With more coronavirus restrictions being put in place and whispers of a second lockdown creeping across social media, many couples will feel they have hit decision time on whether to move in together.
We heard all sorts of stories — good and bad — about people taking the plunge prior to lockdown in March, and moving in with their partner so as not to be apart.
But moving in together is a big step in a relationship, one where you move from the myth to the reality, from just having nice times together, to sharing a place full-time with little escape.
It is also a time when you can be fully committed with the person that you love and share and support each other on the journey through life.
Here, Neil Wilkie, psychotherapist, relationships expert and founder of online couples therapy platform The Relationship Paradigm, talks us through the eight signs that you are ready to move in together.
1.It brings your dreams to life
Your relationship feels really good and you have the sense that you are on a shared journey to a great future. What you have both dreamed of is happening and you both want to take that next step to being even closer.
2.Communication is great
You are able to talk about what is important and feel that you are really being listened to. Conversations just flow and can fill time. You are both also comfortable to be in relaxing silence.
3.You feel really connected
There are moments of intimacy; a look, a touch or a word can make you feel like time has stopped and nothing else matters.
Love-making is intimate, fun and enjoyable and you would both like more opportunities. It is also okay to just sleep together and feel companionable.
4.You are both committed to a future together
You have talked about the future and feel that living together is a natural step to take in creating a deeper and more sustainable relationship.
5.It will be fun
You enjoy time together and want more of it. Amidst all the routine of busy lives and work, you are able to create times where you can smile, laugh and glow. You feel that you will be able to maintain this even when you are together full time.
6.It will help you and your relationship grow
Your relationship feels like it is flourishing and still has some way to grow. As individuals you are both growing and the ‘us’ of you as a couple is greater than the sum of the parts.
7.You trust each other
Trust is implicit and there are no clouds of distrust. You believe what each other says and feel confident about the response you will get if you ask for help.
You feel safe discussing anything personal and there are no hidden secrets that could derail the relationship if they came out.
8.It makes sense
If you are both going to be emotionally, physically and financially better off by moving in together then it makes sense.
There are all sorts of practicalities that can hijack your thinking and feelings. It is important to deal with all these up front so that they won’t become sources of conflict in the future. These may include:
Who is moving into whose place, or are you finding a new place together? If you are moving into theirs, that will create a subtle or significant change in the dynamic.
- Creating the space for the other’s belongings - one drawer may not be enough!
- Sharing of costs - will these done equally or not?
- Roles - who will do what in the house including cooking and cleaning
- Standards - is a hair in the sink a cause for meltdown, or not?
- Space - do either of you need their own space to work, meditate etc?
- Electronic devices - What is acceptable use?
- TV - who has the remote control for the TV or sound system?
- Bedtimes - when and how to go to bed and wake up
If you can deal will all of the above, then the practicalities will become a minor issue and the love can flow.
How many of these 8 signs resonated with you?
'Now that you know all of that; what would you like to have happen? What does your partner want? If one of you is keener than the other, why is that?
'If you are unsure, is that because of them or because of your past experiences? Also, accept that you may be both going through this journey at different speeds.'
You have 3 fundamental choices:
1. Seize the day and move in together
2. Put it off, tell your partner that you are not sure and see what progresses
3. End the relationship or just let it fade away
'Reflecting on those three simple choices; what does your heart tell you, what does your head tell you and what does your gut tell you? If all of those are aligned on moving in, then that is a clear answer.
'Now imagine acting on that: how does that feel and what do those feelings tell you?'
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