You’re ready to move in with your man, but he hasn’t mentioned anything about it. Now you wonder how to initiate taking the relationship to the next level. It can be scary to tell your boyfriend that you’re serious enough to move in together, because you’ll be hurt if he’s not on the same page. Then again, he might be just as ready as you are. In the end, there’s only one way to find out how he feels about living together, and that’s to have an honest conversation about what’s next.
Ask yourself the tough questions. Molly Triffin of “Cosmopolitan” magazine advises readers to assess how serious the relationship is before signing a lease with a boyfriend. Consider how long you’ve been together, how many nights a week you spend with each other and how both of you envision your future. Pay careful attention to how he behaves with your kids, too, and consider how this will affect their lives. If you don’t know what his plans for your future are or how your family would react to the change, find out first. You can always wait to move in together, but you can’t easily take the relationship backwards once you’ve crossed the threshold of a joint apartment or house.
Drop some hints. Gauge how he reacts when you tell him that your lease is ending and you’re thinking of looking at some new apartments. Does he just say OK, or does he want to help you look for the perfect place? Leave some clothing at his apartment in plain sight, or spend an extra night at his place and talk about how great it would be if you could spend more of your time together. Mention how happy your co-habitating couple friends are, and see what he has to say about their living situation. If you get a positive reaction from him on the subject of living together or spending more time together, he might be ready too.
Just ask. Take a deep breath and tell him what you want, because he can’t read your mind and you can’t read his. Be prepared to hear him say no, and to be OK with it. It’s better for him to be honest with you about wanting to take things slowly than to move in with you before he’s ready. And if it’s wedding bells you want to hear, says Lisa Ann Smith of “Women’s Health” magazine, don’t expect moving in together to speed that up. A report from Rutgers University found that only 40 percent of couples got hitched after living together for five to seven years. Make sure that both of you have the same vision of the future of your relationship, so that you’re not crushed when you move in and he doesn’t pop the question.