Offbeat Bride just talked about pre-wedding cohabitation from the perspective of the still-engaged, so we thought we’d look at it from the married-people side here on Offbeat Home, too!
I recently read the New York Times article The Downside of Cohabitating Before Marriage, and found myself filled with thoughts. I disagree with much of what is written in the article, specifically because of what the author says at the end:
I am not for or against living together, but I am for young adults knowing that, far from safeguarding against divorce and unhappiness, moving in with someone can increase your chances of making a mistake — or of spending too much time on a mistake.
A mentor of mine used to say, “The best time to work on someone’s marriage is before he or she has one,” and in our era, that may mean before cohabitation.
Speaking from purely anecdotal evidence, if I had waited until after marrying my partner to move in together, I probably would have gotten a divorce. We have lived together for over five years and have learned so much about each other and ourselves that our relationship is stronger than ever. I don’t feel trapped, I don’t feel like he isn’t committed and I definitely don’t feel like I’m marrying him just because it seems like the thing to do. After six and half years together, I know, clearly, that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I have known friends that have broken up after moving in together because they drove each other nuts in a way that wouldn’t have happened unless they moved in together.
The problem isn’t cohabitation before marriage, it’s the societal pressure to get married (I’m looking at you, Wedding Industrial Complex) and that if you don’t get married by, say, 30, you’re a failure as a human being (there’s also something to be said for gender stereotypes and the pressure to reproduce).
If I went back in time six years, I’d still choose to live with my partner. I think it was the right choice for us. Are you on board with cohabitation before marriage, or do you think it’ll endanger the future of your relationship?
Comments on Will living together before marriage ruin your relationship?
I am sure a lot of relationships benefited from waiting, and on the other hand a lot of relationships benefited from moving in beforehand.I think each relationship is different – so it is ignorant to use a blanket statement saying all relationships will last longer if they wait vs moving in before.
We moved in together before marrying and for us it was great. Over the course of our relationship I developed a medical condition that can make or break a marriage. I hate to say it this way, but moving in together beforehand allowed me to see if this man was up for the challenge of a lifetime of issues – and he was more than ready to step to the plate.
Of course if we waited to move in afterward he still would of stayed no matter what, but I didn’t have to go down the isle with any “what if’s” floating in my mind.
“It is ignorant to use a blanket statement saying all relationships will last longer if they wait vs moving in before.”
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Maybe I’m biased but I feel like a lot of the problem in situations like this is people trying to do things “the right way” instead of doing what’s right for them.
I completely am in the same boat!
My (now) husband and I moved in at around 6 months, and it ended up being the best thing we ever did.
We had a make-it-or-break it situation about a year after living together (he was laid off due to the company not doing well).
Obviously not as dire as medical issues, but many women would have broken up with a man who “couldn’t support them” (even though we were both working before he was laid off, I ended up working harder and he helped me get more work for my job along with his own job hunt.)
It was stressful, but we worked through it because we knew we had something special together, and now 4 years later (and his steady job later) we’re married and close to celebrating our 1 year anniversary.
Living together beforehand helped us realize that we could work through the tough times through our own commitment and dedication to each other without officially being married, which makes the official stuff a cherry on top.
My husband and I waited to live together. It was a small decision–and one we made easily only because I lived, at the time, five blocks from him and the condo we now own together. There was something very old-fashioned about it that we both loved. And it all seemed very romantic until we did finally move in together–into a very small space–and we found ourselves needing to adjust to not only being legally bound (whoa!), but to sharing the smallest space in the world. So I don’t mind what other people do, but living apart before marriage was something that delighted us, and then ultimately frustrated and confused us 🙂 So I realize I’m not saying much here, but that’s just the thing: there are plusses and minuses to either side and it’s truly up to the couple themselves to decide which side to take. Would I do it the same way again? Yes, but that’s only because I’ve familiar with it; I’m living it–and everything has turned out okay. (Better than okay.)
I think the NYTimes article is ignoring some of the latest research on the topic: cohabitation before marriage no longer predicts divorce.
I was gonna bring this up too! Guess it’s just hard for people to let this idea of cohabitation predicting divorce go.
I definitely disagree with the common excuse of “testing” your marriage by living with someone. I think that’s the common pitfall. And living together, especially before you’re ready, can place pressure that isn’t needed. Once you’re together, breaking up can be a huge inconvenience that can cause people to stay together longer than they should. I am not against living together before marriage, or even engagement, but I think you should already know that you will be getting married, or staying together forever. And that means honest communication between the two of you.
I am a bit confused about your latter statement. If one knows they will be together until death before moving in – then how is that really that much different than waiting to move in until after marriage? You’re already there emotionally, just need to sign some papers.
For one, I do think it’s ok to wait to be married. Neither waiting or moving is the right answer for all couples. While moving in and marriage do require a big commitment, there is a difference. It’s hard to describe, but having lived together before marriage, I don’t like feeling like I am married.
Finally, I think it’s best to find out everything about each other before moving in together, and not use it as a method to learn more.
The issue is that there are things you don’t learn about another person until you move in together. There is no amounts of talking or just “being” together that can make up for actually living together. You don’t *really* know someone until you lived with them.
I agree with this sentiment – my BFF would have stayed with her guy for a much longer time, except they moved in together, and he became AWFUL. Good thing she realized that before they went even further down their relationship (aka marriage) – but she wouldn’t have found out if she didn’t live with him first.
Maybe you are exactly ready to be married, but don’t have the money? That was the case for me and my partner. We knew we wanted to be together forever but we certainly couldnt afford a wedding.
Also, we fall outside a lot of these pros and cons -we were thrown together as students. We were cohabiting without choice! Well we did have separate rooms, but the point remains that we knew what living with the other was like. We knew about tidyness and cooking and all the rest. So when we made the decision to get a flat together it was just moving from 2 room to 1.
I have to disagree, and even feel the words to be condescending.
Moving out is less of an issue then many make out. Most people live together when young and don’t seem to have as much as they will have later. Pressure is something that will always be on you, best learn to deal with it now. If anything it gets greater AFTER the wedding, if my experience is remotely common.
I also know several couples who lived together and found that they would not work out. Moving one out took all of two days and both went on with their lives. Compare that to a divorce process. There is enough doubt in life without doing what one can to remove as much of it as possible. For example I COULD eat what I liked and hope to remain healthy. Or I could eat a balanced, reasonable diet and more likely ensure that this will be the case.
I’ve been considering this issue, as we are newly married and lived together for 3 years prior to getting married. Aside from the acceptance of family and the pressure to have kids pronto nothing much has changed. More and more I am convinced that marriage is a state that on some level exists to give comfort to society and it’s managers, with the comfort granted to those in the marriage being secondary. The man I am married to now is no more or less likely to be there 100%, father any children we have and pull his share of the weight then the man I was “living in sin” with a week before the wedding. Though I do think the ring he wears is quite sexy. That I’ll admit to.
Yes! Absolutely! I have been married for 9 months and the only thing that really seems any different than before the wedding is how others view us. We felt the same level of commitment before, but now other people believe us when we say how in love we are.
Totally YEP on the ring – I love looking over and seeing it and being all “AWWWW YEEEAHH HUSBAND.” 🙂
“More and more I am convinced that marriage is a state that on some level exists to give comfort to society and it’s managers, with the comfort granted to those in the marriage being secondary.”
I agree that living with someone should be something that is really thought about (in any situation…I’ve had friendships ruined by living with a friend I wasn’t compatible living with). Living with someone, anyone, is hard.
My boyfriend moving in with me was a big deal, because it meant him sacrificing literally everything and moving 2800km across the country to be with me. That was a big decision, and if neither of us was ready for it, it wouldn’t have worked. People were really worried about us breaking up when we moved in together, because without an engagement or a wedding it “would be easy to walk away”. I really disagree with that, it would have been easy to walk away when we were dating long distance. Moving in was a step we wanted to take together, but honestly it didn’t mean more commitment. We were committed to each other years and years before. We really didn’t need moving in together or a wedding to cement that for us. Yes, we got married after living together for 2 years, but that was a legality thing, and really we wanted a fun party to celebrate what we love about each other. Our living together wasn’t hinged on a wedding.
For me, for my hubastache, living together before marriage was the right decision for us. Granted, we were forced by simple economics to move in together. But without those few years of living together, of integrating the other into day-to-day living, we would have been a mess post-marriage.
I think living together is like any other big life decision. You make the choice and deal with whatever the consequences may be. Want to start a business? It may fail. Want to have a baby? Being a parent is not always easy. Want to move in with your significant other? You may find that you’re not as compatible. But, you may find that out whether you move in together or not.
I’m totally stealing hubastache. Awesome.
^ haha, I thought the same thing! Hubastasche? WHY didn’t I think of this?!?
It’s totally the greatest contribution I will ever have to humanity. Couldn’t invent the toilet, so I went with “the hubstache”.
In our case, I feel that moving in was the only way to make the relationship work. We dated, but then I had to move away. We stayed together long distance, while planning that I would eventually move back. Which I did do, after about 10 months. I would not have been able to afford living by myself, and it would have seemed kind of silly to move aaalllll the way back to where we met only to move into separate places. I figured, we’d withstood almost a year of long-distance dating, what’s a little livin’ in sin gonna do?
And I’m really glad, because it taught me early on about living with someone, we acquired our stuff together, and now we’re married. Sometimes, it seems like if you’ve never lived with someone and you get set in your ways, it can make sharing space harder down the road.
I agree with the first commenter that it’s hard to make a blanket statement, though I’m personally glad the option is available to me with very little trouble. (I was briefly worried about mentioning cohabitation in front of my 85-year-old aunt… and then I realised she lives with her boyfriend too…)
I think another thing to realise is that lots of people ‘live with’ their partner, maybe before they are even partners! Lots of people meet from living in close proximity in college halls, or in a shared house with lots of other young people. It might only be later they start going out – should one of them then move out so they’re not living together before marriage? Meh, maybe.
For me and my partner, it was definitely hard to go from (a) both living with parents to (b) living in the same uni halls to (c) living separately, across town from each other. It felt like a step backward – and not because we’d ever officially been moved in! Just because we had got used to living in the same building, but each with our own separate space. I think that’s quite a common experience.
I really agree. I met my dude in our second year of college, spent most of our time together. When we graduated I started grad school and he was working 3 hours away. We stopped being a regular part of each other’s lives and it was a step back. We lasted about a year that way until we moved in together to keep our relationship going.
My husband and I dated long distance for six years, and then lived together for two years and had a kiddo before we got married. We ended up getting married because a move ended our common law status, and we didn’t want to wait another year to regain that legal status.
To be honest, marriage has put the larger set of hardships on our relationship. I don’t even understand how or why, but its tougher to be married. We still love each other immensely, and so we work it out, but that’s no different from when we lived together or dated long distance. I think that living together strengthened what we have, it gave us a set of rules for dealing with each other and with arguments. I don’t know that it would have been so easy going long distance to married, nor do I really think its something we ever wanted to try.
I also think its bizarre that people try to quantify why relationships don’t work out, whether you live together or don’t a marriage or relationship isn’t guaranteed to last.
For us, moving in together before the wedding was absolutely the best decision. We started having fights we didn’t have before over our tiny, cramped space. To some, that’s a bad thing, but for us it meant we worked trough them and learned that yes, we can fight and come out of it stronger. I also feel that the wedding planning has been enough of a stress without adding new living arrangements on top of it. He does a lot of the cooking, I know where all his misplaced items are, we work fantastically this way.
My thought, and please everyone feel free to correct me, is that “couples who wait are less likely to divorce” is a bit skewed. To me, it makes sense that a couple who would find cohabitation before marriage to be morally wrong is also likely to find divorce morally wrong. I don’t think that you can assess who is and isn’t happy in their marriage based on divorce rates alone.
Actually from everything I’ve read (and even the article suggests this if you read carefully)- the research actually totally backs you up. People who sort of slip into living together, without it being an intentional and deliberate thought through decision, and then marry (and often people feel pressured to marry as if that is the ONLY way to continue in the relationship) have a fairly high rate of divorce. Those who move in together intending to remain in a long term relationship (whatever that means for them at the time), and then get married, have much lower rates.
And then: statistics are statistics – numbers that can only tell a partial story, that must be interpreted and thus are subject to the bias of the interpreter, that can’t account for the myriad of factors and realities that make up our lives and relationships.
And then: marriage isn’t necessarily the marker of a successful, meaningful and fulfilling relationship!
This is probably the best interpretation of the statistics that I’ve seen. There’s a huge difference between knowing yourself and how you can commit to a relationship and just getting married because it’s the thing to do.
I agree with this interpretation. I too think there is a massive difference between the intentional choice to move in together versus just kind of ending up doing it.
I thought long and hard about moving in with my, now, husband. And I heard the whole run of downsides: statistics about how living together before marriage means we won’t last, the whole “he’s moving in with you because he doesn’t love you enough to marry you” line, and generally other “you’ll see” types of comments.
So, when we decided to make the move, we established it as being like getting married. We worked out that it wasn’t a trial to see how it goes, we were going to give our relationship our all.
We got married a year later for the legal benefits. The only real difference between our cohabiting life and our married life is that people don’t ask about my relationship so much anymore and no one harasses me about getting married.
A mentor of mine used to say, “The best time to work on someone’s marriage is before he or she has one,” and in our era, that may mean before cohabitation.
I love this sentiment, especially with the adaption to modern relationships. When people ask me that (annoying) question “How’s married life?” I shrug and tell them I felt like we really got married when we moved in together. Getting married was special but when we came back from our honeymoon, we did’t take the trash out any differently than we did the week before.
IMHO we shouldn’t ask, “is it good to live together before marriage” but “are we taking this decision seriously enough?” Plus, the former assumes that everyone is going to get married (or can).
I wonder if someday a trend will come around where people throw “moving in” celebrations in lieu of a wedding day. (Just some “In the year 3000” speculation.)
I think you’re spot on with “Are we taking this decision seriously enough”.
we shouldn’t ask, “is it good to live together before marriage” but “are we taking this decision seriously enough?”
I think this may be the point the author of the article was trying to make, and you have summed it up beautifully.
I totally agree. The issue isn’t did you or didn’t you live together before you get married, it’s WHY are you getting married. If it’s because you’ve lived together for a long time and think you’re supposed to, you’ll probably get divorced. But the same could be said of couples who don’t live together. If you get married just because you think you’re supposed to before you live together you’ll probably get the same result.
For my partner and I, moving in together before marriage was the best plan for us. We lived together for a year before the wedding. The first three months were horrible, we both have different sleep cycles and hygiene ideas. After two years of marriage and a brief stint of living with the in laws, there have been some ups and downs. I can’t imagine having to go through that AND have not lived together before. We now have our own place and separate bedrooms. It’s not ideal but sometimes you have to make compromises.
Statistically, couples that live together befor marriage have a higher rate of divorce. However, correlation does not necessarily equal causation. Other articles I’ve read on this topic suggest that the reason the stats are higher is because once a couple is co-habitating, they feel more pressure to marry because it “just seems like the thing to do”, which isn’t the greatest reason to get married. So it isn’t co-habitating that ends a marriage; it’s getting married for the wrong reasons to begin with. Before my husband and I moved in together, we had the ‘where is this relationship going’ conversation, and we both agreed that we shouldn’t move in together unless we knew our relationship had a future. And when we got married, it wasn’t because we felt we had to; it was because we loved each other and wanted to spend our lives together. That being said, I think some couples handle co-habitation better than others. My hubs and I had an easy transition because we’re both adaptable. I know other couples who went through World War III because they were so set in their ways and not able to adjust to each other’s living styles.
I so agree with you that correlation is not causation. It’s statistically true that tall children have better vocabularies than short children. That’s because taller children are (usually) older and therefore have (usually) been in school longer. The causation is education, not height.
I’ve always wondered if those divorce statistics have been swayed by cohabiting couples who got married not just because it’s “what couples are supposed to do” but because their relationships were on the rocks, and they thought getting married would help fix things. It’s likely that people were even telling them, “You’re having these problems because you haven’t gotten married.” Marriage has been treated like a magic relationship wand for a long time.
Another possibility is that people who are willing to cohabit are more willing to consider all kinds of “non-traditional” relationship choices and so are more likely to get divorced.
But of course that’s very hard to investigate because getting statistics on ‘people whose marriage is unhappy and who would get divorced if only they weren’t raised to be against it’ is pretty much impossible.
My now husband and I lived together for years before getting married. Our relationship hasn’t changed a bit. It has evolved, yes, as long-term relationships do. We decided to move in together when I came to visit him for a few days, and it just felt right. I don’t regret it one bit.
My dude and I always planned to live together before we got married. We’ve both had unpleasant roommate experiences so we know that living with someone else is a huge change and we wanted some time to settle into that.
That didn’t work out. We were married for about 3 months before we were finally cohabitating. It would have been nice to have that adjustment period over before our wedding but between both being incredibly busy and waiting for my husband to be ready, it didn’t happen. So we’ve spent our first year as a married couple settling in to being a cohabitating couple. We’ve discovered some things that drive us nuts (I am clumsy and tend to walk noisily and I am grumpy if woken during the night which is easy to do, he has issues with scraping plates or picking up in the bathroom). Our pets have had adjustments to make too.
I still wish we’d done this before the wedding. It would have been awesome to have him there to help with projects or to talk about things, to not have to go home at the end of the night. It’s still different when all your laundry is in the same house and you come home to someone else’s mess in the kitchen that is your job to clean. We’re working it out though. Just like with marriage, you should figure out when to cohabitate based on your relationship. If that means never living in a single house? So be it. It’s nice for me to have someone to come home to. I would love to have known from more experience some of the things we both needed to work on before we got married but it doesn’t change that I love him and am glad I married him. I don’t think it would have changed anything if we’d done it before the wedding other than making it less stressful right after the wedding.
Haha, I commented before reading yours….what is with the guys leaving kitchen messes? I’ve lived with my fiance for about 8 months now (getting married next month), and the ONLY thing we have fought about is me getting irritated when I have to clean up after him….just little things, like not scraping or rinsing a plate so that food gets stuck on, or leaving toast crumbs all over the counter. *sigh*
I don’t know how, but I managed to luck out – anything left out on a counter bothers my husband, and he putters about when he needs to think, and his puttering is mostly focused on cleaning the kitchen! So it’s usually spotless. (However, he has an inability to see dust on furniture, even when it getting to the fur stage!)
Toast crumbs on the counter! No rinsing!! Drives me kinda nuts sometimes.
It’s not a guy thing. I’m female and my partner points out all the time how I leave crumbs and stuff everywhere and don’t clean up after I cook.
I moved in with my fiance, but it was only after being engaged for several months and after setting a wedding date. He was living with his parents, I was paying rent, and we had an opportunity to house sit for free for about 8 moonths….it made sense for us to live together at that point. It’s made us stronger together (and more motivated to find a house to buy faster), though of course we’ve had our share of minor fights resulting from things we’d have only learned through living together. I’ve learned that getting him to do his share of the dishes or vacuuming is a huge pain, and he’s learned that I get irrationally irritated during certain times of the month when it comes to unwashed dishes or unvacuumed carpets. More importantly, we’ve learned that we get along very well and the only things we fight about and little issues like occasional household chores.
My parents (more specifically, my mom) were opposed to us living together before marriage. They have “gifted” all of their children with a certain amount of cash when they got married as a wedding gift to use to pay for a wedding, down payment on a house, etc. However, the clause for the gift was that none of us were supposed to “act adult” before marriage, meaning no moving in together, getting pregnant, or advertising that we were sleeping with our boy/girlfriend. My fiance and I considered this…and decided that the money we’d save on rent and gas, and the valuable time we could spend together, was worth more to us than the “bribe money” (as he put it; I called it a “hymen tax”.) So, we moved in together and we’re going to be paying for our own wedding. We also briefly considered eloping, collecting the cash, moving in, and then having a “real” wedding on our chosen date…..but decided it wasn’t worth it.
Anyway, I don’t think I would have moved in with someone unless we were already engaged and set on a date. I’d worry that it would be too easy to feel “pressured” to marry, even if living together taught us that it wasn’t meant to be.
I am also a big believer in living together before marriage. Not for everyone, certainly, but definitely for me. My husband and I lived together for 2 years before we were married, for no other reason than we wanted to. Would things have worked out had we waited? Probably, but for me, it was part of the evolution of our relationship, and it afforded us the opportunity to learn more about each other: how to fight, how to share space, how to divide chores, etc. I’m convinced that we’re a stronger couple because of it.
Incidentally, I also lived with another man before marriage, one that was not successful. Living together was not the reason the marriage ended; rather, it would have shown me plainly that things wouldn’t work out had I been brave enough to recognize the signs.
So, yes. Thumbs up to living together.
I moved in with my husband about six months before we married. We always planned on getting married, but we decided to elope a few weeks after getting engaged. I am very, very happy we went that way.
On the other side, I lived with my previous partner for nearly 6 years, and we were engaged for the last 2 1/2. He never even got me a ring. Every time I tried to set a date, he’d make excuses. I felt like I’d been trapped in a holding pattern and I was totally miserable. He was quite upset when I broke it off- in his mind, we were as good as married. He didn’t see what difference a “piece of paper” made in our lives.
I wasted a lot of time with that guy, but it was a great learning experience. I am a much better communicator now.
I think the difference is intention and communication. When the old guy and I moved in, marriage was never discussed- we started living together as roommates and evolved from there. With my husband, we knew almost immediately that we were going to get married, and we set up the timeline before I moved into his house. Of course, our timeline went out the window with the elopement, but it was the right thing for us. We were married the day before our first anniversary!
I don’t judge or dictate what others should do, but I would never get married without living together first. I just know me, and that’s how it has to be. Now that’s assuming we must love together at all…I’m not opposed to living apart even after marriage, but I know I’m in the minority there!
it seems so very situational.
i’ve lived with my significant other twice. once was a long-term, but not forever relationship. we were never going to get married, we were just staying together for a while (and open to the idea that “a while” can mean anything, maybe even including forever). living together was totally the right choice for us, emotionally and economically. and we lived together after we broke up (that was just an economic decision, but it worked too).
on the other hand, my wife and i have been married for a year now. we bought a house together three years ago – let’s be honest, that was the moment we decided we were staying together forever. i just wasn’t prepared for the more open and public version of that for another year or so.
living together can mean a lot of different things. and it’s not inherently a statement of any sort of long-term intention (no longer than a lease, at least). but it certainly can be. in much the same way that marriage isn’t a requirement of having long-term intentions, but it’s an option.
I really like your point about the wedding being more open and public while moving in together is a more quiet, under the radar experience.
We moved in together after a year and announced it like the huge deal it was. We got hugs and housewarming presents and celebrated like mad. We spent the next four years debating and discussing what marriage meant to us before we decided to go for it. Our wedding felt like an awesome celebration of what we already had, not a big step into new territory. Two years into marriage, we still don’t feel like anything has changed much, and that’s great.
I don’t like the NYT article’s tone because she implies that cohabiting before marriage is a major cause of divorce today. I’d prefer she emphasize more that it *can* have severe drawbacks, but also great advantages. Sliding into living together without ever really discussing commitment or the future does seem like a recipe for disaster, but so does rushing into marriage for the sheer sake of being married. A relationship is what you make it, and the key is to be wary of just going through the motions or making attention-getting statements (“We’re meant for each other!”) without digging deep as a couple, ensuring that you understand what you’re getting yourselves into and why.
Statistically speaking, co-habiting relationships end more often than marriages. (In my country it is 1 out of 2 co-habiting relationships and 1 out of 3 marriages that break up). So there is something going on there.
But remember, statistics tell you something about correlations, not necessarily causes.
Still, I can imagine (just speculating!!!) that people who co-habitate have the tendency (so not everyone) to think less deeply about or decide more quickly on their relationship, simply because a wedding is a natural moment to think about your relationship and where it is heading. That could lead to more break-ups compared to divorces.
I think the difference is intent. Are you moving in with someone because “that’s the next step” or are you moving in with them “because as a couple we are moving our relationship into a new phase.”
Without fail I have seen relationships where the couple moves in together “because its a good idea” or “its the next step of what we do” dissolve. The couple hadn’t discussed long range plans about their lives together, as a couple, before moving in.
Couples that move in together because they decided as a couple that’s where they wanted to take their relationship have fared better. I have seen those relationships stay together. They’re also the ones who talked about where they want to live, what type of jobs they want in a “career”, number of kids (or no kids at all), how to handle financial issues. That’s not saying there aren’t bumps in the road; but the foundation of how to get around the bumps are there.
if i’d gotten married before living with someone i’d be married to an abusive asshole with a drug problem…so…yeah. living together first FTW.
Me too. Some people really change with cohabitation.
Speaking from my own experiences I think that it’s perfectly fine to move in together prior to marriage and that the issue isn’t so much living together but why you move in together in the first place. I think understanding the reason your choose to cohabitate is hugely important.
My ex husband and I were roommates with two other friends during college before we were dating. Our dating relationship grew out of a fantastic friendship, however deep down I always questioned if it was a good idea. This was my first mistake. After college we both relocated to our parents and dated long distance for a year. I wanted to relocate closer to our friends and found a new job near everyone so we moved in together. Neither of us could afford to rent in the city alone. This was mistake number 2. We lived together and dated for 3 years before getting engaged and were married for just over 2 before separating. I completely blame myself for being in a relationship that my heart was never fully in, but moving intogether certainly didn’t help me get out. Not so much because of the physical logistics of leaving. More because of the cultural and social logistics of building a life with our friends and family who see you as a couple in such a permanent way because you live together. Who i was became so wrapped up in us as a couple that the momentum was difficult to control. I know if we hadn’t lived together we would have naturally drifted apart and back into the just friends relationship.
So long story short… Moving in together isn’t a problem but it is a big deal and that is important for people to discuss. Ask WHY you want to move in together. And WHAT if you need a break.
As a side note, I currently live with my boyfriend. We are not engaged. But we didn’t take moving in together lightly. Ive learned to control the momentum and expectations it creates.
After 8 months, we moved in together (as vain as it sounds, it was because I had a car! He had 2 jobs and needed a lift). It was HARD. Because the man didn’t like commitment, this was a hard transition. Plus, his parents hated the idea of us living together before marriage. But, I wouldn’t of had it any other way. We were together for 5 years before we got engaged (we’ve been together for almost 9 years now!). I would of hated our first year of marriage if we waited. I’m glad we got it out of the way early!
I guess it depends on the value you place on marriage. I know a woman who wants to be married to her boyfriend not because this would feel right, but because they have been an item for five years, and “that is what should happen next”. If marriage is one of your big goals in life – for wearing the white dress or the big party or the ring or the spiritual commitment – you will approach it differently than someone who views a fulfilling relationship as important and thinks that marriage may happen along the way to make things easier (renting, taxes, hospital decisions, kids’ names, … ).
I moved in with the BF two years ago – we are not married – but I definitely would not have married him without sharing space first. If you know each and every annoying habit of someone and still want to spend the rest of your life with that person, that’s love. ^^
(He always puts the friggin’ tooth paste in the wrong spot!)
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