Is It Too Early To Move In Together?

When is the right time to move in with your partner?


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 Dear Dr. Frankie,

My girlfriend and I have been dating for three months and want to move in together. Our friends say its too early, but we think the time is right.

-U-Haul

 

Dear U-Haul,

Your friends are right. Scientific studies show that brain chemistry is altered during the beginning of a relationship. The brain releases a surge of Dopamine and Norepinepherine (neurotransmitters) that create feelings of euphoria, similar to being high. Once you’ve become intimate sexually a hormone called Oxytocin is released which makes people feel intensely connected. Every subsequent interaction makes this bond even stronger. You are still on that biochemical "high" and choosing to move in together isn't something to be decided when you're high.

When is the best time? Well, that depends.

It depends on what moving in together means to each of you. Moving in is more than just sleeping in the same bed, waking up next to each other and eating dinner together. It's actually a very big deal. It generally indicates that the relationship has reached a new "level" of commitment and this should be discussed much earlier than the decision to move-in. One partner might understand that moving in means effectively becoming married, while the other partner simply understands it as convenience. 

It also depends on WHY you are moving in together. If you feel the urge to be together ALL the time and you think moving in together is the right choice, take a step back. Healthy relationships are ones where each individual partner has a life independent of her partner's. Separate friends, separate work out schedules, separate activities. Research has proved that time apart can actually keep people together, strengthening the relationship. This doesn't mean you don't do things together or have friends together, it simply means that you try to cultivate your own individual activities, so that when you ARE together, it's more valuable.  It's important to maintain a balanced perspective on spending too much time together.

Before you jump into domesticity, take a week-long trip together somewhere, or spend long weekends together, learning your girlfriend’s quirks and let her learn yours. If you decide, after a good amount of discussion and time (say 1-2 years) that's it's right you to move in together, then it will be for reasons that you all decide together, when you are more "sober" and less influenced by your brain chemicals.

For more advice, read my blog of healthy relationship advice at Little Gay Book.

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