(Closed) Living Together before Engagement

posted 11 years ago in Waiting
Post # 47
Member
232 posts
Helper bee

@stacycats: Not making an assumption about most women…hence my usage of the word “may” instead of “is”.  

The thread is about a Bee who is nervous that her cohabitation will lead to no or slow engagement.  As a fellow cohabiter, I’m merely providing her support, not stereotyping women who choose not to cohabit.  The statistic that I was referring to in the quote you referrenced I feel sheds a very negative light on cohabiters and is presented in such a way that preaches “If you live with your man, he’s less likely to marry you”.  I don’t think thats fair to women who are living with their SO’s or are thinking about it.  That’s like saying telling someone who is thinking about test driving a car “Well you know, if you test drive it, you are less likely to buy it.”  Who cares?  Don’t you want to buy the car you’ve driven and know you love?

I believe I already said this in my last post, but I’ll say it again, I can completely understand women who don’t want to live with their SO’s.  I am not bashing their ideas…I just feel bad for women who genuinely want to live with their SO’s or already are and let this stuff get to them.  Like PP’s have said before, if he’s a great man, he’ll marry you regardless of what you’ve already given him. 

 

Post # 48
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I actually think living together before you’re engaged is important because it is a huge adjustment and can actually strengthen a “healthy” relationship (emphasis on healthy).

My best explanation: take a long-distance relationship.  Every time you see each other takes planning, effort, and involves all of the “good” stuff (going out, special events, doing fun things, etc etc).  But living together = full time and that means that  you don’t just do the fun stuff, you’re there for all of it.  You don’t have to put in as much effort to see each other because, hey, you’re not just in a relationship, you’re also roommates.  So, I think it’s important to try that out and work on that adjustment, realizing that you’re not just going to do the fun stuff, but also the laundry.

I also think if you have the story of “you moved in together and now he hasn’t proposed because he’s comfortable” – that can happen even if you DON’T live together.

And those statistics about the chance of divorce if you cohabitate before living together?  I definitely think it depends on your reasons.  If you are living together to save money, then yes, I believe it may increase your chance of divorce. If you move in together in the hopes that it will “push” the relationship towards marriage, then again, it’s not good. 

Post # 49
Member
234 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

@phoenix718: The statistic that I was referring to in the quote you referrenced I feel sheds a very negative light on cohabiters and is presented in such a way that preaches “If you live with your man, he’s less likely to marry you”.

Actually — if you’d read up on the abundant research –he (or she) may be more likely to marry out of obligation after cohabitating.

 

That’s like saying telling someone who is thinking about test driving a car “Well you know, if you test drive it, you are less likely to buy it.”  Who cares?  Don’t you want to buy the car you’ve driven and know you love.

 Thankfully I have never compared my relationships or my love to buying a car.  Test driving and dating or cohabitating — to me the two experiences are simply not analogous. 

Post # 50
Member
25 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2011

From what I’ve read, the reason that people who cohabitate together may be slower to marry/never marry/get divorced could be because

  • those who do not live together before marriage for religious reasons may also be more likely to marry and less likely to get divorced for the exact same religious reasons, so it all goes together
  • people who “fall into” living together rather than living together as a conscious decision for strengthening the relationship may also “fall into” marriage. For example, if you move in together very early for financial reasons, you may not be ready for marriage for a while, or you may approach marriage the same way as living together…because it’s the easy thing to do
  • if you move in together without discussing future expectations for the relationship, you may end up where one person is happy with how things are and is scared to challenge the status quo by getting married (if it ain’t broke…) while the other person may really want to get married, which is going to be a strain on the relationship

There are other theories as well, and nothing explains every relationship because every relationship is different. From what I’ve read, if you are in a happy and committed relationship, you have discussed your plans for the future and you see your commitment to living together as a step toward marriage, the negative effects of living together don’t really apply to you. There are way too many confounding factors to say that living together before marriage is the sole reason some couples make it and some don’t.

Like most things, the key is communication! If you and your SO are happy, on the same page and have similar expectations/timelines (even if that means you both don’t know when you’ll be ready to get married!) then I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

Post # 51
Member
43 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2011

i think it is great! my fiance and i have been living together for 3 years. i think we have learned even more about each other and it has made us closer.

Post # 52
Member
232 posts
Helper bee

@stacycats:  Agree to disagree, this is a public forum afterall, but condecending tone was completely unnecessary.  Thanks! 🙂

Post # 53
Member
2631 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think it should be based on what works for the couple. DH and I moved in together after 8 months of dating because we knew we were in it for the long haul. Personally it was a pretty big adjustment for me, so I am glad we did it BEFORE we got married!

Post # 54
Member
3974 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

Personally, I don’t think you really know someone or know how well you can get along with them until you have lived together. Those were things I wanted to be aware of before jumping into getting married.

Post # 55
Member
361 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

the cohab stat doesn’t matter.  half of couples don’t work – whether they cohabitated or not.  the fact of the matter is both people, whether they live together before or after marriage, have to want the same thing.  I have friends that moved in together a month after meeting each other, I have friends that got a place after getting engaged 10 years into their relationship, and I have friends that refused to move in with someone until they were married, and all of the relatioinships are fine because communication was open.

Post # 56
Member
234 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

@phoenix718: My apologies that you were offended by my response or if my tone seemed condescending.

Post # 57
Member
398 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Well I always said that I never wanted to live with someone before, but I do. My boyfriend My fiancé was put in a predicament about 6 months when his roommate abruptly was going to give up their apartment. At the time, he had been laid off from work and couldn’t afford his own place (he did have money to live off of, just not enough to get his own place) He has no family close by either. So moving in with me made the most sense. We are both a little older also I’m 34 and he’s 36. We had talk about our intentions in the beginning of our relationship that we both wanted marriage and family. But I did make it clear that if we did this that an engagement needed to be on the horizon. It was 5 ½ months on New Years Eve and I got an engagement ring. I don’t believe in long engagements so there will be a wedding this year.

Post # 58
Member
1456 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

@marlew: I agree with you, though I would say that the stats don’t matter, period. I hate seeing statistics thrown around in threads like these because every single couple in the thread is going to have a different experience.

For me, I wouldn’t live with a SO before marriage–that kind of financial/lifestyle dependency before the commitment of marriage just doesn’t sit well with me. When my fiance and I marry, we’re going to merge our lives together as husband and wife, which offers much more security than boyfriend/girlfriend.

From what I’ve seen, cohabitating ultimately makes little difference in the relationship. As long as the commitment is there and you understand each other, you’ll be fine. If you’re not on the same page there will be problems, of course; but people will live happily with an ape if they love the ape. 😛

Post # 59
Member
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I heard on an NPR radio interview recently that a recent study showed that the population with the highest marriage success rate (fewest divorces after 10 years) were couples who were older than 28 who had both finished college and had lived together before getting married. The catch is that this is only true for people who had only lived with ONE person, the person they married.  The “serial cohabitators” who live with multiple partners in quick succession, account for what people cite when they say that couples who live together first are more likely to get divorced. So, especially if you’re in that category, people who tell you that it means you’ll either get divorced or “he’ll never propose” may strongly hold that opinion, but don’t have a statistical leg to stand on. 

It is a highly personal decision and very driven by individual context. It feels very strange to me to imagine that up until the day we get married, we would each have our own apartment, but I know people for whom that feels right. We were very excited to move in together, but at the point at which we made that decision, neither of us were ready to get married. 

 

Post # 60
Member
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

OK this was bugging me but I found it – here’s an article that references the research I heard about from Univ of Michigan.  Basically what I remember of the upshot was that income and education are the single biggest predictors of marriage success (the higher your level of each, the less likely to divorce), and “serial cohabitors” who tend to have less stable income skew the statistics toward higher rates of divorce.  Particularly in areas with higher incomes and higher costs of living, couples are moving in together and delaying marriage for various career/financial reasons (finishing grad school, saving for house, etc) and when you live with ONE person, your odds of success are no different (and in higher income/education brackets, are even higher) than people who don’t live together first. 

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/36056750/ns/today-books/

Post # 61
Member
5 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2017

@Minutiae and

View original reply
@marlew: I wholeheatedly agree with both of you… the stats don’t matter. IMO – it’s purley an individual choice and whether there are outside forces acting upon that (religion, family, finances, etc…) and not for me (or anyone) to decide what is and isn’t right or wrong for someone.

Before my mother passed I remember her telling my 2 sisters and me that we should always live with someone prior to marriage and I ended up taking her advice; however both of my sisters would prefer not to… and that’s okay. Everyone has a different path they take with the person they choose to spend the rest of their lives with.

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