When not to move in together

If you’ve been with your partner long enough to get fed up with packing overnight bags and doing the walk of shame, at some point you might think about moving in together. At best, living with your sweetheart can be a delicious foretaste of the married bliss to come. At worst it can quickly turn loved-up couples into mortal enemies. To help you decide whether to take the plunge, here’s our take on when not to make that move.

When one of you is earning much more money
Unless you’re at the stage when what’s theirs is yours and vice-versa, you need to be careful about finding somewhere to live if you’re on different budgets. If you earn more and want a super-duper pad, you’re not going to appreciate moving somewhere where you need bars on your windows. Likewise, if money’s tight, don’t be tempted to go along with your partner’s penthouse plans, you’ll soon see your costs go through the roof.

When it’s a triumph of hope over expectation
It’s tempting to think that one grand gesture of commitment is all it’ll take to bring peace to warring couples. If anything though, relationship ups and downs will be exacerbated rather than eradicated by sharing a home. If you’re in a volatile partnership, do yourself a favour – tackle the root cause of the problems instead of papering over the cracks by moving in.

When you’re doing it for the wrong reasons
In these days of austerity, moving in with your partner can offer a practical solution to financial quandaries. But, while undoubtedly appealing, such pragmatic motivations for shacking-up can backfire spectacularly. If the relationship isn’t in tip-top shape, it may well crumble under the intensity of living together. Rather than conveniently saving some dough, you could be left with a sense of déjà-vu as you find yourself paying to hire another moving van.

When one won’t make room for the other
Often the most sensible option is for one half of a couple to move into the other’s pad. But this creates problems if the original occupant thinks it’ll be business as usual. The first-comer may believe the just-so arrangement of their possessions couldn’t possibly be improved, but everything has to be up for negotiation if cohabitation is successful. Otherwise the newbie feels like a visitor in someone else’s home, while the other one feels their happy existence has been ruined.

When you don’t know what you’re in for
If sharing a home is to succeed, it’s important to go into it with your eyes open. The fact is not everything about cohabitation is pretty: your partner won’t always look like they do on Saturday night, their irritating habits will soon become part of the fabric of life and even the frequency of amorous encounters will taper off. If you either aren’t expecting, or aren’t ready for, a less-than-fairytale reality, it’s best to hold-off.

When you don’t have the same values
Living together is as much to do with practicalities as romance. For it to be successful you have to have common ground when it comes to housework. If, for example, one of you is a slob and the other is a domestic goddess you’re unlikely to find cohabiting enjoyable. The same goes for couples with different views of male and female roles. It’s best to talk it over before discovering you’re expected to do everything except take the bins out.

When you don’t want to
It may be obvious advice, but it’s amazing how many people do things in order to please other people. Ask yourself why you’re doing it. Is it because you can’t wait to take your relationship to the next level? Or is it because you feel it’s somehow expected – either by your partner, your friends or your family? If you’ve got doubts you’re desperately trying to suppress, think again. When it’s the right thing to do, you’ll have no fear.