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When you’ve been dating your significant other for a long time, your relationship needs to take a step forward. Beyond marriage, there are many other relationship milestones that mark huge steps forward with your S.O. and one of the big ones is deciding to move in together. After months of traveling back and forth between each other’s residences, getting a place together seems like the clear and easy solution. But make sure you don’t skip some vital discussions before deciding to share your living space. We’ve collected some very important questions that you must ask one another before moving in together.

1Why do we want to move in together?

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This is obviously the most important question you can ask when you decide to take this step. Make sure that your answer feels real and lasting. Just because it’s convenient or because you need to get out of a current living situation doesn’t always mean you’re ready to take that step in the relationship. Talk to each other and be open about your reasons. That level of honesty is the first step towards strengthening your relationship. And it will make your move in that much smoother.

2What are your career goals?

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Some careers might require the two of you to move occasionally, while others are only available in certain metro areas. Some careers involve a massive time commitment. Different careers provide different financial benefits. If the two of you are moving in together, you’re committing to supporting the other person’s life and goals. You need to make sure that your aspirations are compatible. Now also makes a great time to talk through any potential issues that might come up given your current career and make a plan of how you would handle it.

3What’s your preferred lifestyle?

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Let’s face it, when you’re visiting someone, even if it is your S.O., you’re trying to put your best foot forward. Even after years of dating, they might not know your secret indulgence of supermarket cake while standing in front of the TV. Open up with your new roomie about those quirks. Talk about how late you like to stay up and how early you like to wake up. Discuss how you like your home to feel — are you a chic decorator who likes a spotless place or are you relaxed and cozy? Think about how you spend your free time when your partner isn’t around and then tell them about it. That way, you’ll avoid a lot of awkward moments down the road as you adjust to each other’s styles.

4How will we take care of the bills?

Couple paying bills using laptop
Couple paying bills using laptop
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Money can be a scary topic for couples, but it’s a necessary one. So get to talking. Discuss who should handle the bills, or if you should split duties. Decide how much you want to spend on services like internet, television, and other amenities. Some couples even choose to open a joint account when they move in together to handle household expenses, so that’s an option you can consider. Also think about things like cleaning supplies, paper towels, etc., which you would presumably split.

5What chores do you like? And what chores do you hate?

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We know nobody LIKES chores, but we all have chores we absolutely loathe. When you move in with your S.O., someone has to get the chores done. It’s important to have a frank conversation about what contributions you want to make, and what you expect your S.O. to do. Getting a game plan together beforehand gives both of you some accountability. Don’t forget that moving is messy and stressful. That means it’s the wrong time to decide who should do the dishes after your first meal in your new place. Talk about it beforehand. You’ll thank us later.

6How will we make room for alone time?

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Something that a lot of us don’t think about before moving in with someone is our alone time. When you live alone or with a roommate, you’re on your own for the most part. You can enjoy a long, uninterrupted bath. You can spend your whole day watching HGTV. When you live with your partner, you may not feel like you have as much control over your time. Make sure you guys talk about what you each can do when you need alone time, because you’ll want to be able to communicate that without hurting anyone’s feelings. And a little independence is important. So chat about how you both can achieve that.

7How will we usually handle meals?

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Do you like cooking? Do you like eating out? Will you guys eat dinner together all the time? Or only on special occasions? Food means so much to all of us, so it’s important to find out what it means to your S.O. Also, you should figure out who’s going to do the dishes. We already mentioned it under the chores section, but we all know we needed to mention it again.

8How will we decide what to spend money on?

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There are lots of expensive things in the world. And sadly, we can’t afford all of them. Some of us want a high-quality couch. Others prefer a top 4k TV. Now that you’re officially sharing space with a partner, you’ll be sharing a lot of your stuff. And you might be sharing finances. You should definitely discuss what you’re willing to spend on. Because you’d be surprised how quickly resentment can pop up over money issues. It’s best to start by being open, so you’ll feel comfortable discussing decisions in the future.

9How should we handle guests?

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Who do you want to invite over to your new place? How often? And when one of you wants to have people over, how should you plan to let the other person know. You want to share your space, but you don’t want to feel like you’re constantly entertaining. So talk about how often you like to invite people over. Also, discuss how one of you can take over the common space with your friends occasionally. Because everyone should get to enjoy your place, but only on terms that both of you agree upon.

By having these conversations, you’ll both have a much smoother transition.

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Plus, with a lot of the serious conversations out of the way, the two of you can enjoy settling into your new lives together.