If you’re in a long-term relationship in 2013, you’ve probably thought about shacking up with your mate. If you aren’t yet in a serious relationship, this will definitely be a topic of conversation that comes up–and one that you’ll need to be prepared for. There are certainly both pros and cons to living together before marriage.
In order for you to make an informed decision, we have a list of Dating with Dignity pros and cons of living together before marriage:
If you’ve been footing the bill solo for an apartment or house for a while, going splitsies on rent can be pretty amazing. Not only would you be sharing rent, but you’d split also all living costs as well! The days of your own grocery and cable bills will be long gone, and saving up for a down payment on a house or car can seem much more attainable when you have someone to share the financial pressure. This can be especially important if you feel you’ve been spending almost all your days at his house anyway (or vice-versa) and are sick of living out of that special “drawer” he gave you last year.
Living together can be an excellent compatibility testing tool
Cohabitating with a mate before marriage provides a sneak peek into what your life of wedded bliss will look like (or not!). You’ll both be able to observe what the other does in the privacy of his/her own home, learn about each other’s quirks, practice keeping the romance alive while juggling a busy life, and see how well you’re able to get back to compatibility when there are challenges. Cooking together, home maintenance, sharing responsibilities, managing money and sharing bathroom privileges will definitely give you the information you both need to decide whether being together forever is right for you.
Cosigning a lease is a BIG step
While living with a partner can bring great financial relief, it can also bring tremendous financial strain. What if you make more than your mate? Should you still split everything straight down the middle? What if his credit score is bad? Or yours? And in the event you do break up, who keeps the apartment? Whose name is left on the lease?
Talking about money is a sensitive subject
….amongst friends, family, and especially significant others…so it can cause divisive conversations. When you do decide to make the leap, make sure you have a direct conversation about expectations, budget, values around money, splitting job responsibilities, and how you will balance independent time versus interdependent time together. Assuming you will “work it out when you get to it” is a sure-fire recipe for cohabitation disaster.
Living together can actually reduce quality time spent together
You may think that both getting home from work at the same time will lead to more impromptu date nights and cuddle sessions on the couch, but the opposite often happens. You both come home exhausted and either zombie out to HBO or need “me” time to regenerate. Often, free time is then spent at the gym or with friends you don’t want to put on the back burner as a result of being in a relationship. Or you may start getting irritated by each other because of TOO much time spent together.
Also, without a conversation, thinking that moving in together will bring you closer to a proposal can cause anxiety and pressure on both sides. Understanding what a true, interdependent relationship (one in which each person has independence but also creates sacred space for the relationship itself) looks like is critical to making cohabitation successful. Most of us didn’t have parents who modeled this modern way of being in relationship. Keep the lines of communication open, have reasonable expectations, and ensure that you take time to revisit how the process is going both during and after the transition. This is critical to keeping the love alive.
There are both pros and cons to living together before marriage, and it will be your responsibility to make an informed decision as to whether or not it is the best choice for you. If it is, happy house-hunting!
Marni Battista, founder of Dating with Dignity, has professional training in dating and relationship coaching as well as training in the Core Energy Coaching Process from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). A certified Life Coach through the International Coaching Federation, Battista is also a Master Practitioner at administering an Energy Assessment—“The D-Factor”—which helps clients pinpoint exactly why they are or are not "date-able" and what types of messages they unconsciously broadcast to men based on their thoughts, feelings, actions and attitudes.