Moving in together is a huge step in any relationship. There are so many emotional implications to consider, that it’s certainly not a step that any couple should take lightly.
However, while you’re mulling over all of that emotional crap, there are some other, more practical aspects about living together that you might want to consider. For example, how do your schedules line up? Are they early risers, or do they tend to sleep in later than you? Do they need lots of alone time? Do they hog the blankets in bed? These are the kinds of questions that truly make or break a live-in relationship.
After all, love may last forever — but fights about whose turn it is to do the dishes last just as long.
1. How do they sleep?
Obviously, if you’re living together, you’ll presumably be sharing the same bed. It’s therefore important to make sure that you’re prepared for their sleeping habits. For example, do they have any problems with insomnia? Do you? Do they need a noise machine in order to go to sleep? Most importantly: do they snore? Knowing the answers to these (admittedly finicky) questions will make it that much easier to adjust to your shared life together. Plus: it will prepare you for any of their potential blanket-stealing shenanigans.
2. Have they ever washed the dishes before in their life?
Cleaning habits in general can be a serious point of contention in any roommate-like situation. If one person never cleans and always leaves the chores up to the other housemate, resentment is bound to build up fairly quickly. This is why it’s important to establish up top how you’re both going contribute to the household. Because, honestly — if you’re going to have a dramatic argument, it had better be about something more interesting than stupid dishes.
3. Do they leave the bathroom door open or closed?
How comfortable are they willing to get in this living situation? Are they cool with the good, the bad and the ugly? Or, are they hoping to maintain an air of mystery? When you’re living together, you will inevitably get a little too familiar with one another’s personal habits and bodily functions — and if that’s a deal-breaker for either one of you, you may need to reconsider sharing the same space.
4. What are their eating habits like?
Are you each buying groceries for yourself, or are you splitting household groceries down the middle? Are you going to prepare dinner together every night, or is it an “every man for himself” kind of situation? While it seems nit-picky, determining how your eating habits affect one another is an important adjustment to make. You’re used to having your own real estate in the refrigerator and pantry, but that’s going to change when you’re living with a significant other — it’s best to figure these things out up front.
5. How do they act in the mornings?
If you’re, um, not a “morning person,” living with someone who is chipper and perky in the mornings may actually drive you insane. If they find it impossible to sleep in on the weekends, whereas you tend to only wake up at the crack of noon, some issues are bound to arise. Make sure that you’re at least aware of their morning persona, so that you can gird your grumpiness accordingly.
6. Do they have any loud hobbies?
If you move in with a musician, you better prepare yourself for some inevitable music practice. If they play video games with a group of friends online, you’re probably going to hear them yelling at the TV screen. While noisy habits around the living space are inevitable, it’s nice to know about them in advance — so you don’t accidentally try to take a nap while they’re learning how to play the drums.
7. How do they feel about your cleanliness?
Hey, you aren’t perfect either. Take a step back and consider how you cleaning habits might appear to your significant other. Do your dirty clothes never actually make it into the hamper? is the bathroom strewn with discarded bras? You can’t expect your partner to keep their belongings off the floor if you aren’t willing to do the same. Also: bobby pins. Those things will get everywhere. Be mindful of them, and keep them in a handy glass bowl or container.
8. How do your schedules compare?
If you wait tables while your partner has a nine-to-five office job, you’re going to have to be especially mindful of respecting one another’s schedules. Just because you don’t have to wake up until noon doesn’t mean that you can drag your significant other to a midnight movie. Nor does it mean that you can stumble in at one in the morning while they’re trying to sleep. If your schedules are drastically different, it might be worth saving yourselves the headache and keeping your separate abodes for the time being.
9. How often do they have people over?
If you’re especially territorial about your personal space, it might be worth considering how often your partner enjoys playing host. If you come in from a long day at work to find two of your boyfriend’s buddies hanging out on your couch, are you going to be comfortable or annoyed? If you’re not keen on unexpected visitors, that’s something that you should make clear from the very beginning.
10. How much alone time do they need?
This is probably the most important consideration of all. Right now, most of your alone time is spent at your respective apartments. However, once you move in together, if both of you are spending alone time at the apartment … well, it’s no longer “alone time,” is it? If you’re both busy enough that you won’t find yourselves getting in one another’s way, that’s fine — but, chances are, you’re going to have to make compromises on who “gets” the apartment during down-time. If you aren’t comfortable conceding your home space to someone else, moving in together might be a tad ill-advised.