living-together-before-marriage

You’ve been dating your significant other for 2 years and one day out of the blue, your better half pops the question.

“Hey, let’s move in together,” they said.

You say to yourself in your head, “That wasn’t the exact question I thought you were going to ask”.

After contemplation, you figure what’s the big deal, it could give you some time to see if living together could actually work in the long run.  But all of your friends are on some “Why buy the cow if they can get the milk for free?” But they’re single, and miserable, you take their advice with a grain of salt.

Cohabitation before marriage isn’t a new phenomenon that’s sweeping the country. Couples have been choosing this way of living for decades, but it  has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million.

But why not just get married?

Many couples use living together as a “trial run”, and nowadays as a way to lower expenses. But sometimes there’s that one person in the relationship who’ll think living together will actually move them faster to the aisle.

Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., author of The 30 Day Love Detox says“Couples who move in together [too soon] think they are auditioning the relationship for marriage, but they actually are eating up important passion time,” she says, referring to the hot and heavy months of a new relationship. “When the relationship settles down, they are actually less likely to tie the knot.” So be sure you’re not just being impetuous and that you genuinely want to live together.

Then there’s the financial aspect of moving in together. In today’s economy, getting a roommate can lessen a financial burden. So why not kill two birds with one stone and combine living spaces.  But money can be the root of all evil when it comes to a relationship.  What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine, sometimes just doesn’t work out as smoothly as expected. So you need to have a plan. “Create a financial living agreement, especially if one person has more assets than the other,” says Walsh. “This will save you from relationship-killing conflicts,” she says, like arguing over a big purchase one of you can’t afford.

But not all relationship experts believe living together is a good thing.

According to dating coach and YourTango expert Samantha Karlin, “living with someone without a firm eye towards marriage means that anyone can get up and leave at any time, which breeds mutual disrespect, as opposed to mutual respect.”

Karlin adds that she has “known a lot of women who move in with their boyfriends with the assumption that a proposal is one step away — but then two, three, four years later, the proposal still hasn’t come. I think that’s because some people move in together not because they genuinely want to see this person every morning upon waking, but because it’s convenient.”

 

Clutchettes, what do you think about cohabitation before marriage? Have you ever had a live-in boyfriend/girlfriend?

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  • Missy LL

    My feelings on this is simple. A man will move in with you, share a home, expenses, vacations, and children and NOT MARRY YOU! On the other hand a man that wants to marry you wants to do ALL OF THE ABOVE! Why not wait to give the man that wants to marry you all of that. It goes back to the simple why by the cow question. From other articles I have read if anything while women see cohabitation as a step forward men see it as a way to stall and satisfy the woman until they really know what they want to do. I am sorry “shacking up” just makes no sense to me.

  • JS

    All my friends I know who are getting married with the exception of one (because she met him while on vacation abroad and they dated 2-years long distance) have lived together first. I see nothing wrong with it. The whole “Why buy the cow if they can get the milk for free?” slogan reeks of thirsty women looking for a “ring” rather than a relationship that works. A relationship, regardless of cohabitation only works if both partners are on the same page. If either one of them thinks its a “fast track to marriage” as a way to manipulate the other then the relationship is already setting itself up to fail.

    • “The whole “Why buy the cow if they can get the milk for free?” slogan reeks of thirsty women looking for a “ring” rather than a relationship that works”

      People will do anything to stay in denial in order to not admit they are being taken advantage of. It’s not thirst darling, it’s worth. Some of us demand a commitment of marriage first because we highly value ourselves.

    • Aria Wilson

      “Some of us demand a commitment of marriage first because we highly value ourselves.”

      Do you think a woman can “value herself” without the “commitment of marriage”? Just wondering your opinion since not all women WANT to be married…and I don’t think that means that they “value themselves” less than you or others…and that is a far cry from “being taken advantage of”….

    • Women have value period, regardless of their marital status. However, when it comes to having sex and sharing living quarters I think it is devaluing to not require marriage first. Those that want to drink the kool aid and believe they highly value themselves while simultaneously setting low standards can drink away.

  • Jenny

    The moral of this is DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP!

    I am in a new relationship and I intend on waiting a few years before marriage and kids, however I have a big fear of moving in with my mate post marriage and despising his living habits. I dont see anything wrong with cohabitating. It has to involve two people who love each other and are on the same page on their relationship.

  • SingleLady

    I wouldn’t live with a man, unless he was my husband. I think all the reservations people have about not “knowing who their really living with” is what needs to be addressed before hand. How can you just accept those types of insecurities in your relationship but not your marriage? Its easy to say this or that thing could annoy you about him or her. But you’d be so happy to be married it may not bother you. Or you could just have a more positive attitude about it. Talk about the issue offer to help them. Marriage and dating get so mixd up. Its quite annoying. Some people are willing to compromise more with out being married. Ive found it easier to really see what a man wants, when I’ve been clear about what I wanted. Not living together and/or not sleeping gives alot more time to build the relationship, which is the most important. As a woman I like that alot more, and if I want I can always change my mind. But you obviously cant go back. I think it just makes everything more special, more important. I think it means more when your patient with things like living with someone.