Are you ready to move in with your partner?

Are you ready to move in with your partner?

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Are you ready to move in with your partner?

It's one of those pivotal moments in a relationship-moving in together. But how do you know if the time is right, or even if it's the right move for you and your partner? We spoke to Thornhill, Ont., psychologist and author Sara Dimerman for her insights on this relationship milestone.

The wrong reasons
"It's important that you don't move in just because it's time you did," Dimerman says. "Maybe your friends are engaged or married or living together, and you feel like the clock is ticking. Don't move in prematurely just because you feel panicked."

Other move-in no-nos? Living together shouldn't be the solution for relationship insecurity. "If this is your way to keep your relationship intact or to stake your claim, moving in together will likely have the reverse effect," says Dimerman. Nor should you make this decision because one of you is looking to escape a current living situation with family or friends. "It shouldn't be an impulse move," says Dimerman, "nor is it an escape route."

The right reasons
So what are some good reasons for living together? "You might have been dating a long time, working full time and not spending as much time together as you'd like to," says Dimerman. "So you decide you want to invest your time and money in the same place so you can be together." Or perhaps you both find you're spending lots of time at one person's place and the other's place is going unused. "In that case," says Dimerman, "it might seem practical to move into one place."

The big deciding factor, however, is if you and your partner are emotionally ready to make the move. "You're going to learn a lot about each other," Dimerman points out. "Things like how you share a space, or who is messy or tidy."

Best moves forward
Finding out how compatible you are in one living space will help determine the future of your relationship. And how you launch your new live-in lives can help start this next chapter on a stronger footing. Here's what Dimerman suggests:

Fresh start: It's best if you find a new place to share, rather than move into one of your existing homes. "Then you can choose your colour schemes and maybe some new furniture, so the place feels really like it belongs to both of you," Dimerman says.

Right spot: Are you both comfortable with the location of your new place? You don't want one of you disliking or resenting living in the neighbourhood, just to accommodate the other person.

Fair price: Is your rent affordable for both of you? Will someone feel inferior if they are either subsidized or stretching to pay their fair share? "You'll need to talk and check your compatibility around finances," says Dimerman. "Are you going to pool your income, go 50-50 or take another approach you both agree to?"

Smart attitude: Once you've agreed on all the details, realize that moving in together is a really great way to get to know someone, says Dimerman. "You learn about habits, compatibility and preferences," she says. "Keep your eyes open. Go in expecting to compromise and negotiate, and work things out together."

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Are you ready to move in with your partner?