Moving in Before Marriage?

Reader’s Question:

I just got engaged! I am very excited. I am 29 years old and have been dating my partner for almost a year. We are ready to start a family and move forward. However, my mom has asked that we not set a date for the wedding until we have lived with each other for at least 6 months. I think this is silly. I know him and he knows me and I don’t think this makes much difference. I have asked other couples and family members and most agree with my mom that you can’t really know someone well until you live together. My partner is upset and wants to get married asap. He says we can move in together now while we plan the wedding.  I’m torn now because marriage is forever and I didn’t have any doubts until now, because of the way everyone is acting out about this. I’d love some opinions on what you think about living together vs not before couples get married. Thank you!

Congratulations on your engagement!! What an exciting time for you and your family!

Everyone feels differently about living together before you get married. Generally, their feelings are very strong one way or another, and it sounds like your mom has strong feelings about this…for good reason. In my opinion, there is no “one size fits all” in this situation. Relationships are different for everyone and it could be that living together first just isn’t for you.

There have been several studies over the last decade that showed those who live together before getting engaged or married are more likely to get divorced, then those who do not cohabitate.

Reason being many couples who live together first end up in a bad marriage because it is really financially draining to move out once you move in. Also, you are now deeply emotionally invested in a relationship that you would have been more likely to end if you two were not living together. Sometimes, there is not a clear mutual commitment to getting married once you already live together. For you, the latter is not an issue as you are already engaged.

This may come as a surprise but, MARRIAGE IS HARD. And when you add children, things get even more complicated. Divorce can be even worse.

I’m honestly not sure. My partner and I lived together for years – almost 7 – before we got married. We lived like we were married and I introduced him as my husband even though we weren’t married, and it all seemed the same. Really, if it had not been for a life circumstance, we might have always lived together and never actually gotten married. It didn’t’ make things any different.

We knew each other for a while and became great friends before we started dating. Then we dated for about six months before he moved in with me.

Now that I look back, I am glad that we lived together through the good, the bad, and the fucking awful because when I finally did get him to marry me, (after 7 years) we both knew exactly what we were getting into.

MY WHOLE LONG DRAWN OUT POINT HERE IS…what’s the rush?

Why can’t you just say to your partner that you want to move in together now? Pick an amount of time to live together (8-12 months perhaps) and when that time has passed, pick a wedding date. If you still want to get married of course!

Eight to twelve months seems very fair and there is PLENTY of work you can do –  before setting a date – to start wedding planning in the meantime.

Whatever you decide, make sure that you make the decision that is best for you. Society, your family, friends, and other outsiders are not marrying your partner, only you are. As you wrote, marriage is (supposed to be) forever, so you have to go with your gut.

What does your intuition tell you to do? Think about it, sleep on it, and go with that. Have an open and honest conversation with you partner and explain how you are feeling, and how you would like to move forward.

It seems that he loves you so much he is bursting at the seams to marry you. If this is the case and you decide to move in first and start a little slower than planned, I’m sure he will understand. If not…that could be a major red flag.

Good luck and best of wishes on a long and happy marriage! xo

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