There has been a 29 percent increase in co-habitation in the last decade but surprisingly, marriage rates are going down and only half of co-habitating couples actually tie the knot.
If you are considering co-habitating with your partner as a step towards marriage or move in too hastily, your relationship dreams may be crushed.
However, if you prepare properly before you move in together, you can give your partnership a better chance at success.
On A Question of Love you see the three couples asking each other deep probing questions that many couples spend a lifetime avoiding, but if you are thinking of moving in with your significant other, there are some questions you need to start asking too.
Here are the 6 questions you must ask before moving in together:
1. Who Pays?
Money is one of the top 3 things that couples fight about. When you’re co-mingling money before you’re married you need to be clear on who’s paying the bills and managing the money. Plus, you can’t plan for the future if you aren’t considering your financial future together. Money management is one of challenges that all 3 couples struggle with on A Question of Love.
2. Your Place or Mine?
It’s always best to start off in a new, neutral space where you can establish your areas and routines from scratch. I remember how hard it was when my husband moved into my place and I had to give up part of my precious walk-in closet. It’s hard not to become territorial—even towards someone you love —when you suddenly have to share something you had all to yourself before.
3. Why Are We Doing This?
You must be able to tell if this is a step towards marriage or a coupling of convenience. Women often think that moving in means that he’s planning to make you his wife. Sometimes men are just thinking, “Great! I can save half of my rent.” Be clear about what is motivating you to move in and listen to what your partner says about their intentions to insure you are both on the same path.
4. How Do You Feel About Children?
If you’re young, it might seem pre-mature to ask about children but considering that 20 percent of cohabitating women get pregnant in the first year, you should know where you and your partner stand on having a family together. In A Question of Love, you will also see how to navigate building a relationship with someone who already had children.
5. When Should We Check In Again?
The times when I’ve seen co-habitation really backfire with clients in the past is when the couple had no understanding of where things were headed and no timeline during which they agreed to reevaluate their living situation. Engagement ring resentment is not a good look for any relationship so you and your partner should get on the same timeline before moving in together.
6. What Happens If It Doesn’t Work?
Have a clear understanding—ideally in writing—of which assets you retain (from puppies to property). This will make it easier to split amicably if that unfortunately happens. If you’re unmarried and living together, most laws would label you simply as roommates, so it’s your responsibility to protect your assets while following your heart.
Living together out of convenience is not the same as making a conscious choice about how you want to live your life. You must ask these 6 questions before moving in to make sure you’re taking this major step mindfully.
By: Damona Hoffman, host & relationship expert of A Question of Love. Get more dating & relationship advice and access to Damona’s Dates & Mates podcast at DamonaHoffman.com.