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?