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Ready to Move in Together? Six Ways to Know

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Moving in together. Maybe the idea has been floating around for a while now. Whether you’ve been together for years or you’re just feeling like he or she is the one, there are a few ways to evaluate whether or not you’re ready for this next step.

Here are six ways you know it’s time to move in together:

1. You really, really like each other.

It should go without saying, but if you’re not totally besotted with your partner, merging lives and spaces is going to be a challenge. When you’re confined to the same place, you’re going to see each other at your bests and worsts. If you still want to curl up in bed next to your significant other at the end of a cranky, sick, stressful day, making the move might be that next logical step.

If you get sick of each other easily, sharing the same four walls might feel claustrophobic. If you can’t get enough of each other, and find most quirks endearing, you’ll be better prepared for the adventure.

2. You spend most nights together already.

Do you already have a key to her place? Do you have a toothbrush and change of clothes at his condo? If you’re already spending quite a few nights a week together, the transition to cohabitation will seem natural. You’ve seen the bed hair, experienced the morning breath, observed hygiene and tidiness habits, and understand sleeping patterns. You’re totally comfortable with one another. You’ve grocery-shopped together. You have more realistic expectations entering cohabitation when you know that he leaves his socks on the floor, or that she never replaces the toothpaste cap.

3. You want the same things from the relationship.

If he says he’s not interested in marriage, don’t move in as an attempt to secure a diamond ring. Before moving in together, make sure you’re on the same page, relationship-wise. Does someone have kids on the brain? Is this considered a trial arrangement, or a (hopefully) permanent situation? Make sure you’re both heading in the same direction when it comes to commitment.

4. You’ve fought — and worked it out.

Don’t move in together until you’ve had a fight or two. You don’t know how solid a relationship is until it’s been tested. Good conflict resolution skills are essential when living in close quarters. (Fact: When living together, there will be conflict.) Do you fight fair? Are you committed to resolving disagreements in a way that both parties are satisfied? Can you reassure one another after tense moments?

5. You’ve talked about finances.

Money: It can be uncomfortable to talk about, but can contribute to major conflict if the subject is ignored. Merging expenses raises a number of questions: Are you on the same page financially? How will you split expenses? Whose name is on the lease? Will you have a joint account? Is one person the primary provider?

While the notion of living together is romantic, the practical side needs thorough discussion.

6. You can discuss expectations.

Before you move in together, talk about your expectations. Are you hoping that you’ll both be home for dinner each night? Are you hoping this will lead to marriage? Be sure to discuss your expectations for routine things like chore-division, too. Your significant other can’t read your mind. If you fail to share your hopes and dreams for this next stage of your relationship, you’re likely to end up disappointed.

See the four other ways you know you are ready to take the next step! Plus: more dating advice & tips

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