Post # 1
I’ve often thought that Weddingbee offers a pretty biased sample of what it’s like to live together before marriage—almost everyone on here is happily engaged or married, and many of us (I would venture a majority, even) lived together beforehand, leading to a general opinion that living together is a great precursor to engagement and marriage.
But I really believe that we are the success stories, and that out there is a great big world of failed cohabitations and divorces that would have been avoided if the parties hadn’t been living together before engagement. To me, cohabitation makes it easier to say yes to marriage, even when "yes" isn’t the right answer. I wouldn’t want to take that chance, but others’ opinions may differ.
For example, my husband lived with an ex-girlfriend before he ever met me. He had moved to a new state for a job after college, and she soon thereafter followed him there to be with him, and to avoid the monetary cost and aggravation of her getting her own place, she moved in with him. They were together 3 years and he thought he was going to eventually propose and marry her for sure. But their relationship went bust and she turned out to be crazy. It culminated in him changing his locks, calling the police to get her to stop harrassing him, and nearly getting a restraining order. I don’t think he would have stayed so long with her if they hadn’t been living together. Cohabitation made it harder to break up even when breaking up is what they needed to do. I know he regrets living with her, but they didn’t really take the decision very seriously either.
What negative experiences with cohabitation have you seen or had? When it became clear the relationship wasn’t going to work, how did cohabitation impact the relationship? Did you (or they) regret cohabiting in these situations?
Post # 3
I’ve never lived with another man, but my FI lived with his ex-gf for 3 years as well. After 4 months of living with him, she stopped working & relied on him for everything. She had Type 1 diabetes & he supported her medical needs as well. He said the relationship was over by the end of the first year, but didn’t know how to get rid of her without leaving her completely stuck! He thought she’d actually die without his financial support. (okay..)
I agree completely that a lot of people wouldn’t have stayed together as long as they did had they not lived together. It’s hard to disconnect & uproot your life like that….
Good topic. I’m interested to see the results!
Post # 4
I lived with an ex before meeting my FH. I thought he was "the one" and we moved in with another friend so that we could save money. We figured since we all went to the same school and knew each other really well it was the best plan. Well somewhere during the summer we grew apart. I didnt want to kick him out since it was like a week before classes started so we lived together even after the break up nd just avoided each other as much as we could. I moved out, met my current man and am now living happily ever after….
i dont regret living with anyone that i have lived with in the past. All the experiences have made me who I am today and they were experiences that made me grow up.
Post # 5
I haven’t (i did live with 46 girls in college tho…DRAMA!) but I know many people for whom it didn’t work out. Such is life, and no matter what, you’re taking a leap of faith that it will work out.
Post # 6
Oh *shiver* I just mentioned this on another post today! I agree with you Chelsea. Living together can be a tough thing and it doesn’t always work out.
My FI is amazing and we have a great living situation in our little city apartment and our cute cats. However, I’ve lived with THREE boyfriends in the past (I’m 31) and they were all awful situations, utterly heinous breakups! During the first one, I nearly had to file for a restrained order. During the second one, I had moved across the country with the guy, we had been engaged and our wedding called off and we had accrued a ton of debt and I could go on and on. The third one (yeah you think I would have learned) he just snapped and left, moving across the country to be with his old high school sweetheart and left a BUNCH of crap behind that I had to go through and either sell or give away while I quickly found a new roommate, since life in Seattle ain’t cheap. Cohabitating made ALL of these situations more difficult, because you don’t just have the emotional turmoil of a break-up, but you are also having to deal with money, objects, sometimes even pets!
So those situations SUCKED. But I had no idea they would have ended up like that. I really had to learn the hard way what I was looking for in a partner. Once I met my now-FI, I could hardly believe it. He’s mature, respectful and kind. But, I also had to set some limits about cohabitating, such was my fear about sharing a lease after those past situations. He was understanding and we didn’t move in together until we had decided we wanteed to be engaged, although we did move to the same neighborhood so it would be easier to see one another regularly.
I don’t regret the situations because they brought me to where I am now. I had a lot of learn about what a healthy relationship is. I was in a pattern of choosing very unstable partners and had to learn to channel the desire to care for others into different areas of my life, rather than into my relationship. Now I know that it is normal to care for someone and help them through hard times sometimes, but they need to be able to sometimes take the wheel as well when I’m having a hard time! My FI and I do this and it feels very balanced. Like I said, it took some big life lessons to get to this point. All the more reason to enjoy it!
Post # 7
I lived with my ex that I had before my now FH for about 2 years. We were madly in love, but also I was 23 and very naive (sp?) lets just say. When I met my ex I had been out of a very long, disfunctional to say the least 2 yr relationship for about 6 months and thought I knew what I wanted. When we moved in we had the conversation of marriage and kids and he told me that he could not wait to marry me and have our own family. He admitted at first before he met that he never wanted to marry again after his last disaster. See, he was 30 at the time I started dating him and in the previous year he dated a girl for 2 mths, they flew to Vegas, got married, he almost adopted her kids, then she went crazy (at least thats his story, I never really did get the whole story) she left , cleaned out the bank accounts and they were seperated and filing for divorce after about 4 months of marriage. Needless to say his divorce was finalized a month before I met him which I did not know until I was with him for about a month and at that point I was head over heals and did not care. After all that though he said, he knew when he met me that his mind was changed on marriage. Yea right!
So fast forward a little over a year, all of his friends are married and we are all like family, literally spending 5-6 days a week with each other, I am in school full time trying to get my degree which was the way when we met and his succeding in his job. Well then his best freinds start to talk about how they are miserable in their marriages, feel trapped, cant wait to have "kitchen passes", if you dont know what that means, thats basically a pass to go out and play when the wife is away. Whatever. Slowly his opionions change not because he is not in love with me but because of his friends lives. Well this turns out bad and basically when I turned 25 and was less than a year from graduation from nursing school he asked if I would be ok not getting married or having kids, just being togethor. I told him I had to think about it as it was always a dream of mine and really I was beginning to wonder at the same time if he was the one for me. Well he started to act different after that and needless and to wrap this up he ended up cheating on me and we broke up. He stated after we broke up he felt he was going through a minimidlife crisis and felt bad for the way he treated me. Yes he could have had more tact and respect but honestly I realized I loved him, but was not in love with and knew he was not the one but it still hurt to go through that. Funny thing is not only did he cheat on me but then he cheated on me and the girl he cheated on me with a girl from work. Um, do you think I am happy?! Glad I didnt pick that! Neither of the 2 girls ever did know about each other!
We broke up 4 years ago and I am happily with the man of my dreams getting married in 2 weeks and he is still single and playing the field while all of his friends have worked on their marriages and have kids. So yes sometimes living togethor does not work out but sometimes its for the best!
Post # 8
Sorry that was long! This living togethor talk is the talk of the day! And I am seriously bored at work! LOL!
Post # 9
Ooh, good points, ladies. I just moved in with my fiance (and his parents, who are entirely cool and amazing- lucky me, getting such great in-laws!) and so far, it’s been wonderful. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the domesticity of living together and not being in a long-distance relationship anymore…hallelujah!
We bought this book called 1000 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married. I highly recommend it. It divides the questions up into 50 or so different categories and is such a great starting point for conversations that need to be had, but are sometimes hard to discuss. We got to the living-together section and it asked questions like, "Who will move out if you break up?" and "How will divide bills such as utilities, rent, etc?" and "Whose stuff will go into storage?" We were going, "Whoa…we never really thought about this stuff before." They were hard questions to answer, because when you’re in love and in the honeymoon phase, breaking up is such a foreign, almost taboo subject that I’d be willing to say 90% of couples avoid entirely. But it was refreshing to get all that out in the open, even if it was depressing!
Post # 10
I never lived with anyone before my FI (neither did he) so I don’t have any personal horror stories of my own. But my middle sister has this miserable ongoing experience… late last fall she started dating a friend of a friend and after a VERY short period of time, she let him move into the house they were renting. Almost immediately things just were terrible – drama all the time, he was super inconsiderate, she’d go over to our parents house or our apartment just to get away from her own home, etc etc. They broke up and made up like three times now. It took FOREVER after she broke up with him the last time for him to get all of his stuff out of the house. He wasn’t taking her seriously and I kept telling her that SHE needed to start packing his stuff up while he’s gone, otherwise he’ll just keep hanging around.
She did, and eventually he had finally moved completely out. But then, she started dating him again recently anyway. *sigh* At least this time she’s totally opposed to having him move in again but I have no idea why she’s gone back. I’ve just been crossing my fingers that she keeps her head on her shoulders… haha.
Post # 11
- Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall
I did! and so has Mr. MJ.
Without going in to personal details,I will say that it is MUCH more difficult to end a relationship with someone you live with than it is with someone you don’t. You are inclined to stick around (trying to make it work) for far longer than you probably should. It can become unhealthy and sad.
Then there’s the period of stuff-finding. You cannot cleanly cut ties with the ex because when you moved out (or when he did), you forgot some of your stuff there. Or you accidentally took some of his. Or you stumbled across something that you know is important to that person and you have to contact him to give it back. There’s a 6 month+ timespan when you’re dealing with receiving that person’s mail, or getting mail-order catalogues that you only get because you bought a gift for that person a long time ago. (Example: we still receive a mail order catalog that sells something neither of us are in to (but an ex was). Every time we get that catalogue, we’re reminded. (And yes I know I could just call them and tell them to stop sending it. I’m lazy. )) If you were splitting your bills, you have to unsplit them. If your bills/budget is based on two incomes, you have to find a way to make it work alone (which may involve drastically changing your lifestyle).
As others have said, I don’t regret these situations because they’ve taught me a LOT about myself and how I function as part of a team, including what works and what doesn’t at home.
Post # 12
I lived with an ex boyfriend of mine and we eventually broke up. But we are still great friends and he’s coming to my wedding. I don’t think that living together either prolonged or prematurely terminated our relationship.
We were young, 23, when we moved in and while we loved each other very much, we just didn’t have the same priorities for life as we grew older. And when we made the decision to move in together neither of us had any illusions that we would eventually end up married. We suspected that eventually our different life goals would force us apart. We agreed just to take it one day at a time and have fun together for as long as possible.
I have no regrets about the decision to live together. I have no regrets about the relationship. In fact, I’d say I’m really glad we lived together, because it made us both sure that while we cared for each other tremendously, we could never spend the rest of our lives married.
And later when I moved in with the boyfriend who is now my fiance, I think I was better prepared for overcoming the struggles of living with someone. It is a major adjustment to go from dating someone to sharing your personal space with them all the time. I was much better prepared the second time and it caused very little stress on our relationship.
Personally, I would never, ever even consider getting engaged to someone if we hadn’t lived together for at least a year. I know that isn’t right for everyone, but I just don’t see it as a very big deal to have a live-in relationship not work out. I would say at least 50 percent of my friends lived with a different SO before eventually living with their husbands/wives/fiances. It’s the only way to know for sure that you are truly compatibe, in my mind.
Post # 13
I did live with someone a few years before meeting my FH for about a year. Crappy thing was it didnt work out about eight months into it & we were stuck living together during the breakup (Yes, it was like that Jennifer Aniston movie LOL) He started dating someone else and everything. I stayed there b/c I was working close by and it would have been too far from my parents house to commute to work & I had just started LSAT prep courses in the area as well. It was really hard & probably the unhealthiest part of my life. I refused to continue paying rent and give him a bachelor pad LOL – Anyways, it really taught me alot and did make me hesitate and truly and strongly consider moving in with my FH – FH knew all about it & totally understood – he too had been through a failed relationship (even worse a failed marriage) Ironic thing is, once i finally moved out (when lease expired) and into my parents home & I then had to find another job b/c the office was relocating even further North and I just couldnt take the commute – I found a job – AND POOF – My FH was my boss & the rest is history.
I think people who go through bad situations like that appreciate the fabulous situations we are in as engaged/married/committed happy individuals more. The sweet is not so sweet without the sour. I learned and growed from my situation and so did my FH from his – and it has helped make us the couple we are today (finally living together and walking down the aisle in four months) 🙂
Post # 14
I never would have thought of it this way! At first I thought you were saying that cohabitation makes relationships fail. But actually, it just makes it harder to ADMIT that the relationship has ALREADY failed! You are SO RIGHT! My ex and I lived together for 4 years, and of course we assumed we would end up married and all. But in reality he was abusive and I had LONG SINCE emotionally detached from the relationship, but I had a hard time admitting it to myself. I had a harder time ACTING on it when I finally DID admit it, because he had bought a house that I was paying 1/2 the mortgage for!! So I guess that I totally agree, cohabitation makes breaking up WAY HARDER and also makes it a MUCH messier breakup! As opposed to waiting until AFTER you are married and you already KNOW you will be together for life. Great topic!
Post # 15
Hi ladies – I just saw this topic and it caught my eye. I don’t have any experience with living with a boyfriend or fiance, as my fiance and I both agree we’re not going to start acting married before we’re married, including sex and living together. I realize it’s not a common stance these days, but it’s what we believe is right.
However, even if that wasn’t our belief, I think the numbers themselves would be enough to scare us out of living with one another. I’m reading a book on marriage statistics right now, and just finished a chapter with some scary numbers from 1998 (I’m guessing it’s probably even worse now, but who knows).
-Only about 1/6 of live-in relationships last 3 years and only 1/10 endure five or more years.
-Living together before marriage doubles the risk of divorce after marriage, and the risk of abuse for women in a co-habitating relationship is also double that of married women.
-Couples who live together first are more likely to have an affair during marriage than those who don’t.
So, not to say it can’t work out for those who choose to live with their boyfriend or fiance ahead of time, but if a marriage that lasts forever is the goal, the stats seem to say living together before getting married is not a good means to that end. I’d love to see the trend reversed and couples happily married forever!
Post # 16
I’ve never lived with anyone neither has my fiance; we are living together virgins