Choosing to live with your partner before marriage has always been a rather taboo topic. Say it out loud at a family function and I promise you’ll be able to hear a pin drop two seconds later. And of course, there’s always that one lovely individual who has to say, “People who live together before marriage actually have a higher rate of divorce!” (Not true, according to Glamour.)
But this once-taboo topic is now becoming a much more popular option for today’s couples, and society is getting on board.
For a little background, I’m not just coming out of left field here and shouting the praises of something with which I have no experience. I am one of those “non-traditional” people who is living with my significant other. My fiancé and I have been living together for almost four months now and are navigating this change one day at a time. I’m no expert, but I’m not a complete outsider either!
If you’re considering living with your partner before marriage, take heart! There are actually many advantages to cohabiting.
It’s a trial run for shared responsibility
Living together forces the two of you to share responsibility for multiple things: money, chores, cooking, etc. My fiancé and I are in a bit of a unique situation because I’m trying to save as much money as possible before moving overseas in a few months so he’s taken over almost all of the financial responsibilities. But regardless, sharing financial responsibility when you live with your partner means more than just switching off with who buys dinner and movie tickets. It means figuring out who pays rent, who buys groceries, who is in charge of keeping up with internet and cable bills, and, yup, who’s paying for tonight’s Chinese takeout.
I know it sounds a little scary, but it’s been great for our relationship. I mentioned that my fiancé is the main breadwinner and it’s been an unexpected way to bring some more trust into our relationship. As an admitted control freak, it takes a lot of trust for me to accept that he’ll pay the internet bill when he darn well feels like it. And so far, he hasn’t let the lights get shut off. Thanks for taking care of me, babe!
You figure out each other’s habits
Obviously, there’s not much escaping when you live together, so you learn each other’s habits very quickly. Sometimes this is good and sometimes this is bad. For example, my fiancé tends to place little trash items such as tags on top of my desk instead of in the trash can next to my desk. DRIVES ME CRAZY.
But I also do things that drive him crazy, like sticking my loose hairs to the shower wall and forgetting to clean them off. None of our habits are deal breakers for either of us, but knowing about all of them certainly will make our future easier.
In the same vein, you will quickly figure out each other’s sex habits and schedules. Since you’re sleeping together every night, you'll have to figure out what works for both of you. Before cohabiting, sex just kind of comes naturally. If you only see each other once a week, it’s probably going down. But living in the same house and crawling into the same bed every night feels a little different.
Living together before marriage lets you figure out how to balance keeping the spark alive while simultaneously getting enough sleep before you both have to be at work at 7 am.
You’ve always got a buddy
When you live with your partner, you’ve basically got a live-in best friend. Before we lived together, my fiancé was pretty much just my fiancé. Maybe that sounds kind of bad, but hear me out. Up until four months ago, he was usually just a voice on the other end of the phone (we’d been long-distance for two years).
Now, he’s a grocery store partner, a workout buddy, the guy who lets me soak his shirt with tears when I miss my family, an adventure-seeking pal, and even a back scratcher. It’s awesome! Living with one of your very best friends is pretty fun.
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You’re forced to figure your s**t out
In case you haven’t noticed, you’re living together. Which means you’re kind of stuck with each other. Which means when you get into a big fight, there’s no storming back to your separate apartments and ignoring each other’s calls and texts until someone is ready to apologize. No, ma’am.
You’ve got to figure that mess out because the farthest you can go is the couch. And if you’re anything like us, neither of you is willing to sleep on the cold couch in the living room no matter how bad things get, so you’ve got to talk it out.
Or not. Maybe it’s one of those stupid fights that you’ll both wake up and forget about the next morning. We’ve certainly had our fair share of those. We go to sleep butt-to-butt without saying good night and then the next morning everything is fine.
But if you were living in separate spaces, you’d never know which kind of fight it is. Things get infinitely easier to deal with when you’re able to escape to your own space. Living together forces you to work things out or forget about them in a pretty short amount of time. Which is good!
Proving people wrong
Maybe it’s just me but I get a whole lot of satisfaction from saying, “I told you so.” I think we secretly all do. And successfully navigating cohabiting and coming out stronger on the other end is the ultimate, “I told you so!” to the all the people who doubted you. Aunt Susan who passive-aggressively mentioned the divorce rate last Thanksgiving can shove it (no? too far?).
Granted, this is going to take a while to manifest itself, but when you’re old and gray and sitting in your rocking chairs on the porch, you can look over at your partner and say, “Ha! They said it wouldn’t work.” I don’t know about you but that’s life goals.
At the end of the day, choosing to live with your partner is an intimate decision that should not be taken lightly. Make sure the two of you have talked it over thoroughly. Then, jump in head first! Living together strengthens relationships like you wouldn’t believe, and is a great way to take the next step with your partner. Do what works for you two and the rest will fall into place!
Have you ever lived with a partner before marriage? What did you learn? Leave it in the comments below!