When should you move in with him?

I was recently out to dinner and a fan stopped by my table (Yeah, this happens a lot!) on her way to the bathroom. She was on a date with her boyfriend and asked me if it was time for them to move in together. She told me that they’re 30 years old and have been dating for 18 months. She thought it was time, he thought it wasn’t. She wanted my expert opinion to break the tie. And you know what, I couldn’t tell her what to do because she hadn’t given me any of the relevant information I needed to make that call. Here’s what I told her actually mattered in determining if they should move in together.

When you’ve talked about your future

Moving in together is basically a pre-engagement. It’s like a promise ring…with a utilities bill. So, don’t move in just because you guys spend a lot of time together and it would save you money. A shared home is so much more than just logistics. You two need to have talked about your future and timelines for next steps in your relationship. Make sure you’re both on the same page in terms of life goals and expected milestones. If you can’t see a long-term future together and/or you haven’t discussed that long-term future together, don’t make the move! A lot of thoughtful conversations have to happen before you even think about packing up those moving boxes.

When your finances are in order

Moving in together means more than just mixing your kitchen utensils. It’s enmeshing your finances. Even if you keep your finances separate, there will be elements where his finances impact your finances. For example, credit checks for the apartment application, paying utilities on time and going in together on furniture. You want to make sure that you both have a firm understanding of each other’s financial situations, credit scores and attitude toward money before you two move in together. Like above, this is going to mean some hardcore conversations. They may not be pleasant, but they will be worth it!

When you’ve set rules

Every home has different ground rules and the home you have together is no exception. Before you two move in together, talk about what your rules are for places you live and ask him for his. It can be anything from keeping a kosher home to not having friends over on weeknights to leaving shoes in the mudroom to no cell phones in the bedroom to making the bed every day. Even if you spend a lot of time at each other’s places now and think you know everything, it’s a really good idea to sit down and talk through these rules. Living at a place and being a guest there can feel quite different. So, hash it out now before you sign a lease.

I wound up explaining these things to my restaurant advice seeker and she totally 180-ed on being ready to move in. She realized they had a lot of work to do before they thought about next steps. So, I hope these tips are helpful to you, too! And, restaurant advice seeker, if you’re reading this, comment below and let me know how you two are doing now! Would love an update.