Moving in with your partner is a big step in a relationship, and let’s face it, as much as it is exciting, it can also be somewhat scary and daunting. Will the relationship remain the same, or will living together put too much pressure on your love?

It’s normal to question whether it’s a good decision to move in together and it’s a decision you often need to think long and hard about. To help you with the decision, we’ve created a list to help you decide if it’s time to move house.

1. Why are you moving in together?

This might sound like a really stupid question, but it’s important to think about. If you are thinking of moving in with your partner you are most probably very much in love, but is this the main reason to why you want to live together? Make sure that you are not moving in together simply for convenience and to save money. If one of the main reasons to why you’re thinking of moving in with your partner is so that you can split rent, bills and food shopping or because it saves you petrol or travel costs, then maybe you should think over your decision again. Of course these are benefits that can come with moving in with someone but it shouldn’t be your main reason.

2. Are your expectations realistic?

It’s important that you speak to your partner about this before you take the big step towards creating a home together. What does moving in with each other mean to the two of you? If one of you sees it as a step closer to getting married and are expecting a diamond ring in the near future, while the other one doesn’t have any plans on tying the knot and settling down yet, this will create a problem. That’s why it’s important that you speak about this before and make sure that you are on the same page with what this means for your relationship.

3. Do you already spend most nights together?

It’s hard to know what living together will be like before you’ve tried it, but it’s good if you have an idea. If you usually only spend 1 or 2 nights with your partner, it might be hard to know how their habits and what their day-to-day pattern looks like (as you might adjust your schedule the few nights you spend with each other). Therefore if you don’t already spend most night at each other’s places, it might be good to do a ‘trial’ and move in one week to one of your places and another week to the other ones place and see how it goes. Then you will have a better idea of your partner’s daily habits and you will know if your lifestyles are compatible.

4. How well do you know your partner?

We don’t mean that you need to know all of each others secrets, but if you really want the move to work out well, it might be good if you’ve known each other for a while. Some say that six months is the minimum and others think anything under a year is too soon, but it all depends on your relationship and how well you know your partner. The most important thing is that you are past the ‘honeymoon’ stage.

5. Have you had an argument, and solved it?

Even if you are a couple that never argues, it is important that you have had at least one big argument and managed to solve it together. It is inevitable that you will argue when you live together, and it’s important that you know that you can solve such an argument together.  When living together this is important as it proves that you as a couple are able to compromise and come to an agreement that you both are happy with. It is also good if you have the habit of talking about your problems and not ignoring them, because when you live together you will constantly be on top of each other. If there is a problem it’s better talking about it straight away rather than staying irritated, which your partner soon will notice.

6. Have you been on holiday together? Did you come home happy?

It doesn’t have to be a big holiday, but if you’ve been away with your partner for a week and came home just as in love as when you left (or even a bit more in love), then that is a good sign for your future living situation. Both planning and being on a holiday together means that you need to do a lot of compromising between the two of you, and you will also see how your partner deals with money. Being on a holiday is almost like a trial for living together.

7. Have you had the money talk?

Another important thing you need to talk about before you move in is money, money is a common stress factor in relationships. How will you split the bills and the daily costs? If your partner earns more than you do, you might expect them to pay for more, but this might not be what your partner had planned, and that’s why it’s important that you discuss this before the move. It’s also good to have an idea of what type of money person your partner is and what type of money person you are. If you are a saver and your partner is a spender this might create tension in the relationship.

8. Your relationship will change. Are you ready for this?

Moving in together will lead to some changes in the relationship. If there is anything that irritates you about your partner right now, it will only get worse when you see each other all the time every day, are you ready for this? You will also need to give up some of your independence, you’re no longer the only person you need to consider when you book in things in your calendar or decide that you don’t feel like having dinner at home.

9. What about space?

Even though living together will require you to give up some of your personal space in order to share it with your partner, it’s still important that you give each other space to be with other people. Talk to your partner about this and make sure that you are both on the same page about how much time you spend together and how much time you spend with your friends and family separately.

10. What does your gut instinct tell you?

Listen to your gut feeling. Is this a person you want to live with and who you can be yourself around? If you’re not completely sure you can also ask friends and family for help as they might be able to see the situation from another perspective.

Most importantly, remember that in love and war there are no rules. These were just some tips to help you on the way, but only you and your partner can decide if you are ready to move in or not.