After graduating from college, my boyfriend at the time wanted to get an apartment together. I was hesitant: a friend of mine had also asked to be roommates, and I wanted to focus on finding a post-grad job. He continued to ask about it, even saying things like “you always choose your friends over me”, which made me feel selfish for even considering my options. Alas, I decided to go for it, and I moved in with him.
As you have likely guessed, this did not end up well. We had plenty of fights and near-breakups, but since we had signed the lease for a year, I didn’t want to leave. We stayed together, yet once the lease was up, I decided to move out to live with a friend. Our relationship only lasted a couple of months afterward.
There were many red flags before signing the lease that I should have noticed, but I didn’t. Luckily, my relationship was bearable and not as toxic as it could have been, but still-why waste time on a relationship that isn’t going anywhere? In case these tips may spare others the trouble, I have compiled a list of these red flags that I have realized later on.
The Enthusiasm is One-Sided
It can be easy to feel like you need to be as excited as your partner about moving in. If you’re not as enthusiastic about it, however, you should talk with your partner. Maybe clarifying and discussing any concerns will make you feel better about the situation, or maybe you need to hit the pause button and refrain from moving in together until you feel more comfortable.
If your significant other gets upset that you want to wait, you might not be meant for each other anyway. Moving in together is a huge step-you will see your partner every day through both the good and the bad. If it starts on the wrong foot, it will only get worse when you are confined together.
Your Futures Are Different
People have different aspirations in life. If you are in a serious relationship, you have hopefully already discussed your ambitions with your partner. If you haven’t, this can become an issue when you move in together.
While opposites do not always imply that a relationship is bound to fail, it can do so in this case. If you’re moving in together, you’re likely going to have to decide to stay in one area. Do you both have jobs lined up, or does one of you have to pass up a career-advancing opportunity in another city to stay and live with you? Is this a location where both of you have family and friends, or will one of you become more isolated?
Another important aspect to consider is family. People may have families with different beliefs-maybe they are against couples moving in together before marriage, maybe they simply do not like your partner. If you two are happy in your relationship and can support yourselves, this shouldn’t force you in another direction, but make sure you are prepared to face any backlash.
Your Family and Friends Do Not Approve
Stemming off from my previous point: if your family and friends dislike your significant other, you may want to look into why. If these are truly your good friends and they have a reasonable argument that you neglected to look into, you might want to listen to what they have to say. Otherwise, moving in with your significant other can make you even more isolated than before. If your partner and family/friends do not get along, keep in mind that you can’t bring them to your place to hang out without creating conflict.
This also applies to your partner’s family and friends. Do you get along with them and vice versa? If not, how is your living situation going to work around that?
You Don’t Communicate
If you’re living together, you’re going to need to set up any boundaries and be open with your expectations. This can apply to minor things such as pet peeves and cleanliness. Do you both have similar standards for organization, or is one of you going to be stuck with all the cleaning? Do you agree with the same decorations for your rooms? Do you have the same stance on whether or not to have pets?
This also applies to major topics like financials. How do you plan on paying for the apartment (or house)? Do you have similar budgets? Are you planning on setting up a joint banking account together?
Communication is also important in conflict management. Arguments will undoubtedly come up, and when they do, they will need to be resolved. There will be less space to avoid each other when you live in the same home, so you will need to confront problems quickly. Communication is key to getting through conflicts successfully.
While moving in together is a huge step and a major commitment, it can be an amazing experience. To have that amazing experience, however, you need to be cognizant of the expectations and lives you and your partner have. If you see any of the red flags mentioned above, take a step back and reflect. Communicate with your partner. Maybe it is something you can work out. If the cons of moving in together stack up and heavily outweigh the benefits, however, it might be best for you to stay apart.