At one time, I would have said that when you know you know so just jump. That was before I was a seasoned couples therapist and fully understood how important sharing the same values are for a relationship to work well over time.
So, when do you know if a person shares your values? My grandmother used to say that it is just ‘luck’; but of course she came from a part of the world where marriages were often arranged—times have changed and the decision to make the plunge to move in may feel overwhelming or intimidating.
Did you know? During the first six to fifteen months of a relationship endorphins such as Phenylethamine are released, as are the chemical Oxytocin, and Vasopressin, if you are sexually active, creating an almost euphoric feeling for some. Certainly these endorphins will stop you from making logical, pragmatic decisions and clear thinking from your head decisions are the kind you want to make if you are going to choose to live together.
One useful rule of thumb: Date someone for at least two years before officially moving in with them— this will give time for the ‘in love’ phase to soften.
Another useful tool is to write out what your values are and ask your partner to do the same. Be certain to list at least 20 and to do this exercise separately. Then you can compare your lists and see where you are similar and where you differ.
It’s an exciting time in a relationship and a very important life decision; give yourself the opportunity to make the right choices when it comes to, literally, letting love in.