Living together is a big step, and asking your partner to do this involves quite a bit of planning. Here’s how you can go about it the right way.
When Ted and Robin in How I Met Your Mother decided to move in together, they were initially very excited about the idea. Their friends were ecstatic about it too, except for Barney, who maintained that shacking up with Robin will hamper Ted’s life. Despite Barney’s antics to dissuade Ted, he and Robin proceeded to move his stuff into her apartment. In the end, they both realized that they’re not yet ready for the big move.
“Will you move in with me?” is like a test run for the dreaded “Will you marry me?” Much like moving in together is a dry run for the great “I do.” However, some couples think that it’s a necessary step to finding out whether or not they are compatible with their partners.
Moving in together is one of the biggest steps in a relationship. The butterflies in your stomach on your first kiss or the awkward fumbling with buttons and zippers on your first shag will never compare to the nerves you get when you ask your partner to move in with you.
You never know whether they’ll agree, and either of the two poses a host of challenges. A “no” can be followed by a “why,” which can start all sorts of questions about the future, unearth commitment issues and even spell the end of the relationship.
A “yes,” on the other hand, is followed by “when,” “where,” “do I get to keep the cats,” or “can I bring the light sabers hanging on my bedroom wall?”
First things first, are YOU ready?
Before you pop the question, maybe you should check whether you yourself are ready to make the transition. Living alone can be comfortable, all the more if you have been living by yourself for a long time.
No one is going to notice you wearing the same set of pajamas for five days in a row. Certainly no one is going to smell you wearing that rag, except perhaps for your cat. Moving in with your partner means you need to give up some of the luxuries you have been accustomed to while living alone.
Being in a relationship requires intimacy. Shared laughs, adventures, and even arguments create intimacy between the couple. However, living under one roof presents a new level of intimacy quite different from what you are used to.
When you live together, you’ll wake up with your partner’s morning breath right next to your nose, and fall asleep right in time with your partner’s not-so-gentle snores. Time spent together will no longer be all rainbows and romantic music. Instead, your days will be filled with chores, like taking out the trash, washing the dishes or cleaning the toilet. Are you sure you’re ready for your partner to hear you fart?
The wrong reasons for moving in together
Taking the next step in your relationship requires a new level of emotional maturity and commitment. This becomes all the more necessary for couples who view moving in together as a test run for the real thing. Thus, the decision to move in is one that should not be entered into for the wrong reasons.
#1 You sleep at each other’s house anyway. It may seem like the next logical step when you and your partner are already spending every night of the week together anyway, so why not move in? However, moving together includes spending even the days together.
As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. What may seem as a good idea at first can backfire and affect your relationship for the worse.
#2 To save on rent and utilities. Living alone can be financially taxing, as you are the only one shouldering all the expenses including rent, electric and water bills, and maintenance expenses. When you want to update the furniture, you’ll have to shell out 100% of the price. When something breaks down, you’ll have to answer for the full repair costs. It can be very tempting to share all these expenses with another person 50-50.
However, deciding to move in based solely on this reason can open up a can of worms. Your partner may think that you are offering to move in merely because you want to save money, or if your partner earns more than you do, that you are only taking advantage of them. Having someone to split the bills with you can be the cherry on top, but it shouldn’t be the cupcake.
#3 To save the relationship. Of all the reasons to move in together, this is probably the worst. Some couples whose relationships are on the brink of dissolution, opt to move in together to attempt rekindling their love. They think that if they move in together, they will be able to hang on to the other or make the other commit through mere proximity. Unfortunately, this kind of setup doesn’t end well.
Moving in together when your relationship is at its peak is difficult enough, imagine when the relationship is already on its dying throes. You don’t jump in the water to save someone, if you yourself cannot swim. You’ll surely end up drowning yourself.
#4 To end an argument. In an episode in How I Met Your Mother, Robin gave Ted hell for keeping the gifts that his exes gave him, while Ted can’t get over the fact that Robin’s dogs *all five of them!* came from her ex-boyfriends. Robin gave the dogs away to appease Ted, who in turn held on to his ex-girlfriends’ gifts, making Robin very angry.
Astoundingly, their argument ended with Ted and Robin announcing to the group that they are moving in together. However, this decision does not end as well as they had hoped. The moment Ted moved in, problems started cropping up. Ted realized that Robin has no space for his things in her apartment, not even for his lone box of pot covers. He can’t even put up his feet on Robin’s table in Robin’s living room. They both came to the realization that moving in is not yet for them. As with Ted and Robin, moving in for the mere purpose of ending an argument is never a good reason to do so.
How to ask your partner
Asking your partner to move in is a pivotal step in the relationship—one that will surely swing their life around, and yours too, if you’re not careful. Better to ease them into the transition, instead of just popping the question haphazardly.
#1 Ease them in. Invite your partner to stay the night a few nights in a week at first. Start off with one night of the week when you can cook dinner or order some take outs for a movie marathon. Make sure your house is not a dump when you do this, though.
Clean the house a little, empty the trash, wash the dishes, and do have clean throw pillows on the couch. You don’t want your partner sitting down and smelling six months’ worth of beer spills, sweat, and dust.
Once they are used to spending a night a week, have more frequent sleepovers. Suggest that they leave their toothbrush and toiletries, so they need not lug it around with them every time they stay over. Better yet, take note of their brand of toiletries and buy a bottle or two. They’ll appreciate the effort of trying to make your home as homey to them as possible.
Up the ante and empty out a drawer, so they’ll have somewhere to keep their overnight stuff in. Sooner than later, you’ll find them staying most nights, their toiletries lined up in the bathroom closet, and their designated drawer overflowing with clothes. Surely after that, it won’t be difficult to ask them to move in.
#2 Romance it up. A moving-in proposal can be as nerve-wracking as a marriage proposal. It’s halfway towards “I do” but not just yet. Some people just pop the question casually—during a dinner conversation, while driving, or even in the middle of s*x! Level up your game by injecting some romance in the equation.
Romance leaves women starry-eyed and men feeling like they are a Prince Charming incarnate. Propose to your partner. However, it should not be as grandiose as the proposals littering YouTube, but make it memorable. You don’t want to make the wrong impression, and then disappoint your partner afterwards.
Instead of a ring, place your house’s spare key in a box. Make it a treasure hunt game. Lay down a set of clues leading to the box. Watch your partner’s face light up when you ask, “Will you move in with me?”
Shacking up, moving in, living together, or cohabiting is a big step towards the development of any couple’s relationship. However, it cannot be done haphazardly. Before asking your partner to pack a bag and move in with you, make sure that you are ready for such a monumental step.