(Closed) Shacking Up?

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
Member
1008 posts
Bumble bee

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ashleymilburn96 :  Honestly, only you can make this choice, and you have to do what makes sense for you.

I currently live with my boyfriend (we’ve been living together for 2.5 years) and we’re currently designing my ering and will be getting married in 2019. We’re making our choices based on what’s right for us.

You can find tons of studies out there that say living together before marriage is good, or bad, or makes no difference, but really, when it comes down to it every couple is different!

Good luck bee!

Post # 3
Member
1252 posts
Bumble bee

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ashleymilburn96 :  

I lived with my husband 1 year before we got married. And it was the best thing we did. Honestly if you’re going to split up before marriage for leaving together then you’re going to get divorced after you’re married and living together.

Happily married now, and I don’t think living together is a bad thing.

Post # 4
Member
11528 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Well, since you have asked for our opinions, I will give you mine.

I don’t know to what faith your your family members subscribe, but, because of my faith — as well as many practical reasons — I am not in favor of couples living together outside of marriage.

You probably already are aware of the faith-based reasons (if not, I would be happy to elaborate more on that), so I will focus on the more practical issues in this particular response.

You’re currently dating your boyfriend and are not yet engaged. I do not know current statistics on this, but, at one point, approximately half of all engagements (a step you haven’t yet reached) will never make it to marriage. I am one of those statistics myself. I was engaged when I was 29 and again when I was 46. My first engagement (to an amazingly wonderful person, I might add) ended in a break up. Just off the top of my head, I can cite at least seven instances in which friends or aquaintences of mine ended engagements, and I’m sure if I thought about it longer, I could come up with more.

If your relationship were to end while you’re engaged or even just living together, the break up becomes more messy and difficult. By that point, you would share a residence and some financial responsibilities. You can’t just put a quick end  to the relationship — it becomes a little bit like a divorce at that point, because someone has to move out, find a new place to live, perhaps leave the other person with a mortgage payment or rent that he or she cannot afford on his or her own, etc. Joint assets need to be divided. Sometimes people have joint ownership of pets, and that can be difficult to handle.

Also, although your SO seems to be on the same page with you regarding the timing of an engagement, these boards are overflowing with self-identified “waiting” bees who lament that their SOs just won’t propose. Some of these bees have been with their SOs for many, many years, but their partners end up being very content with the status quo of living together and don’t feel any need to move quickly toward either engagement or a wedding date. You may not ever end up being one of those people, but it’s something to consider.

On the other hand, sometimes people end up feeling so comfortable in a relationship, especially if they’ve been together for a long time and they live together, that they hesitate to end a relationship that, under different circumstances, they’d want to extract themselves from. There also are a lot of posts on these boards about how wonderful and amazing bees’ relationships are … EXCEPT for (insert the significant other’s tragic character flaw here.) They come to realize over time that there are things that they don’t want to have to deal with/put up with in a relationship, but they’re feel as if they can’t possibly end the relationship now, because they already have built a life together with this person and leaving would be emotionally painful, financially difficult, and messy. So, they end up staying in a bad relationship that, under different circumstances, they would probably choose to end.

In addition to my faith-based objections, those are some of the more practical aspects of why I am not in favor of couples living together outside of a marriage relationship.

Post # 5
Member
7518 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I can relate. I moved in with my fiance after we got engaged to the horror of the vast majority of my religious family. While the decision to move in with him was easy for me, the profound anxiety I felt in the months leading up to it was not a joke. It literally affected my physical health, knowing that I was making a choice that caused my family so much pain. I even went to therapy over this because I was just losing my mind—I think at one point I didn’t sleep for a solid two weeks, because I was so nervous about informing my parents of my decision to move in with my fiance.

Anyway, it’s all good. Living together is great. My family has gradually accepted the situation and things have sort of gone “back to normal” between us. I think the same will happen for you. If you really want to move in with your bf and you think this is the right move for your relationship, then you should do it.

 

Post # 6
Member
2231 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

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ashleymilburn96 :  you need to do what makes you happy not what makes your family happy. You’re planning to get married quite soon so in that sense your families noses won’t be out of joint for too long. There are some studies that indicate that divorce is more common amongst those who have lived together before marriage. I think for some people they agree that marriage is the next logical step in their relationship without considering if that is what they actually want and without understanding what marriage means. I also take issue with looking at these studies without the other variables that inevitably influence the divorce rate e.g. finances, religion, previous marriages to name but a few. If the study concluded that every couple who cohabits divorces and every couple who waits stays together indefinitely then I’d probably say listen to it but otherwise you need to consider the other factors at play and why in those circumstances divorce is higher. You should also remember that every couple who stays married isn’t necessarily happy but feel they can’t divorce for whatever reason. Which is something that those studies don’t take into account.

I lived with my husband for 4.5 years before we got married. I don’t know if we’ll get divorced but I also wouldn’t know if we would get divorced if we waited to live together. Neither myself nor my husband viewed marriage as the next logical step. We both viewed marriage as an important commitment and something we only wanted to do once (we’re both from divorced families so understand that divorce happens). For us living together was so important. Neither of us wanted to get married if we weren’t sure we could live together. However, at no point was marriage just a piece of paper and theoughout the lead upto our engagement and during our engagement we discussed what we wanted marriage to look like. What our expectations are. We aren’t guaranteed to be one of the couples who doesn’t divorce no matter what we did and so we needed to do what made sense for us to ensure we felt comfortable beating the odds. What works for you two? Do you feel like better the devil you know or that you shouldn’t take on such commitments until you’ve actually made that commitment? It’s a personal choice and there isn’t a right or wrong.

Post # 7
Member
117 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Moving in together was scary. But it also cemented our relationship status, and confirmed that we were moving in the right direction.  Together 5 years, moved in after 2.5 years, and have been married for 2 months.

 

Post # 8
Member
456 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

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ashleymilburn96 :  I lived with my now DH for 3 years before we were married; 2 in an apt and 1 in our house we bought together. We were engaged when we bought the house, as I wanted more of a commitment before I signed a mortgage, but that was just my personal feelings about that.

A lot of the studies around couples who live together before marriage and ending in divorce focus on couples who move in together, get engaged, and get married only because it’s the “next logical step” rather than a genuine desire to move forward together because they’re ready. It doesn’t sound like it for you, but couples who move in together just because they’ve been together a long time and not because they’re ready/have a strong desire to grow as a couple will likely end badly. When I moved in with my now DH, he knew that there was an expectation of marriage at some point (unless we broke up) and that I wouldn’t just wait around forever because now we were living together. I made that expectation loud and clear.

As far as the religious aspect, only you can really decide how you want to deal with those relatives. I assume that you’re sleeping together already (only bc your SO is currently living with you) which is a big reason why religion in general is against cohabitation, so in that case, does it really matter to you? I had some family members not thrilled with our living together before marriage, my parents included, but it had to do more with being “traditional” than anything else. I decided to do what was right for me and my relationship than let family dictate to me, but that was a personal choice. Frankly, I wouldn’t marry anyone I haven’t lived with, but again, only you can make that choice.

At the end of the day, I that you and your SO need to make the best decision for the two of YOU and nobody else.

Post # 9
Member
449 posts
Helper bee

It’s really just a personal decision. There is no way to predict if it will be beneficial for your relationship and your marriage timeline because it comes down to the individuals. Maybe you’ll learn something new about each other, maybe not.

Personally, it is extremely important to live together before marriage. When I was in a bad relationship, it made me see exactly how bad it was (sure, it sucked breaking up, but I am so glad I had the truth right unavoidably in my face). When I moved in with my husband, it reassured me that we were a great fit.

Post # 10
Member
8898 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: Dorset, UK

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ashleymilburn96 :  I mean no disrespect to you relatives and their views but life is way too short, do what makes you happy. If moving in feels right, then do it. Get married when it feels right. We all spend way too much time worrying about what other people will think / how they will react but if they really care about you, they will just want you to be happy.

Post # 11
Member
11528 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

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railroaderwifeyxo : “Honestly if you’re going to split up before marriage for living together, then you’re going to get divorced after you’re married and living together.”

Not necessarily.

I almost included this issue in my prior post, but I originally decided not to, since it relates much more to my faith-based (rather than practical) reasons for not being in favor of living together. However, since you’ve raised this point, I wanted to add my thoughts about this also.

Many couples that I know, including my husband and myself, involve partners who are very different from each other. Although my husband and I share a similar faith and values, we are so different in so many other ways. And our circumstances when we began attempting to blend our lives together were outrageously difficult. (We met online, lived in two different states, saw each other only a couple of times a month prior to becoming engaged, didn’t truly know each other well at all by the time we married, etc. My DH had been married previously for almost 20 years when his first wife left him, and I had never been married. He has multiple children. I didn’t even have a live plant to care for at that point in my life. He was happy with small town life in a rural area. I lived in a thriving metropolitan area. I had to quit my fullfilling and lucrative corporate job and give up my friends, church, house and life and relocate. I became a stepmom and pastor’s wife. It took me several years to find a job in my field here, etc.) This venture was anything but easy.

I also discovered, much to my dismay, that the circumstances of my DH’s life left barely any time for me. I learned that he is totally a night person, and I am a day person. I discovered that two people who, between them, have five degrees and who work in fields that involve strong communications skills could hardly communicate with each other. It’s fair to say that we were both pretty miserable for a period of years. Marriage was very hard for us. In fact, I believe it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.

If my DH and I had had different beliefs and values and had approached our relationshp by living together instead of marrying before beginning our lives together, I think I can say that one or both of us would have chosen to end the relationship. It was painful and difficult. However, because of our faith and commitment to God, and the vows that we made to each other, we stayed in the relationship and fought for it. We forced oursleves to go through the hard times and to allow God to change us and mold us and to cause us to “die to self” in some challenging areas of our lives so that we would be able to have the marriage that He wanted us to have.

I had to learn over time that the man God chose for me would not be an easy fit into my life. That he was different by design. That I would become a different and better person through the friction of wills that is sometimes involved in marriage. And I am thankful that I was married when all of these difficult times were happening, because I would have just packed my suitcases and headed back to my former house, state, job, and life once I saw how rough the transition was going to be if I hadn’t already made a lifetime commitment.

Your point is valid that many couples would likely divorce anyway under these types of circumstances. But that wasn’t an option for us, and, because it wasn’t, we have a much stronger marriage, and we’re both better people and better Christians for all of the things God has done in our lives as a result of our marriage. I would have missed out on SO. MANY. wonderful blessings if I had chosen to exit this relationship when the going got rough.

I realize that most of the bees do not share my faith or beliefs, and so a lot of this may not apply to them. However, since you raised that point, I just wanted to share my thoughts and experiences with this issue.

Post # 12
Member
54 posts
Worker bee

My boyfriend and I have been together a year and a half, and we’re at about the same stage as you and your boyfriend.  We’re almost to the point of wanting to live together, and engagement won’t be too far after that, but seeing as I just moved into my house a couple months ago, I’d like to be settled first.  The house he is renting will be going up for sale in the next few months, so we think that the timeline will work out great overall.

Our families are also religious (his dad is actually a pastor), and we’re aware that they’re not the biggest fans of living together before marriage.  However, we’re doing two things that I think will be helpful.  1) No matter his timeline, we’re waiting until after the holidays.  While Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc. are fun and warm times with family, emotions are running high and the religious aspect is particularly highlighted.  Making a “He’s moving in!” announcement would only make things more highly emotional and paint a stark contrast to the “Jesusness” of the season.  2) We’re each going to sit down and talk with our respective parents about it. It won’t be a conversation asking for their advice, but a conversation informing them of our decision. We think it’s important to do the decent thing and level with them, one adult to another.  We’re both going to be 29 when we make it official, so we’re certainly at an age and in a position where our parents respect our autonomy, even if our choices wouldn’t be theirs. 

I don’t believe it will be detrimental to us.  For our own reasons, we’re not rushing into marriage, but it doesn’t mean that our commitment level to each other is any less than those who are married before they live together.  If a terrible incompatibility turns up, we’d much rather know it now.

Your choice will be profoundly personal.  Communicate openly, and make the best choice for you and your boyfriend, not the best choice for anyone else.

Post # 13
Member
10543 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

I was with my ex for almost 6 years by the time we moved in together. We lived together all of two months before breaking up.

I was dating DH all of 6 months (long distance, I might add) before he showed up one night with all his things and never left. We’ve been together 3 years and are married.

I tell you this just as an example that every relationship is different. Living together with my ex was a disaster and thankfully showed me how incompatitble we were as a couple. Prior to moving in together we spent every day together and often had sleep overs but living with someone full time is a coat of a different color.

Living with DH was a totally different experience than that of my ex and it didn’t slow down our engagement mostly because we both had agreed we would like to be married before TTC and had set a firm timeline of when we would like to start TTC. By that timeline we knew we needed to fit an engagement and wedding in before that date came. So, for us, we both agreed on a timeline and have kept to that because we are on the same page.

I don’t think statistics or studies can tell you whether living with someone before marriage is better/worse for your relationship and I don’t think any of us can tell you that either. I think it comes down to the couple and your relationship at the end of the day. Only you can decide if its something you want to try or not. I’ve always looked at it as either it will work out and be great or it will fail and I will learn a lesson and know sooner than if I drug it out. Thats just my take.

Post # 14
Hostess
4648 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

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ashleymilburn96 :  I agree with PP that it is a personal decision that only you and your SO can make.  My family is also very religious and anti-cohabitation before marriage.  I struggled with the decision for a while, but ultimately, DH and I moved in together about two years before we got married.  I’m personally glad that we lived together and my parents got over it pretty quickly; I didn’t find that it affected their perception of him at all.  We had already been together for a long time when we moved in (7 years) so there weren’t a ton of surprises, but there were definitely some adjustments involved the first year or so (ie. I knew he was messy, but having to deal with it in your shared living space is different than dealing with it at his apartment).  I do think moving in after only a year is pretty soon and would recommend waiting until you’ve been together longer, but that’s just my personal opinion. 

Post # 15
Member
3324 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

If YOU are an adult and YOU want to move in then YOU should. Please don’t let the opinions of religious family members deter you. What they are doing and believe in isn’t right for everyone, and shaming ANYONE for making relationship choices like this is totally inappropriate.

I would not marry someone before living with them. Fiance and I lived together for just under 2 years before he proposed, and will live together for 3.5 before we are married. To me, rushing into something without fully exploring all sides of it just isn’t wise. I wouldn’t do it with buying a car, renting a home, or a marriage. Unromantic maybe, but there are legal implications to all and it wasn’t an option to be unprepared. Only you can decide if this is what will be right for you and your relationship together.

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