Is It O.K. To Move In Before Marriage?
In generations past, couples met, fell in love, got married and began building a life together. But times are changing, and these days, it’s more common for couples to spend some time living together before taking a trip down the aisle.
While co-habitation can be convenient and easier on your wallet, it isn’t always a step toward happily-ever-after. Here are the most common reasons couples decide to shack up, and why some relationship experts warn against it.
Reason #1: You aren’t engaged…but are hoping it’s a step toward a proposal.
Deciding to move in together is a good idea only if you’ve had honest, open conversations about getting married to each other, says relationship expert April Beyer. “I’ve seen plenty of men say yes to a future when they felt backed against the wall, only to back out at a later date. If you have a reluctant fiancé, you’ve also got a reluctant husband!” Beyer says.
According to dating coach 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.”
Reason #2: You want to see if you’re compatible as roommates.
A roommate and a romantic partner are not the same thing, yet many couples think that living together will give them the chance to see how their relationship works with the live-in dynamic. “Living with someone as a roommate is different than cohabitating as partners,” says relationship therapist Kimberly Seltzer. “As roommates, there is always an underlying notion that you can ‘get out’ if things don’t work.” However, Beyer says if you and your partner are eyeing the same goals with the same timelines, then she believes living together “could save you from marrying the wrong man.”
Reason #3: You want to save money on rent.
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A definite change in the age-old process of: courting, dating, marriage, living together. Today, it's better to know who plan to share your life with. All those bad habits will come to life when a couple decides to "shack up" – which is a great idea. Couples don't have to start joint accounts just yet but a able to share responsibilities of paying expenses, maintaining/upgrading their living space, and developing the kind of teamwork necessary for a successful long-term relationship.
There's no way I could have waited until marriage to know what it's like to actually live with my partner. Seems silly, irresponsible to both people.