves living together solely to bridge the logistic gap in their relationship. It’s a valid reason for doing so, and quite often sensible for finances too.
Yet, it can’t be the only reason to live together. There still needs to be a desire to cohabitate, and the readiness from both sides.
The move has to make sense for both sides of the relationship too. Moving interstate or overseas has to be beneficial for each individual. There needs to be social and economic value, such as employment opportunities.
If one person is making the sacrifice, resentment can build between you.
Are You Facing Changes In Commitment?
When children enter your life, living together can be an important part of creating a family. For the sake of the child’s development, for the ease of caring for them, and for the growth of your relationship with a child.
Yet, sometimes living together isn’t best for the child, or for your relationship. You may find living together pushes you further apart and causes relationship-ending arguments.
Much like logistical issues in your relationship, a change in your commitment doesn’t mean you need to live together.
But Is It Worth Giving It A Try?
To better support your child and to raise them more effectively as a team, it’s generally better to live together. Two hands are better than one. Four hands are better than two. Children need significant amounts of work and it saves time and energy if you’re under the same roof.
Should you try living together? With a child, it’s arguable that everything is worth trying to benefit their development.
Yet, if you’re unsure prior to living together, setting ground rules can be beneficial. You set the expectations, you layout back up plans in case it doesn’t go well, and you commit to trying your hardest.
Don’t Do It Because It’s The ‘Next Step’
The obvious next step in your dating relationship doesn’t have to be moving in together. There is no rule book to follow, no ‘normal’ procedure of dating events you need to move through until you find happiness. It doesn’t work like that.
You and your partner make the rules in your relationship.
If moving in together is the first or last thing you want to do with each other, then that’s ok. There are couples who never want to live together. That is their rules.
But when is the best time for your relationship? It’s the time when both of you are committed and positive about the decision. The move-in will never work if either of you experiences hesitation, feels doubts, or hold back your honesty.
Anxiety about the move is perfectly normal. You’re allowed to feel nervous. It’s a big step. But if the excitement overshadows the doubt, your instincts are worth listening to.
How do you know if you’ve made the right decision, to live together? We will have to wait and see.
I’m Ellen McRae, writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. I write about figuring about love and relationships by analysing my experiences. Some of the stories are altered to protect the people in my life. But my feelings are never compromised.
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