Living together before proposals/marriage

posted 1 year ago in The Lounge
Post # 46
2417 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m not pro or anti living together before proposal/marriage.

The important thing, imo, is that the couple AGREE on their motivation for moving in, their desire to marry, and a timeline. 

If a couple moves in together with differing motives (guy wants to save money, have easy access to girl vs. girl hoping for marriage) then they are just hopping on the fast train to heartbreak central. 

If you want marriage, you should never ever move in with someone until you KNOW you’re on the same path and that you have the same motivations for the move. 

My husband asked me to move in after 8 months together. I told him I would, on the condition that our motivation for doing so was the same, and so long as he would share his engaged/married timeline with me. He agreed our motivations were the same, and his timeline was even quicker than mine, so I moved in. 

He proposed 11 months after I moved in, and we were married 11 months after that.

Post # 47
2603 posts
Sugar bee

I don’t think there is a right or wrong. I’ve lived with multiple partners, but personally I found it such a pain to move in/move out and disentangle lives with live-in partners that I didn’t want to go through that again until it was for keeps — especially since living on my own was pretty great. I was therefore interested last time around in the “don’t move in until engagement” philosophy. Not because I thought it would disincentivize men from wanting to marry me, but to protect my own interests by focusing on me until I met someone who was all in.

On the other hand, my now-husband had never lived with a partner before, so it was important to him to have a test run before making things official. I understood where he was coming from, so I compromised and we moved in together at 8 months. He proposed 4 months later, at a year together, so it definitely didn’t slow things down for us. If anything, it accelerated them. For him, it was important to make sure living together would work before making things official, whereas I already had that experience so I knew myself well enough to know that there wouldn’t be surprises. He later said that as soon as we moved in together he knew he never wanted to live without me, so if anything that was the clincher for him. 

I agree that the important thing is making sure both partners are on the same page. I wouldn’t have moved in with my husband if we hadn’t discussed and both been interested in marriage. Before we moved in together, we had discussed marriage, kids, finances, etc. We had agreed that – assuming all went well with living together – we would be engaged within a year of move in, and at no less than 1 year together. And he followed through on that, proposing at the earlier end of our timeline. I personally wouldn’t recommend anyone moving in together without being on the same page about where the relationship would go and what the timeline for any potential engagement/marriage would be. That is a recipe for disappointment and resentment. 

Post # 48
3455 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

I agree with PPs here that it’s all about making sure you make these big decisions based on motivations and intentions that are the same. 

Post # 49
598 posts
Busy bee

There is also the other way to look at it; Dont buy a cow until you try the milk. 😛

Post # 50
1194 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Other people should do what works for them. I was never going to share bills with someone I wasn’t engaged to. For me, breaking up with a boyfriend should be as easy as “no thanks”. I didn’t want to split accounts, leases, vehicles, etc. 

I don’t believe in the cow/ milk analogy. It wasn’t about whether the guy would lose interest, but entirely about my investment in the relationship. If I’m not invested for years, why would I sign contracts that could impact my credit for years?  If I am not planning to be a legal entity with a man, I don’t want to be impacted by his savings, earnings or credit. If I’m not his wife (or officially planning to be), I don’t want to invest my time in making his home— nor would I expect him to do the same with me.

Post # 51
587 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2020 - Summer Camp!

View original reply
knotyet :  Perhaps my situation is less common, but I think living together has increased our commitment, and we’re getting engaged faster than we would have had we not lived together. We adopted a dog together, so I think there’s a bit of a mindset of having someone to take of together strengthening the desire to further entwine our lives. 

Post # 52
12801 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I don’t think there has to be a proposal, but no, as a general rule I would never move in with someone if there wasn’t a mutual understanding it would lead to an engagement in a reasonable period of time. I’m not talking about waiting for years, either. The “if all goes well” is assumed, but it doesn’t always work out that way. 

Post # 53
4959 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Darling Husband and I got engaged the day we moved in together, but we had an original timeline of about a year. I think timelines are super important when moving in together, and you need to be willing to walk if they aren’t met (or at least without having another conversation about it). I also would never buy property with someone I wasn’t engaged or married to, which also seems common with the Bees who write in asking for advice. Living together with an agreed upon timeline that hasn’t lapsed and buying property, having children, and having a long-past timeline are two very different scenarios. 

Post # 54
2084 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

I think it’s less about actually living together and more about the commitment and foundation of your relationship.  A lot of bees here live in Red Flag City, Waiting Board and wonder why their boyfriends won’t propose.  I lived with my husband before marriage which was ideal for us and there was no waiting period. We both never thought we would get married but started dating and changed that for each other then we both wanted to. I told him I didn’t want to get engaged or married until after I was done with college and had started my career which those two things happened back to back and less than a year later he proposed. It was that simple. He saved for about 6 months  bought the ring, and proposed. If you’re not with someone who wants to be married it doesn’t matter if you live together beforehand or don’t. It all comes down to each individual relationship and the communication and commitment between those two people. I know people who don’t live together and guy won’t propose, people who got married because of having  an oops kid, people who had multiple kids and lived together first then got married. It really doesn’t matter. 

Post # 55
229 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2020 - Hopetoun House, UK

I agree with a lot of the PP’s. We moved in together after 8 months of dating, bought a house within 1.5 years, engaged just under 4 years, and will be together for 6 years by the time we get married.

Its not a “trial” run and didn’t do it because I have no “self-respect”, we just communicate and are on the same page. We contribute the same to the household and its upkeeping, times have changed and its no longer the stereotypical housewife getting dinner on the table everyday.

Post # 56
3137 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

We moved in together about 3 years before we got engaged. We met young though so our timelines are a little longer than someone who met in their late 20s.

We moved in because I was moving to London and he wanted to move out of his parents’ house. We did look at getting flat shares but we realised it would be a waste paying 2 rents, we’d probably spend a lot of time together and that would be unfair on any housemates.

I do agree that a couple should be on the same page about their future, but couples need to go at their own pace and not look to others to give their timelines.

Post # 57
718 posts
Busy bee

I too see this and find it odd. I would never have felt comfortable marrying somebody if I didn’t live with them. In fact I left s man because I could see a pathway forward since he was opposed to living together before marriage and I couldn’t feel comfortable getting married without that knowledge. My husband and I lived together for two years before I felt comfortable getting married—- and I’m so glad we did. It showed me so many of his great traits! Ironically we now live apart much of the time (because my job is in another state!) We both so miss the days we were together all the time!

Post # 58
3985 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

View original reply
anonbee123123 :  I’m not the bee that said The majority of times it appears that marriage is NOT the goal for *one* of the couple! but I agree with what she was saying.  D.H. and I lived together before we were married, and he proposed about 6 months after we moved in.  The only time I tend to not support friends/family members moving in together is when it’s clear to me that their S.O. is stringing them along and doesn’t want to get married.  It’s really obvious to me that one of my good friends (who recently moved in with her S.O.) is in that situation and it’s going to lead to disappointment and make it a lot harder for her to eventually leave.  I assume that is what the bee was referring to.  

I think living together before marriage is really important as long as both parties are on the same page about their future (whether both are not interested in marriage or both are).  I used to think that I wouldn’t want to live with someone who was not my spouse (raised in a very religious household), but don’t regret it at all! 

Post # 59
1388 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve never in real life heared about a couple that didn’t live together before marriage. I also in real life haven’t heared about women waiting. I’ve also never in real life heared about men dragging their feet this much and I don’t think it’s connected to living  together. I doubt they be more motivated if living in their own apartment. 

I guess it is because people coming to bee are talking about problems and then there are few vocal people. Also I think it is cultural and then location and religion affects. 

Post # 60
227 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
anonbee123123 :  I am totally with you on the lack of understanding here. Why would you willingly continue in a higher tax bracket when as a married couple you would likely pay less. Also, insurance is usually cheaper if your marriage. I mean that is no where close to the list of reason you should marry but it just doesn’t make logical sense to me. I mean moving it itself is a huge money saver.

Anyways, I have always been in the try before you make a commitment  that involves lawyers to get out of mindset, I just can’t understand the concept of making that kind of commitment if you haven’t lived together first. For all you know, they could be the worst roommate ever or you guys could fight all the time. Don’t even get me started on sexual compatible. I will never understand some folks but that seems like a super weird way to look as a relationship to me. I get that some people have religious reasons but it still seems archaic to me. Especially the whole “milk/cow” analogy, why are we still comparing women to farm animals and insinuating marriage is some kind of one sided ownership type transaction? 

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