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Shacking Up: Soul mates or Roommates

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living-together-before-marriage

Most couples view moving in together as the next step; while it may be the best step that doesn’t mean it’s the next step. Cohabitation is on the rise. Years ago, it wasn’t acceptable for a couple to start shacking up before marriage. Now, many people believe that if you don’t live together before marriage, it’s destined to fail.

Allegedly, fifty years ago since people didn’t live together before marriage, they were more likely to divorce. (<- There is no data to support this… at all.)



As the amount of couples who are moving in together continues to rise, it makes you start to think why. Does it fall into the same category as sex before marriage? It’s no longer taboo to do before marriage because the times are changing? I’m not sure. I think that what’s actually happening is that the cost of living is sky rocketing and people are viewing cohabitation as a viable solution. I’ve watched plenty of people in their twenties meet and within just a few months decide to move in together.

That’s when you hear reasons like:

“Well, I’m over here all the time anyway. It just didn’t make sense to pay two rents.”

As if that one person was paying two rents; last I checked he paid his and she paid hers.

“We wanted to save money, so we’re moving in together.”

I should say that when this happens a few things happen that most couples don’t realize.

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1)      Men think they’re saving for a wedding.

2)      Women think they’re saving for a ring.

And don’t forget, there’s a chance that the man is not even planning on saving for marriage, but simply trying to placate the woman and reduce the pressure of marriage.

From a financial standpoint, it makes sense to shack up. There’s much more money for dates, vacations and weddings. I’m not sure that I agree with buying property before marriage, but moving in together could allow the couple to save money towards buying a condo or house. In all of that, it’s important to note it’s completely a financial decision. That’s perfectly fine, but then you should really make sure that when you tell people you’re moving in together that you’ve decided to be roommates. It’s not an indication that the relationship is any closer to marriage than it already was; you’ve just found somebody that you feel comfortable living with for the time being.

Due to the nature of the decision to move in together being mainly financial a few touchy areas will arise:

1)      Do you split the bills equally down the middle? Or do you take into account each other’s current incomes?

2)      Are you moving into a new place or moving to one or the other’s place? Will a one bedroom be enough space?

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3)      What will you do about furniture? If one of you sells your old furniture does that money go to the new apartment?

I don’t want to discount that there are situations when soul mates find each other and want to speak every waking moment with each other. That’s beautiful; I wish we were all so lucky. Those are the people who take the next step in their relationship. They’ve decided that they’ve got a pretty good foundation in their relationship and want to try out the challenge of living together under one roof. There comes a wide array of challenges with wanting to take that step; I won’t be getting into them today. I just think it should be known that we shouldn’t start getting paranoid every time one of our friends mentions that they are moving in with their significant other.

Whatever you reason may be for moving in with your significant other, it’s important that we begin to realize that in 2013 it’s probably more of a financial decision than taking the next step in the relationship. And… that’s perfectly fine.

 

Comment(18)

  1. I would never marry a man without living with him first. As I've gotten older, I have decided to at least have a ring on my finger now. Living together can be a great thing but it can make or break a relationship.

    A lot of people are not mindful of lazy mf until you have one living in your house. You have men and women who buy clothes first and pay bills later. That's why I prefer to see what I'm getting into first before we walk down that aisle.
    My recent post Are Men Intimidated By Sexual Women?

    1. VERY TRUE!
      I agree, you learn a lot about a person when living with them. You will get to see if you're willing and want to continue on a longterm relationship with this person.

  2. One of the things that my mom told me is when you move in with someone you really get to see how much you love them. You are there to see all the faults and there to see what they are hiding. You know, if they are practicing Voodoo at night. I think that you shouldn't live together for years before marriage or whatever your goal is. This is where communication comes in. We both assume something is going to happen instead of stating, this is what I would like to happen and these are the terms.

  3. Interesting post.

    The misses and I have two different viewpoints on this issue. We've both lived with people in the past, but had varying experiences, which I believe explains why we have varying viewpoints. Honestly? I don't think moving in together is that big of a deal, especially if I'm seeing you every day anyway and I'm always at your crib or you're always at mine. If I'm at your place or vise versa 95% of the time, then (to me) it doesn't make a lot of sense to be paying for us to live separately – assuming we see a future together.

    I've lived with a woman before. We didn't work out. And for the most part, we went our separate ways like adults. I will say that in that instance, it might have helped that she didn't have much. She sold what she had and moved into my place. We were both starting out, so folks might reasonably feel different selling off all of their crap when they've acquired more crap over the years to sell off. Other than my TV, I'd be fine selling pretty much everything I own. It's really all just material crap and if we both have material crap, I say we keep the person's crap who is the least crappiest.

    I should clarify that the misses has made it clear that she doesn't want to live together unless there's a ring on it, which makes perfect sense and gives us both a pretty clear expectation for one another and the progression of the relationship. No pulled punches, so I don't expect to get blindsided. A little communication can go a long way…

    1) Do you split the bills equally down the middle? Or do you take into account each other’s current incomes?

    I've learned to have this discussion UP FRONT. Frankly, a lot of women view moving in together as "he'll keep paying for everything, and I'll just move in and pay for the bills with my wonderful personality and sexual relations." Yeah, well…no. Bills aren't paid in love, last I checked. So, I prefer to split the bills based on our relative incomes. I def don't plan on paying for everything, unless she simply doesn't have a job.

    2) Are you moving into a new place or moving to one or the other’s place? Will a one bedroom be enough space?

    Depends.

    3) What will you do about furniture? If one of you sells your old furniture does that money go to the new apartment?

    As I said above, if there's really a future in your relationship, I say sell the person's stuff who's is the least nicest. If you want to hedge your bets, you can put some in storage. But that'll cost ya. It might cost ya a little, it might cost you a lot….but it'll cost ya.

    1. I should clarify that the misses has made it clear that she doesn't want to live together unless there's a ring on it, which makes perfect sense and gives us both a pretty clear expectation for one another and the progression of the relationship. No pulled punches, so I don't expect to get blindsided. A little communication can go a long way…– This

      I feel like if you’re in a serious relationship with someone you’ve been around them enough to know their bad habits, cleaning habits and money habits without necessarily having to live with them.

      For question 3: Please refer to Martin (season 2 I think) when him and Gina move in together and take notes.

  4. With my last "official" ex, we moved in together after three months. It was SOLELY for financial reasons, because he was broke and I'm a sucker for a hard case. He moved into MY place. I paid the rent and all the utilities and groceries and all that. It was terrible in pretty much every way this situation could be terrible, including that he cheated on me IN MY OWN APARTMENT. I swore never to move in with a guy again.

    My current guy believes that, to truly know if you're ready for marriage, you should live together. Because I'm interested in a marriage with him, and because he's NOTHING like my ex, I complied. We moved into a completely new, BIGGER place. We have a cat, bought a big screen together, and we split bills down the middle. It took a little adjusting (there's a difference between sleeping over 4 nights a week and LIVING TOGETHER), but it's great now. Now I'M thinking about the NEXT step. 😉 Like, "OK ninja, we moved in together to see if marriage could work. We're doing well. So….?"

    From my experience, I would DEFINITELY advise against moving in together for solely financial reasons. It's too hard. Dealing with sharing a space with someone ALL THE TIME is not something to do if the relationship isn't strong and serious. It WILL break you up. It's just not worth it, plus if he moves into your place and it doesn't work, you have all that bad mojo swimming around in your place. No no. Don't do that.

    1. "It was terrible in pretty much every way this situation could be terrible, including that he cheated on me IN MY OWN APARTMENT."

      dayum shame

  5. As I celebrate a marriage anniversary today. I lived with my wife for four years before marriage (she just moved in). Best advice, KEEP YOUR FREEDOM UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. Living with someone is not going to make you learn anything more (leave toilet seat up, wrap her hair and wear face mask at night). If you don't know the person about time you walk down the aisle, then why? And its a BIG difference between playing house and making a home.

  6. I don't think I wanna live with anyone period, we can be together forever with his and my own space, I'm not keen on men moving in thinking they can take over,

        1. Let’s just get a house with a basement and a extra room and we can choose who get's what room and turn it into our own little sanctuary when we each need space/alone time. As long as we sleep in the same bed each night.

    1. I feel the same. I need my space I know myself and I get annoyed when I have guests over for too long much less someone living with me. Distance makes the heart grow finder, at least it does for me. I'm in a sort of long distance relationship rightnow. I live in Harlem, NY and he lives in Hoboken, NJ we've been together for 3 years and it really works for us. We pretty much only get to see each other on weekends or every other weekend but I get excited every time I know I'll be seeing him.
      Some people ask me if I worry about him cheating and honestly what difference does distance make, MarriageMinded just said she was living with her boyfriend and he cheated on her in HER OWN APARTMENT, if a guy doesn't respect your feelings or relationship he will cheat, end of story. I trust my man enough to know that he respects our relationship. To add to that I know his personality, and he, much like me, has a low bullshit meter so I can't see him trying to juggle another woman and the b.s. that comes along with that.
      People complain about the everyday routine of traditional marriage and how it gets boring quick and then get married and try emulate it. I see keeping your own space as a way of keeping a bit of your freedom and a way to keep the spark in your marriage. It's not for everyone but if you know you like having your own space and a sense of freedom what is the point of going the tradional route, just because that is the way it most people do it? The divorce rate is also at 48% soooo…….

  7. When I was little, my parents would gossip about and verbally deride people who shacked up. Let them tell it, its a sin of the worst kind.

    But that really stuck with me, and to this day I'd never shack up with a chick. Not because it's a "sin," but because its so very wack.

    I abhor having to compromise my lifestyle, but thats exactly what will happen if you move in with someone. Maybe you like to let your trash and dishes sit for a while before you take it out / clean– well if they don't share your tolerance for trash or clutter, be prepared to have many unpleasant discussions about it.

    Or maybe you like to stay up late (like 8am) and sleep until 1pm randomly. Suddenly you might have to be mindful of another person's work/sleep habits and thats gonna mess with your nocturnal flow.

    Or lets say you do a few illegal activities in your home– will your new roommate be cool with that?

    I would say that compatibility can alleviate some of these issues, but its simply not realistic to find someone who's 100% compatible. Maybe 95%. But its that 5% thats gonna throw a monkeywrench in your plan.

    Shacking up? No way, no how. And even when I'm married, I'll make sure I have my own place somewhere else all to myself.

    HOWEVER, I would let a chick crash at my spot for a few days… thats different. My house, my rules. I'm a good host… I'll even give her some complimentary peen.

  8. This tends to be a dicey issue for most, and can be greatly influenced by a person’s religious upbringing, or factors that have nothing to do with the relationship.

    I know a couple who ended up moving in together after the man *had* to leave the home he shared with a roommate because the opportunity for.violence arose. Granted, the couple planned on getting married anyway, but they hadn’t planned on moving in together until they said “I do”.

  9. excerpt from "Seinfeld"
    JERRY: We were talking about our lives and we both kind of realized we're kids. We're not men.
    KRAMER: So, then you asked yourselves, "Isn't there something more to life?"
    JERRY: Yes. We did.
    KRAMER: Yeah, well, let me clue you in on something. There isn't.

    KRAMER: They're prisons. Man made prisons. You're doing time. You get up in the morning. She's there. You go to sleep at night. She's there. It's like you gotta ask permission to use the bathroom. Is it all right if I use the bathroom now?

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