7 Important Topics to Discuss *Before* Moving in Together | Knowledge and joy

Photo of Melissa Ohollandt to Everygirl

Editor’s note: Our August theme at W&D is about planting seeds for the life you want. As we approach the end of the month, we revisit an article Kate originally wrote in February 2020. In it, she explores the key issues to discuss before moving in with a partner. It is a particularly fitting subject for this month’s theme and we hope you find some wisdom in her words.


The first morning in our new apartment after moving in together, joe went out for bagels. We had been out late the night before and I had removed my contacts around 3 and threw them on the bedroom floor. I groggily fell out of bed and into the living room, knowing full well that a bagel with a very heavy hand of cream cheese spread would make last night settle in my stomach and fade into a distant memory. Inside the bag I found a small box, and in that small box, my engagement ring.

Joe and I knew we were going to be engaged soon after we moved in together. It was discussed at length, even though at that point we had only been dating for a few months. That is one of the reasons I knew he was “the one”– we both wore our hearts on our sleeves. But this proved more difficult as life became more intertwined.

And there’s no better way to complicate a relationship than to move in together.

Don’t get me wrong – in some ways it’s great! Saving money on rent AND living with the person you sleep with? It’s a win-win.

That is until real life comes crashing through the bedroom door and unfortunately, my sweet lovebirds, it can be a real B.

I’ve found the old saying, “What you love about them now will drive you crazy later,” to be especially true as Joe and I turn the corner to our seventh year of marriage. What we have found is that these characteristics are not something to be feared and avoided – they are signals that we need to pay attention to in communication.

These questions are the ones we should ask before our relationship unfolds over shared boxes and mismatched coffee cups.

These questions are the ones we should ask before our relationship unfolds over shared boxes and mismatched coffee cups. Over the debate about whether to hang the old college poster or get rid of the sentimental chair.

These are difficult but necessary questions to ask yourself and your partner before moving in together.

Because while we all do our best to communicate, we all inevitably have blind spots. And it is best to get it all on the table before signing a lease etc to buy housing.

The first question is to ask WHY.

Is it because you live in an expensive city? Or because you think it’s the logical next step in your relationship? Can it hurt the relationship or help the relationship? Why would it strengthen your current relationship and do you have the same desired vision for the future of your relationship?

Discuss WHERE you will live.

Should you be moving into their place or yours? Or does it make sense to start fresh, free of ghosts from past relationships? Does it work for your commute or work from home? What is your ideal living space? What are the three things you both want your home to look and feel like? How will you handle decoration? Maintenance? Let’s say you’re more of a Joanna Gaines and they have really strong opinions about showing off their shoe collection. WHO’S WINNING? Or is it even worth fighting for?

Get in the weeds about FINANCE.

How are shared expenses handled? Do you want joint savings? Who will be responsible for paying bills? How will groceries and daily expenses be handled? Will you each maintain a checking account?

Be honest about your HABITS.

What are your pet peeves? What can trigger your partner about you? Are your sleeping habits compatible? How will moving in together change your sex life? How will you deal with a decline in your intimacy? When it comes to personal space, how much do you need? Are you able to ask for “me” time? How clean are you? How clean are they?

Moving in together and the most important questions to ask beforehand

Get real with CONFLICT.

What are you struggling with at this point in your relationship? What bothers you about the way you handle conflict? What if you don’t like being in the same room after a match? Do your struggles usually result in you getting closer to and moving past your problems? Is there a struggle you constantly have? Is it something that will be more of a problem by combining your living spaces and sharing expenses? Are you prepared to be very aware of problems in advance? Are they?

What are your DEAL-BREAKERS?

Does family stop by unannounced? Late nights with friends? Overconsumption? What about porn? Infidelity? Be sure to discuss the deal-breakers that would cause you to look for a new sublet.

Think of the WORST CASE SCENARIO.

What happens if you break up? How will you divide joint purchases? What about pets? Have you seen each other sick? Do you have any potential medical emergencies that they need to help with? What happens if one of you gets sick for an extended period of time?

The thing I am most proud of in my life is my marriage to Joe. We fight for his health and strength every day. Asking hard questions and being honest about our feelings – these are the foundations of a relationship that is met with compassion and vulnerability. It feels uncomfortable at the time, but you’ll reap the benefits of intimacy for a lifetime.

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