Are you ready to move in with your partner?

Thinking of moving in with your significant other? Check out our expert advice on how to tell if you and your partner are ready to share a living space.

By Shannon Christie

Are you ready to move in with your partner?
©iStockphoto.com/Goldmund Photography
Within the last couple of decades, the number of couples choosing to live together rather than get married or before tying the knot has been on the rise -- and it's a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

For many couples, shacking up is a way of taking the next step in commitment and finding out how compatible they really are and whether they'll be able to get along without the safety net of separate residences.

But knowing whether moving in with your significant other is the right decision for your relationship can be difficult. We asked Joan Traversy, a mediator and psychotherapist at Advancing Insights Counselling and Mediation Centre in Ottawa, for her insights into how to know when it's time to cohabitate.

"Dating expectations to meet for dinner once a week versus living together and expecting to share breakfast every morning are two very different things," Traversy says. She offers some important tips to consider before taking the next step.

1. Discuss living expectations
For some, sharing the rent and a tube of toothpaste with a significant other is an important milestone, and for others it may be no different than getting a roommate.

"The first step is to have an open, honest conversation about expectations," says Traversy. She suggests starting the conversation by asking the following questions.

• What does living together mean to each of you?
• What will the roles and responsibilities be in your household?
• Will you maintain your independence, and to what degree? And what does independence mean to each of you?
• How much will you each contribute to the running of the household?

Once you've discussed what each of you expects when it comes to sharing space, you'll have a much better idea whether moving in together is a good idea for your relationship.

2. Find out if you're on the same page
It's also important to consider and discuss what each of you want both in the immediate future and further down the road. "Share your values and your needs," advises Traversy. "If you have a timeline that includes getting married and having children, express those things to your partner. Take this next step with eyes wide open. Do not make any assumptions and don't delay the conversation."

Sometimes one partner within a couple is less inclined to formalize a commitment. Having a conversation about what you both want (or don't want) will go a long way to reducing the stress of waiting for an engagement ring that may never materialize because your significant other is happy with the status quo.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find out how to make sure you're moving in together for the right reasons on page 2


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