Post # 1
…. you know how the rest goes.
Do you think there is any truth in this idiom? I have always thought it was silly and sexist, so I just dismissed it. My mother said this to me jokingly last week, which was a bit upsetting, and it got me thinking…
Sometimes you meet couples who are older, have been together for a decade or more, and have a house, kids, and pets together, but are not married and are not rushing to do so… I have always wondered what the point of getting married at this point was. I mean, you have already been living like a married couple, so why change it? It seems like at a certain point, people just don’t bother making it “official”.
And then I have met couples that are “waiting” for marriage. I know this is a generalization, but it seems that these couples tend to date for a shorter amount of time and get married much younger, like 18-23. I feel like this has to do in part with wanting that next intimate part of the relationship ( or they really can’t wait to have sex) , which means getting married first.
I feel like neither are ideal… for myself anyways. I am starting to think that maybe having sex before marriage tends to stretch out the dating/engagement period. Do you guys agree or disagree? Are some couples just more marriage oriented than others? Do you think your decision to wait or not wait has affected the course of your relationship?
( I would really prefer if this didn’t turn into a thread about the morality of waiting/not waiting. I did not mean for it to be judgemental in any way )
Post # 3
I think some people are more marriage oriented. That being said, I don’t think I would have lived with FI before getting engaged if I thought we wouldn’t get engaged soon.
ETA – I wouldn’t buy a house or have a child out of wedlock, but I don’t think having sex outside of marriage is as serious. Not sure what the “milk” is.
Post # 4
I really think it depends on the couple.
Neither DH or I were willing to commit to marrying each other until we lived together first. I did hear the “why by the cow” idiom several times from my parents, but I was comfortable in our relationship and we had lots of open conversations about both our plans for the future and where we saw our relationship going.
I wanted marriage a little sooner than he did, but we were on the same page generally.
We dated 7 1/2 years before getting married and got marred at 27/28. So while we had a long lead up, we also weren’t “old” when we got married.
So… I’m not sure how I feel other than it really varies from couple to couple.
I feel like if you have open communication and mutual respect (and you both think living together before marriage is important) then you don’t really end up in the “you don’t buy the cow… ” situation.
However if any of those are lacking, or too many assumptions are made (rather than conversations had) then maybe you end up in a less comfortable situation.
ETA: I think I misunderstood the question. I also wouldn’t make any major purchases or have kids before getting married, but living together was a necessity before getting married as far as what I considered an important part of dating, for me.
Post # 5
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
I think the defining factor is how importact being married is to a given couple. For me, I didn’t want until marriage to have sex, and my FI was not my first and it was the same for him. So, it didn’t make sense for “us” to wait for that step, whereas if we had been each others’ firsts, it might have mattered more to wait.
As for once you’ve got the milk, so to speak– what’s the point? For us, the point is children. I don’t believe in having children out of wedlock (for myself ONLY– This is NOT a judgement!!!) so, since I know I want them– this is the “next step” for us.
I think it’s just a matter of what your plan/priorities are.
Post # 6
In real life I’ve definitely noticed much shorter dating times between those who are waiting for marriage and those who are not. I live in the South, so I have a lot of acquintances who have gotten married before they graduated college. On the flip side, SO and I did not wait. We’ll be getting married young, but we’ll be college graduates. We could wait longer to get engaged/married, but we know we want to spend the rest of our lives together.
However, there are always outliers. I had friends who dated for five years before they got engaged at 22 and 23. They were planning a wedding in three months so they could live together because of their religious beliefs. If that had not been an issue I’m sure they would have had a much longer engagement.
ETA: I wouldn’t have children or buy a house together without, but I would sign an apartment lease. I’ve also already pledge to move wherever my SO does after he graduates. That’s scary, but I’m 95% positive he’ll propose before we move.
Post # 7
I really don’t think this is true anymore. My SO and I just moved into together, not because we want sex without being tied down in a marriage, but because it’s the next step before getting engaged and getting married. I realize marriage is obsolete to some people, but I’ve daydreamed about it my whole life and it’s something that both of us really want. I told a lot of people of many different ages that we’re living together, and not one person gave me a condescending response about “shacking up” before marriage. I think people understand this is an important step for us, and they were nothing but happy for us.
Post # 8
Hmm… maybe if we couldn’t have sex for religious reasons, we would have gotten married sooner. I don’t know though, since I don’t think sex is worth it to most people to rush into a marriage they’re not sure about.
I think age is a huge factor though. It just happens that the age when people start longing for marriage tends to be older for men than for women! I also think desire to have children can be a factor, which is probably why a lot of women feel pressure to get started sooner rather than later. But I’m sure it’s different for every couple. I wouldn’t worry that having sex with him means he’s not gonna marry you though. On the contrary… many men would be very worried about marrying someone they hadn’t already had sex with. (not ALL men, obviously…)
Post # 9
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
I definitely know some people (religious ones) who got married FAST because they were so eager to have sex (and have admitted that a lot of the haste was for this reason). This always worries me because we know from studies that it take 6-12 months for a non-LDR for the members of a couple to stop involuntarily putting themselves out always on the best bahvarior, for hormones to normalize, and for two people to really get to know each other. Yet the same religious convictions that often lead to this rushing in also often (though not always) make divorce an inconceivable option, so people stay in an unhealthy marriage and even progress to have children because that’s the next thing to do. Waiting can be right for many people, but it makes me worry when it causes people to rush into marriage just so they can finally have sex.
Post # 10
Oh man, you have no idea how much I hate that statement because I think it’s incredibly sexist. I also don’t think it’s true at all. My FI and I lived together before getting engaged, and we’ve also been dating for eight years, but living together has nothing to do with when we got engaged–it didn’t make out “dating years” longer or anything. We started dating when I was 16, and I did not want to get married before I turned 25, because people go through SO many life changes before that age that I wanted to make sure we grew together in these formative years rather than apart. Luckily that was the case!
But overall, I think if a guy wants to get married he will propose, whether he and his girlfriend live together or not. If he doesn’t want to get married, he won’t, simple as that. If a couple lives together for a long time and the girl is just waiting and waiting for the guy to propose, I hate to sound harsh but he’s just not ready. I truly don’t believe that the fact that they live together has anything to do with it. And would you really want to use living together as a way to essentially threaten a guy into proposing anyway? I wouldn’t have felt very good about myself if my FI said he wasn’t ready to get married but he was ready to take the step of living together and I said, “Well, too bad, I’ll only move in if you propose,” and then he proposed. I would feel like I basically pushed him into it.
I do, however, absolutely think that having sex before marriage often translates into dating longer before marriage, however I view this as a very good thing. I’m sure that if my FI and I had “saved” ourselves for marriage we would have gotten married earlier, and that would have been a mistake. We are settled now, we’re comfortable living with each other, we know SO much about each other that we wouldn’t have known a few years ago. I think that not having sex before marriage can sometimes push people into marriage sooner than they’re ready, which is unfortunate. I know a girl who got married during our second year of college–she was religious so they did not have sex before marriage and they dated for two years, max. She’s divorced now, just a few years later and before age 25. If they had been open to having sex before marriage, I feel like they probably would have at least waited until at least after college to get married, and maybe they would have discovered they were ultimately incompatible without ever getting married at all.
Post # 11
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I think there are people who are more traditionally marriage-oriented than others. The rub seems to occur when one partner is more marriage-oriented than the other. When those values don’t align, conflict about priorities and timelines is bound to arise. So the key isn’t about living together, getting it on, not living together, or not getting it on. The key is in making sure that your values, priorities, and timelines are in sync every step of the way, and not making big decisions (moving in together, buying a house, having a child, etc.) until you’ve achieved that alignment as a couple.
Mr. Lk and I discussed what we were looking for on our very first date. I put it out there that I was looking for a life partner so that he could decide whether my goals fit with his. And at each step of the way we checked-in with each other to make sure that we were still in sync. Fortunately our values and timelines continued to aligned, and we made every single decision together as a team.
Post # 12
I think its a combination of individual morals/ideals and societal influences.
Its just a different era with new boundaries and goals.
I think thats why its so important when getting in a relationship to really delve into each others ideals so there isn’t a future of tension and let down on the horizon.
Post # 13
Ok, first off I hate that saying. What am I in that situation? A cow? Milk?
I think that, yes, generally speaking people tend to get married older now, and often times after living together….so perhaps it has somehting to do with males feeling there isn’t so much of a “rush” if you’re living together…but I also think there are a lot of other societal factors that contribute to this. A big one being that a lot more women work outside the house now and they want to finish school, get started in their careers, etc before getting married. Plus there’s the whole notion that since you need more school now than say 20 years ago to get a job, you will wait later to get engaged, because you want to be “set” in your career.
*deep breath* whew. So with all my sociology speak aside-personally, I don’t think living together contributed to how long we waited. I think it actually made both of us more sure that we were doing the right thing in getting married. That’s not to say that the other side of the coin doesn’t work out-my parents never lived together before being married….
So, to summarize. Basically, I don’t know. 😛
Post # 14
@OneOfTheseDaysAlice: For us as well… We were also very young when we got together ( both of us had previous partners as well, so waiting did not make sense at the time ) so everybody said we should wait to get engaged…. now it’s nearly a decade and this “step” seems to be taking too damn long.
@Scc6a: I agree with you 100%. I hate that statement, it’s such a double standart and I hate that it compares women to animals…. Same with the ” why buy a car…” Women are not bought.
If a couple lives together for a long time and the girl is just waiting and waiting for the guy to propose, I hate to sound harsh but he’s just not ready.
Urgh, I really hope, and don’t think this is the case with us. He does want to get married It’s almost like the longer dating time has psyched him out, theres a lot more pressure and expectation he feels for it to be “perfect”.
I do, however, absolutely think that having sex before marriage often translates into dating longer before marriage, however I view this as a very good thing. I’m sure that if my FI and I had “saved” ourselves for marriage we would have gotten married earlier, and that would have been a mistake. We are settled now, we’re comfortable living with each other, we know SO much about each other that we wouldn’t have known a few years ago. I think that not having sex before marriage can sometimes push people into marriage sooner than they’re ready, which is unfortunate.
Yes, for sure. I’ve seen couples like that as well… It seems almost counterproductive to the altimate goal. I think that if my SO and I got married earlier we would have been fine to be honest; yes we have been through much more now, but we are the same people deep down.
I would obviously never do this because it’s terrible, but I can’t help but think that if I cut my SO off, and not “put out” he would hurry the h*ll up and run to elope. (completely joking, lol)
Post # 15
@teabiscuit: I can understand that pressure, and I think you’re right–it’s not always the case that the guy isn’t ready…I guess I’m just trying to express that I hate how that idiom puts all the blame on the woman, like, “Oh, well, you brought this upon yourself, didn’t you? I guess you can’t complain then.” And it’s just not fair. There are two people in a relationship and a marriage and this statement reduces it to the point that the man basically has all the power and the woman f’ed up, which I don’t think is the case at all when a couple moves in before marriage (obviously, since I did it!)
Also, I always think–who exactly is supposed to be the COW in this scenario?! lol
Post # 16
I personally think sex doesn’t have nearly as much to do with it as living together. You can have sex without thinking of yourself as husband and wife, but if you live together, it can be hard to convince the guy that getting married is worth the trouble if nothing is actually going to change as far as day-to-day life. Not saying that nothing would change, or that there aren’t good reasons for doing it, but it’s hard sometimes to make men see that.