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Living together before marriage

March 22, 2017

I know we've had this discussion before, but can we have it again?

What are your thoughts on living together before marriage?

How do you explain yourself if you refuse to live together before marriage when it's so common nowadays? Especially when people say "don't you want to try it out first"?

If you choose not to live together before marriage, is it because of your own choice, your cultural values, or your family values?

For those of you who are sharing a house unmarried, are you ever afraid it might not lead to marriage or that you're giving up yourself without true commitment?

For those of you who choose not to live together unmarried, are you ever afraid it might not work out because you didn't "try it out first"?

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Post Information
Title Living together before marriage
Author vanBeethovenLudwig
Upvotes 13
Comments 45
Date March 22, 2017 8:49 PM UTC (6 years ago)
Subreddit /r/RedPillWomen
Archive Link
Original Link

[–]missaudreyhorne15 points16 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Me and my husband waited until we were married to live together and everything else ;) He proposed on our year anniversary.

I feel like if we had sex or moved in together when we were dating, the proposal would have taken longer. When two people are busy with their lives and getting everything they want out of a relationship, there often isn't any rush to make things official. Often, after awhile though this causes some concern for (usually) the female who figured they would be married after a year or two and not 5 or 6. I have had this happen to 3 of my female friends & all 3 got an engagement ring after strongly hinting it was important to them. Only one of them has been married and she had to wait another 2 years after the engagement although they both claimed to be 'married' in God's eyes beforehand whatever that means. The other relationship dissolved after 2 years when she cheated & the 3rd no longer thinks a 'piece of paper' is as important as she once did and changed her last name on facebook to his name and calls him her husband. I know not ALL relationships are the same, but I wasn't willing to take the risk after seeing how those turned out.

I am happy with our choice & it made everything so magical and exciting & the honeymoon period hasn't gone away yet and it's been over a year. In my last relationships that phase ended around 3-4 months.

It's also reassuring knowing that he has such control of his sexual urges (it was his idea to wait for marriage he is deeply religious) and shows strong moral character and his love for me and not just my body.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

My husband and I waited for everything too. We waited until I was 22 and graduating college. We dated for five years long distance. Our only regret is that we didn't get married sooner!

Edit. And I will also say my mom is living with her boyfriend now. It's weird because they probably shouldn't get married but it's too complicated to break up and so they are probably just going to keep dating until my mom breaks up with him or decides to settle and marry. Which is sad because she is a widow and my dad was so wonderful. It's just kind of unhealthy. And I also think it's a poor role model for my younger siblings.

[–]missaudreyhorne1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

yah for waiting! it's def. super hard, but i am so glad we did.

sorry to hear about your mother. maybe i'm wrong, but i get the gist that she isn't in love with him, but is just going through the motions because it's easier than starting a new life on her own? that's just a recipe for disaster. i hope you can convince her otherwise, please be upfront with her because she can have so much more happiness even alone than with someone that just doesn't fit right. if that's not the case, sorry i assumed.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yes I am too! So worth it in the end.

No worries, you assumed mostly right. She loves him but isn't really in love with him. I have tried to help her see this but she is comfortable with the situation. I just don't think it's fair to either of them!

[–]ThatStepfordGalEndorsed Contributor11 points12 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I definitely think living together before marriage is a no-no. I wouldn't force this on others but honestly you can practice 'living together' while being out on holidays, camping and etc. By living together before getting married, I can't help but think that saps away some of the excitement of getting married in order to bring two lives together. What's the big difference between your lives now and when you're married? You change titles, but one of the main benefits, getting to live together, is already used up. Though that's just me, I'm not actually religious either.

[–]asteadyheart15 points16 points  (8 children) | Copy Link

A lot of studies say that living together before marriage results in a higher probability of divorce.

But what it's leaving out are some key details. Like, those who tend not to live together before marriage tend to share a similar strong cultural or religious identity. Sharing an identity like this will add strength to a relationship.

For example, a Christian couple who share a view that you should not live together before marriage also share a view that they must submit themselves and entrust their lives to God. So any compromises like which side of the bed to sleep on, what TV show to watch after dinner, etc are all easy to solve. They are already used to submitting themselves to something bigger than them, so a potential household dispute needs to be a bit more than how to fold the laundry.

But this isn't an advertisement for Christianity. Any couple that enters cohabitation with the mindset that they are making a new life together, and not trying to have the other's life fit their current life, will probably be successful. It just so happens that many of the modern mindsets (especially with women who are older and have more established lives and careers) it is a lot harder to accept that view.

I used to have the view that I should not live with my future husband before we get married, due to my cultural and religious upbringing. But, after I met my non-religious future husband and moved in with him, I am very glad we did. While we didn't have too many things that caused struggle, we did have a lot of compromising to do.

We also looked at our friends and family around us, who lived with their SO or future spouse before marriage. One of them were engaged when they moved in, and a year later (they are now married) they have come to realize "oh this wasn't as easy as we thought."

I think you need to do what you feel is right. But no matter where you come from, what kind of cultural background, religion, or anything else. You should enter cohabitation with the mindset of compromise. You are not here to win everything, and it's not a life that is just comfortable for you, but for your partner as well.

[–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor13 points14 points  (6 children) | Copy Link

Weird analogy but one thing I've heard is: getting married young is like a startup, getting married later is like a merger. When you marry young you build your whole life together - everything in your adult life has your partner's stamp. But it can be like the blind leading the blind. When you get married at a later age, you both already have fully formed lives, and you have to figure out how to merge them. Neither better or worse, just diff challenges!

[–]asteadyheart5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I love this because it also works for the fact that a start-up can't just stop working together without some great consequence. But a large company, if the merger falls through, they'll still be okay because they have their independent resources.

Just like a young couple, calling it quits can be a lot harder if you don't have your independent and separate life to withdraw into.

Good analogy!

[–]Willow-girl1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

That's a good analogy! I'll add that for us older folks, sometimes there can be financial reasons that make legal marriage unwise. Pensions, health issues, etc.

[–]SSapplejack0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy Link

I really like this! husband and I married at 22 and we would tell people who doubted us that we wanted to spend as much time as possible together, learning and growing.

[–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

How beautiful :) How long have you been married now?

[–]SSapplejack2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Coming up on our three year anniversary! :) we bought a house last year and are trying for a family now. It's a pretty stark contrast to most of our peers who are single or with someone but not looking to "settle down" yet. I Much prefer the way we did things.

[–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

an early congratulations!

[–]AboveZoom1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Any couple that enters cohabitation with the mindset that they are making a new life together, and not trying to have the other's life fit their current life, will probably be successful.

This was me and my now-husband. We lived together years before we were married, while we were still in college and later grad school. A big part of it was because, with the rise in student tuition, it financially made sense.

We looked at it as a growing opportunity, and it was. He was the best roommate I've ever had. With our personalities, it just worked, and that was okay with us.

Getting married and getting higher paying jobs/careers allowed us to evolve with our living space, so there was still fulfillment there, too, FWIW. :)

[–]vanBeethovenLudwigEndorsed Contributor5 points6 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

I've never lived with a boyfriend (currently on my third LTR) at age 28. The first two I didn't have an urge to live together, but my current relationship is more serious, however I can't live with him before marriage for family reasons. It's against my family rules. My brother and his wife didn't live together before marriage, however they had taken several vacations together and also was long distance for a few years so stayed at each other's places, but they never officially shared a house together until marriage.

For me I'm slightly nervous because virtually every one of my friends lived with their boyfriends unmarried, some ended up in marriage and some ended up breaking up. Some ended up just continuing to live together with no plans of marriage. But for me it's extremely strange and borderline offensive to live with a man without him being my husband. I think I have an idea of how a home life should be with a man and if he's not my husband, I'm unable to fulfill that.

[–]nukessolveprblms1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I completely agree with your last sentence. I think it would confuse me with my role as a Gf, then fiancé, then wife if we were living together. Not that the feelings or love are changed, but the level of commitment certainly does.

I wouldn't compromise what you feel strange. Especially for your relationship. Personally, I didn't move to the same city as my Bf (now husband) at the time of our long distance relationship even though it would have been fairly easy. I felt that would have put more pressure on our relationship, and didn't feel comfortable and felt it would have been over-extending myself. What was really cool to see was how he respected my decision either way, and it didn't negatively affect us, but forced us to realize how special the relationship was.

[–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

I think I have an idea of how a home life should be with a man and if he's not my husband, I'm unable to fulfill that.

Interesting, can you elaborate?

[–]vanBeethovenLudwigEndorsed Contributor0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

Just things like having a female role in the house, taking care of domestic duties, him making the big decisions and me being in a supportive role.

Again, when I live with a man I'm not looking for a roommate, we're fulfilling husband and wife duties.

[–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

makes sense! romantic involvement + being roommates does seem complicated, though my only source on that is New Girl ;p

To use your language then, I guess I'm acting "like a wife" in my current situation; fully see how that might seem like a risky/terrible idea, and definitely sometimes we run into awkward moments where we kiiiiind of act like a household unit but we kiiiiind of don't.

Still, working for us so far!

[–]RadioactiveTentacles3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I personally live with my non husband- live in boyfriend. We have every intention of getting married, but lack the means to do it as of yet. And to be honest, I'm one of the "try it out" women. Things change in every way when you live together. This works for us.

We live together because we want to be married, but have some financed and debts to take care of first. It's just a priority thing. If I could have married him first, I would have. I have no doubts, however, I have to be careful to check my pride. It's my hamartia.

However, if you're not comfortable with that, you hold your ground, and yell people that your lifestyle is none of their business if they're disrespectful about it. They don't need to accept it. Their loss. If he's happy, and you're happy, what's the problem?

I personally think we see a lot of validation seeking around here (not a problem, it's sometimes necessary) but the thing is, we don't necessarily have to agree, and I think that's an important part of the equation. I, personally, am okay assuming a married lifestyle with my captain who I am not yet married to, given our circumstances. If you aren't comfortable with that under any circumstances, there's no wrong in it. As long as you're both getting what you need from the relationship, whether you live together doesn't have to be important.

[–]babymuffy2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

My husband and I lived together for a few years before getting married. He proposed about six months after I moved in so we were cohabiting and engaged for quite a long time... looking back we definitely would have gotten married sooner had we been living separately; it took a while to get the wedding scheduled because it felt like we were married already.

I think living together a good thing, honestly, though that may be a very modern opinion on my part. You get past the honeymoon period more quickly under the same roof and know if the relationship is going to last before the wedding.

My sibling and their spouse didn't live together before marriage for religious reasons and the first few months were a little strained but they're still very happy years later (I have a cute little nibling and another on the way!) so it can work either way! I think you should use your own compass on this one, or follow your heart as it were.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor5 points6 points  (5 children) | Copy Link

Nothing wrong with not living together before marriage. However, if that's your choice, you ought to have a much shorter engagement period. You can wait a few months before having sex, you can't really wait a year or three. Technically, you can, but it's not healthy for several reasons.

I know many people who waited until marriage and they have very strong marriages. While it sounds logical to want to try it out first, here's a counter logic to that. Think of it this way, do you want to marry someone who needs to try you on for size the way you try on clothing or the way you try out a new car? I sure wouldn't. I'm a person, not an item to be tried on.

More important than trying out actual sex is to ensure common core values and life goals and a deep emotional connection. The emotional connection will be in its infancy because it's something that (hopefully) continues to grow over time. But the basis for it is something that can be established within a month or two. The details of sex can always be worked out later.

In other words - if value of sex is primarily the physical activity, you'd need to try out the physical activity for size. But if the primary value is the deep intimate bond, you ought to not have sex until somewhat of bond is established and nurtured.

[–]dgillz5 points6 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

You seem to projecting that not living together before marriage automagically = "no sex". Why is this? Am I missing something here?

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor2 points3 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Where did you see me project such an idea?

[–]dgillz6 points7 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Your first paragraph.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I don't see it.

I was explaining the traditional approach in response to OP. That people have premarital sex is not something that I need to explain. So I didn't explain it. How to make it work in the traditional way is something that needs to be explained and so I did.

[–]dgillz0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

My bad.

[–]YoungYogiMama2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

My boyfriend moved in together our junior year of college (after 2 years of dating) mainly because it was our cheapest option since we could share a room and we had been having sleepovers every night anyway. It worked for us and our parents supported it. We still live together now (after 7.5 years dating) and even have a 16-month old daughter! We learned so much about each other from living together and never regretted it for a second! It boggles my mind that people get married never having lived together. I overheard a women the other day complaining to her friend that she didnt know what an avid sports fan her hubby was until they married and moved in together. It is so weird to me! But to each their own. Personally i am so glad we moved in together and we still arent even married and don't plan to marry for a while either.

It is worth mentioning that when we lived together in college his family was only 15 minutes away so it would be an easy transition if we broke up. I think having a back up plan is ALWAYS a good idea!

[–]Spazzy192 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Not knowing her husband was an avid sports watcher is weird to me even for a person who didn't cohabitate. You should date long enough and thoroughly enough to have already ascertained that information prior to getting married.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

My fiancé and I have only moved in together in the last couple of months. We chose not to live together for a few reasons.

  1. We weren't making a financial commitment before an actual commitment. No matter what anyone says, putting your name on a lease with someone else is a financial gamble.
  2. We weren't going to risk feeling obligated to one another, before actively making a commitment. It's a lot harder to break up with someone when you live with them.
  3. This was our last chance to be single. We weren't going to pass up the opportunity to enjoy our time alone, doing what we wanted. In five years, we'll never have a moment alone.
  4. Quite frankly, we weren't going to play marriage and have all the perks with none of the responsibility. If he'd asked, that's how I'd have seen it and I'd have been anything but flattered. I don't want to be my best friend who's lived with her fiance for five years, engaged for one, with no wedding date in mind.

We've heard over and over again, for the last year, how you can't truly know each other, until you've lived together. I'm sorry, but if that's true, then both people involved need to grow up and be more honest with each other. We spent up to two weeks together at a time, including many weekends and a trip away. We knew each other's quirks and there have been no surprises over the last two months. We're good and this was what was right for us.

[–]RubyWooToo3 Stars3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I don't want to be my best friend who's lived with her fiance for five years, engaged for one, with no wedding date in mind.

At that point, you're not engaged, you have a "Shut the fuck up" ring. And funny how so many men who moved in with their girlfriends to get to truly know each other are the most "confused" about whether they want to get married. How does that happen? /s

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I feel like it's more about having no reason to get married. You have literally every perk and none of the downsides, like splitting your family Christmases or helping each other out financially, when someone needs new tires. Why bother?

[–]RubyWooToo3 Stars2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I chose to wait until I was engaged and our wedding date set to move in with my husband.

I wasn't going to give up my apartment and essentially take on the role of a wife unless I was sure I was going to become his wife. Also, the idea of moving in with a guy, breaking up, and then moving in with someone else eventually just never sat right with me. My family was a factor, too, I admit. They didn't like the idea of cohabitation before marriage at all, but since we were engaged, they felt better about the idea.

Lastly, I simply knew too many women who moved in with their boyfriends, and after a few years of cohabitation, they pressed for marriage and got the "But marriage is just a piece of paper" and "Everything is just fine as it is; why do you want to change it" argument.

He asked me to move in with him about 6 months into dating, and I told him that I wouldn't move in with him unless we were engaged. He proposed on our year anniversary. Who knows if he would've proposed anyway at a year if I moved in, but I suspect that my decision was a powerful incentive.

[–]vanBeethovenLudwigEndorsed Contributor1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I think your thinking is like mine - to me living with a man means fulfilling the role of a wife, and my family also doesn't like me living with a man until marriage. I don't want to live with a man as his roommate, I want to live with him and build a family.

There's no way of explaining this to my friends though, because they think I'm strange for feeling like I'm disobedient to my family if I cohabited unmarried.

Also, the idea of moving in with a guy, breaking up, and then moving in with someone else eventually just never sat right with me.

I think this also inhibits the ability to pair bond as well. If you're just going from boyfriend to boyfriend living together,'s just the same isn't it?

[–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I had always thought I'd never move in with a man I wasn't at least engaged to. My reasoning was similar to some of y'all in this thread:

-it lessens the weight of the decision to marry -even though I've been sexually active with all my long-term boyfriends, the symbolic representation of purity mattered to me -I wanted to indulge my gross single behaviors some more! ;P (i.e. drinking milk out of the box, etc.)

I moved in with my current BF after only 6 mo's of dating - not the plan! Did so because:

-We fully plan to get married (discuss it a lot, are waiting until debts paid off and we have enough saved up for wedding; I also have a lot of anxiety around getting married before I've built a full adult life for myself) -I just felt so in love that the idea of waiting an extra year or two to get engaged and move in together...and at the end of the day, giving up those years, those hours, those minutes of time together, was intolerable! I plan to be with this man forever but even 80 years sounds far too short, so I didn't want to give up even 30 days of those 80 years if I could help it.

It's been working out wonderfully for us.

[–]Willow-girl1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I don't think it will wreck a good relationship or salvage a bad one!

I do see some danger in moving in with someone casually, then winding up with so much invested -- like sharing a lease or a mortgage or pets or even children(!) -- that the 'sunk cost fallacy' comes into play and you end up making a suboptimal commitment, because you feel you have too much to lose otherwise. Marriage should be a clear-headed choice, not something that you sort of stumble into.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I know many disagree with me, but I just don't like the idea of living together before marriage. Maybe when it becomes more mainstream I'll warm up to it.

For one thing, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" Why would a guy want to propose if he's already getting all the benefits of marriage? Guys need to chase. You make yourself less desirable IMO if you live with him before marriage and certainly if you do so before becoming engaged.

A friend of mine lived with her husband for a bit before marriage and she says it almost ruined their relationship. She doesn't advise anyone to do it and told me that statistics show people who live together before marriage are more likely to get divorced.

I just don't like it, plain and simple. I understand that it often makes sense financially, but I still just don't like it. It gives me a bad gut feeling.

[–]vanBeethovenLudwigEndorsed Contributor0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

For one thing, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" Why would a guy want to propose if he's already getting all the benefits of marriage? Guys need to chase. You make yourself less desirable IMO if you live with him before marriage and certainly if you do so before becoming engaged.

Completely agree. There's nothing to earn or to look forward to. All the benefits of marriage have fallen into his lap without him doing anything. He's also not given a chance to really reflect and think if this woman is marriage worthy. It's all just very casual, in my opinion.

[–]Landry860 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

There's a lot of pros... saves money, can spend more time together, provides as a good "test" (you know, to see if ya'll can actually live together in peace or not)

I think the problem is people move in way too soon. Separate places are better until you really think you trust the person enough to get married. That could take years... so usually moving in together is a bad idea

[–]allhailthebitch0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

As someone who does live with my SO before marriage, I think it's great. I have no doubts in my mind that we will always be together, and our relationship is extremely healthy. We originally didn't want to live together before marriage, because of our religious beliefs, but circumstances forced us into it. It did nothing but bring us closer together and give each other a better understanding of who the other person was.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

My SO and I live together. We're both not very marriage minded. Moving in together was the big commitment for us.

[–]Starletblonde0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

New to lurking in TRP, MRP & RPW. There is many aspects that appeal to me and we're surprised that my hubby displays several (not all) of the Alpha characteristics without reading this stuff.

Figured this would be an easy question to dip my toe in the pool so to speak.

Met my husband and dated him for 1.5 years with occasional sleepovers at his place.

After that we went monogamous with me sleeping at his place every night for 2 years with me returning home every AM to shower change and head to work.

Then we moved into a new place together and live together for 2.5 years before he proposed.

Started to plan a traditional wedding but 4 months into planning I realized how psycho the whole business of it is and said fuck it lets run to Vegas and secretly elope. Two weeks later we were married in Las Vegas.

Fast forward 7 years and we are still married and loving life and each other more than day 1 (sans kids bc we don't want them).

If you can't make it to the 7 year itch without each loving the other more than when you started (and 100x more mature with lots of personal growth) than divorce is most likely in your future.

I can't resonate with women who would say they would demand an engagement sooner or would leave if it didn't happen. Get better intuition - you either know it's the real deal or your in lala land and don't really know your own relationship. Also, straight forward direct communication styles on both ends are essential to a healthy, reality-based relationship. I never once questioned whether he would propose. I knew he would from the day we moved in together because we had clear communication.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Mr. Dunham and I lived together before marriage, it was rushed because of financial reasons (neither of us could afford to live on our own). It worked out fine but I remember after we got married, nothing felt different or new, because it wasn't. That was a little disappointing.

[–]Spazzy190 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I actually wrote my senior thesis paper on this topic back in 2006. The stats have changed, but the concepts I'm sure are about the same.

Honestly, there are a ton of factors, but the main thing I walked away with was that it's all about attitude. In the US there seems to be more of an attitude of "well let's live together for at least 6 months and then we'll see about getting married." It's a conscious test and creates a barrier between the couple. You already know things about your partner that are of concern... You're not going to change him/her...So why bother? It's the test attitude that had the highest probability of divorce later on. Other times people just moved in too soon, jumped into marriage before the honeymoon phase ended, and then realized they really weren't all that compatible.

My ex husband and I didn't cohabitate. And the things I learned that ultimately ended our marriage (addiction) weren't uncovered until after 4 years of marriage and 6 years together. There's never a guarantee either way, but I do not regret not cohabitating, nor do I feel it would have shown me anything 4 years of living together married did.

At the end of June I'm going to move in with my bf. It is not my ideal preference as I would like to be engaged at least, but I'm actually getting excited about it. It works out because my landlord had to sell my condo, but he'd been thinking about asking me for a little bit already. I wouldn't want to just move in haphazardly because I was going to be homeless and force it. If I felt that way I'd just keep looking for another place to buy or rent.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

No opinion, just experience here. We lived together for 4 years, then married for 13 more years. That ended 2 years ago in divorce.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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