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November 20, 2014

When Should I Move In With Him

# 1. Follow the advice below

Dr. Randi Gunther

The real questions are: “Is his invitation authentic?” “Am I really ready to be with this man 24/7?” “Does this mean the next step?” And, “What will happen if this doesn’t work out? Where and how will I re-establish myself?”

In this world of revolving door, sequential relationships, most women fall into one of two categories very much dictated by where they are in their dating process: Younger women have usually embraced the Tinder generation of rapid hook-ups without expectation of “forever-ness.” They have the blessing of time to fall back on. Not yet having to face the pressing questions of readiness for family and social expectations, they have no need to squirm if their relationships don’t last too long. The idea of marrying and having children before age thirty is no longer an expectation and rapidly giving way to living life without stressing or taking on unnecessary responsibility earlier than necessary.

But, once “the thirties” become a reality, more women, and some men, begin to more seriously seek a long-term, committed relationship. Many women closer to losing the option for a family are more likely to make absolutely certain that the relationship they’re in follows an exact sequence of ritualistic next moves. They want things to go smoothly and according to plan.

When people lived in stationary communities, the people around them would make sure that those potential long-term relationships happened the way they were supposed to. If a couple were dating for a certain length of time, they were encouraged to go to the next level, introducing themselves to their social world as a couple. Then, intimate connections with close friends, followed closely by merging families. Living together needed to correlate, at least, with a legitimate commitment, usually marked by a ring and celebration. Wedding dates followed and the procedure needed to be completed within the veritable two years or it was considered on its way out.

With most people far from their “people,” with the corresponding freedom and lack of social nudging, people looking for the right person at the right time are pretty much on their own, often forced to connect through impersonal technology with its improbable success rate. That is when the concepts of “how do you get your man to get over his commitment phobia,” “when do you talk to him about the future,” “you have to know how to handle a man,” and “don’t give away everything up front, because he’ll never come through if you do,” became more of the sad manipulations that seem so painfully common in today’s dating jargon.

So, for most women, the decision of whether to move in (assuming the invitation is authentic and not made in an altered state), should include what that means to both partners when they make that choice. It’s kind of an emotional pre-nuptial signed by both sides. “Let’s give it a precise time period and do our best to know each other deeply and see if our relationship gets closer and more attached.” “What portion of the cost of the apartment should we fairly assume?” “Which place shall we live in, because one of us will have to start over if it doesn’t work?” “What will each of us have to willingly give up in order to live together successfully?” “Will our intimacy stay interesting if we’re together all the time?” “What do we tell the world we’re doing and why?”

In short, women who value themselves make sure that the deal their signing up for is clear, valuable, and what they really want. They need to know what they’re getting in to and whether or not their men want the same thing currently and in the future. It’s perfectly okay if both are not ready to make a commitment or they have different ideals or goals. It just has to be authentic and open from the beginning.

Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com

# 2. Are you willing to risk your future to what may be a temporary situation?

Dr.-Morgain-Hall

First, are you able to make yourself happy, meet your own needs, and be financially stable? If not, it is not time to make any important decisions.

Secondly, I know this will sound very old fashioned. I believe it is important to maintain your independence, especially before marriage. The very best time to move in together is just prior or after you is married. Why? Because, there is no commitment from either of you when living together. In my private practice I see married couples and cohabiting couples. There is a difference in the level of respect for each other, the idea of partners and equality, consideration and compassion shown to each other. You guessed the married couples, though struggling, exhibit more of these components than cohabiting couples.

Think about this, when you move in with your boyfriend have you thought about spending the rest of your life with his personality, habits, belief system, or the kind of role model he will be for your children? Do you like his family? Do they like and respect you? Do your parents like your boyfriend and visa versa? Does he treat you with the respect you deserve? Do you treat him with the respect he deserves?

Some of the cohabiting clients I see have eventually married the boyfriend. During their therapy they often complain about some aspect of the relationship or the boyfriend. I ask the hard questions, can you live with (bad or annoying habit, attitude, “issue”) the rest of your life. Of course they say yes. Then when I see them after the wedding the habits and beliefs still cause problems in the relationship.

Whether you are aware of it or not, no one is going to change after marriage or when you move in with him. I also have seen clients after the fallout of the relationship and someone moves out. It is much easier to leave than to work on the relationship. If you have a legal commitment, and understand that the commitment is for a lifetime, it is more likely the couple will work to fix a problem, no matter what it takes.

Are you willing to risk your future to what may be a temporary situation?

Dr. Morgain Hall – www.drmorgainhall.com

# 3. Ask yourself the below 5 questions

Amanda Patterson

You find yourself in a situation where you are questioning whether or not you should move in with your man. Moving in together is a decision that needs to be made with open communication between the two of you. Moving in together can be fun and exciting, but there are also the logistical parts of moving in together. If you and your significant other want to move in together and it feels right, why not do it? Here are a few things for you to consider and discuss before taking the next step.

1. Have you talked about what it means to move in together?

• To one person, it might mean fewer bills. Another person is might mean that the next step is you are getting engaging. Having a candid discussion about what it means to move in together will be an impact topic to broach before you make the final decision to move in with each other.

2. Have you discussed and sorted out the finances?

• When you move in, you aren’t just sharing bathroom space, you are sharing finances, even if you are going to keep them separate. Do you know how the other person is with finances? Do they have their bills on time? Do you have a lot of debt? What type of credit score do they have? What is their philosophy on saving versus spending? This may be the first time in your relationship you are having this type of discussion and again it is an important one to have prior to moving in.

3. Have you discussed expectations for each other?

• Discussing expectations is another subject to open up. Maybe you think moving in together means you always have someone to hang out with on Friday nights, while your significant other now thinks he will see you every day of the week so he can take Friday nights for the boys. Having a discussion about expectations can feel anxiety-provoking; however the more open and honest you are with one another, the deeper level of communication and understanding you can bring to the relationship.

4. Have you discussed the logistics of the move?

• There are several logistical things about moving that are not fun or sexy. When are you planning on moving in? Whose bedroom set are you keeping? How will you handle the closet space? Sorting through some of the logistics can help bring clarity as to whether or not a move right now is what you both need. Maybe your lease is up now and his isn’t up for 8 months; however the space he is in is just too small. The two of you may decide to wait until his lease is up while you explore an option to lease on a month to month basis.

5. Have you shared your feelings, thoughts and reservations about moving in?

• You may be feeling a mixture of feelings about moving in together. You may be excited to embark on the next chapter on your relationship. You might be scared he will discover all of your nuances and see you in a different light. Having mixed emotions or a lot of feelings coming up is normal. Talking to your significant other about it is important. Share your feelings and be vulnerable with him.

Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com

# 4. What is your intention of moving in with your partner?

Lyndsey Fraser

If you understand your intention it will help you understand if this is the right step. Are you moving in as a way to save or expand the relationship? I have included lists below that will highlight each reason.

Relationship saving tactics:

-He will want to marry me now.
-I will lose the relationship if I don’t move in with him.
-I will know what he is doing all the time and will no longer have to worry.
-It will be cheaper for me financially.
-He will understand my value if I maintain a house for him.
-It’s what I should do we have been dating for a long time.
-We argue consistently without resolution and this will be the fix.

Relationship expanding tactics:

-I am ready to move to the next step in our relationship to see if this is a good fit.
-Both of you understand expectations in the relationship moving forward.
-You have a good balance of togetherness and separateness in the relationship.
-We discussed our future goals as a relationship and the relationship is defined.
-We understand each partner’s desired roles in the household.
-You have had a major fight and were able to resolve it smoothly.
-You are past the honeymoon phase in the relationship and see each other’s flaws.

When you look at this list ask yourself if you are looking to SAVE the relationship or EXPAND the relationship. If you are attempting to expand your relationship it is a good time to move in together. Understanding your intentions assists you in determining if moving in with your partner is the right choice. For partners to be most successful there needs to be a balance of togetherness and separateness. If you are too far on either dynamic the relationship will not be successful. If this is not balanced it is not wise to introduce another stressor such as living together.

Lyndsey Fraser, MA, LMFT – www.relationalconnections.com

# 5. Ask yourself the below 5 questions

Amy Sherman

Healthy relationships move at a steady, but slow pace. You learn about each other by dating over weeks and months, by meeting his friends, by sharing common interests and by exploring new venues together.

If you find that he meets your criteria for a long-term relationship (share a common vision of your future, appear to be on the same page in terms of commitment, you get along well, etc) and you are ready to take the next step (give up your apartment, store your things, share expenses, etc.) then you may be ready to move in with him.

To be sure, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is this relationship really serious and can I still have my life and be part of his as well?

2. Will moving in with him change who I am and what I want to do with my life?

3. Are we spending so much time together now that moving in together would not change things too much?

4. Do I love him enough to overlook some of his “quirky” behavior?

5. Since moving in together is the closest things to being married, would I marry him if he asked?

Remember, you really know if this move is right for you, so don’t try to force it.

Before deciding, evaluate all the factors and if there is any doubt, don’t rush or act impulsively. It’s always good to trust your instincts. Since this is an important next step in your relationship, you want to be sure that the decision is a good one for your life and overall well-being.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

# 6. Ask yourself the below 3 questions

Sarah Hofer

Moving in with someone signals a shift into a deeper level of intimacy and trust and is a decision that should not be taken likely. Unfortunately, this is not a decision that can be made based on the length of a relationship. It’s more effective to answer some questions for yourself based on the depth of the connection you share with your partner. It is imperative that you feel comfortable sharing the most vulnerable parts of your life with this person. These three questions are a good place to start:

1. How does this person handle conflict and stress? Have you had a fight yet? Disagreements should end with a mutual sense of resolution and should focus on fixing an issue, not attacking your partner’s character. If you frequently feel like issues get glossed over and never resolved, this should be a red flag.

2. Can you be honest about the state of your finances? If you are completely comfortable sharing all details in this area—even massive student loans or credit card debt—then you may be ready to take this step.

3. Have you and your partner considered why you are moving in together? For some, it’s a matter of convenience. For others, the decision is made for economical reasons. Hopefully it’s because you love each other and want to commit yourself to your relationship. Whatever the reason, if you and your partner don’t have similar reasons for taking this step, rethink it. If you aren’t on the same page now, that chasm will only grow as your relationship progresses.

If you are unsure of your answer to any of these questions, I would seriously caution you against taking this step until you have solidified them. Your relationship will be better for it and years later you’ll thank yourself for taking the time to think this through so thoroughly. If you are confident that you like the answers that you came up with, then you may be ready to take your relationship to the next level.

Sarah Hofer, MA – www.sarahhofercounseling.com

# 7. Communication is the key to sharing keys

Kimberly Atwood

Every couple is unique and has their own set of challenges when it comes to living together. Many people decide to live together prior to getting married for convenience, to share expenses, or to evaluate compatibility. For some, 6-months is long enough to know that moving in together is right, while it may take others much longer.

So, when do you know it is right for you? Take a serious inventory of your relationship as a whole. How much time are you spending together? Are you sleeping over at each other’s place relatively often? Have you been on a vacation together, and enjoyed it? Do you respect your partner? Do you feel respected by your partner? Can you be your authentic self with your partner? Is the ‘honeymoon’ period over? Can you talk about the pros and cons of moving in together? Are you open and honest with your partner? Do you argue and resolve issues fairly well together?

One of the most important determining factors is communication. Are you able to have disagreements and argue with effectiveness? If you are not arguing at all, there is usually a problem. I would recommend evaluating your own hesitation to argue. In addition, if you are arguing all the time, there is usually a problem. Notice if you are resolving issues during these disagreements. Are you effectively communicating about these issues or just “brushing them under the rug?” If you feel you are respectfully and effectively communicating with one another, then it might be time to move in together.

When it comes to evaluating communication, you are not looking for perfection; rather you are striving for ‘good enough’ effectiveness. Fortunately, effective communication can be learned. If communication is a struggle within your partnership, try something new before moving in together. You might surprise yourself.

Kimberly Atwood, www.KimAtwood.com

# 8. Make your decision using your head and take your time before moving in with each other

Cynthia Pickett

Taking the next step in a relationship is both scary and exciting! Since it is a major life decision it should be carefully considered in order to lessen the chance for future trouble and heartache.

First, while it is not as romantic rather than making the decision from your heart make it from your head. Please pay attention to all of the red flags! Do not minimize the faults and flaws of your partner and the relationship. Over time these things will likely intensify and become more of an issue. Know that the oddities that seem adorable today will turn into bigger annoyances tomorrow. Ask yourself are they really things you are willing to live with?

Another thing is that in this day of internet dating and long distance relationships I think it is very important to live in the same town before living in the same home. Not meaning to be deceitful, in general, people tend to be on their “best behavior” during the entirety of a distance relationship. This is true even if the relationship lasts for years! No matter how many vacations you have taken together or how many hours spent on the phone talking. These things do not give an accurate barometer of how compatible you are in a day in day out dating situation. Therefore, living in the same community with each other first will give you a much better idea of who the person really is and whether or not you are really compatible with each other.

Finally, take your time before moving in with each other. If you are really going to spend the rest of your life with each other there is no rush. Infatuation can be in full effect for up to three years. I always recommend waiting at least three years before making any major decisions about the relationship for that reason. Especially when children are involved slow and sure is always better than hot and heated. Take your time, fully evaluate, objectively explore, if this person deserves your love and loyalty.

Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com

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