How do you know when it’s time to pop the question? No, not that question. The “should we move in together” question.

Cohabiting with the love of your life can seem like a good idea, but there are many things to consider before you take each other’s hand and press the Search button on


Is this a good decision?

We don’t want to sound like mum and dad, but is this really the right decision for you? Or is this a decision at all? A New York Times article highlights the phenomenon of couples ‘sliding not deciding’ to live together.

“Moving from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation can be a gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean.”

The unwanted result of sliding can be a messy ending: it’s nowhere near as easy to slide out of living together as it is to slide into it.


What does living together mean to you?

Without creating a gender war, research shows that women may to view living together as a step toward marriage or long term commitment, while men may see it as a relationship tester or even a way to postpone formal commitment.But the one thing both sexes agree on is that their standards for cohabiting with a partner are lower than they are than if they were choosing a spouse.


Is your relationship healthy?

Ask some basic questions: do you genuinely like each other? Are you really in it for the long haul? Do you have the same vision of the future together? Are your lifestyles compatible? If he likes going out late drinking and partying and she likes working hard and getting up early for a bike ride it probably just isn’t going to work.You might know some of this already if you’re out of the glow of those early days in the “honeymoon period” but it’s important to discuss what your expectations are in terms of the daily grind – who will do the cleaning, cooking or take out the garbage?


When the going gets tough…

Moving in together might be the best thing you ever do, but it comes with its own stressors and is responsible for making – and breaking – many relationships.Living together means seeing each other at your best and worst. There’s no place to hide.Have you seen each other sick or stressed? Have you fought or bickered?If not, it’s bound to happen, so how will you deal with it?Have you met the family and really got to know each other through some everyday highs and lows?


Test the waters

Do you already spend every night together? Is there a toothbrush in the bathroom and have you taken over a drawer for your stuff?Chances are you have a fair idea of what living together would involve then.

If not, do a test run for a month or so at one or other of your houses.Of course the reality of actually living together will be different, but it’s as close as you’ll get to the real thing before you take the plunge.


Money talks

Talk about finances.On its own, moving is costly, and moving in ties you together financially even if you keep the finances separate. You need to make sure you and your partner can cover the costs of sharing, and discuss and plan how you’ll split the expenses like rental bond, weekly rent, bills and groceries.

If it all comes crashing down how will you deal with the fall out?Have a financial – and emotional – ‘get out’ plan. Some people even recommend setting up a formal ‘living together agreement’, but that may be excessive for you.

Do a property compatibility check

It probably won’t work if he imagines living in open plan lofts in busy inner city areas and she dreams of setting up in a big house in the burbs. Discuss what your property must haves and compromises will be. If you’re renting this is important, but if you’re buying it’s even more important!


Make sure you both sign on the dotted line

Get your name on the lease or mortgage.We can’t say it better than “Never let anyone, no matter how cute they are in the morning, hold your housing in their hands”.If the relationship breaks up you could be homeless and out of pocket, so get your name on the lease or mortgage, make sure things are divided fairly.If you do decide to live together, remember this: most psychologists agree that communication and compromise are two key ingredients in any relationship and should set you up for a lifetime of happy cohabition.


Source (13 March 2013