Many couples have stepped up the cutty-buddy status of their relationship to full-time cohabitants. With the spike in the number of couples living together—from 6.7 million to 7.5 in the first seven months of 2010—The Census Bureau goes on to report that the increase is less about romance, and more about surviving the struggling economy. It’s no longer just about playing house. For some, the move may be a good one, as far as personal economics goes, and may even result in more relationship upgrading. For others—not so much! If your relationship is at a serious enough level, merging living spaces can be a smart and even fun option to surviving the worst economic time reported since the Great Depression.

Just be sure that you have weighed your choice wisely. Consider the following before putting your full bed on Craigslist with visions of upgrading the sheets on his queen:

-How long you’ve been together and how much time you spend in the house together should be considered. No matter how natural and wonderful it feels, three weeks of dating do not an appropriate cohabitation situation make. Even if you’ve dated for a year, if you haven’t spent much time in a domestic space alone, you may also be ill-prepared for what the reality of living with your boo will bring. You should be good and used to waking up near each other, cooking dinner together, grocery shopping, dividing bathroom time…

-Money matters must be discussed in great detail beforehand. Both parties must understand the importance of coming up with whatever percentage of the rent and other bills that they have obligated themselves to contribute. If you fear that your partner is poised to leave you hanging moneywise…don’t even think about living together. If you go into it knowing that you have to put out a little extra money, be sure that you can handle that without losing respect for your honey (and that you all have discussed the amount of time that this arraingement will go on as such).

-How is this house running? Is dinner a joint project, one person’s obligation or every man for himself? What about laundry? Bathroom cleaning? Discuss this before or regret it later.

-Is this a long-term thing? Do you expect to get married at some point? You need to be honest and upfront with your intentions; if you think this is a test for marriage and he thinks its a fun way to save $400 a month, y’all might not be going into this with the same needs.

Say you weigh everything…it still could turn out to be a bad move. These three tips will help you easily BOUNCE when and if the time comes.

-Fund the opportunity to be out! Times are still tough, and funds are still scarce, but if you’re going to be sharing an apartment with your boo, you need to continue (or start) putting away as much money as you can for when that golden plan of moving-in together starts to lack-luster. While he might be gung-ho at the idea of living with you initially, you don’t know if he’ll start to feel that his style is a little cramped down the road. Living together, may free-up more of your money to do more of the things you want to do, but it’s best to be smart from the start on this. Besides, saving money was the number one reason for the move in the first place. Don’t play yourself.

-Hide ya keys! If there’s one thing I’ve seen too much of for one lifetime is a woman letting her man run her car into the ground! If you let dude dog your car, when it’s time to go, you may not be going anywhere. If he must use your car regularly, see to it that he contributes—significantly—to the care and maintenance of it as well.

-Sign a cohabitation agreement. Also known as the prenuptial agreement for non-married couples, a cohabitation agreement, a legal, binding document, protects you financially just like a prenuptial agreement in case the relationship ends. View a sample cohabitation agreement form here.   

*Additional contributions by Jamilah Lemieux







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  • Pseudonym

    “If you let dude dog your car, when it’s time to go, you may not be going anywhere.”



  • LJinBK

    It’s still silly to me that women see themselves as offering something up if they’re living with a man. I’d rather get to know a man inside and out, including living with him at least for a few months, before I choose to spend THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH HIM.

    I just don’t understand why women think they’re losing something by choosing to make a wise decision that will give them insight into the person who you may or may not plan to marry. It’s not a decision you’re making for him, it’s a decision you’re making for yourself.

    I’ve been living with my boyfriend of 3.5 years for about a while now and space is tight but our interaction is no different than before we made the move. He still cooks for me about 50% of the time and he still does the majority of the cleaning. We still go out and have fun nights on the town and we still kick it indoors and have Netflix nights.

    Maybe it’s not the living together that’s the problem…maybe it’s just your choice in men.

    • Rastaman

      Tell it sista.
      So many people seem to want to blame their poor choice of person on the decision to cohabitate when one has nothing to do with the other. Every conversation I have ever had about co-habitation was broached by the woman with whom I was involved. Amongst my circle of male friends it is generally the women who moved into their cribs or campaigned to have them move in together.

      Co-habitation is no guarantee of anything and if one chooses to do it or not it is no indices of the relationship’s future. How well you know the person you are involved with and how well you both work together as a couple is important. Some folks need cohabiting to determine that and others don’t. Find out what works for you instead trying to excuse a poor choice of person.

    • Legallylove05

      Agreed! If anything, it tests the bounds of your relationship. It’s one thing to see each other a couple of nights a week after you’ve both had time to primp and splash some Listerine. It’s another thing to see each other in sickness and in health, in morning breath and dirty drawers. If you can live with someone, not kill them, and still enjoy their company, then that’s someone you can spend the rest of your life with. If you can’t, then that person is not for you. I figure it’s better to know before you’ve made a commitment that is difficult to break (i.e. marriage).

  • TR

    Do you have to live with a person to really get to know them? No, you don’t. You can get to know a person very well if you spend enough quality time with that person. Maybe the problem is more than people picking the wrong mates. Maybe the problem is people don’t take the time and court anymore and that leads to picking the wrong mates.

    When I was a teenager I swore to myself that once I moved out of my mother’s house the only other women I would ever live with would be my wife. I stuck with that and it worked out well for me. Living arrangements with friends can be challenging enough. At its core a living arrangement is a business arrangement. There are bills to be paid, cleaning to be done, and rules of conduct to follow. Throw romance into the equation and it can really get tricky. Why put that extra stress on a relationship if you don’t have to?