Saturday, June 23, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Does it make sense to move in together before marriage?

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

At what point is it sensible to move in with a lover?

Q: I know you say to save living together for when you're committed to spending the rest of your life with someone, but what about when you're 95 percent sure, it makes total financial sense, and the other person really wants it? I guess I'm just saying, would it be a mistake to move in at less than 100 percent certainty?

Moving In

Carolyn: Yes. And I say this as a skeptic of the whole idea of 100 percent certainty.

People opposed to the shacking-up trend often trot out a statistic that marriages preceded by cohabitation are more likely to end in divorce than other marriages. It's a problematic use of a complicated set of numbers and social attitudes, but here's the part of it that people in your position have to take seriously: Once you move in with someone, inertia kicks in, steering you toward staying with your live-in love — and inertia is a terrible decisionmaker.

It is so, so much harder to move out of a shared life than it is to move into one. As it is, people who have a little voice telling them the relationship isn't working have to face some painful possibilities, even if they live in separate places. The ones who cohabit are often sorely tempted to ignore the little voice and press ahead with the home purchase, engagement, marriage, even children, all with nagging doubts unexplored, because that exploration blows up not just a relationship, but a home.

Don't put yourself on that path. Just don't. Hold out till you're sure.

Besides, if you do it because "the other person really wants it," or to save money, then you have all the potential problems I just identified plus a bad precedent of not being able to stand up to the other person's pressure and of letting convenience replace conviction.

Anonymous: I totally agree with your warning about inertia, but I wanted to pass on my story as an alternative view. My boyfriend and I moved in together with the idea that we were going to be together forever, but no concrete plans for marriage. Living with him was eye-opening, because I saw a side of him that I did not see when we lived apart.

We are now planning a wedding, and I can say that I'm going into it with skills and full knowledge of what it means to live with this wonderful, imperfect man.

NOT being married while we were working through implications of living day-to-day with each other gave me the option of clearly thinking, "Is this someone/the life I want forever?" and the freedom to say, "No" or (as the case may be) "Yes, I want this, warts and all."

Carolyn: Thanks. It's not so much an alternate view, though, as a supplemental one. My standard advice is that moving in makes sense at the point where you've decided you want to be with this person for good — married or not — which you had decided.

Though I won't even try to talk people out of it who believe Marriage First, I don't think it's necessary or even pragmatic to wait till marriage to move in, for many of the reasons you state.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Dad despairs at state of gender relations

Q: Day after day, we have new news of a famous man who has done unspeakably stupid and offensive things to women ... for decades. Society is, somewhat belatedly, starting to take these accusations seriously.But change is needed at the opposite end of...
Published: 06/22/18

Tell Me About It: Future in-laws are insisting on an open bar

Q: My fiance and I are getting married in my familyís hometown and my parents are hosting (and paying for) the wedding. My family are minimal drinkers. My fianceís large extended family is accustomed to weddings with full open bars.My parentsí initia...
Published: 06/21/18
Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Rainbow connection Pride weekend: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend in St. Petersburg, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coc...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

HIS KIND OF NIGHT: Luke BryanItís been three long years since Tampa has seen the well-groomed hide of Luke Bryan, the Hollywoodiest hunk in Nashville. But heís about to make up for lost time. On Saturday heíll headline his biggest-ever show here, a b...
Published: 06/20/18
Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Tyler Henry: Hollywood MediumTyler Henry, the so-called Hollywood Medium who stars in an eponymous E! hit show, is coming to town with a live show called "Life Lessons I Have Learned From the Departed." The soft-spoken 22-year-old has done readings f...
Published: 06/20/18
5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

1 Summer Plant Festival: If you think you canít get anything to thrive in Floridaís brutal summers, check out the vendors with fruit trees and advice on how to grow them, along with hundreds of blooming butterfly plants, herbs and tropical and exotic...
Published: 06/20/18

Tell Me About It: Wife punished after being victimized

Q: At a work happy hour, a male co-worker groped me. He later "apologized" with the qualification that I had been sending him mixed signals.Iím married, he has met my husband, Iíve never led him on. And when it happened I was incredibly clear that it...
Published: 06/20/18
Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg Friday with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that ga...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Mom/daughter dynamic feels controlling

Q: I am afraid I may be a controlling mom of my young adult daughter, but we have a dynamic in which she seeks me out often, solicits my advice, and makes me too important in her life. I admit to offering that advice because it is hard for me to draw...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Regretting staying too long in bad romance

Q: I recently broke up with someone after two years. Even though there were things that bothered me while we were together, I would convince myself I was overreacting, he didnít really mean it, etc.Now that itís over, I feel like a fool for not havin...
Published: 06/18/18