You’re in a long-term relationship, you love each other and you’d like to move things on to the next level … but you live so far apart that moving in together will inevitably mean that one (or both) of you will have to be uprooted from your hometown, job and perhaps family. Are you ready to take that step?
Here are 6 things to consider before taking the plunge and changing your long-distance relationship
into a cohabitation:
1. Your place or theirs — the idea
If you’re both settled in your respective towns and jobs, it’s going to be difficult to decide who should move in with whom. Resentment might build up if you don’t choose wisely: why should you be the one to have to find a new job, or find new friends, or move away from your family? Or why should you be the one to make room in your home for their belongings and support them financially until they find a new job?
Make that decision together and for reasons that you both agree on. It might come down to who has the best chance of securing employment in their ‘new’ home - which of you has the most transferable skills? Does one of you have family who depend on you for care or company?
2. Your place or theirs — the location
Even if your other half has the better job, or needs to be closer to their family, or has the larger home, do you like where they live? If you’ve always lived in the city and your partner lives in the countryside, are you ready to make that kind of adjustment? Even if things are not that polar and it’ll just be a case of moving from one town to another — do you like their town? People often have a ‘feeling’ about a particular place, a vibe from their visits. Can you picture yourself living there and being happy? Would you choose to live there (or not) even if you were not moving in with your partner? This is going to be your new home, you need to feel comfortable here.
3. Can you find work?
If you have a career, profession or trade with easily-transferable skills then hopefully this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. Some areas have better employment rates than others, though, so before you take the plunge do your research and find out how easily you could gain employment in your new home town. If you haven’t secured an actual job before you move, make sure you have enough savings between you to sustain you for a job search of at least six months to be on the safe side.
4. Practical matters — what will you do with your stuff?
Will there be room to store everything when you move in together? Initially, there might not be room for everything you both own — particularly large items like sofas, beds and wardrobes. But in the longer term, you might decide to move into a larger property together (particularly if you’re planning to have a family) and you might later regret getting rid of these duplicate items. Consider putting those items into a self storage unit
for later, but try to ensure that your shared home has furniture that belongs to both of you to avoid it feeling as though you’re merely staying at ‘their’ place.
5. Agree on finances before you move in
Money is a major source of potential conflict and you should be sure before you move in together what the ground rules are in your relationship. Awkward or not, you really have to have those frank discussions before you move in. Will you split the bills 50/50? Will you have a joint account to pay those bills from, and how much will you both contribute to that account? Do you both have the same attitudes towards debt/savings?
6. Have a back-up plan
If the worst happens, will you stay in your new town, or move back home? Would your family give you a place to stay for a while, or would you need to rent? Hold onto some savings to tide you over should you discover that living together isn’t working, and consider putting any belongings that won’t fit into your new home into self-storage (rather than giving them away or selling them) so that you can quickly and easily retrieve them.
Once you’ve considered all of these and had those conversations with your other half, you’ll be better placed to decide which is harder: maintaining a long-distance relationship, or transplanting your life to move in together? Whichever will make you happier in the long-term is the one you should choose.