Apart from marriage, moving in together with your significant other is one of the biggest and most important decisions you will make in your adult life. But before you embark on domestic partnership bliss,there are some important questions both you and your partner should answer honestly prior to taking the plunge. While some of these questions may seem obvious, most people don’t bother asking them until it’s too late. You should take some time to ask your soon-to-be roomie these questions before putting both your signatures on the lease to. When these issues are brought to light and discussed in an openly respectful manner, there is much less room for disappointments and resentments down the road. Talk to the talk before you walk the walk!
Some of you might find these questions “awkward” to ask, but just because you don’t ask it openly doesn’t mean that the problem will solve itself.
Question To Ask: How will we pay the rent? How much will each person pay?
There are some questions that are essential to discuss and this comes up as the top contender when moving in together. Money and the discussion of money tends to make people uncomfortable, but it is a common issue that needs to be laid out on the table and discussed openly. If two people are to make a domestic partnership work, there are certain things that need to be agreed together in advance so that you can avoid arguments and misunderstandings later on. What are some things you should openly discuss?
For starters, you should decided as a team whether you should set up a joint account for household expenses and to allocate responsibilities in a fair manner. Decide who is responsible for that. People,even couples who have been in relationships for years can have diverging spending and saving habits. Perhaps one person is more of a spender and the other one is more of a savvy saver. It is so important to work together cohesively and decide on how you both think is best to spend your and save your money when it comes to the household. You probably won’t agree on all aspects, but as long as you both can learn to communicate and compromise (meet halfway in the middle), there is no problem that’s too big to workout. Remember, being in a partnership is not easy, it takes work. It takes even more work to be in a domestic partnership, and sometimes that means meeting in neutral territory about sensitive topics such as how money is to be handled.
Question To Ask: Who is going to pay for what? What are we purchasing together?
Question To Ask: Should we put both of our names on the lease?
For some reason, this question is really uncomfortable for a lot of people. There’s always a degree of risk when you decide to co-habitate with someone else, especially a significant other with whom you are not married to. You probably haven’t acknowledged many important facts and just left the big elephant in the room hanging awkwardly. Thoughts may be plaguing your mind.Are we going to be together forever? Is there a possibility that the relationship won’t work out and we will end up breaking up and moving out before our lease is even over? These are all very legitimate questions to ask yourselves, and it’s essential that you feel comfortable in discussing these topics with each other so that neither of you are left blindsided.Sometimes the most uncomfortable conversations are the most necessary conversations. If you are grown up enough to take the step to move in together,you are grown up enough to have these crucial discussions like logical adults.
You need to decide whether you are both renting a home as co-tenants (which means that both of your names are on the lease), or if only one of you serves as the tenant while the other partner is a subtenant(someone who rents from you, technically speaking). When both partners’ names on on the lease, it means that both people have legal obligations to the landlord and with each other. There’s some legal complications in this that’s very applicable to a lot of people, especially when things in the relationship turn sour between two people. The main different between the co-tenant and tenant-subtenant arrangement lies in the tenant’s ability to evict a subtenant. This means that you can be unceremoniously locked out of your house, under legal rights, if your tenant significant other decides you are not good to have around anymore. However, if your and your partner are co-tenants, you legally cannot just evict him or her.
In most cases however, it’s up to the landlord to decide whether you and your partner will be co-tenants or a subtenant. Usually, most landlords will want all parties living on the property to sign the lease and rental agreement and become tenants. This is all very case-by-case though. Of course, from the landlord’s perspective, it’s better for both people to sign the lease. With two signatures by both tenants, the landlord has two people to hold responsibility to if problems arise down the road. For example, if your boyfriend loses his job and cannot make rent, the landlord can still pursue you as the co-tenant to pay the rent that is owed. Both parties are liable to rental agreement terms and policies in this case
It’s important to know your rights also if your name is not on the lease. Knowing your rights before you move in can save you a great deal of time and money in the future.
Question To Ask: How will we split the daily expenses?Who’s going to handle what responsibilities?
These questions may not seem important at first, but when you are actually moved in and living with someone, the story will flip upside down. Problems that were not problems before will start to expand overtime. How are we going to handle our daily, weekly and monthly costs of living together? How are we going to handle grocery shopping bills and meal planning?Who will be in charged of cleaning the house? How often will you clean the house to the satisfaction of both people? Will you split the chores and work involved with the home? Who will clean the dishes? Who will take out the garbage? Who will pay for cleaners? Who will pay for domestic helpers? The list can really go on and on and often causes a lot of friction within relationships.
These questions about household tasks may seem petty and menial but it’s good and advisable to put these chores down so you can both manage the household better,with clear expectations that have been thoroughly discussed. It helps to find a routine in how you split up the tasks and work involved. As long as you are figuring out an effective way to divide the conquer the labour, you will both feel better about it. With things like this, it’s better to over-plan than to under-plan. An unplanned household chores schedule will often end up in chaos and make the home highly dysfunctional, so negotiate, discuss, talk it out as a unit. Figure out what works for both of you before you dive in the moving in together.
Question To ask: What are your thoughts on having guests over, or family staying over?
Chances are even if you have been together for awhile, you both have different schedules and a preference for how you like to live your lives. Everyone has their own sets of likes and dislikes. It is good to establish a system on how you can share a space living together but still function happily. You may need to establish certain rules and boundaries that will give more respect to the relationship. Maybe you are more spontaneous than your partner and you like to have random house guests over at all hours of the day.What if your partner is a more quiet, introverted person who likes to keep his home space exclusive to himself? You will need to both talk it out to determinea happy medium that works for you. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your life by never being allowed to invited friends over, but you also shouldn’t overstep your boundaries by ignoring your partner’s wishes of having quiet time at home without random house guests.
Question To Ask: How do you feel about living with pets together? Who will be responsible for the tasks?
It’s so important to have a discussion about your future household’s pet policy because you have to understand that the home will belong to both of you, not just a single bachelor or a bachelorette. When you live with another person, you don’t get to make all the shots. You can’t always do things exactly your way without paying any consideration for the other person who’s also living under the same roof. It’s not fair and it’s no way to live harmoniously. Let’s say you love dogs and have always wanted a dog, but it turns out that your partner is either fiercely allergic to dogs or absolutely despises the responsibility that comes with taking care of a living breathing animal. It’s not fair for you to just bring home a dog without paying any mind to your partner’s wishes. Let’s say you both want to have a dog. Well, there still needs to be an open chat about your household’s pet policy moving forward. Who will be responsible for the pet daily expenses, and medical bills? Who will be responsible for taking care of the pet when both of you or one of you is at work most of the day? If you are both at work and need to hire a sitter or put the dog in to a day care, who will be in charged of paying for those bills?
That’s not even all there is to it! Let’s discuss the little things that accumulate to being big things when you co-habitate with another human being. If you decide to bring pets in to the home, will they be allowed in to every area of the home or will there be certain areas of limits?Can you both happily agree to these rules? Are the pets going to be allowed on the sofa, on your bed that you both share, on the patio, in the kitchen, so on and so forth?
So many people go in to domestic partnerships without really thinking things through and through. They just jump right in to living together in the bliss of the moment without putting real thought in to much needed considerations, and especially with decisions that involve the lives on pets and even children. When these couples can’t work on their issues and find common ground, guess what happens? These pets end up being neglected or end up on the streets,abandoned. It’s not fair for you, it’s not fair for your partner, and it’s not fair for the pets that you will potentially bring in to your lives. This is why it’s so important to think through on your decisions and talk about every possible scenario before acting it out. Don’t jump the gun!
Question To Ask: What is our ultimate goal of moving in together?
Evaluate your relationship before you decide to move in together. How compatible are you and your partner that you plan to live with? Do you find this person to be fair and trustworthy? Do you see a some what long term future together? Will you stay together for the duration of the lease terms? Do one of you have near-future plans to move to another country? Are your goals aligned?
This is something that most couples do not and refuse to talk about. What exactly are your goals? Are you moving together because you are trying to save on rent? Are you doing it because you just really enjoy each other’s company and want to take things to the next level? Are you just winging it and seeing where it will take the relationship? Are you planning to get engaged or married and have decided to live together first to test out the waters? Whatever it is, you should specify a time-oriented goal so that you are not just living together with no end in sight, and no real goal to work for