Should you move in with your partner? Here's what to consider...
Breakfast in bed and cosy nights together curled up in front of the TV - sounds like something out of a romantic movie, right? Living together isn't all hearts and flowers though, it can be hard work, and whether you're ready to move in with your other half or not is a very personal decision. But let us give you some of the facts to consider, before you pack up your stuff and ship out!
Did you know that the number of co-habiting couples (those who live together but aren't married) has doubled in the last two decades? There will always be those who think that co-habiting before you tie the knot could ruin your relationship (1), but really, it depends on the two people involved and that's not always the case. There is evidence to suggest that living together before you get hitched could damage your relationship, but there are also plenty of happy couples out there, proving the evidence wrong.
A growing trend
The average age we get married is on the rise, as more of us focus on our careers and having fun, leaving settling down until later in life. In 2011, the average age was 27 for women and 29 for men - that's an all time high (2). Living together without getting married seems like the perfect, low-commitment solution (although it's definitely a big decision that does involve commitment!) and it's becoming increasingly common; more of us than ever before are raising children with our partners without tying the knot. Unlike in the past, nowadays financial security is pretty similar whether you're married or co-habiting, and it's hard to say how this will affect your relationship. Let's face it, all couples argue over bills at some point!
The future of your relationship could depend on whether you get engaged before co-habiting, a recent study suggests (3). The results revealed that couples who live together before marriage but after getting engaged are as successful as couples who don't live together. But there is evidence to suggest that couples who co-habit before getting engaged could experience less satisfaction in their marriages and a higher divorce rate (4).
Evidence also suggests that men who move in with their partners before marriage may become less dedicated to their partners - so no more date nights or foot rubs (5)! Women who have lived with more than one partner could find they're more likely to get divorced in future, although we're not sure how true this actually is.
What are your reasons?
So why are you two considering shacking up together? It's important to think carefully about your reasons; common reasons could include:
- Spending more time together
- Saving on rent and bills
- Testing the water before getting married
- Not wanting to live alone and seeking company
- Practical reasons, such as a long-distance relationship
Which of these applies to your relationship? You should think about things like how long you've been together and how you resolve conflicts before making the move. Does he have a bad temper and get angry? Do you like to end an argument by ignoring him for 24 hours? That could make co-habitation tricky! You'll also need to discuss where you plan to live together - will you move into his place, or vice versa? Often, moving into your partner's place means they'll feel they're 'in control' - their house rules will apply. A far better option is to hunt for a new place together that can belong to both of you equally.
What do you have in common?
If your schedules and lifestyles are currently very different, living together could prove a challenge. If he sleeps until lunchtime and you're a morning person, or if you work night shifts and enjoy napping during the day but he's up at 5am, this could be problematic. Likewise, if you're a gym addict and she loves Netflix on a Saturday, you might find yourself getting tired of her lazy ways. Sticking to a strict vegan or paleo diet but moving in with your partner who loves meat and carbs? There could be a long period of adjustment ahead. You don't have to be two peas in a pod, but you'll find it easier to live with somebody who is at least willing to compromise to make you happy, and if that means going to bed early a couple of nights a week, that's what needs to be done in order to have a healthy, happy relationship.
Should you or shouldn't you?
At the end of the day, even though some of the statistics might suggest otherwise, only you know what's going to make you happy. If that's living with your other half 24/7, then go for it! Just make sure you're not moving in together for the wrong reasons, such as for convenience. Do it because you just can't get enough of each other - that way, even if it doesn't work out, you'll have no regrets.
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