(Closed) Living Together before Engagement

posted 11 years ago in Waiting
Post # 32
Member
6377 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

Living together before marriage was an absolute must for us. I personally could never imagine marrying someone that I didn’t live with first (though I do know some couples who didn’t live together before marriage and it worked out for them). Dating and living together are two very different things. Your SO could have some strange habits that you just can’t deal with but after your married, your pretty much stuck.

Fiance and I have lived together for almost 5 years. We have joint finances already so the only thing thats going to change for us after we’re married is our filing status. We didn’t get engaged until after 5 years of dating. I was definitely “waiting” for a few years but eventually everything worked out. Even though we lived together and had joint finances, there was still an incentive for him to propose because he wanted to marry me. 

Post # 33
Member
232 posts
Helper bee

@courthouse: I do agree with not buying property until you are at least engaged…1) for legal reasons- the split of assets involving a house and mortgage (and possible ensuing foreclosure and bankruptcy) is seriously just like a divorce, without it being a divorce.  and 2) that’s where I draw the line in the sand when it comes to commitment, security and the cow/milk analogy.  Once you buy that property, in my opinion, it signifies that you are settled.  It’s very symbolic of the beginning of the new life together and permanency.  For my own mental-well being (as well as the legal reasons), I’d want to be engaged/married first before we settle into that kind of commitment

Post # 34
Member
2200 posts
Buzzing bee

I am living with my SO before being engaged but we also decided to do things completely out of order. His incentive to propose… well we have a son together so it just makes sense to be a complete and legal family.

Post # 35
Member
7039 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

We moved in before getting engaged, but had talked about our marriage timeline prior to agreeing to move in. We both knew that the engagement was coming within a year (it ended up being 8 months after moving in), and the wedding happened a year after that. I generally think that moving in should happen like it did with us – with all parties involved knowing the whens and whys of a possible proposal/marriage timeline (or if one or neither of you want marriage, that’s also important to hash out/know!!)

Post # 36
Member
232 posts
Helper bee

@crayfish:  Exactly!  (And hello, my fellow MA resident!) 

Post # 37
Member
25 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2011

We were all about living together first to make sure we were compatible…until we moved in together. I wasnt comfortable combining finances or doing joint holidays until we were married and I quickly realized that I wanted those things, and wanted to be married. We got privately engaged a month after moving in together and got officially engaged after 2 months. I always thought it was important to live together first but when it became reality, we were ready to get engaged and make the full commitment. I absolutely love living together during our engagement though.

Post # 38
Member
25 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Oops, double post.

Post # 39
Member
355 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Wow, reading your post was like reading the story of my life…

My fiance and I also met our first week of college eight years ago (lol we both skipped out on a freshman orientation event and bumped into each other in the dorm lobby).  We’ve been living together pretty much since our junior year.

We knew by the time we started living together five years ago that we’d get married eventually, but we were young so I didn’t think about it much… until a couple years ago.  One day, it just hit me that we’d been together for this long (six years at the time), and he hasn’t even proposed yet.  I realized we talked about our “kids” more than we talked about actually getting married.  

I started dropping hints for half a year after that and then started straight up asking what his intentions were.  He said he didn’t feel like he had all his ducks in a row, and thus wasn’t ready to get married.  He started avoiding any marriage talk and my resentment started mounting because I felt like it was my fault for living together so early on.  I started to think he wasn’t proposing because I was giving the milk for free, so he didn’t have to buy the cow.

It got so bad that it was starting to affect my sleep, so earlier this summer, I finally told him how I was feeling.  I broke down and told him that I felt like he was holding out for someone better to come along.  He felt terrible, assured me that was definitely not the case, and told me again that he felt he needed to be more established in his career before we married.  I told him that part of being committed is sticking by each other whether times are good or bad, and left it at that.  I had also set a mental proposal deadline for the end of 2011 (not unreasonable IMO) because it’s not fair to keep someone around for that long with no promise to marry.

I think the conversation really got the boy thinking because he proposed a month later:)  It took my guy eight years to see the light.  Hopefully it won’t take your guy that long.  Seeing that our stories are so similar, perhaps you should also sit down with your bf and let him know how you feel.  

All in all, I don’t regret living together for so long.  We’ve figured each other out, know that we’re compatible.  It does feel like we’re already married, sans the joint account, so being married will be that much easier – no surprises.  Good luck and keep us posted!

Post # 40
Member
314 posts
Helper bee

@cherrycoke:  I agree with you, I think living together before getting engaged allows each partner to learn so much more about the other. By living together you learn their quirks, their habits, their preferences, etc…and it makes those first few years of marriage together that much easier.

To the OP, I think you guys living together already has you settled into your roles, therefore there won’t be any surprises when you are married (which in my opinion is better and a lot easier). The actual act of getting married is just making that commitment/promise in front of your family and friends and to celebrate your love with those you care about. Really, like you said, nothing much will change (with the exception of your name and bank account, but that’s no biggie). Also, a few things legally in terms of assets, retirement, life insurance and whatnot…

My boyfriend and I have been dating 2 years now and have been living together for the past 6 months. We know we’re practically like married, but without the mutual bank account (although we pretty much share the money). HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to get married, and I told him that. I told him, I believed in moving in together before getting engaged as sort of a “test drive,” but that I still wanted the commitment from him that we would soon marry. The incentive to propose would be to make it official–that’s it. Because you want it, and in my opinion, there doesn’t need to be a better reason than that.

Post # 41
Member
234 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

Do a little bit of research. The statistics are out there and readily available.

Living together before engagement or marriage decreases your chances of getting married and increases your chances of getting a divorce if you do get married.

Post # 42
Member
232 posts
Helper bee

@stacycats:  I know of the statistic that cohabitation decreases the chance of getting married and honestly, I don’t care about that one. That statistic may be more for the woman who wants the wedding than the woman who wants the long lasting marriage.  Like said before, hell, if living together first points out to me or my SO that we shouldn’t be getting married, then I’ve only done myself a favor for the future.

As far as cohabitation increasing the chances of divorce if/when cohabiters do get married?  I just really fail to see how cohabitation before marriage would apply to an increase in a couple’s chance of divorcing.  I think that statistic is a bit hokey.  Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of respect for couples that don’t live together before marriage, but it’s just a big risk.  It sounds absolutely horrible, but people are shadier than they were years and years ago.  It’s easier to hide bad habits and “secret behaviors” and harder to really get to know someone these days.    

Post # 43
Member
7039 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@phoenix718: I totally agree with you. Those stats don’t take into account the intentions of the couple or the reasons behind the cohabitation. Using stats that have not been teased apart for causation instead of just correlation is dangerous – you could be justifying life decisions on completely unfounded reasoning.

Post # 44
Member
315 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2020

@crayfish: I also agree with the above two statements.

I live with my BF. We’ve been dating for nearing 4 years, living together for about 3 years. At the time we started, he had been in his field of work for about 8 years, and myself out of college and getting back in. I took about 2 years to finish graduate school, and this winter is our first time being able to save up for anything since we were living nearly paycheck to paycheck the past couple of years.

Also, being at 25 nearing 26, I felt like I was way behind my peers because I have school and CC debts from my irresponsible (or moreso “poverty-level”) past.

BF loves living together. I think for us, it’s working out. We’re definitely in no rush to get married because we don’t have the financial resources that other couples our age have. Neither of our parents supported us through college or any of our living costs. They haven’t done so in years and we don’t think we’d let our pride allow them to. So we’re working pretty much from the ground up with debts from being “independent”, and it’s tough doing so in Orange County.

So we’re pretty much playing catch-up at this rate. He doesn’t want to be cohabiting for the rest of his life, although he hasn’t expressed when he wanted children yet. Myself…I’m giving it about 3 more years to see if we progress. I’m sure as long as you set the standards before you move in, things should be fine.

Standards being…timelines, what’s acceptable or not acceptable. Both of us don’t want to have kids out of wedlock, and I refuse to sign any property agreement or legal benefits to a guy who’s “just a boyfriend”.

Post # 45
Member
234 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

@phoenix718: That statistic may be more for the woman who wants the wedding than the woman who wants the long lasting marriage.

You’re stereotyping in order to rationalize your situation. You’re making a big assumption that most women who wait to co-habitate do so for a wedding. You do not need to prove yourself to anybody if you want to live with your boyfriend that’s your prerogative; sorry, but your explanation makes no sense. 

Post # 46
Member
1884 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

For me cohabitating before an engagement  was most definitely necessary.  I was previously in a long distance relationship and moved 2,000 miles to be with this guy and after only weeks of living together I was realizing that it was not as easy as it seemed and things fell apart quickly.

But with my Fiance we moved in together very shortly after we started dating (like maybe two weeks, althought it was supposed to be temporary at the time).  But we’ve lived together for 1 1/2 years and just got engaged last night, we still have things we need to work on in our relationship but I feel like we are in a great place for starting a future together.  And we have come a long way in only a year and a half, there is no way we could be where we are right now if we hadn’t been living together.

I also dont think any of the statistics can really apply to anyone, because every relationship is different… And I don’t see how cohabitating before marriage can lead to higher divorce rates?  That just doesn’t seem to make sense… If anyone would like to share some facts with me on this I’d love to read them!

**disclaimer:  I am sick and working off of only 3 hours of sleep, forgive me if this post makes no sense!**

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