Thursday, October 2, 2008

Living in sin

Torsten and I have been living together for over a year. We moved in together before we got engaged, when we'd been together just shy of a year. We didn't do it for financial reasons--in fact, we continued to pay two rents for three months after Torsten moved in with me before he was able to work out an agreement with his landlord to terminate his lease early.

We did it because we wanted to live together, we wanted to be together and share that life. It didn't matter to us that we weren't married yet; we aren't religious, and while it's important to us to be married, for us the marriage signifies a public way of legalizing the commitment that we've already made to one another, not something that has to happen before our shared lives can truly begin.

I know there's research out there that says that couples who live together are more likely to wind up divorced. I don't know why that would be, except that maybe people who are willing to live together before marriage are also more willing to get divorced later on if they aren't happy. Maybe that says something bad about premarital cohabitation--that it takes the seriousness away from the relationship, that it makes people less determined to make their marriages work even if they have trouble.

But for us, it hasn't done that. Living together has been an amazing experience, and I would neither give up the wonderful last year that we've spent living together, nor get married a year earlier in order to legitimate the cohabitation. I don't have any sort of moral issue or shame about living with my fiance (who wasn't even my fiance when he moved in), and I'll mention it in any conversation in which it is relevant or tell anyone who asks, even if it's a prim little old granny. If I had any shame about it, I wouldn't do it.

But I've been thinking about this recently because I saw a more conservative coworker ask one of my younger officemates recently if her mother objected to the trip she was planning to take with her boyfriend. The implication was that the mother would be upset about this because the trip together made it clear that the girl and her boyfriend would be sharing a room and even a bed.

The girl was polite about it, and just mildly responded that no, her mother did not have a problem with it, and the older coworker dropped it, and it hasn't come up again. But it made me wonder: Are there certain generations or classes of people who disapprove of premarital cohabitation, or at least of making public references to it? Torsten and I are lucky in that our families are both very relaxed about that sort of thing; they don't have a problem with us living together, they put us in one bedroom when we stay with them, etc. But I know it's not like that for everyone.

So here's what I want to know: What do you think of living together before marriage? Is it something you have done or would do yourself? If you did, would/did you talk about it freely, or would you avoid mentioning it in certain situations?

85 comments:

  1. I personally wouldn't move in with someone at this age if we weren't getting engaged. I mean, if you talk about it and you're clear on your intentions BEFORE moving in together - engaged or not - you should at least be able to agree that you're either A) cool with it not happening and cohabitating or B) we had better be getting engaged/married down the road.

    The worst possible thing is to go into it without talking about it first - religion, morals, values aside.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it's absolutely imperative to live with someone before you marry them. Because you learn to recognize if you'll be able to spend this much time with the other person, and you'll learn whether or not you work well together. Love is grand, but you need to deal with reality, too. I guess I have a pretty liberal attitude about it (although my parents do NOT, and whenever traveling, we would have to sleep in separate bedrooms, even though WE LIVED TOGETHER), but I think it's so important to work out the kinks before you make a commitment. Just my two cents. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. We lived together for two years before we got married and moved across the country to do it (had to find jobs in the same place first). I'm with Laurel: For me, living together was the only way to know absolutely that I could put up with this person and vice versa for the rest of my life.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When I lived in Dallas and Conrad lived in Houston, it was a non-issue. Then we made the decision that I would relocate and he told me that I could live with him while I looked for a job, etc ... but that he did NOT want to live together before marriage because that wasn't how he was raised and he did not want to start the greatest, most important relationship of his life, in that manner.

    Then I got here, and it didn't make sense to move out for a year-with all the deposits, etc I would have to put down. So we left things status-quo and while I certainly always respected his feelings ... I don't think that it has in anyway effected our marriage in a negative way. It just worked out that I stayed and we got married later.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have been living with my BF for over a year and it works for us. We still have our issues like housekeeping etc but I have learned so much about him and myself.

    Plus it is great to come home and have someone to share your day with, make you laugh and make dinner with.

    My great aunt was not pleased with the development (even though her daughter, my cousins and brother have all lived with their now spouse before they got married). It gets annoying to have people judge you as immoral if you move in together.

    Well, if they judge they are not invited over to see the place. We are happy and don't need people's negativity to affect our lives.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have no problems with people who live together before getting married (hi, my name is Nilsa and I'm living in sin). But, equally as important, I respect those people who chose not to live together before marriage. I think it's a very individual decision.

    I've never had a problem telling others I live with my boyfriend (now fiance). My parents have always been cool with it. However, his parents were not. In particular, it bothered his mother. So, we spent months skirting around the issue. It kind of became a joke. Because everyone knew what was going on, but no one would admit to it. Until finally, we bought a condo together. And by that point, we were only a few months away from our wedding. And his mom gave up denying. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. L and I live together, it will be a year in December. My parents were totally ok with it. It was something that was going to happen eventually, but ended up happening sooner bc of a sudden change with my living situation at the time. I had 1.5 months to find somewhere else to live and I couldn't afford anything on my own. When I was telling my mom this, she asked if I would consider moving in with L.

    We would have moved in sooner probably, in fact, he asked me a couple times, but I told him I wanted to know I was getting engaged within 6-8 months. I didn't want to be one of those couples that "got comfortable" and the marriage thing never happened, or was waaaayyy down the road. When I went to his house in tears the night I found out I had to find a new place, he already had a key and garage door opener waiting for me :) Before I even told him what happened - he said he just sensed it.

    Anyway, he lived with his ex for awhile. His parents were not okay with it AT ALL. I don't think they were really keen on me moving in either, but I guess it wasn't quite as bad. And at this point, it was pretty obvious that we would be getting married eventually.

    But still, when we go to his parents house, I stay in his sister's old room and when we went to Vegas with his family last spring, his sister and I shared a hotel room and L and her bf shared a different room.

    Sometimes when I read wedding-related blogs (that I probably shouldn't be reading, but oh well!) I get jealous of the girls who have this big deal about moving in with their now-husband, but like you, I wouldn't change the past year for anything. I love living with L and spending the extra time with him.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I lived with hubby before we got married, but we knew we would eventually end up married.

    I am also respectful of others' views about it in their homes, though. When hubby and I visited my mom, I was prepared to sleep in separate rooms, even though we had been living together. She did not ask us to do that, however.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well. I am coming from the German perspective, where it is completely normal for people to live together, even have babies before getting married and just living as a family. My brother and his now wife were living together 11 years before they even got engaged...different places....I don't think in Germany there isn't such an emphasis on the fairytale story that I feel is here in the US...engagement rings in Germany are often simple gold bands....that is changing of course, I see a lot of US influence in the rings in Germany lately, but there isn't such a huge insanity about wedding and marriage and certainly not about living together.

    I think my father who is old and conservative would hit me over the head if I were to get engaged or married to someone I hadn't lived with.

    I moved in with my wasband before we were engaged. I didn't really think about what others thought. Then, I am not religious at all.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd live with my boyfriend for multiple reasons, if only we lived in the same city. My parents lived together for a couple years before they got married and they'll be celebrating their 40th anniversary soon. It can work, for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bart and I didn't live together before we got married, because of our religious views. Since we were both raised that way, living together (or having premarital sex) wasn't something we even considered and so I can't say something like Laurel said about needing it to know if we would work well together or not since I never had any intentions of having that testing period. I'm not trying to sound judgmental there (at all!), I'm just saying that track wasn't even on my mind as an option.

    I wonder if people who live together first might get divorced more often than those who don't is because some people who live together first do it because they are willing to try it out but not commit to marriage and then, after they do get married, feel less serious about their commitment and then are more easily able to move. I would put those people in a different category than those who, like Crystall said, are moving in together with the intentions of it being a long term relationship rather than a "well, lets test it out before I make any promises." That seems kind of like what you were saying, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Aaron and I moved in together about 3 months before the wedding. We did it because both of our leases were ending and obviously we were going to live together once married, so it only made sense. I kind of wanted to live apart before we got married- not because of moral reasons, but because I kind of wanted to save that big change for the wedding- just to make getting married seem more of a big deal. Also because I LOVE living alone and I knew it was pretty much the last chance I was going to get to do that. But there are still a lot of people that have issues with that, especially in Texas. our parents didn't care one way or the other, but I know that is not true for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think that these studies are meaningless: http://www.leaderu.com/critical/cohabitation-socio.html

    Everything depends on you and your significant other. I 100% agree with laurel. I moved in with my boyfriend of four years [into his house] last year, and this year we bought a house together, as in, both of our names are on the mortgage. We are not engaged, but signing our names to that mortgage document means [almost!] as much to me as a ring on my finger would.

    There were few people in our family who were iffy about our living situation [a bitchy aunt used the phrase "Why buy the cow..."]. What do I think about that? Well, they shouldn't expect an invitation to visit our new house OR a wedding invitation in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I lived with Adam before we got married for ... two years? Maybe three? It was easy for us, because we knew we were going to get married, so we didn't have any of the drama that a lot of other couples claim to have had.

    I found it made the transition to marriage a piece of cake, and I wouldn't have done it any other way.

    Also, I never hid it or felt uncomfortable mention it in any company. Sometimes people made comments, but I always figured that wasn't my problem.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry to comment again, but I've just been reading these comments with interest. . .

    Even though I have my own personal feelings about living together and whatnot, I would NEVER say something about it to someone who was (especially something as horrific as the "why by the cow" phrase). If someone has made a decision and acted on it, my advice or feelings are really irrelevant at that point. It's like telling someone pregnant that "maybe you've already had enough children and do you really think you can handle one more?" What good does that do anyone? I'd only give my opinion if someone asked for it and was really genuinely interested in my thoughts (which is the only reason I commented on this post in the first place).

    For all the same reasons, I'd hate it if someone came up to me and told me I'd made a big mistake by not living with Bart first, because how could I know if it was going to work out of now. We're already married - that advice is totally useless now.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My husband and I lived together for about 5 years before we were married. In a 2 bedroom apartment, that we still live in. It was the obvious next step in our relationship. His parents were fine with it and my mom was okay with it however my dad had different feelings. My sister actually broke the news to him and we never discussed it. I didn't have a problem discussing it was anyone else, though. It's pretty common in our circle.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well, since Chris and I have been living in sin for two years now I obviously have no problem with it. Bring on the sin!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well, to add a diffferent perspective to this dicussion, my husband and I moved in together with no intentions of ever getting married. We intended to live together for the rest of our lives and have children and be a family. Neither of us wanted to get married, for a variety of reasons. We lived together for 5 years and had our daughter. When I talked about him to co-workers and such, I referred to him as my husband, only because when I referred to him as my boyfriend, people would ask if he was the father of my daughter and that started to make me a little stabby. We decided to get married when I was pregnant with our second child, mainly because we knew I would be having a c-section and wanted to tie everything up legally so that he could make decisions for me in the hospital in case of emergency. We've been married for 2.5 years now, and everything is still going great.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My now-husband and I moved in together a few months before the wedding because his lease ran out. We did not tell my parents, who live out of town, and were careful that I answered the phone when they called, thank you, CallerID. ("Ohhai, DH and his dog are over for dinner!") We weren't "in sin" long enough for them to come visit and wonder why all his stuff was there. Heh.

    I am not naive enough to think they bought it. They probably guessed but never said anything.

    It made ME feel better, not directly telling them. I just think their generation is different from ours. (At least in my religious/traditional family.)

    My younger sister and her fiance, on the other hand, were open about it and my parents didn't say anything to THEM. (Mom said a few things to ME, about SIS, at the time. She wasn't mad, just a little put off.)

    I was glad we lived together before the wedding, but it wasn't an imperative for me - just a timing thing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I would live with someone IF I knew that he was someone that I wanted to settle down with. To me, moving in is like marriage. Not for the reasons you think though. I have commitment phobia! And I've only lived with one boyfriend for 3 months and then I broke up with him. (I was 24.) I have never been sure about marriage itself so living together (in my mind) is a close equivalent.

    But I think living together is a good idea for most couples and there shouldn't be any shame in it. It's strange to me that statistics show people divorce more if they've lived together before marriage. You'd think they would have it dialed by then. But maybe some couples have lived together so long that the newness of marriage wears off quicker or they are more apt to take each other for granted? Totally speculating cuz I have no idea and no experience in that area.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My husband and I lived together for 2.5 years before we got married in June. Our parents were ok with us living together but were hoping that we'd get married soon.

    I'm noticing that people are kinda more judgmental now that we are married, like there should be some sort of dramatic difference after the wedding.

    When people ask how "married life" is and I give my standard answer of "the same as before, except we have nicer dishes and a really great coffee maker," they seem shocked. The more down to earth people laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  22. My parents are quite conservative, and may not like many of the choices I have made in life, but also respect that it is my life and therefor support me when they can and do not hinder my decisions with conservative or hurtful remarks or attitudes.

    that being said, you know I live with OM and have lived with one other male before, I would never marry anyone I wasnt living with. I mean its how a person REALLY is that can make or break a relationship, not how we pretend to be.
    Love is romantic, but real life isnt,and being able to deal with normalcy is tantamount to success.

    ReplyDelete
  23. If I were in a serious relationship that seemed to be moving towards marriage- I would definitely move in together. I think it's a good time to discover if it will work. And I know for myself- my parents wouldn't have a problem with me living with someone before marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well, i think you know how i personally feel about it from my post a few weeks ago. But i don't have anything against other people doing it. It's whatever you feel is right for your relationship.

    ReplyDelete
  25. i moved in with joe when i got a job down here before we got engaged. we did get engaged two months afterward. i'm from a religious family (both my grandfathers are pastors), but my dad was fine with it, probably because my older sister got pregnant before she got married, so my moving in with joe wasn't nearly as bad. my mom had a *huge* problem with it, but she eventually came around, even though we had to sleep in separate bedrooms at their house. we didn't tell any of my grandparents, though. i wasn't ashamed of it (don't know if my parents were), but my grandparents are old-school adventists and living together before marriage is something they never would believe in, and i just didn't see any reason to upset them.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I wish we had been able to live together before we got married. Just for the ease of it all :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I've encouraged (and will continue to) every couple I know that is getting serious enough to think about marriage to think hard about living together first. After having done it with my wife for about a year before we got married, I recommend it, hands down.

    The mere fact is this -- when you're dating, you see the BEST of your partner almost all the time. You each can 'escape' and go back to your individual places, let down your hair, perform cleanings and bodily functions, all in the privacy of your own home. But when you're together -- you get exposed to all that. You will not only see that person when they are at their best, but also at their very worst. It's important for people to see both sides and all sides in between, because when you're married -- you don't get the option of not seeing them for 3 days while that zit goes away or you stop puking.

    You learn about the entire package of the person you're going to marry, not just the primped parts. And as far as the religious aspect and all that crap? My parents were/are horribly religiously stout and even THEY didn't wait until marriage to boink. I suspect that's the case with a lot of these folks that turn their nose down at living together -- they're actually plagued with guilt. I think it's a non-issue.

    At least, if you won't live together, trying to spend some long hours with each other so you can see more than just Mr/Ms Romance At Dinner.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I would probably wait till I got engaged, but only because in my circle I see a lot of people who move in together in haste and repent at leisure. I think it's a New York (or Overpriced Big City) thing: If you're spending all your time together anyway, may as well save money! And then there are breakups and estranged couples who are stuck living together (like "The Break-up," but in much smaller spaces).

    As far as morals go, my paternal grandparents would probably have a field day -- when my parents were dating and living in separate cities, they used to pack my dad a sleeping bag!!! -- but I think they could be kept out of that decision. It sounds mean but I think it would hurt them more to know. (They don't know that I have a male roommate now, for instance.)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I was open to living together, but D wouldn't. Mostly because his mother would have flipped out. I think the place you live makes a huge difference, in general, in how living together is perceived.
    I do not think it's necessary for a successful marriage, nor do I think it's detrimental to marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I, like you, think it is a great idea to live together. Living together is difficult because people have different schedules and sleeping patterns, so it's good to figure that out in advance.

    Plus living together takes some of the silver lining off of your relationship. When you don't live together, for the most part, you only see each other at your best. When you share a place, you see each other at your worsts - when you're sick, unshowered, not wearing make up, etc.

    I think it's good to have a realistic view of what life will be like living with someone before you get married.

    I lived with T for around 6 years before we got married. It was tough at times with our schedules, cleaning, etc., but at least I knew what to expect when we got married.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sweets and I have been together for 12 years, living together for 6. We do plan to get married, but it hasn't been anything urgent, just when we get around to it - except that now we have a child and it just makes things easier if we are married, so we are making it a priority.

    In the last 6 years I've had people, acquaintances and family, make comments. If they don't believe in living together before marriage, that's fine with me. However, they deal with our arrangement for a tiny fraction of their time while we live it. If we're okay with it - not just accepting, but happy and thriving - they don't need to try to "save" us.

    Thus, I have been highly offended by people who suggest that our relationship is something dirty or "without God's blessing" as one coworker put it. Apparently God approves of love only if you have the appropriate paperwork. Heh.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I don't see anything wrong with a couple moving in together if they are not married or even if they are not at that point yet. Statistics on these sort of issues mean nothing to me. I have seen A LOT of people who didn't live together prior to getting married and then about a year to two or three years later they were getting a divorce.

    What it all comes down to is the relationship you have with that person, what you want, what they want. I would say that whether you are going to marry someone or just move in with them, think about it first. Don't do things in haste.

    ReplyDelete
  33. John and I lived together for a few months before we got married- we would have happily lived together long before that but it was a big issue for both our families, and the thought of that being a major topic of conversation and stress every time we talked to them was not appealing.

    Then his lease ran out, he moved into my place, and we just tried not to talk about it with our families. My mom "found out" like 2 weeks before our wedding (not like she didn't know before- we were in a "don't ask don't tell" holding pattern for months) and called me hysterical, told me "the gig was up," and asked me "how I expected her to face her friends at our wedding after this."

    Needless to say, it all turned out fine. But now I have a pretty good sense of where I got my flair for the dramatic.

    ReplyDelete
  34. i've always assumed i'd live with my future husband before getting married. granted, i wasn't expecting it to turn out the way it did, AHEM, and i'm a little... skittish, shall we say? of moving in with another boy now... but i still think it makes more sense to "try out" living with someone before committing to living with them for the rest of your life.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I lived with my (now) husband for a year and a half before we got engaged, and I wouldn't have done it any differently. In my opinion, you never really, truly know someone until you live with them. His grandmother, in particular, was very vocally against it (not to us -- always behind our backs, of course) and I think that's because she's very religious. In fact, she refused to come inside our apartment, which was a little extreme -- but we still respected her views. The rest of the family was pretty okay with it.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Sorry for the second comment, but I had to add that one of those family members actually referred to our daughter as a "bastard child" and I nearly throttled her. She made it sound like I was sleeping around so much I could only guess at who the father was. I also don't correct people when they refer to us as husband and wife. That's what we are; we just haven't told the county records clerk yet.

    ReplyDelete
  37. So different here in N-Europe. You are expected to live together before getting married. In fact there would probably be a lot more shock and judgement going on if you got married without having lived together.

    Most people I know are born out of wedlock. Most of them were then in the bridalparty when their parents got married.

    In fact me and hubs are considered freaks for having gotten married first and then having a child.
    So the whole living in sin thing... not an issue.
    Just us crazy europeans :þ

    ReplyDelete
  38. I wasn't in favor of it for us personally, but I know that for other people it's the right choice for them. Ryan and I did end up living together before we were engaged or married, but we had another roommate up until about 2 weeks before the wedding, so it was more like we were all roommates than just us living together. It helped that we had all known eachother for years before Ryan and I started dating. And I wouldn't do it any other way, in retrospect. It was initially a monetary concern, but it was nice to get used to living with him so that I knew what to expect when we were on our own.

    ReplyDelete
  39. As someone who is about to move in with her long-term boyfriend, I am absolutely okay with the idea of cohabitation before marriage. If only because I have a fear of marrying someone and then realizing that I can't exist in the same household with them for some unknown quirk/habit/psychosis that reveals itself after only after we live together.

    That said, his mother has a problem with it...which I've documented for your enjoyment. http://stopsweatingme.blogspot.com/2008/09/what-have-i-gotten-myself-into.html

    ReplyDelete
  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I live with my boyfriend, and I moved in with him when we had only been dating 9ish months...OF COURSE I tell people freely, I love living with him and I'm proud to do it.
    I lived with HIS parents for 3 months before moving in here, and they were totally fine with him spending the weekend and spending the night in my room and stuff. His parents are so laid-back; its really refreshing.

    However, my moms a bit uptight about it, like when we go to visit, the last time (we weren't officially living together then) we slept in separate beds and I don't know what she feels comfortable with this time (thanksgiving), but I think now that she knows we share an apartment/bed she'll be a bit more comfortable with it....but then again, she did mention something about not fully accepting him into our family outings/holidays and such until we get married...*sigh*

    But all that being said, I totally get where my mom is coming from and I'm super respectful of her comfort-level with the whole thing when we go to visit. It's her house.

    ReplyDelete
  42. It's surprising to see how many people are already married or together. For me, I'd want to know that the person I was considering moving in with was planning on making a lifelong commitment - none of that "Oh sure, let's live together," only to say, "Yeah I don't want to ever get married." But I think in some ways, I would want to live with my person - though there is something oddly romantic about waiting till the wedding to move in together.

    (Sorry for being so MIA!)

    ReplyDelete
  43. I approve of living together first, and in fact would encourage it. I didn't live with my first husband before we married, and living with him was a shock. I DID live with my second husband before we got married, and I felt like I went into our marriage with eyes wide open.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I think there's a time limit - can't start living together too soon, and you can't live together indefinitely without marriage, if you have strong beliefs about wanting to be married. But I still would approve of living together, just for a shorter time before engagement/marriage. It's very weird to me when I hear of someone who hasn't done that with their spouse. Actually I wonder if it's THEIR marriage that's doomed.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I think it is SO important to live with someone before you marry them. My husband and I lived together for four years before we got married. I knew exactly what I was getting into. Four years later, we're still together and as strong as ever.

    Waking up the day after our wedding ... everything was the same and that was a little surprising. But everything somehow "felt" brighter, better, more wonderful. To this day, I love being married, and to him. (None of our parents had a problem with us living together. My aunt, on the other hand, is a different story)

    ReplyDelete
  46. We lived together for ages before we got married, and I didn't worry about it. My parents could have cared less, his parents were a little more iffy, but he's the oldest, and by the time they got to the last kid (they have five) living with his or her partner, they were over it. They did tell us not to tell his grandparents.
    I thought it was totally bizarre that anyone would care, it never even crossed my mind.
    I will say that I never expected this, but after we got married, it was a little different. In a really good way that I can't explain.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Ug. I HATE the word "sin" in this context. Probably because I feel like it just automatically places some sort of superimposed, fabricated guilt on the situation.

    Living together is a must before marriage. Because love isn't enough to keep people together through years and years of living together. You have to see if you can compromise, if you can listen, if you can deal with this person for 24 hours solid. You have to know whether you can handle the empty toliet paper roll or the cap being off the toothpaste. You have to know if your finacial philosophy matches.

    So, of course my husband and I lived together before marriage was ever even mentioned. And I still just cackle at the old biddies who look askance at my life choices.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I am living the dream, baby. HOM (oops, totally just wrote his real name and had to delete it) moved in in August and we're the happiest we've been. I know we're still in the honeymoon phase but it's really great (hiccups included).

    I am not ashamed that I live with my boyfriend and in fact find myself looking for opportunities to drop it into conversations. That sounds bratty and I don't mean it to be. I was just SO READY to live with him and got so jealous of other peeps who did live with their boyfriends (you included:) that now, I just want to tell whoever will listen :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. I lived with my husband for about a year or so before we got engaged and we've been married 4 years on October 9, and have a beautiful new baby girl and an awesome cat (whom we got when we lived together). This is the third house we've shared and that surprises most people -- but I really think living together before marriage isn't a bit thing -- it just shows how committed you are to one another.

    I was met with some major opinions when we first mentioned we've be living together -- some from people who had no merit to give such an opinion -- but I ignored them because I knew it would work, and it did/has.

    I think it's an old fashioned idea that people don't/won't live together before marriage (or not bother to get married at all).

    ReplyDelete
  50. Wow there are a lot of comments on this post, and no, I didn't read all of them, so I'm sorry if someone else already said this: but there has also been research showing that couples who live together before marriage are less likely to divorce. Just so you know. Now, for me, I used to have a big problem with living together before marriage, mostly because that's how I was raised. However, now that I'm older I've changed my views a bit and I don't see anything wrong with it. I would move in with a boyfriend if I felt like it was the right thing for us.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I've lived with my boyfriend for over a year now. We moved in together after we'd been together for a year. We plan on getting married, but we haven't made any serious plans yet.

    I also think it's very important that you live with someone before you get married to them. There are certain things you can learn about your significant other only by living with them.

    ReplyDelete
  52. My mother would have been mortified if I had lived with my sweet guy before marriage. She is in her early 50's and grew up in a strict southern baptist situation (that's what I call it)...so out of respect for our families we chose to wait until after marriage to live together. However we did choose to stay with each other as last as possible every single night until that day. Ha!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I was brought up in a very old school family. It was never a consideration for me to live with my boy before we got married. Part was out of respect for my parents and part was because I didn't want to. I looked forward to sharing a home with him. It was first and a very exciting time. I can understand why people live together before marriage. It's convenience and a "testing ground" but I already knew that if we had any issues about how we live together, we'd work them out.

    For me, it was really important to not live together first. Before it was mine and yours. Now there's a true sense of OUR.

    Before we got married, and he'd visit my parent's house, no freakin' way we'd stay in the same room. Not even a question. But at his mom's house, it was expected. I did it, but it made me so uncomfortable.

    Basically, to each their own. There's not one "right" way for everyone. For me, this was right.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I think the stats about people living together before marriage might be reflective of people who are already in mature long term relationships when they marry – getting divorced after 4 years of marriage is different if you’ve been together for 5 or 6 years versus 9 or 10 before that. More time to get on each other’s nerves maybe?

    I moved in with my Mister after we’d been dating seriously for six months, and we got engaged a year and a half after. I think it’s a great litmus test, and we didn’t move in because we were planning to marry, just because we loved each other and it was right for where we were at. I remember the constant hellos, goodbyes, the conflicting schedules, everything about living apart for us was hard, and as soon as we lived together it gelled perfectly.

    A wedding was a great chance for our families to meet, and a nice way for us to formalize our relationship, but I don’t think our wedding will make us gel and more or any less – as nice as that would be!

    ReplyDelete
  55. I think it's a good thing to do because the old adage is true: you don't really know someone until you live with them. I live with my boyfriend because we wanted to be together and we're ridiculously happy. I wouldn't want it any other way.

    ReplyDelete
  56. i would NEVER marry someone unless i lived with him first.

    i don't think you can truly know someone until you live together. because if it's not your house, even if you do sleepovers, you're still on your best behavior.

    plus, you'd never know how they were with money, or chores, or anything else.

    i've been married twice, and lived with both men beforehand. my first husband and i got divorced and no amount of "sinless living" would've changed that. my second husband and i are very happily married, and i can't ever see us getting divorced (i'm sure everyone says that, but seriously), but we didn't really hit our stride in our relationship until he moved in.

    so i'm all for living in sin. i think it's necessary. how do you know if things fit if you don't try them on? better to know BEFORE marriage than after.

    ReplyDelete
  57. My husband and I lived together before getting engaged. I'm so glad we decided to do it. It was a hard bunch of months at first for a lot of reasons (mostly unrealated to living together but some of it was) but I truly believe that we got all the hard first year of marriage stuff out of the way early. We went through some rough patches and still wanted to be together.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I think you're right about that statistic--that the people who would never live together before marriage are also the ones who would avoid divorce at any cost.

    A friend of mine recently moved in with her boyfriend, and an old guy in her condo building openly expressed his concern and disapproval about it. I'm sure my Catholic parents would not approve if I "shacked up" with someone, but I'd never think my NEIGHBORS would weigh in!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Brett & I lived together before we got married. It was a lot like you said, really good for us. I also have a bunch of really good friends who disapprove of that. It didn't bother me, which is strange because usually something like that WOULD bother me. But I felt so confident & comfortable with my decision (for once) that I didn't care. I also didn't talk about it much, though. While I didn't care much what others thought, I also didn't want to go down that road or have that conversation.

    ReplyDelete
  60. i come from a super conservative background, and i know that my family would have major issues if i moved in with a boyfriend. i do not think that it is a bad thing though. sure, the anticipation of setting up house after the wedding is gone, but is that really realistic this day in age?

    ReplyDelete
  61. This is so interesting, reading everyone's comments!

    I live with my guy. We've lived together more than a year now (gah, how did that happen!). I ALWAYS thought, growing up and through the entirety of college, I wouldn't live with a guy until we were engaged. I wanted it to be special. I was raised in a liberal, yet religious family - so I always knew that my parents would still love and support me no matter what I chose, but their preference would be to have some formalized commitment prior to cohabitating.

    My older brother lived with his (now ex)girlfriend. I saw my parent's raised eyebrows through that experience, but they love him and let him make his own life decisions. Still, I told myself I wouldn't do it that way.

    It's funny how life works though. All your best laid plans...things change, plans change. BF and I had some drama rama that we were sorting through, and a lot of it centered around his commitment issues. In a weird sort of way, I don't think we would have made it as a couple without the decision to live together. He is, as one of my friends said, a "tough nut to crack." Living with him has given me a much greater understanding of his needs and wants, it's helped me learn to appreciate so much about him (even though much of it is different from myself).

    We have an abstract idea that we will be married one day. Is it a detailed plan at this point? No. Do I need it to be? Not really. I don't think I would be able to marry him without having had this time to grow together prior to marriage, however. I'm really happy with this decision, and I am glad we have the opportunity to know each other in this way.

    My parents are generally supportive of us. I know that they would prefer we get married now. My extended family is a little more judgemental - I choose to ignore it. The times are different, as my mom herself noted recently. BF's parents could care less (we have always stayed in one room in their homes, from the beginning - in my parents' home, we still sleep separately).

    We'll see where we end up next, I'm still feeling young and in no hurry. There are major life decisions and goals to reach individually (we both are applying to medical schools) before we worry about a wedding. :)

    ReplyDelete
  62. Rob and I lived together before we got married, and we spoke very freely about it.

    I will say, though, that we had a very weird experience at the Marriott Marquis in NY once when we traveled there together. The woman at the front desk made a big deal about asking if we wanted two double beds or a king bed, and it was completely mortifying. Rob thinks it was because I looked a lot younger than him. I still think she was calling me a whore.

    ReplyDelete
  63. we lived together before marriage and it was wonderful. my mother actually encouraged it because we were paying two rents and it would be easier to just manage one household, both financially and emotionally. i would do it again. i learned a lot about myself and about my then-boyfriend that i wouldn't want to be surprised with had we moved in right after marriage. we were much more prepared to get married because we had worked out all the newish kinks of living together and it made the transistion to husband and wife much more seamless.

    ReplyDelete
  64. You already have a million comments reflecting on this, but I figured I better weigh in since this is something that has just happened for me. Matt and I moved in together last week- and while my parents support it? The elder generations don't. We've been dating for two and a half years, with future plans, so I didn't see anything wrong with it myself.
    I think the reason that living together before marriages ends in divorce or breaking up, is because people realize quickly whether or not this is the path they should be taking together. I'd rather find out if things are wrong between us before the marriage and everything than after.

    ReplyDelete
  65. My family was very disapproving when my ex moved in last year. Tony and I have talked about moving into together and it is very likely that we will wait until we're married, mostly based on the opinions of others, but also because we want to save something special for when we tie the knot. It'll be an exciting change and the start of a new life together, even though I wish every night when we have to figure out where we're sleeping that we only had one bed to choose from.

    ReplyDelete
  66. This is SUCH an interesting post! I've loved reading the comments.
    I'm not strongly opposed nor strongly in favor of it- I personally didn't, er, "save myself" till marriage, so I really can't sit in judgement of other people. And for all intents and purposes, Jim and I lived together before we got married. But, I would leave at like two in the morning every night, just to comfort my mom that I was indeed sleeping alone. She had said that she wouldn't contribute financially to the wedding at all if she knew we were living together. Which, um, is kind of bs because she DID know that we were sleeping together. But somehow staying overnight would make it OFFICIALLY bad or something? I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  67. We live together and have for almost 2 years (wow I just processed that) and it has been so seamless and so easy that I can't imagine not. But yes, at the time the decision was made we already knew we wanted to get married - even if that is not yet a reality -we knew it would happen.

    I think because we are a bit older (29/31) that we really don't know people who aren't living together - assuming they are in serious relationships.

    ReplyDelete
  68. My husband and I lived together for about 6 months before we got married and both of our parents were really supportive. On the other hand, although my mom knew and supported us living together, we couldn't stay in the same room/bed at her house before we were married. But it was completely fine for both of us - simply a matter of respect towards her.

    ReplyDelete
  69. At my father's house, if you're not married, you're not staying in the same room. Period. Same rule applies here at our house. Everyone has their own rule set and or principles that they live by and it's important to me to be true to myself.

    And I respect others for living true to themselves as well. Hubby and I didn't live together before we got married nor did we have sex. In this day and age I know we're the oddballs out but it was right for us. No regrets. We have the happiest marriage of ANYONE I've ever met. I'm a lucky girl.

    ReplyDelete
  70. We lived together for about 6 months before we got engaged then had an 11 month engagement. My 90 year old nan was fine with it, but my dad wasnt too thrilled. When we flew to NZ to visit, he wouldnt let us sleep in his house (or even on his property in a tent) alone togther. I dont know if it is generational thing (if it is it wont be for long when us more accepting generations get old) but it certainly isnt in my family.

    I dont mind who knows and I'd talk about it with anyone because like you, it was an amazing time in my life and I loved living with Ry. As far as I can tell, living together only enhanced our marriage because we were already prepared and accepting of each others flaws when we got married.

    ReplyDelete
  71. I'm not sure you will even read this comment as I am #71 (damn girl!), but here it is anyway: I have read similar studies about the divorce rate being higher with people that live together before marriage. I believe that this is because there are people out there that hop in and out of "living together relationships." So once these people finally get married, they jump out of the marriage when things start to go wrong, just like they did before. I also think that because there are more people that are living together before marriage, there is going to be higher number of divorces.

    I originally was against moving in with my boyfriend, but we decided that we wanted to live together, not just for money reasons. I am very happy that we did so because 7months later, my fiance started traveling every week so I could take care of the dog and our place while he was gone.

    I personally didn't care what people thought. We are not religious anyway so I loved to joke about us living in sin!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Currently doing it. Oh and we bought our house after knowing each other six months. It will be three years in January. We've only been engaged for just shy of one year. While certainly there are times I wish there was a little more space, that's a reflection of our 650 square foot home rather than our relationship. When we moved in together our feeling was (and this was before the housing crisis, although our home value is still a bit higher) that worse came to worst we would have a nice little investment to split up, and we had a little agreement written up to protect ourselves.

    In any case, I've never been quiet about much of anything. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  73. Hm. You've obviously never met a really staunch Mormon. Highly frowned upon in that faith. Ask one the next time you meet one. You'll get an earful!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I live with my boyfriend, and we aren't engaged. I don't foresee us getting engaged in the very near future, but I do see it sometime in the next year or two.
    I think it may be a Canadian thing, but it really is normative here. I think I know one friend who didn't cohabitate before getting married, and even they traveled the world together. My grandparents don't have a problem with it as all.

    As for the study findings, it is generally written off as due to differences in beliefs on marriage in general. As you said, people who believe in living together before marriage generally believe in divorce, whereas people who do not often do not believe in divorce. I would wager there are no differences in marital satisfaction, or perhaps a benefit for the cohabitators, who know what to expect when they get married.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I've done it (sort of) and definitely plan to do it again. How do you truly know someone until you live together?

    ReplyDelete
  76. I have no problem with it, and if I was in a relationship, I would. Of course, some members of my extended family might not approve, but they're in no position to judge as much as I am.

    ReplyDelete
  77. I take offense to the Mormon comment. As a faithful "staunch" Mormon I consider myself a woman who believes strongly in her principles but doesn't attempt to force my own beliefs down other's throats. Please be kind. Just because someone doesn't agree with your life philosophy is no reason to discount or direspect them. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Okay, I can't read all of these comments...way too many!

    Steve and I do not live together and have been together more then four years. Like some of the others have said, it's a very personal decision, and one that I do not take lightly. For a long time, I've said that I wanted to wait until marriage to live together, but I would consider it if we were engaged (which I hope will be soon!) My decision isn't caused by morals or religion, it is what is best for me and for Steve.

    As for trying it out and learning the others habits? I think that one can know their habits without living together. Granted, of course you won't know every little thing, but I look as it as being part of newlywed life...learning those little tiny pieces of them as your lives together progress. I hope that evern after 40 years of marriage, I still learn new things about him every day of my life.

    ReplyDelete
  79. My boyfriend and I live together, and both of my grandmothers, plus his grandmother, and all of our parents are totally fine with it. For us, moving in together didn't do much but eliminate a rental payment. We know we're committed, we know we're going to be together, and so living together isn't a big deal. We have run into one or two people who "don't agree," but they're not us, so whatever.

    ReplyDelete
  80. I've heard that stat before and my analysis is the same as yours - people who DON'T live together before marriage are most likely religious and can't get divorced. That explains the rating.

    We lived together before and it worked out so well. I actually think it is crucial to the marriage. It would be awful to move in with your spouse right after the wedding and find out something awful about their living style.

    I had some family that opposed it. Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
  81. My mom told people I still lived with them for at least a year after I moved out. Not that I was living with a bf but the fact that I wasn't even in the house anymore.

    I've lived with 2 bf's that I thought I was gonna marry and you know what? It helped that I lived wit them prior to marrying them othewise I would probably be miserable right now.

    I am in the middle of this whole house buying/my roommmate moving out/ have my bf move in kind of thing and we will move in sooner than later but I am in no rush since there is no ring on my finger.

    ReplyDelete
  82. My younger sister was the one who initially broke in my Catholic-Italian father and grandparents with the living in sin thing, so it wasn't too bad for A. and I.

    I didn't move in thinking it would be a good trial run or something before marriage. I am TRULY ambivalent about marriage and I am not in the least bit anxious to get married. I am just happy how we are, and thankfully MOST of our family understand that. I still hear, "when are you going to get married?" from one of his sisters and his mom, but I decided to be flattered they want me to marry him.

    I am careful how I talk about it around children, but everyone else can just deal with it. When people get all judge-y I just smile because I just don't give a sh*t what they think. I figure: Judge away, Judge-y McJudge-ypants since you will find SOMETHING about me to get in a snit about, anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I would actually want to live with a guy before I get married to him. I need to know before I am getting married that living with the man is going to work out.
    In Germany living in 'sin' is pretty normal. Most couples live together before they get married, and many live together for years and don't get married (or never get married), some also have kids.
    Here it is no big deal whatsoever to live together before marriage, so I would not hesitate to speak about it openly, but in the States I would probably adjust to cultural norms there, and not be so open about it, I wouldn't hide it (because I think there is nothing to hide) but I'd try to be tactful and respect other people's feelings.

    ReplyDelete
  84. I think living with someone is better than living alone, as long as you get along (roommate or boyfriend). And if people date for 6 years without moving in together, that seems similar to actually living together while unmarried. There is still an ongoing question of commitment.

    ReplyDelete
  85. I would never marry someone without living with them first, and for a few years at that. I lived with my previous boyfriend and I had been living with my fiancé nearly 4 years when we got engaged. For me, marriage is something you go into when you're absolutely sure. Having been with my other half six years now, I know how much relationships change over time. I would advise anyone to live together first to see how it goes. And be open about it - it's 2008!

    ReplyDelete