So a week or so ago I posed a controversial question on my personal as well as my Flat Broke Bride Facebook page. The query was, “Should people live together before marriage?” I was surprised at the number of opposing comments and how strongly people seem to feel about the subject! So I decided to sound off in a very public forum I happen to run…which I think you should read through to get to THE EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT at the end!
I know I’ve said it before, but the boy and I do live together. So obviously my point of view is in favor of cohabiting. I would like to give the “Pro” side of the argument from my point of view, and then (I promise) I will give the opposing side as well. 🙂
First, a little humor:
My Pros of living together are quite circumstantial. My TRUE stance on the issue is, “It really worked out for me, but nothing is the same for everyone.”
1) You REALLY get to know a person. Like…really. This might not be seen as a pro if you get to know them and figure out what they are really like, and don’t like what you find. My feeling is, that if you waited till marriage to really get to know them and you find something you really don’t like (not snoring, or farting, or butt scratching), perhaps a secret personality flaw, getting away after marriage is so much more difficult. Some people look at this as a cop-out, but I say, if you can stay together with no legal commitment holding you there, then you have staying power.
2) The money thing becomes less of a problem. We tried living separately. He even got his own place. Then I realized how much rent that was going to be. For us, moving in really helped us save on finances, especially when my rent went up at the end of the year. Remember when I said that my pros were circumstantial? Well, money wasn’t really an issue for us. He wasn’t a crazy spender or anything, and I am a super saver so we have a good financial system worked out. And if you’re worried about combining finances let me give you a tip from “The Desk of Mom,” DON’T COMBINE. I promise, you will be happier that way. Remember how I said separating (if need be) is easier when you’re not married? Well that is contingent on you NOT combining finances. Couples who cohabitate are not legally protected in the way married couples are. It is smarter to wait to combine (if you combine at all) until you are married.
3) You learn to grow together. Living together is not easy. Anyone who says it is, is a big fat liar. I don’t care how perfect the couple looks on the outside, they have had their share of troubles. If you are both living together with the intent on staying together forever, then you will put in the effort to learn and grow together. After a year of living together I can tell we still have a lot of growing to do, but I want to grow and I want to do it with him.
4) You learn A LOT about yourself. You think your friends and family help you grow as a person? Try living with someone. I’ve learned more about myself in this year than I ever have before, and it’s not all good. He has helped me grow in so many ways, and for the better. I think through learning more about me, I was able to fall deeper in love with him.
5) Learning to live with little things for the greater good. We are all selfish, and if you are totally ok with leaving because he snores, or isn’t tidy, or doesn’t do the dishes, then you need to take a hard look at the relationship. Chances are, if you aren’t willing to put up with the little annoyances, then you are just looking for a reason to escape. If you are looking to escape, then moving in together is not for you. Those little things he does are not what define your relationship, you know why you love him, and that shouldn’t change because he has gross farts. 🙂
Now for some Cons.
1) Why would he marry you when he has all the benefits and an easy out if he wants one? This con was posed to me on my personal Facebook page. This was a legit argument from a friend of his! First of all…douche…but think about this ladies, he does have a point. My mom would say, “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?” That man thinks he has the PERFECT relationship, a marriage without the commitment. And you know what? Apparently A LOT of dudes think this way. Ouch, right? So how do we combat this epidemic the commitment-phobic male? We become stronger. A woman who stays with a man when he is clearly unwilling to commit to her in any legally binding sense needs to grow a pair and dump him. These are harsh words but they come directly from a former player, my fiance. Yes ladies, my fiance used to be a big douche. I love him to death, but he knows all the tricks of the douche trade, and he recommends to the ladies out there, that if your man is not willing to say that he will commit to you and only you forever, then he’s not changing any time soon. I think that commitment is born out of two like-minded individuals. Two people are a place in their life where they want a forever, meet, fall in love, and will then be willing to stick it out “come what may”. Don’t assume that because you want a forever, that is where his head is as well. SO before you move in together, have “the talk” the “D.T.R.” (Define The Relationship), if you are both ready to make a forever commitment then moving in is no big deal, because you are both committed no matter what.
2) One person is using the move-in as a test for the relationship. It is said that a lot of men do this, but I’m sure women do this as well. The relationship might be going well, but you want to test and see if you can live together, so you move in “just to see.” I assure you this can very likely end in either disaster, or an unhappy marriage. If you are testing the relationship now, then how committed are you really? Marriage is not conditional, why should your cohabitation be?
3) The relationship can get to a point where you know it should end but you cannot bring yourself to end it. If I can reference Dane Cook here:
“That has to be the most entertaining thing
when you see two people that just hate each
other together, and look we’ve all been there
everybody’s been in that situation where you
will stay with somebody [and] you don’t even like
them. Two weeks in and already you like
“pshh”, no way. I can’t stand this person, I’ll
hang around for 5 or 6 years then we can end
this thing violently.”
That couple shouldn’t be together, but they’ll stay, because it’s comfortable and easy and break ups are messy. Uhg, while Dane Cook made it hilarious, those situations make people miserable, and it is only escalated by living together. Unless you are 100% sure, don’t move in.
4) Arguments in a cohabiting couple can result in the person leaving, married couples…not so much. That is a big risk you take, and it minimizes the more invested you BOTH are to the relationship. If both of you already treat your relationship as if you are married, and a life long commitment is what you are both working toward, then the chances of either of you leaving are slim. However, if you are on the “We’re getting married” page and he’s on the “Let’s see if this works out,” page then it’s not going to bode well for the relationship. Tread lightly, I cannot stress how important it is to constantly communicate, and be on the same page!
5) I mentioned this a little before, but it’s worth mentioning again, cohabiting couples are not as legally protected as married couples. The split up between cohabiting couples can be as messy as divorce without the mediation of a lawyer. Eek! This is why your decision should never be taken lightly. Take time! Think everything through and talk with your man! Otherwise, you can end up with a really bad situation and very little legal protection!
So there we are! I should stress that our living situation works for us. When we were talking about moving in, I told him that under no circumstances was he allowed to move in here unless he had serious plans on marrying me. A few months after he moved in, we looked for and purchased a ring! We are both at a place in our lives where we want a solid commitment and we are willing to work at our relationship for the rest of our lives.
ANNNNDDDDD NOOOWWWWWWWW The announcement! Thanks for staying with me…or at least staying long enough to scroll down!
Due to circumstances changing, and us discussing our “life plan” together…that sounds so silly, but that is literally what we did…we are moving the wedding to August TWENTY-THIRTEEN! I may have hyped it up a little bit, but this is a HUGE deal to us. That means a tighter budget and MANY, MANY do-it-yourself projects ahead of me! I am very excited, and I will try to post all of my DIYs up here for you all to do as well! The magnitude of getting married in a year and 3 months is NUTS, and I have to figure out how to get it done…so continue to follow the wild wedding ride! It’s about to get much quicker!