Since the pandemic started, a lot of couples tried moving in together. Many viewed spending months together during the lockdown as a test drive for actually living together. It most likely already felt like they lived together, so why not make it official?

I say most likely because I, too, was one of those people. When the pandemic first hit, my boyfriend and I had no idea we would never go back to living in different apartments. We decided to spend our pandemic days at his parent’s house, but when the end of my boyfriend’s lease started to approach, we asked each other, “should we do this for real?”

Sure, we tested the waters of what living together would look like, but I think we can all agree that early coronavirus days were far removed from how everyday life worked. Many “what ifs” came up for me when I thought about no longer having my own place to fall back on. I also didn’t want to repeat my old mistakes when I moved in too quickly with a partner.

I wanted to do things differently this time. Gone were the days of just winging it and hoping for the best. After initially talking about moving in together, my boyfriend and I had several conversations about merging our living spaces.

If you’re thinking of moving in with your partner, I can’t recommend enough having at least a few of these talks so you can make sure you’re on the same page.

1. How will you split up chores?

If reading that question made you think, “evenly, duh,” then you’re about to have your world rocked. When it comes to things as vague as “chores,” there’s never going to be an even way to split them. If you think you’ll trade-off every time, you’re bound to have an argument or two when one person puts off taking out the trash longer than the other would.

To avoid those unnecessary arguments, talk about chores. Maybe you’ll find that you want to divvy them up based on the task. Perhaps each chore needs to be discussed individually.

Whatever the case, understand your partner’s expectations. It’ll save you a lot of late-night frustration.

2. Will you split the rent evenly?

When it came to rent, I envisioned my boyfriend and I’s budget being somewhere near $2,400 a month because that was close to what I had paid at my Manhattan Beach apartment. I was shocked, to say the least when my boyfriend said he was thinking closer to $3,200.

My boyfriend would rather spend more money and have a nicer area. For me, I’d instead save my money and live in a place with fewer amenities. I wasn’t going to increase my budget if I didn’t feel comfortable. After talking it out, we decided to meet in the middle of our budgets, and my boyfriend would pay a bit more than me.

You may want to split the rent evenly, or perhaps you’ll divide the rent based on how much money each of you makes. There’s no wrong answer to this topic, but it’s better to know what your partner is expecting than to be blind-sided after you sign a lease.

3. What would moving in together mean for your relationship?

Knowing what moving in together means for the relationship is important for two reasons: the first is that you manage each other’s expectations how you view this milestone. The second is that you make sure you’re moving in together for the right reasons.

If you want to live together because you love the idea of saving money, let me stop you there. There’s nothing worse than having to move out of your safe space because you wanted to save some extra cash. Finding a new apartment amidst a breakup is something to avoid at all costs.

But if you want to try living together because you feel ready for this next step, then go for it. Just be sure to clear the air on what your long-term expectations are. Is one of you thinking about marriage? If so, how soon? Or, if not, then be sure your partner knows that as well, so there’s no secret resentment building.

4. How much time will you spend together?

Some couples opt for weekly date nights. Other couples shoot for once a month. One partner may expect to hang out together every night while you binge Netflix, while the other may want to have some alone time when the day wraps up.

Rather than expecting to spend all your free time together, talk about what works for both of you. My boyfriend and I spend at least three nights a week doing our own thing. He ends up gaming with his friends while I read or watch TV.

While you’re at it, talk about the importance of alone time and that taking it doesn’t mean you’re fed up with your partner. A night out with your friends or spending time doing a hobby keeps your life outside of your relationship strong, which will benefit your relationship in the long run.

5. Any other fears or expectations.

If you’re hesitant about moving in together, don’t feel bad. It’s a big decision, filled with unknowns, and not having a single worry would probably be more worrisome than having a few. While you might be tempted to bottle those fears up because you don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings, it’s better to clear the air.

You may find that your partner is worried about the same things and just saying them out loud makes those fears less scary. Communication will be key to successfully living together, so you might as well start before the U-haul comes.

Kirstie Taylor