A huge step in any romantic relationship is moving in together. While some couples wait till after getting married to make the big move, others decide to give living together a go before exchanging vows.
Whenever you decide on taking that step, there are certain things you should keep in mind before and when you move in together. We asked relationship experts to share their thoughts on things couples should refrain from moving in together and boiled it down to these seven very important living together never-do’s.
1. Don’t do it on a whim
This sounds like a pretty obvious one but you’d be surprised how many couples move in together without really thinking it out. Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish, psychologist and author of Smart Relationships and The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie suggests you have a real conversation about the reasons you want to live together. Is it just to save money? Is it in hopes of improving a shaky relationship? Or is it a natural step in advancing your commitment as a couple? Addressing these questions early and honestly will save a lot of hassle and heartache later.
2. Don’t get stuck in the “mine” vs. “your” mentality
Once you’ve decided you’re moving in for the right reasons (which will likely vary from couple to couple), continue the conversation about what to expect once you’re there. Have the talk about how you will split up space, how you’ll manage the money, purchases, privacy, etc. If there are any areas that you think are better left separate, make sure you communicate that to each other.
3. Don’t stop being individuals
Additionally, intimacy expert Allana Pratt suggests you keep engaging in the activities you enjoy outside of the relationship. Whether it’s a girl’s weekend getaway or poker night with the guys, you should both encourage each other to continue doing these things once you’ve moved in together. Don’t pretzel yourself into who you think your partner wants you to be, or else both you and your relationship will suffer.
4. Never assume the other person will do certain tasks
If you’re used to your current roommate or your mom doing the dishes while you do the laundry, don’t think things will be the same in your new situation, says psychologist and author Karen Sherman, Ph.D. Instead have a discussion about how you will split the chores, responsibilities, etc. with one another.
5. Never monopolize the space
This new place belongs to you both and should represent each one of you equally. If you want to decorate the living room, do so but let your guy put his Star Wars collection in the man cave instead of stashing it away in storage. Let each other know you’re making room for one another as a priority, says Pratt.
6. Never throw away items that don’t belong to you
Similarly, don’t ever take the liberty of throwing away something that isn’t yours without discussing it with your partner. Any given item could have sentimental meaning behind it that you may not be aware of. Even if you come across something you hate, ask and find out if there’s a special story behind it. You can frame it as a question of interest, says Suzanne Casamento, founder of Fantasy Dating. Something as simple as “I’ve never seen anything like that before. Where did you get it?” should be enough to help you figure out if there’s meaning behind it. If it turns out to be meaningless, ask how he feels about doing without it.
7. Never bring an ex’s framed photos
When you move in with someone, your framed photo collection shouldn’t include pictures with or of an ex. If you find it hard to part with the memories, you can keep the photos themselves but you don’t need to display them. Your new place with your current partner should be decorated with pictures of the two of you and other people who are important to you both, not a former love.More Like This: Love