This is a tricky one. Most of the time I say no way — especially if I’ve seen any kind of red flags in a relationship. I’m pretty fiercely independent. At 45 (46 in a couple weeks – holy shit!) I’ve never been married, I’ve owned two homes on my own, I raised my daughter pretty much on my own, I’ve traveled very extensively completely by myself, and I’ve taken nothing from my parents (other than “normal” Christmas and birthday presents) since I was 20.
When I first met my Fiance, I lived in a one bedroom apartment in Charlotte, about 1.5 hours away from him. I had lost my well-paying, full-time job, and my house, in the recession (NC was hit especially hard and the unemployment rate here was among the highest in the country), but by the time we met I was well on my way to rebuilding. I had my own business (a small retail shop), and I had a decent amount of savings. But my now Fiance / then boyfriend knew that I had a desire to return to grad school, and it just so happened that he lived 20 minutes away from the only state school in NC that offers a MA in my field. After we had dated about 8 months, he suggested that I move in with him and follow my desire to return to school. I was seriously hesitant, but I agreed, both because I saw a real future with him (I told him I would only move in if we were heading for marriage), and because my shop, while sufficient to support me, was never going to earn as much as I was previously making (my supplier has restrictions on my ability to expand), and retail is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. Although my Fiance has not completely supported me — I have worked two part-time jobs including my shop (which I had to move to a new city and start over again in building a customer base) and my teaching assistantship, I pay my own car insurance and gas (fortunately I paid cash for my car years ago, and Hondas are reliable, even after 200,000+ miles!), and I buy a large percentage of the groceries and household necessities — the reality is that he pays for the vast majority of my existence, and I live a MUCH better lifestyle than I would if did not live with him (we live on a lake in a resort area, he has a boat, we spend a lot of time relaxing on the dock, going nice places with friends, etc.). Without him, I never could have gone back to school and lived anything but a very austere life in a studio or one bedroom apartment. Therefore, if not for him, I probably would not have accomplished my dream of earning my masters (I just graduated in December).
I am now actively job hunting, and I should (hopefully!) be able to find a full-time job relatively quickly (luckily the NC economy is strong again!). I am also getting ready to have my going out of business sale for my shop — it has been an awesome 6 years of self-employment, and I am soooo grateful that I was able to build it during the recession when I had no other opportunities open to me, but like I said above, it is not what I want to do forever. I am also actively looking forward to contributing financially — my Fiance has been beyond generous and supportive, and had never held it against me, but it is definitely time for me to start “pulling my weight.”
So that is a very long way of saying that although I generally do not think anyone should be dependent upon anyone else, especially when they are not married, it can sometimes be okay, and it does sometimes work out. From what you’ve said about your BF, he sounds like a good guy, and the arrangement (and relationship!) may work out for you two. Just be careful and don’t ignore / overlook / rationalize any red flags before you make any big deicisions! ETA: and I do agree with the PP – be sure to have a back up plan! I did, and actually still do, although I no longer think I need it.