I was with my now husband for 2 1/2 years when I moved in. We were living together just over a year when we got engaged, and then it was another 9 months before we married.
Seriously – it was one of the best decisions we ever made.
You’re going to get the ups and downsides of every possible perspective in this thread. His family was a little more disapproving than mine (mine made jokes, but that was about it – they saw it more as a step toward marriage). His grandmother felt the need to comment on it multiple times. I shrugged it off and after a few times, they gave up and shut up.
I can’t imagine getting engaged and having the stress of planning a wedding on top of figuring out the ins and outs of living together. The first few months of living together were rough. By the time we got engaged, I was relaxed – I knew what I was getting into. I did not have a big wedding – there were 55 folks, all in one venue, and the cost for everything, Honeymoon included, came in at under $7k. But it was still a little stressful planning it, and I’m glad that I moved one thing at a time out of the way.
The real question here is – what’s holding you back? It sounds like you’re in the preliminary stages of this conversation, so it’s normal to be taken aback, especially since you had a different vision of how things would go. I think it’s time to really explore this and talk about your expectations. He’s said “at least a year” – but what do you want? And I do suggest a cap on that – you don’t want to get into a situation where you agreed to “at least a year,” assuming you’d be engaged at the end of that timeframe.
I’d tell him how long you’re willing to live together. I wouldn’t threaten to break up at that point, but I would make it clear that after that date, you plan to move out. If he can’t give you a concrete timeframe, that’s a real problem. “At least” does not suffice. This changes depending on his situation – i.e., if he needs that time because he’s still in school or he’s working on getting a job. But only you can determine if his reasons for stalling are valid.
My husband and I agreed to a year timeframe when we moved in together. We discussed who would handle which bills, which chores, etc. I really think that helped us avoid a lot of the kinks that can come with first moving in together.
My parents were not happy about us living together before an engagement, but they realized he was a good guy and he was taking care of me. More than that, several others in our family had cohabited, so they saw it as a step toward marriage. They were more concerned about appealing to the family.
It was awkward when I first saw my husband’s family after we first moved in together. Initially, I was furious because his mother and grandmother decided they were going to ‘hide it’ from his grandpa. After a day or two, I told my husband that I wasn’t going to go along with their lie and be trapped omitting things about our life together around them. I wasn’t going to get into hot water for his family for talking about my *own* life around them. He agreed, spoke to them and they quickly told him. He took it very well.
I was a grown woman, and now I look back and laugh at how uncomfortable I was. By the second time seeing everyone after the move, everyone had moved on and no one cared anyway. And if either side had made a stink about it, we just wouldn’t be around much.