So you think it’s time to shack up with your S.O. Congrats! Whether it’s your first go at the cohabiting thing or you’ve done it before, no one has to tell you moving in together a pretty big deal. And not just because you’re going to have figure out how to split your closet space.

“For most people, the decision to cohabit isn’t based out of convenience,” says Maryanne Comaroto, PhD, a relationship expert and dating coach in the San Francisco Bay area. “There’s an ingrained idea that they’re moving toward a greater commitment, including marriage.”

Many couples see moving in together as a “test drive” in order to avoid divorce down the road. But research on whether that works is mixed: One study found that divorce risk declines after cohabiting; a 2018 review determined that couples who lived together before marriage had a lower divorce rate in their first year as newlyweds but we’re more likely to call it quits after five years.

That said, statistics shouldn’t drive your decision. To make the best one, there are a few honest convos you should be having with your partner—and yourself—to decode your compatibility and goals.

If these 14 signs apply to you, you’re ready to take the plunge—if, ya know, you want to deal with that whole closet-sharing thing.

1. You know that you’re exclusive.

Surprise! This isn’t a given just because you’ve decided to shack up. Ideally, you’ve had this “what are we?” chat well before the sexy lease talk (ha) came up, but uncomfortable talks can easily get missed when a relationship is grooving along smoothly.

“Be clear about whether you are exclusive and what you’re calling yourselves—and what that means,” says Comaroto.

2. You know why you’re doing it.

When it comes to moving in, people often make “logical excuses for an emotional decision,” says Krystal White, PhD, a psychologist specializing in love and leadership, author of The Letter Code: Deciphering Why You Love the Way You Love, and founder of the Executive Shaman podcast.

Meaning: You tell yourself it’s because you two are always sleeping over each other’s place anyway or your lease is about to be up—the decision only makes sense! But instead, focus on the emotional motivations you want to move in with your partner.

(Like: “I want to come home to them after work every night,” or “I want to make sure we can get through daily stresses together.”)

3. You’ve had the “future” talk.

While many couples see living together as a step toward tying the knot, not everyone does, and it doesn’t help to make assumptions about what they’re thinking.

“You and your person don’t need to be on the same page about what cohabiting might lead to, but you do need to know what page the other is on—and be okay with it,” says White.

Moving in together? Don’t forget birth control…(trust):

4. You’re not hoping the move will change your partner.

It’s obvious that cohabiting is a pretty big step. This calls for a gut-check: Are you hoping that by living together he’ll finally be a better communicator? Or she’ll now be motivated to figure out her career?

If your rationale has more to do with what you want from them than what you want for your bond, it may be a sign that you’re not ready, says Comaroto.

5. You’ve already had a blow-up fight.

Fighting is a natural and normal part of being one half of a couple. Having some, uh, disagreements under the rug before moving in is a good thing: You need to have an understanding of each other’s stress responses and coping strategies, says Comaroto, so you can resolve issues as they come up.

She has a cute name for this: “rupture and repair.” If you know how you two rupture (argue) and repair (reconcile)—and are happy with your problem-solving skills as a duo—you’re good to go.

6. You know your space needs.

This isn’t about stuff, but rather the space you need physically, says White. People typically fall into one of three categories, she says:

  • You need your own work and play space
  • You don’t need your space (you’re happy to share)
  • You like to change up your space (as in, you can share it but need to be able to change it without having to ask permission)

Knowing your and their needs and how/if they could work together is so important before throwing down that security deposit.

7. You know your “uppers” and “downers.”

You’ve identified three things that give you energy (having dinner made for you, getting up together for a Saturday morning run) and three things that steal your energy (coming home to find an unexpected guest), your partner has done the same, and you’ve shared this info with each other.

It’s a nice—not to mention, easy!—exercise White recommends to couples so that they can meet each other’s needs (which may sound like mere wants).

8. You’re cool with a loss of independence.

There are a ton of perks to living with the right person, but you will be giving something up. Namely: a bit of freedom.

“Cohabiting often means giving up some form of moving through the world independently,” says Comaroto. Your partner will be pretty in tune with your comings and goings.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but you should know if that’s going to bug you…and if it does, maybe reconsider whether you’re truly ready.

9. You know what you need in crisis.

You think you two spend all your time together, but it’s a whole new experience when you really can’t run away to your own place if you need it. So here’s where “emotional space” comes in.

“Think about what you need after a bad day,” says White. Do you need time together? Do you want to cool off alone and then hang out? Do you want to talk it through and get advice from the other person?

You and your partner can have completely different answers, but you should know where you both stand—ideally well before you’re sharing a roof.

10. You know their credit score (or the likes).

“If you’re having sex with someone, you should be able to comfortably discuss finances. If not, pause and think about that,” says Comaroto.

Harsh. Well, not really: Money can be a tough topic, but it’s a reasonable request (especially when there’s, ya know, a contract on the line).

If your partner balks at your need for transparency or acts like they have something to hide, perhaps consider a more honest roommate (sorry).

11. You’re approaching it like a work project.

Have you two sat down, drawn up a list of responsibilities (cleaning, cooking, dog walking, budgeting), and talked through what to-do’s you’ll each take on?

“Approach it with the mentality of, ‘How are we going to tackle this project together?’” says Comaroto. If you don’t think of things that way, you run the risk of a tit-for-tat scenario, where you’re both tallying up how much more you do than the other person. And it won’t be pretty.

12. You know each other’s boundaries.

Is your partner aware that you will absolutely freak out if he leaves his dirty underwear on the bathroom floor? Do you know that her tipping point is when you don’t refill the water filter in the fridge?

Some of these things you may not learn until you live with someone, but you should have a good idea of what sets them off. (Straight-up ask.)

13. Your gut says this is right.

That deep intuition you have? Yeah, listen to it—even if you don’t like what it’s saying.

Some couples move in together when one wants to keep a closer eye on the relationship. “They feel like if they are in closer proximity, their partner won’t lie or cheat on them,” says Comaroto. If you sense that from your mate, sit on your decision.

On the flip side, if that little voice tells you that you’re ready to move in together with this particular person and it’s going to be amazing, by all means, go for it.

14. You’ve tried to talk yourself out of it.

When you want something, it’s all too easy to focus only on the positive in order to justify taking the big leap.

So try this helpful exercise: Identify a negative consequence of cohabiting, says White.

If you come up dry and can’t make a solid case for why you shouldn’t move forward, then that may be all the reason you need to find your personal little love shack.

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