How Soon Is Too Soon To Move In Together? Experts Weigh In
Deciding whether or not to move in with your partner can feel like a major decision. Maybe you've been dating someone for a while, and moving in together feels like a natural next step. Or maybe you're signing a new lease, and it'd simply be cheaper to split rent with another person. But how soon is too soon to move in with your partner, and how can you tell if you're actually ready?
Experts say there are many factors to consider before moving in with your partner, from how you'll handle finances to who's going to clean the dishes after movie night. But above all, it's crucial to discuss your mutual desires and expectations to make sure you're both aligned—or else living together could do more harm than good.
Here's how long you should wait before moving in with a partner and what to consider before making the leap, according to licensed therapists.
How long should you wait before moving in together?
Like any major decision, the choice to move in with your partner is a personal one. Only you can determine the timeline that feels comfortable for you. "There is no specific answer to this question other than what works best for both partners," says Beth Gulotta, LMHC, a psychotherapist and owner of NYC Therapeutic Wellness. "Making a clear, thought-out decision together is what is important here—being honest and clear about your readiness and reasons you want to live together."
Generally speaking, the best time to move in with someone is after you've had a clear, open conversation about your future—and you're both 100% aligned.
"The right time is when you are both in agreement that you want to take your relationship to the next level," says therapist, marriage coach, and relationship expert Lesli Doares, LMFT. "You've talked about what living together means. You both feel comfortable with the agreement and can commit to abiding by it."
If your relationship is getting serious and you've discussed finances, responsibilities, and mutual intentions for your living arrangement, you're most likely ready to move in together. For some, that may be a few months, and for others, it can look like years.
A Stanford University study on American couples and their dating patterns found that 25% of couples moved in together after four months, 50% moved in after a year, and 70% had moved in with each other after two years. But after four years of dating, 10% of couples still had not made the leap to live together—which reinforces the idea that the choice largely depends on your personal preference.
Neha Prabhu, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in premarital counseling, says that when it comes to determining a time frame, "why" is more important than "when."
"There is no one-size-fits-all timeline," she tells mbg. "If you're thinking about moving in together, don't just let it happen—be intentional. I'd encourage people to first consider why they want to move in together and how it would benefit their specific relationship."
Can moving in together too soon ruin a relationship?
Experts say moving in together too soon can harm a relationship. If you move in with someone too early, you run the risk of still being in the honeymoon phase—when you feel very happy, passionate, and attached to your partner—but you're least likely to see their quirks and flaws clearly. Living together can amplify your differences, so if you haven't established a strong foundation yet, you may be in for some challenges.
"Moving in together too soon can definitely create more conflict and stress in the relationship," Prabhu explains. "When you live with someone, relational dynamics shift." Similar to living with a roommate, friend, or family member, you may find that your connection becomes strained when you're seeing each other constantly. Plus, your chances of experiencing conflict are higher.
"I have clients who have broken up almost immediately after moving in together," says Lauren Korshak, LMFT, a therapist, former matchmaker, and author of The Mindful Relationship. "The move and co-occurring stresses were the first real challenges they faced in the relationship."
Before moving in with someone, Korshak recommends having a strong foundation in healthy communication and conflict resolution to ensure that your relationship doesn't take a stressful turn. If you haven't yet established trust, respect, and had demonstrated experiences working through conflicts together, you may be moving in too soon.
6 signs it's too soon to move in together:
You feel pressured to live together.
If you're moving in together mainly because your partner (or others) say you should, experts recommend taking a step back. "It's natural to have a mix of emotions when it comes to moving in together," Prabhu tells mbg. "If you're feeling pressure, dread, or anxiety, try to understand the source of those feelings before signing on the dotted line."
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You're only doing it for practical or financial reasons.
If you're signing a lease with your partner purely for practical reasons without considering the emotional impact, experts say it's probably too soon to move. "If your primary reason for moving in together is to save money, please think twice before moving forward," Prabhu explains. "Although this is an attractive option, living together is also a mental, emotional, and physical commitment."
You're moving in to "save the relationship."
"In 99% of cases, moving in together should not be considered or used as a 'solution' to problems in the relationship," Korshak tells mbg. For example, if you're arguing a lot or struggling to align your hectic work schedules, living together won't necessarily solve everything overnight. "When approached as a quick fix rather than an intentional and deliberate process, moving in together is very likely to create more problems than it fixes."
You're unable to resolve conflict and disagreements.
If you can't solve disagreements with your partner in a healthy, respectful way that both parties feel good about, Korshak says it's probably too early to live together. Maybe you haven't had any real arguments with your partner yet, or you've had "fights" in the past but they still don't feel genuinely resolved and you're still bitter. When sharing a space, little things become big things—so aim to establish clear conflict-resolution skills before living together.
You don't trust each other.
Trust is foundational for any relationship, romantic or not. If you don't trust your partner, it's probably too early to live under the same roof. Whether it's having an open conversation with them, seeking therapy, or finding another way to heal your trust issues, try to establish genuine trust in your relationship before moving in together.
There is no plan or intention about the move.
If you haven't brought up the future with your partner, it's probably too soon for the move, Korshak says. For example, why do you want to move, and why now? What are you both hoping to get out of it? Is the move just for fun or a step toward marriage? If you and your partner aren't comfortable exploring those questions together, it may be too early to make the leap.
6 signs you're ready to move in together:
You have similar intentions about the future.
"Before moving in together, you should consider whether you both have the same goals for moving in," says Kat Chan, LMFT, a psychotherapist and meditation teacher. "It can become a messy situation if, say, you're wanting to move in because you're ready to take the relationship and commitment to the next level, and they want to move in because of financial reasons like saving money. Definitely get on the same page about where your relationship is headed before moving in."
You feel comfortable sharing a physical space together.
If you've already shared space with your partner—whether you've traveled together or you're always at each other's houses—Chan says it might be a good sign. "It might be the right time if you're already spending a significant amount of time at each other's places, and you both feel comfortable in each other's spaces like your own," she tells mbg. If you've experienced each other's lifestyle habits, sleep schedules, and daily activities and are successfully making it work together, your transition will be much easier.
You can communicate honestly and respectfully with your partner.
The better the communication, the better your living experience. "For couples, communication is an essential skill to create a shared vision and intention," Korshak explains. If you struggle with communication and still want to live together, commit to practicing with your partner. Couples' counseling can also help you sort things out before resentments arise, Korshak says.
You've discussed any fears, doubts, or hesitations you both have.
"Moving in with a partner is a major life transition, relationship milestone, and commitment, so it's absolutely normal to have doubts," Prabhu tells mbg. "Common thoughts may be: Will we get tired of each other? What happens when we get into a fight? Where will I go? and Will I have time to myself?" If you've chatted about these topics and feel aligned with your partner, you may be ready to commit.
You've discussed your need for space and personal time.
Whether it's devoting time to hobbies, inviting friends over for game night, or carving out time to decompress after a long day, boundaries and personal space are essential when living with someone. "You should consider your respective needs for space and alone time," Chan says. "Try exploring what alone time means for each of you and how much of it you each need to feel comfortable."
You're excited about your future with them.
If you've chatted with your partner about the tough stuff and you're still genuinely excited about the next stage of your relationship, it's a good sign that you're ready to live together. Sharing a space is an intimate experience that can bring you closer if you're both open to it. The transition may not be easy at first, but it can certainly be fun!
Questions to ask before moving in.
It's common to question whether or not you're ready to live with someone, and you may be questioning your decision right now. Will I have personal space anymore? Will living together change our dynamic? What if it ruins the relationship altogether? Living with someone is a big decision, and it's natural to feel anxious about it.
If you're nervous about living together, here's what to ask yourself (and your partner) beforehand:
- Why are we moving in together?
- What does moving in together mean to you?
- Where do you see this relationship going in the future?
- What are our mutual goals for the future?
- What are your fears or hesitations about living together?
- What potential challenges might emerge if we live together?
- How will we handle finances? (i.e., splitting groceries, buying furniture, caring for pets)
- How will we plan and organize household chores? (i.e., keeping a clean home)
- How will we handle differences or conflicts that arise?
- How can we communicate with each other when we need personal space?
- How will we carve out quality time to keep nurturing our relationship long term?
Prabhu also suggests discussing cultural considerations and any traditions, values, or lifestyle habits that may come into play when you move in together. You can ask something like, "How may our background influence the way we live, sleep, eat, [or manage] our diet?" she says. Your cultural backgrounds don't have to be the same, but the more you communicate about each of your needs, the more successful living together will be.
Finally, you may also want to address what happens if you break up. While it may seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have, splitting with someone you live with isn't easy, and it's (sadly) a common occurrence. Thinking ahead about your finances, assets, backup plans, and other details can be a lifesaver if things don't work out.
How do you know if you're ready to move in with someone?
If you've had open discussions with your partner about moving, you've discussed logistics like finances and future plans, and feel comfortable and excited about your future together, it's a good sign you're ready.
Is it normal to have doubts about moving in together?
Yes! Moving in is a big step, and it's perfectly valid to have doubts, no matter how much you care about your partner. Pausing, practicing self-compassion, reflecting on the source of your doubt, and chatting with someone you trust can help provide clarity about your next steps.
Determining whether or not to live with someone can feel like a big decision, but a bit of communication and intentional planning can go a long way.
"Moving in with a partner is an exciting milestone in a relationship," Prabhu tells mbg. "You're more likely to have a smoother transition if you manage expectations, encourage open communication, and set/maintain healthy boundaries."
Living with a partner doesn't have to mean losing your independence, either. "It's important to continue to have independent lives while also having intentional couple time," Prabhu says. "Try to prioritize time doing things you individually enjoy (inside and outside of the house). Don't forget to connect with friends, family, hobbies, and routines that fill your cup as an individual."
At the end of the day, living with your person should be fun—and only you can decide when the time is right. No matter what you ultimately decide, take a deep breath, chat with your partner beforehand, and you'll be on your way toward an exciting future.
Tianna Faye Soto, M.A., is a Puerto Rican, Jamaican-Chinese writer, editor, and wellness speaker based in New York City. She holds B.A. degrees in Psychology and Spanish Language & Literature from North Carolina State University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology in Education from Columbia University, where she received specialized training at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute. She is also certified in yoga, meditation, and Reiki levels I & II.
Tianna was previously the Contributing Editor of Dating at Elite Daily and an Associate Editor at Her Campus Media. Her work has been featured by Cosmopolitan, Conscious Magazine, Thrive Global, and more.
As a professional speaker, Tianna leads keynotes and workshops focused on mental health, identity, and personal growth. She has worked with 50 universities around the country along with organizations like Facebook, Neutrogena, Bumble, and The UN Foundation. She also serves as a board member for the international mental health organization To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA).
Tianna’s work is heart-centered, service-driven, and rooted in empathy. Follow along and connect on Instagram: @tiannafayee.