Moving in with your significant other is a big step and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. “Once you live together, you become a bigger part of each other’s lives,” says relationship therapist Tracy Ross. “Expectations will change in terms of time spent together, finances, and involvement in each other’s family and social events.”

Not sure if you’re ready to take this step in your relationship? Here are five things to consider before moving in with your significant other.

Is the move for the relationship or convenience?
It’s important to recognize whether you want to move in together to take your relationship to the next level or if you’re doing it just because someone’s lease is up. “Ask yourself that question even if you prefer not to think about it, and discuss what it means to your relationship if you move in together,” says Ross. “If the answer is ‘I don’t know,’ consider how moving in will push the relationship to a more committed, more entangled place. It will not increase the odds of it working out, but it will make it more complicated to separate if it doesn’t work out. Make sure both of you are willing to take that risk.”

Have you discussed finances?
The money talk can feel uncomfortable and it’s often avoided, but you should have a candid discussion about how you’ll divide expenses. “This is a very important conversation,” says Ross. “It can be awkward and unromantic, but it clarifies expectations and puts it all on the table. If you can have a productive, successful conversation about finances, it is a good sign.”

How much time will you spend together and apart?
“After you move in together, do you expect the amount of time you spend together
to change?” says Ross. If your partner wants to be together all the time and you crave independence, you’re better off expressing your expectations before you’re in a shared living space. “Will you need to check in about dinner or other after-work plans? Will you expect each other to attend family and friend events? How much independence and how much togetherness is so much easier to navigate when discussed and considered,” she says.

What will happen to the future of your relationship?
Moving in together can be a step closer to marriage, but that’s not always the case for all couples. So it is worth considering what will happen if you don’t end up together. “I have worked with many couples where one person moved in thinking it was a bridge to marriage and that didn’t turn out to be the case,” says Ross. “Be honest with yourself and each other about this.”

How will you keep it romantic and fun?
It’s much easier to take each other for granted and for the romance to get a little stale if you live together. “Consider how you will keep the romance alive, how you can still surprise each other, plan date nights, and keep your sex life exciting,” says Ross. “Realizing that making romance a priority requires a little effort and attention can go a long way.”

xx, The FabFitFun Team

Looking to keep the romance in your relationship alive? Here are 10 things couples in healthy relationships do.