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Living Together Before Marriage: Can It Work For You?

living together before marriageThere are strong opinions about couples living together before marriage — both pro and con. Many factors need to go into that decision and there’s not one right answer for everyone.

The question of living together before marriage comes up at some point in a serious relationship. But if you’re thinking of moving in with a man you’re not engaged to in the hopes that he will come to the decision to marry you, you might want to proceed with caution.

According to The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports:

  • Living together is considered to be more stressful than being married.
  • Just over 50% of first cohabiting couples ever get married.
  • In the United States and in the UK, couples who live together are at a greater risk for divorce than non-cohabiting couples.
  • Couples who lived together before marriage tend to divorce early in their marriage. If their marriage last seven years, then their risk for divorce is the same as couples who didn’t cohabit before marriage.

What does this mean for you? I’m not a researcher, I can only tell you about my own life experience and what happened to me.

During my single years I lived with 3 different men. In all 3 cases I assumed that if they loved me enough to live with me — and they liked it — then certainly they would take the next step and marry me. Needless to say it never happened, in fact I never even got engaged to any of them.

These failed experiments in co-habitation were not easy on me and took their toll on my self-confidence and self-esteem. They also made me into a dishonest woman. I had to pretend that everything was fine. I didn’t tell them that I wanted more or about my feelings of dissatisfaction.

I lied to myself and I lied to them to keep the peace. I was “playing house” hoping to prove to them that I was worth marrying. I knew they loved me; I just had to show them how good our life together could be and I secretly prayed that they would “fall more in love with me” and want to marry me.

Living together before marriage requires a common vision for the future

There’s another big draw back to living together before marriage, before making the ultimate commitment. I don’t have to tell you how breaking up with a man is hard, but when you’ve been living with him it’s even harder. You have to dismantle the lifestyle you’ve set up together. You’ve shared furniture, household bills and inevitably, one or both of you will be forced to find a new place to live.

If you’re considering living together before marriage you have to have a talk about the future. Don’t do what I did and hope he’ll come to realize he wants to marry you. This arrangement works best if you both have been honest about your expectations and agree that this is a step to making the ultimate commitment to each other.

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