Living Together Before Marriage

Is living together before marriage a good or a bad idea? Is it useful in developing or sorting out relationships? Does living together before marriage lead to better marriages or does it lead to more divorces? It would seem that both are possible. Many couples who eventually get divorced say that if they had just lived together for a while they would have recognized that their relationship would not work out. They say that living together before marriage would have helped them avoid the pain of breaking up. What are the possibilities and what should you do?

Uncertain About Making A Commitment

For someone who is uncertain about making a commitment, living together may seem like a good choice, certainly an easier choice. The problem is that, at some point, marriage requires a commitment. If you are going to live your lives together, raise children together, and help each other in good times and bad you need to make a commitment. If a woman or man is going to give up the prospect of dating other people and maybe finding someone else he or she deserves a commitment on the part of the other person.

More Convenient To Live Together

Sometimes couples end up spending so much time together that it becomes more convenient to live together. If you and you boyfriend or girlfriend get along so well that you enjoy each other’s company every day and every night that is a good thing. The question now is whether your relationship is a matter of convenience or if it is going to move on to something more substantial. What happens too often is that the relationship remains convenient and comfortable for one person and the other wants to move on, have children, and plan a life together. At that point a commitment is often necessary. When the more comfortable of the two does not want to move it the other commonly becomes sad, angry, and embittered. Too many women leave this sort of a relationship feeling like they have been taken advantage of and believing that they have lost valuable years of their life.

Just Trying It Out

Some couples choose to “test the waters” by living together. They enjoy each other’s company and share affection. Their intent is to see what issues might arise when they share the same space. A problem with this approach is that without the commitment that goes with marriage living together like this is not a valid test. When one or the other can simply walk out the door there is often too little reason to work on issues and resolve differences.

What To Do

If you are thinking of living together before marriage for any of the above reasons here is a tip. Set a time limit to how long you will live together before you decide to make a commitment. The same applies to the convenience issue. If you want to move ahead in your life it works better if you make plans. At some point convenience needs to give way to a joint decision to make a life together. And, it is the same with “just trying it out.” Make a list of issues and deal with them. Get some help if you need it and move forward.

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