You’ve made things “Facebook official,” met each other’s families, and slowly but surely left half your underwear at your significant other’s place. You think she may be the one, but you know putting a ring on it is still a ways off.
So what’s next? Does it make sense to take the next step and move in together? Or is it too soon?
Aside from getting married, moving in together is one of the biggest commitments a couple can make, so it’s totally normal if you need to take a beat to think about it. But how can you possibly know when the time is “right”?
We do know this much: More people are asking themselves that question, with 37% of couples moving in together after they’ve been together for six months to a year, according to a 2015 study by Rent.com. But there isn’t one perfect length of time a couple should date before co-signing a lease, says Laurie Davis Edwards, relationship coach and founder of eFlirt. “Moving in together is a milestone that moves your relationship farther into the future,” she says. “The timing of when that happens is different for everyone.”
Hillary Geffner, a Brooklyn-based marriage and family therapist, agrees: “Every relationship is unique. Therefore there’s no such thing as an ideal timeframe that applies universally to every couple.”
So if there’s no “right” or “wrong” time, the only way to know if cohabitation is a smart move is by taking a good, honest look at your relationship and how you feel about your other half. Here are five things you should ask yourself before shacking up: