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Are you ready to move in together?

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Tips for taking the next step

Living together is a major step in a relationship. Before you decide, be realistic about what you expect, what you'll need to compromise on, and prepare for some straight talk together to understand issues every couple encounters when they start living together.

are you ready to move in together

define terms

Before you move in together, make sure that both parties understand what the agreement is. Does moving in together mean an exclusive commitment? Is marriage the eventual goal - for both of you at some point in your future? How long? Expectations are there for both people, but you need to be clear as a couple and as individuals on what this step means.

Whose space will you share? Are you moving into his place, is he moving into yours - or are you getting a fresh start with a brand new home? Your new accomodations should have equal space and ammenities for each of you. Before you make the move know what furniture and household goods you'll be taking and using - he may want his comfortably ugly couch, and you'll both need to agree on what stays and what goes. If your decorating styles don't mesh it's time for some compromises.

Is one of you tidier? Talk through household cleaning and chores and agree on what you each will handle.

financial disclosure

Moving in together means it's time for you both to come clean about your finances. Any money issues that will affect your ability to pay your share of the rent and other monthly expenses need to be disclosed prior to making the move. It may be embarassing to discuss your credit card debt or miserly salary, but you have to be completely honest about your financial situation before the move. Be firm about what you can and cannot afford, and don't move in to a place that costs more than you are comfortable with.

Don't combine all of your money. You might open a joint account where you each contribute enough on a monthly basis to cover the rent, utilities and other basics. But keep the majority of your money in seperate accounts. Without the legal protection of marriage, it could be risky to merge all of your funds.

FUTURE PLANS

Now that you'll be living together, the relationship will grow and change. The physical closeness of sharing a home will not only affect your sex life, but bring you a different view of each other on a day-to-day basis. Dating starts with two people seeing each other at their very best. Now you'll see each other in every mood -bad and good, and in new situations. That's real life and a good indication of what your future could be if you make this commitment permanent through marriage.

You both should be honest about your expectations, and each be prepared to compromise and make the adjustments needed to live together happily.

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