When you’ve been dating someone seriously for a while and don’t see an end in sight, it’s almost expected that the conversation about moving in together will come up at some point or another.
What isn’t expected, however, are the types of conversations you’ll be having once you agree to share a home. Make no mistake—cohabitating is a big step, so you’ll want to make sure you’re on the same page. To do so, try asking your partner some of these four important questions.
How Should We Split Costs?
Money is an important topic for couples. So important, in fact, that misalignment on financial matters is the second most common reason for divorce.
“Money really touches everything. It impacts people’s lives,” Emmet Burns, brand marketing director for SunTrust, points out. You may assume that your rent will be split evenly among the two of you, but if one partner makes significantly more than the other, then it might be inferred that the higher-earning partner will be responsible for a larger portion of your rent.
To make money matters a non-issue, have these types of conversations before signing any lease. The less your mind is worried about financial matters down the line, the easier it will be to live happily together. To that end, you might also find it easier to share an online banking account to handle all of your joint expenses, like rent and utilities. This will allow for greater transparency in how you decide to divide up your bills and ensure that you’re holding each other accountable.
How Would You Like to Split Household Duties?
Chores. No one likes them, but they have to get done one way or another. If left undiscussed, it’s not uncommon that one person ends up doing much more of the work around the house than the other. To live happily together, decide who is responsible for what. Ask questions like: who takes out the trash, who cleans the bathroom, who cooks or washes the dishes, and so forth.
If you find it easier or more organized, it might even be helpful to set up a schedule for chores, and take turns doing those that neither partner particularly enjoys. As long as you’re splitting up duties in some manner, you’ll probably feel more content living with your partner.
What Name(s) Should We Use to Sign the Lease?
Signing a lease is a big decision, and figuring out which of your names (if not both) will go on it is perhaps an even bigger one. While this conversation can be awkward to have, as you’re essentially acknowledging that the possibility of your relationship not lasting forever is a real one, you’ll feel much more at peace knowing you created a plan to deal with any unforeseen circumstances.
After all, your commitment to your relationship should be based on love, communication, and overall life alignment, not fear of what happens should you want to get out of your lease. A backup plan will leave concerns by the wayside so you can focus on what’s most important: your relationship.
Are There Any Ground Rules We Should Establish?
If you’re at the point in your relationship where you’re thinking about moving in together, then chances are you have a pretty solid understanding of what your partner likes and doesn’t like. However, depending on how familiar you are with each other, or how much time you’ve spent together in the past, there may be a few things you weren’t aware of.
For example, some partners are more spontaneous than others. For that reason, they might think that having a family member or friend come over at the drop of a hat is completely permissible since it is technically their home. Meanwhile, the other partner may prefer to have a plan set up for anything outside of their typical routine.
Needless to say, differences in personality can spur arguments, so you’ll need to come to a mutual understanding about any necessary ground rules you can think of before you move in together. Remember: at the end of the day, a peaceful relationship is usually a happy one, which will make living together all the more enjoyable.