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Living Together Before Marriage: Must-Knows & How It Affects You

What do you think about living together before marriage? It’s a huge step, so it’s important to know the pros and cons before you make a firm choice. 

make living together work for you

Are you madly in love with your partner? Do you find yourself contemplating about whether both of you should start living together before marriage?

If your partner and you have had a conversation about living together, well, that’s good for you. After all, when there’s love in the air, both of you would want to spend every sleeping and waking moment in each other’s arms.

But, moving in together at any stage is a serious decision and one that should be considered carefully before making a move. Handily for you, we’ve covered every aspect of living together before marriage so you can choose wisely. [Read: 25 relationship rules for successful love]

Is living together before marriage a good or bad idea?

For a long time now, several studies have shown that the divorce rate of married couples who have lived together before marriage is alarmingly high.

But what is the real reason behind it?

Is it because they experienced a teaser of marriage beforehand, or is it because of something else?

Nobody can be sure, but one thing we do know is that it really depends upon the couple. Choosing to live together is a big decision and one that you must take based on your feelings, both individually and as a couple. [Read: Relationship timeline – The 16 possible phases of a relationship]

Is it a bad thing? Not always. Is it a good thing? Again, not always!

Living together before getting married is a great way to get to know each other better, but only if both of you focus on the relationship in the right manner.

When you’re not married, it’s easy to experience second thoughts and question the relationship. You can always walk out of a live-in relationship because you’re technically not married yet. At the same time, most lovers start taking the other partner for granted while living together, which can end the relationship.

But, it’s not all bad. With the right advice and approach, you can live together happily for many years to come. [Read: Relationship milestones – 15 dating highlights you should be proud of]

Great reasons to move in together

Before you find out what works, ask yourself how you would feel being around your partner 24/7, 365 days a week.

Do you like the idea? Of course, if both of you are working, you’ll hardly get to see each other, but you get the point. But that’s not the only thing to consider before you make your decision. There’s more to moving in together. [Read: 10 decisions you should never let your partner make for you]

1. You’re dating, but not ready to marry yet (or at all)

There are times when couples feel that they need to “test drive” their relationships before a life-long commitment. For them, moving in together is a great idea, because without being legally married, they get to live the married life, do what married couples do, and still have the ability to pull the plug on their relationship without any legal consequences.

It might also be that neither of you want to get married but you want some kind of commitment. Moving in together will give you that. [Read: Live-in romance – Are you ready to move in?]

2. You’re recently divorced with no kids, and you’re not ready to marry

 The case here is different, because you might have been out of a relationship, maybe recently, and you certainly don’t want to get your feet hot just yet.

A lot of people with kids think that a live-in relationship is not for them, because they think they’d be doing injustice to both their children and their new partner. But if the heading sounds familiar to you, living together is a good idea. You get to test the waters before committing, perhaps to avoid another disaster. [Read: Should you get married? 14 ways to know if it’s for you]

3. You work well together in stressful situations

There are times when the relationship we’re in isn’t necessarily intimate – “We’re just friends without benefits, and we work together.” Or “We’ve just begun liking each other, but it’s nothing serious!”

“We’ve both suffered quite a bit in our past relationships, and we find comfort in being with each other, but we’re not intimate.”

If this sounds familiar, moving in is a good idea. Why? If you’re able to work together, through rough patches and good times, the amount of stress decreases, giving you more time to concentrate on what you want to do, with or without each other. [Read: How to reduce stress]

4. You have similar interests and careers

Aside from getting along in terms of your interests, you also work in the same field. Living under the same roof can help you both enhance your careers, as you’ll always be interacting with someone who may have a lot to teach you about the industry you work in.

5. Older couples hitting their golden years

There are times when people get a little older and start to feel lonely. Sometimes, they’re alone, depressed and in need of company, but they’re still able to fend for themselves.

Instead of opting for a home for the elderly, they opt to move in with a partner, and live together, sharing all the happiness, love and to some extent, intimacy. It isn’t a bad idea! [Read: From crush to companion – The 12 stages of intimacy]

Common but awful reasons to move in together

Many people make a huge mistake by moving in with someone a little too early. it’s important to think about the decision and to know each other well enough too.

Here are some very bad reasons to consider moving in together.

1. You want to check if you’re compatible for marriage

That’s like saying we’re getting pregnant to see what parenting feels like! If you move in only to determine marriage compatibility, you’ll both be sorry in just a few months.

In this case, the goal isn’t to be happy – it’s to prove to each other on a regular basis that your plans to marry are justified. [Read: 14 tips to make living together before marriage work for you]

2. In love but with different goals

If you put two people with different goals and ambitions under one roof, you’ll soon hear quarrels and fights. Sure, maybe the sex is great and they make up after each fight, but in the long run, they’ll just wear each other down through constant conflicts.

3. One couple wants to get married and the other doesn’t

It’s already a dead giveaway if you have conflicting views on marriage. Sadly, those who want to get married try to get their partner to try the next best thing, which is moving in together.

They do this in the hope that living together will change their marriage-adverse partner’s mind.

Sure, the other partner may change their views on marriage after living together. But if they don’t, the one who wants to get married may start to feel like moving in together was just a waste of time.
[Read: 10 tips to make living together work for you]

How long should you date before moving in together?

We know you want a solid number here, but unfortunately we can’t give you one. There is no solid rule on how long you should wait before deciding to move in together.

Some couples choose to cohabit after a few months and it works out great. Others choose to wait a couple of years and either it works for them, or it is the final nail in the coffin.

The best rule of thumb is to wait until you know each other as well as you can. Perhaps dating for a year before moving in is a good guideline to work to, but don’t use this as a harsh rule.

You know your relationship better than we do, but rushing never works out well. [Read: 26 different types of relationships to predict your romantic life and future]

The pros and cons of living together before marriage

Every situation has its pros and cons. There are some couples who have been married for years who still don’t live together – yes, it’s true! It’s all about what works for you and your partner best.

But, if you want to make the best decision possible, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons first.

The pros of living together before marriage:

1. Your relationship may become deeper and stronger

2. The stress or pressure to marry may ease [Read: Rushing into a relationship? Why you need to learn to slow down]

3. You will save money when living with another person versus living alone

4. You can see if it works before you make a major commitment (but again, this shouldn’t be the only reason!)

The cons of living together before marriage:

1. Some people don’t agree with living together before marriage and you may lose these relationships, e.g. friends or family members

2. If things don’t work out, walking away is more difficult when you share a home [Read: How to leave a toxic relationship]

3. Finding space can be difficult, e.g. if you have an argument

4. You may find after spending more time and space with your partner, you didn’t really know them that well

Factors to consider when deciding whether to move in together before marriage

The idea of possibly living together before marriage is in your mind and you’re wondering how you can make sure the choice is the right one. In that case, these factors need to be covered.

1. Your reasons for moving in together

Why do you want to live together at this point? Really delve into that question and pinpoint the answer. Your reasons have to be the right ones because they’re the foundation on which you’ll make your decision. [Read: Justifying your life choices – should you worry about it?]

2. Your age and lifestyle

If you’re very young and you have an active lifestyle, meaning you’re not home so much, this may not be the right choice for you. You also need to think about whether your lifestyle matches well with your partner’s.

3. Making sure you’re both on the same page

There are certain important conversations you need to have with one another before you make your decision. You have to be on the same page about all of these subjects, to avoid disaster quite soon after moving in.

These conversations should include financial issues, how you’re going to split bills/rent, household responsibilities, how to allocate space, and boundaries. [Read: 15 big relationship questions you must answer before the next level]

How to make living together before marriage work for you

If both of you want to start living together before marriage, here are 14 things you need to keep in mind. This advice will make sure that your new cohabiting journey is happy, successful, and totally enjoyable!

1. Make sure your reasons for moving in together match

If both of you want to live together before marriage, be sure about why you want to move in with each other. Is it for the sex, cheaper living or something more valid? If you have a goal in life you want to achieve before tying the knot, speak about it with your partner.

Always have a clear valid reason for putting marriage aside, if you want to get married at all. [Read: How to commit to a relationship and show your partner you’re serious]

2. Date for at least a year or two

Don’t move in unless both of you are extremely serious about living together. Even if there’s a lot of love in the air, enjoy the times when both of you are apart and miss each other, and take things slowly.

Moving in together should be a step that should be considered seriously and that can’t be done if you’ve only just met. [Read: Tips to have a long term relationship that lasts]

3. Living together is not a test

Remember, if your main intention of moving in together is to test the relationship, you’re bound to find flaws and differences that’ll tear the relationship apart.

Don’t look at living together as a test, look at it as a preparation for a longer commitment.

4. Behave like a married couple

Whether you’re intending to get married at some point or not, act like you’re already there. Take each other and the relationship seriously.

Prioritize your life and be willing to change for the relationship and for each other. [Read: 20 things happy couples don’t do in a perfect relationship]

5. If you’re intending to get married, fix a rough time in the future

One of the best ways to keep a relationship alive and moving in the right direction is by talking about the relationship and the direction it is heading. If you’re moving in together, then set the next milestone so both of you have a clear direction about the relationship.

Are you waiting to be 30 before getting married? Are both of you saving up for a grand wedding? Fix a clear goal so both of you understand the seriousness of living together.

Of course, it may be that you’re not intending to get married and cohabiting it enough for you. In that case, set other milestones to keep your relationship moving ahead. [Read: What is the right age to get married?]

6. Avoid the infatuation

Don’t move in during the infatuation period. It’s that time of the relationship when both of you are crazy about each other, but that’s no excuse to start living together.

Always wait for the infatuation to pass and give time for love to mature into a mellow, but deeper kind of love.

7. Make long-term life plans together

If you want to live together, both of you have to learn to work together as a couple and as a team. Make big plans together even while living together and constantly strive towards it, be it saving up for a house or starting a new venture together.

Feel a sense of accomplishment as a couple and you’ll feel more connected to each other. [Read: How to stay in love forever]

8. Pick up after yourselves

When you meet your lover on a date, you always try to show off your best side. Don’t change that behavior after moving in together. Don’t ever take your partner for granted and always learn to pick up after yourself.

In most live-in relationships, one partner almost always starts to take the other partner for granted, which can lead to a failed relationship.

9. Help each other unconditionally

When you’re living with your partner, try to focus on their needs just as much as your own. You don’t have to wait until you’re married to do that.

Treat each other with love and respect, and help each other achieve little milestones and goals all the time. [Read: 10 memorable things couples should do together to deepen their bond]

10. Give each other space

Learn to grow as individuals. Don’t lose your own identity just because you’re living together. One of the biggest problems in a marriage or even living together is the lack of individuality.

You’re both two different people. Stop trying to be one person, instead be one perfect couple. [Read: The best way to give space in a relationship]

11. Communicate and argue constructively

Arguments are never a bad thing. But unfinished arguments definitely are. Don’t take your partner or the relationship lightly.

If something is bother you, talk about it fairly and calmly. There is so much lost in what isn’t said and it’s a major route toward relationship failure. [Read: How to fight fair in a relationship]

12. If it’s not working out, leave

Be the best partner you can be for your lover. But don’t continue living together if you’re not happy with each other.

And don’t feel guilty and coerce yourself into getting married because you’ve already lived together for so long. [Read: Things to think about before and after moving in with your partner]

13. Keep it exciting

The first few months of living together may feel exciting, but after a while, having someone around you constantly can start to feel rather claustrophobic, especially when you don’t have anything interesting to share or talk about.

Always look for ways to keep the relationship exciting and allow your romance to blossom into something that feels better with each passing day. [Read: Things to talk about in a perfect relationship]

Ways living together before marriage affects you in later life

Any major life decision has the potential to teach you big lessons. Moving in together is one of those events.

There are certain things about sharing living space with another person that can change your perspective and even parts of your personality. To help you understand the gravitas of moving in with your partner, these are some of the ways the decision could affect you later on.

1. You may become better at conflict resolution

When you live with someone, you have to learn how to argue constructively and fairly. This means you’re more likely to sit down and talk about a problem rather than simply screaming at one another for the sake of it.

Conflict resolution is a skill that will benefit you in all areas of your life. [Read: How to resolve conflict – The 15 best ways to cut out the drama]

2. You might realize you prefer to be on your own

Not everyone enjoys living with another person. Some people like their own company and they’re more comfortable living alone.

When you move in with a partner, after a little time has passed, you might realize that actually, you’re someone who prefers their own company.

3. You’ll be more accepting of each other’s habits

There is a large amount of compromise that has to happen in any relationship but when you live together, this doubles. Everyone has small traits and quirks that their partner finds annoying, and when you’re sharing living space, you have to accept them. [Read: Dating an introvert – 15 adorable quirks that set them apart]

4. Less loneliness is good for health

Loneliness has many links with increased risk factors for poor health. When you live with another person and you enjoy the experience you’re less likely to experience loneliness. As a result, your health could improve.

5. You may or may not get married

You might have the intention in the back of your mind to marry one day, but living together doesn’t mean this will always happen. Some people move in together and then choose just to cohabit. Other people realize that they’re not a good fit after all and leave.

The choice to move in is a serious one, but it doesn’t pave out the rest of your life. [Read: What is commitment in a relationship and how to know if you have it?]

6. You may end up settling

When you become comfortable, you stay. Sometimes that’s not a good thing because the only reason you’re sticking around is because you’re scared of trying something new.

It’s easier to stay out of comfort than it is for the love you have for the person.

7. You’ll have a greater understanding of your own priorities in life

Living with another person helps you to pinpoint your priorities in life. You’ll learn about your personal boundaries, your hard red lines, and how much and what you’re willing to compromise on. [Read: How to set boundaries – 10 crucial steps to feel more in control]

8. You may find a focus on healthy eating

It’s more likely that you’ll stay in and cook meals than go out if you’re living with another person. That doesn’t mean you’ll never go out for dinner, but most of the time you’ll stay in. As a result, you’re eating healthier, home cooked meals.

9. Some of your individual interests and hobbies may fall away

As time passes, our hobbies and interests evolve, but it can also happen when you live with someone. You tend to gravitate to the things they enjoy, or you might not have the same amount of time as you did before.

All of this could mean that you lose some of the hobbies you once enjoyed. [Read: 25 hobbies for couples that want to have more fun together]

10. Your feelings about finances will change

When you’re living with someone else, you can’t be as frivolous with money as you might have been before. That means your relationship with money may change and your feelings around it.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

11. The other relationships in your life may be affected

You may not have the same amount of time for your friends as you did before, or you may find that you visit your family less. This is something to be wary of and to make sure that you’re still maintaining the other relationships in your life.

It’s normal for life to evolve, but that doesn’t mean you cut people out. [Read: How to be a good friend]

12. You might end up resenting your partner

Living together isn’t easy. Even the smallest things can start to get on your nerves and if these aren’t talked about and resolved, resentment can start to creep in.

Over the long term, you may notice that this resentment grows and in some cases, it can lead to the end of a relationship or an unhappy one at least.

Are you ready to move in together?

It doesn’t matter how much you love your partner, there will be challenges along the way if you choose to live together. But, by remembering how much you love and adore one another, by communicating carefully, and giving each other space when necessary, you can overcome whatever life throws at you.

[Read: Relationship stages – 10 phases couples go through by months and years]

It can be easy to make living together before marriage work for you. All you need to do is give the relationship dedication and passion and don’t take each other for granted.

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Kirsten Cole
Kirsten Cole doesn’t like falling in love often. Instead she prefers to hop, skip and jump through her perfect, beautiful life. And of course, if the perfect ...
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