Have you been dreaming of the day when you and your long-distance love close the gap? A home to call your own – Living out the dreams you once planned for? The next big step will be off to a flying start by firstly talking over your realistic expectations and plans for the future. There are many points to consider before moving in together…
There are logistics to think about when it comes to moving in together, and those can be explored with our 20 questions checklist below. Start by talking these points over with your long-distance partner and enjoy seeing where the conversations lead you.
Are you ready to close the distance?
Here comes the beginning of the second phase of your relationship, it is full of kisses and noticing silly traits that you never knew your partner had. Jokes aside, living with a womancould bring more shedding hair on the floor, and living with a man could mean farts in bed! You get the picture!
Love them for the best traits they have, the ones that made you fall for them. They might make a world-class risotto and know exactly how you like your coffee. Focus on the good points and work on things that can be compromised.
Have you lived together before, or been on a long vacation together?
Do I actually like the city I’m moving to?
Hopefully, you are deeply in love with your soon-to-be home and cannot wait to make it your own, and it will be even better than your hometown. When you move, you won’t be on holiday anymore, life is now happening for you in a new setting that will require some degree of assimilation. It is a great chance to meet new people and continue your old hobbies or try new sports and activities with your partner to start a new one together.
Having your partner in the city to show you around will take pressure off of learning everything in the area right away, but it will be good to take the initiative to learn the layout and landmarks yourself. Soon you will be the one planning a date night at a new restaurant that you heard of!
Do either partners have family who is physically (or emotionally) dependent on you?
Depending on whether you live close to your family already, try to prepare yourself to live away from your family in your new city. Maybe you are only moving 3 hours away and you can plan a few trips home every year, or you might be 4000 miles away and need to plan extended visits once or twice a year.
Before moving in together think about planning the logistics ahead of time with your family, this will take the stress out of settling into your new place. Ask your mom, dad, or even your grandparents to let you install skype on their computers, or show them how to Facetime you while you’re still in the same city. That small bit of effort will pay off on your first Skype call with your family.
If someone in your family is physically dependent on you, you should work out the long-term plan with their living situation first before you move away. See if you have other family members close by or if their insurance will pay for a caregiver to come to the house twice a day to take care of their daily needs.
Compatibility in a relationship, are you ready?
This is extremely important when it comes to blending families together with children and stepchildren. Can you respect his or her differences after moving in together?
Does one partner enjoy an extremely clean and tidy house, while the other doesn’t get bothered by piles or crumbs? Observe your habits when you do have in-person time together, talk about how you want to run a house and where you can agree or compromise.
Your place or mine?
Picking up the keys to your new place, or turning in your keys to your landlord? Staying put, moving over, or maybe you’re starting fresh in a new place entirely, finding the best living situation is always important territory to cover.
If you’re the person relocating, make equal space in the bedroom and bathroom for your partner and create a place where both of you can relax. Being the one to move is a vulnerable spot to be in, but prepare yourself ahead of time with talks about the future and it will be smooth sailing.
If you both are combining stocks of certain items, think ahead and plan for the storage of ‘double-stock items’ before moving in together. Things like Christmas trees or kitchen supplies. If you have too many possessions to move over, throw a garage sale and earn money for your used items.
What are your expectations before moving in together?
Expectations can easily lead to resentment if they are not expressed. Talk about the tricky things like money and what it is you are prepared to contribute to the household. As long as you keep communicating openly and honestly moving in together can be the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your relationship.
Is one of you at a place in your education, career, or life that makes moving more feasible in the near future? Be honest about your expectations of each other in the household. You may possibly have a long-term plan that involves further steps to your ideal situation. Whether you are in university, just starting at your dream job, or have been in your career for 15 years, evaluate your lives together, and you’ll make the right decision.
Are you in an LDR while in college or studying at university?
If both of you are at university it will be a great opportunity post-graduation for you to both to plan out where you want to start your lives together. No matter the town or city, it’s going to be a new exciting experience.
Does either of you have strong climate preferences that make your partner’s location particularly desirable or undesirable?
For example, If extreme heat makes you cranky and living near the ocean brings a smile to your face, do not move to Arizona. Make a list of your climate needs. This may not be a romantic and even interesting detail about their future home, but nonetheless, the weather is a factor in moving anywhere. Are you both fans of cold, snowy places that are winter wonderlands 6 months of the year?
Or do you like to tan on the beach and feel the fresh sea air on your cheeks? Talk through the pros and cons of your could-be locations to live, and ensure that the weather checks out. You need to be happy in your new space, and investing in keeping yourself satisfied with your surroundings.
What long-term education, career or family goals might affect where you live, as well as potential future moves?
Looking to pursue a higher education? Do you want to have kids in the next 5-10 years? Where do you want to be in the next 10 years? Lots of questions right!
Ask yourself what do you want to be doing, and what are you willing to give up to be with your partner. Remember that moving in together is such a small part of the bigger picture, and you both need to keep your independence and personal goals going in the meantime.
Are you willing to make new friends?
With new towns, comes new friends, and more chances to get to know your new stomping grounds. Continue your hobbies in your new city and you can meet new people that have a mutual interest. If you like to take your dogs for walks or adventure outdoors, search for hiking or pet-friendly outings to do in your future nearby areas.
Don’t get stuck in the times of wishing that you could go join a running group or book club like you had back at home, and go out and try to find them. Ask your new co-workers if there are businesses or clubs for your hobbies in the area, and someone will be able to point you in the right direction. Or try the website meetup.com which is a fantastic way to meet new like-minded friends who enjoy shared interests.
Getting to know your new city, are you ready?
Make a list with your partner of all the places in the area that are important or you to know, and go on a tour. It is paramount that you know where the police station, supermarket, and best pizza spot in town are! Register with a new doctor ASAP and research into banks.
Moving to a new place with more public transit that you are used to can be a great experience as well. Learning to navigate the city without a car can free up your bills and help you reach those recommended 10,000 steps a day.
How good are you at negotiating a compromise?
We are imperfect, and that means we must accept that all solutions are imperfect. The start of sharing your space is sharing your happiness and comfort with each other as well. There will be compromises about vacation spots, wedding locations, favourite brand of bread. You will both get what you want and make the situation beneficial for each person. Remember to pick your important battles, and learn when you can change for the good of your relationship.
Do you need your own personal time to recharge?
It isn’t a personal thing, but every human being needs to be alone for a certain amount of time. As much as you love your partner, there will come a time when you need to be apart and decompress after a long day at work or time with friends. In the first year of living together, there will be learning curves of how to read the other person’s mood and be sure to acknowledge that they have the right to their own space.
Money – Setting up joint accounts. Who’s got one?
The ‘M’ word, the money that you each make is hopefully something you have both talked about by now. The moment when ‘your’ money, becomes ‘our’ money. Talk to each other about your debts, assets, future financial goals, and who should pay which outgoings.
One person might make more than the other, and it is important that when you live together and establish a joint account, you establish what that money is to be used for. If one person wants to pay the bills and rent out of the joint account, and spend on themselves through their personal account, they need to voice that.
If the other person wants to spend the opposite way, they need to voice it too. Money can cause rifts, judgement, resentment, and arguments if it is spent the wrong way. Be open and honest about your finances and feel secure in your accounts before you move.
Continue to be each other best cheerleaders – Help each other through your strengths and weaknesses
Delivery is 50% of good communication. Try your best to give criticism in the most constructive way possible, so that you are building someone up, rather than tearing them down. Your partner’s happiness is your happiness, and it is going to be new for both of you in the first year.
Remember that when your partner is in a mood, it could be stress from work or even suffering from depression. Never stop being your partners best friend and push them to see how great they are. When you love someone through the tough times, the sweet moments are infinitely sweeter.
Are you prepared to accept each other’s’ quirks?
When you’re only seeing your partner a few times a month or year, it’s easy to look your best and behave your best. When you’re seeing them every single day, it’s a different story.
You’ll inevitably see some things from your partner that are less than pretty and may even get under your skin. Certain things can be tweaked, but others may actually become an ‘irritant’ that will require working on as a couple. Talk these points over early on, work out your differences and be open to compromise and change.
Do you like it hot and saucy? Food, that is!
Spicy or not spicy? That is the real question. Do either of you specifically hate certain foods, flavours, or textures? Avoid making food that will make your partner go hungry and talk about the best meals for the two of you to make for dinner.
This is a small detail that will make life so much less painful when the two of you are ‘hangry’ after long days at work. Pesto or Shrimp stir-fry? You know that you are guaranteed to make a meal you will both enjoy if you know ahead of time how to make a quick, filling dinner. Food is the way into anyone’s heart.
You know how to text your feelings and be emotional over distance, and now you can express them in person. Verbal and nonverbal communication is now at play, be prepared to consider all the expectations of living together before moving.
Who likes to clean the kitchen, and who prefers to wash and fold the laundry? Are either of you religious? How many children do you both want in the future? Big picture questions help you communicate further down the line. Once you are both clear about your future wishes and plans, you can continue to build your life together.
Backup plan. Have you got one?
Not the first question that you should ask yourself, but it would be crazy not to have one. The first step is having a savings account that you do not touch. It is for the emergency situation that you two split up, you can support yourself with two months rent and an extra $1000 for unplanned costs. Be sure to talk about the unlikely situation that your move doesn’t turn out perfectly. Know that you could support yourself if it was just you paying the bills. Stay in touch with your friends and family back home, keep this support group strong.
Best wishes, sending my love.
*Original graphics by freepik