Last Updated 5 months by Emily Standley-Allard

Is honesty really the best policy when it comes to moving in together? Nearly one in four people keep this secret from their partner when moving in together, according to new research. Here’s the data and list of important items to go over before taking the leap!

couple holding fingers
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The Secrets Beneath

A recent survey of 2,000 Americans who live with their partner revealed that more secrets lie under the surface when couples make the move to share a home than might be expected.

It turns out, millennials are the most likely to keep a few details confidential when taking the big step (33%), followed closely by Gen Z (27%) with baby boomers being the most forthcoming of all generations (11%).

One-third of respondents who kept information hidden from their partner did so for over a year and nearly half (48%) still have private details they haven’t shared.

Although the majority feel guilty about keeping a few things hidden (68%), not even half (43%) are planning to reveal all their secrets to their partner.

One in five respondents who hid something from their partner said their partner also hid something from them. In fact, 52% believe their partner is still hiding something.

The most common secrets include details about past relationships (26%), doing something they know their partner would be upset about (20%), and undisclosed spending habits (19%).

The survey, commissioned by Lemonade and conducted by OnePoll, looked at the most common conversations and timelines couples have when moving in together and found that most couples dated for an average of one and a half years before taking the big step.

A third of couples (31%) say they moved in together gradually and without an official conversation, and nearly a fifth (19%) say they wished they had discussed both day-to-day and long-term finances together before shacking up.

Common topics for couples who did have a move-in conversation include life goals (51%), work/life balance (45%), and relationships with each other’s families (43%).

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Of those who did talk about money with their current partner, which generation are the best financial planners? Both Gen Z (42%) and baby boomers (54%) talked more about day-to-day finances than millennials (30%) and Gen Z planned their long-term finances the most (44%).

However, almost half of all generations (40%) say they need to spend more time planning and discussing pragmatic matters like insurance and budgets.

This could be helpful considering 56% of those surveyed say they don’t have a plan about how to handle realities like splitting up joint memberships and moving out if a breakup were to occur.

“Whatever conversations you have or haven’t had up until now, it’s imperative that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to everyday responsibilities,” said Sean Burgess, Chief Claims Officer at Lemonade. “Financial planning and being open about personal finances can be a sensitive topic, but it can make any potential issues down the road much easier to manage if you’re aligned at the start.”

Pets play into future plans, too: Almost three-fourths of couples who live together (74%) currently own a pet. Forty-eight percent bought or adopted a pet together and 35% of respondents owned a pet by themselves before their significant other entered the scene.

Of those who owned a pet before meeting their partner, more than half (53%) say their pet needed to show obvious signs of approval before their partner was allowed to move in.

However, most of these pets now enjoy two loving parents instead of one. Almost four in five (78%) of those who owned a pet by themselves say their partner is now the co-parent of their pet.

“Talking about how a pet fits into the picture before moving in together is a big deal. It’s important to plan for who will take care of the pet on a daily basis but also how the pet will be financially taken care of,” said Dr. Stephanie Liff, Lemonade’s vet health expert.

“The last thing any couple wants to deal with is a surprise bill from the vet, so just as they would themselves, making sure the practicalities like pet insurance are part of those conversations are just as important.”

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Here’s a list of crucial topics for couples to cover before taking the leap of moving in together:

Finances

  • Income and expenses: Openly discuss each partner’s income, debts, and regular spending habits. Be clear on who’s paying for what.
  • Bill distribution: How will you split rent, utilities, internet, and any other shared expenses?
  • Financial goals: Do you want to save together for a down payment on a house? A vacation? Discuss your individual and joint financial priorities.
  • Handling disagreements: What happens if one person has unexpected expenses or temporary financial difficulties?

Lifestyle and Habits

  • Cleanliness: What are your standards? Will you split chores, have one person do them, or hire a cleaning service?
  • Social expectations: Do you picture lots of hosting and gatherings, or are you both more private?
  • Sleep schedules: Are you early birds or night owls? This can be incredibly disruptive if misaligned.
  • Food: Will you cook together, or eat separately? Discuss dietary preferences, allergies, and even grocery shopping.

Relationship Matters

  • Long-term goals: Is moving in a step towards marriage and family, or just a practical arrangement? Be honest about your expectations.
  • Decision-making: How will you tackle major decisions, from decor to where to spend holidays?
  • Conflict resolution: How do you each handle arguments? Are you comfortable setting ground rules for fights?
  • Individual Space: Will you have separate spaces in the home or share everything? Time for hobbies and alone time is important to maintain.

Practicalities

  • Decor and furniture: Will you merge your belongings or start fresh? Whose style will dominate?
  • Location: Does the chosen area suit both of your commutes, lifestyles, and access to necessary amenities?
  • Lease and logistics: Whose name(s) will be on the lease? What are the terms and exit agreements?
  • Pets: Do you have or plan to get pets, and does the building/landlord allow them? Who will be the primary caretaker?

Remember: Don’t be afraid to address even seemingly minor details. Open communication is key to a smooth transition and successful cohabitation.

A legal cohabitation agreement is another good idea to put in place, in case your relationship goes awry so neither of you gets left out in the cold!

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of U.S. adults who live with their partner split evenly by generation was commissioned by Lemonade between Feb. 6 and Feb. 12, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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