So you are considering living together? Sharing a home? Picking out furniture? This can be fun, and bring a new level of intimacy to your relationship.
I suggest clients consider four important questions prior to cohabitation.
1. Do either of you have children?
If you or your partner have children, think very carefully before moving in together. You don’t want to be responsible for children experiencing increased levels of grief and loss if the relationship doesn’t work out. I often have clients who seek advice from me about how to talk to their kids about why their boyfriend doesn’t live here anymore. There is also a question of values that you are teaching your children. It is important to consider what values you want your child to hold and live accordingly.
2. Are you or your partner able to maintain your individual lifestyle if the other moved out?
Moving in with someone often helps to save some cash. However, if you live together there isn’t the same financial obligation as when married. Make sure you keep track of your finances and are sure that you can maintain your independence if necessary. This way, you will be choosing to stay in the relationship, not trapped in it because of financial issues.
3. Are you willing to delay marriage if you cohabit?
Statistics show that couples who cohabit, delay marriage. While it may be due to more liberal value systems, if your goal is to get married sooner – then you probably shouldn’t live together.
4. Have you both discussed expectations for contribution to the household?
If you move into your partner’s home, he or she owns it regardless of whether you live there or not. Aside from utilities and food, I usually suggest clients don’t contribute to the mortgage or renovations. You don’t want to lose all of that equity if the relationship doesn’t work out. Buy furniture, paint a couple walls, but for the most part, don’t contribute what you can’t take with you. I suggest that clients discuss these expectations ahead of time and you can even draft a cohabitation agreement. This way, you avoid feelings of resentment and can just focus on enjoying the extra time together.
If you feel uncomfortable discussing these things one on one, consider seeking the support of a relationship coach.
Content originally published as an expert contributer to HowToWinAMansHeart.com