Cohabitating Before Marriage
By Annie Kim
“We were both looking for a place to move in. It felt like the perfect time, convenient … ” These are the familiar explanations we often hear from countless couples who decide to take the next inevitable step in their relationship.
Many people in romantic relationships decide to live together while dating out of economical convenience and to give the relationship a trial run before marriage. Some people say living with your significant other is a sin, others claim it is living in bliss.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 50 percent of couples who live together before tying the knot end up separating either by divorce or moving out. Successful relationships have emerged from the trial period, however, this is more often a fantasy than reality. Many feel that a testing period is necessary before committing to a specific weight-loss program or buying a car, but not living together before marriage.
Emotional ties to a person through breakup while living together are far worse than having separate apartment leases. “Fifty percent of marriages fail today so why do people think moving in while dating will work? There is an even higher risk for failure. Moving out after a breakup is a huge financial and emotional burden,” said Julia Burke-Haddad, fourth-year political science and international studies double major.
It is like getting a divorce without being married. You did not even get a luxurious white wedding to look back on! Who gets to keep that purple couch you bought together? Even if you end up keeping the purple couch, your significant other’s face and the memories you shared are plastered all over it. It wouldn’t be economically reasonable to simply throw out the couch like an old cardboard shoebox packed with memories of cheesy letters and old pictures.
A lot of people would agree that living together should not be used as an important step to fully getting to know your significant other. Dating while living separately is where that should happen. That’s what spending quality time, taking mini getaways trips and countless arguments in the kitchen are for.
“If you’re in the right relationship there isn’t anything you need to hide. I don’t think moving in should be the place where you find all these things about your significant other. When you live together, you’re committing on a deeper level,” said fourth-year public health major, Leslie May.
If you don’t know your partner’s bad habits, how they act on an off day, weird quirks and what sets them off on a grumpy rampage, then moving in and being surprised is not a smart way to find out. Perhaps our divorce rates and failed relationships are higher than ever because we aren’t taking the time to thoroughly go through the right steps that lead to successful marriages.
On the other side of the spectrum, one of my best girlfriends Joy Gordo, a broadcast journalism major at Cal State Fullerton is currently in a steady relationship with her boyfriend and is happily living together with him during their last year of college. “We used to just date, but now he is my best friend. I feel that it is beneficial to move in together because you really don’t get to know a person fully or completely unless you live with them,” Gordo said.
Similar to the reasons of countless couples, Joy and her boyfriend did not really plan or discuss thoroughly before they decided to move in together. They simply took a leap of faith for their love. Gordo explains that living together takes a huge amount of teamwork, a vital ingredient that often seems to be lacking from many relationships. “We naturally knew the responsibility, maturity and consequences that accompanied our decision. I also think it’s because we’re right for each other. I was with my ex-boyfriend for almost four years. He was with his ex-girlfriend for five years. We both didn’t want to live with them. But with us, it’s different,” Gordo said.
Those who believe strongly in cohabitation before marriage would agree with the infamous quote from Marilyn Monroe, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” However, moving in with your romantic partner before tying the knot will always be a delicate step to take. Before you make the decision, make sure you know what you are getting in to so you won’t just become part of the 50 percent of failed relationships.