"There are notes between notes, you know." -- Sarah Vaughan

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Living together before marriage

This topic has come up on a couple of blogs recently and a friend and I were discussing it yesterday as well, so I thought I'd blog about it.

There are folks who believe you should not get married to someone you have not lived with...I'm not one of those people.

In the discussion yesterday my friend asked, "Well if you're spending so much time at one place but paying two rents, why not move in together?" That, to me, is not a reason to move in with someone I'm dating.

She also argued, if you're living in a high cost of living area like New York City, it can make sense to live with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Again, IMO, limited finances are not a reason to move in with someone I'm dating.

Here's what I responded: "I don't mix my money, credit and future with potentially temporary folks. I'm not buying furniture with you, we aren't signing leases together, adopting a pet -- none of that. If you want to do all of that, marry me." (Ed note: I'm speaking about ME and MY preferences. Other folks can do what they like, obviously).

She argued that it would be a roommate-type situation unless and until you decided to get married or break up. *blink*

I don't feel I should mix my finances with matters of the heart until some legal paperwork is involved. I AM SERIOUS about my money. When I was younger, I had a couple of crazy relationships where I stupidly allowed a lot of foulness to go on and so these brothers thought, hell, she's letting me do this, let me ask her to co-sign on this motorcyle or give me some money on this rent. Funny how cheating didn't make me leave, but a money/co-sign request ran me off faster than Marion Jones on steroids. I DO NOT MIX MATTERS OF MONEY AND THE HEART. EVER.

Among my friends and family I am known as being very practical and serious about money. Cold. I have THREE friends I would loan money to with no question and that's because I know how they handle their money and I know if they asked me for some loot they really needed it. This is a sidebar however, back to this moving in thing.

Living with someone I am involved with, could never be just a roommate situation. How does it work? If one person wants to break up and the other doesn't and y'all live in the same house, how does that work? Who gets what? We bought the couch together so is it yours or mine? What about breaking the lease? And the deposit? All that sounds like DIVORCE-type stuff to me. Except, wait, we aren't married.

I realize this may make sense to no one but me and that's fine since I did what worked for me and I know others do, too.

14 comments:

  1. Makes perfect sense to me too

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  2. Anonymous4/21/2010

    AMEN --

    Here's what I responded: "I don't mix my money, credit and future with potentially temporary folks. I'm not buying furniture with you, we aren't signing leases together, adopting a pet -- none of that. If you want to do all of that, marry me." (Ed note: I'm speaking about ME and MY preferences. Other folks can do what they like, obviously).

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  3. STRON-ZHAYYYY, STRON-ZHAYYYY *two snaps* on this this post... moving in is a serious step and if the relationship isn't also moving on to that next serious step... this can quickly become a formula for trouble!

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  4. Living with someone is sharing a life with that person. I didn't live with my now husband until months after we were engaged. He knew I wasn't going to move in with him without a commitment and that wasn't pressure that was just the truth. When you have a shared space you're sharing a life: finances, decisions, a bed...it's not something to take lightly. Think about where your relationship is going before you decide to move in together.

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  5. Anonymous4/21/2010

    I had a similar conversation last week at a dinner with some friends and colleagues. The married folks at the table were saying don't do it, while the nonmarried were saying why not.

    I do not advise anyone I know to move in with a boyfriend or girlfriend for all of the reasons you stated above. There is no need to have a tryout, and you're bound to learn something trivial that may stop you from committing to an otherwise find person.

    Do not buy any property, sign any leases or otherwise compromise yourself and your money with someone you are not married to. If you are that serious, get engaged and plan a wedding. If you don't, you're going to have something similar to a divorce, but you won't have any laws on your side.

    There's a statistic out there that folks who live together and ultimately marry are more likely to get a divorce. Don't make me quote the source, because I can't remember. I believe the thinking is that if two people are living together and acting like a married couple the reason for such behavior may be that one of them has trouble committing. Call me old fashion, but why would he/she commit to you when they can get everything they want without the commitment. Hey, blame the study, not me.

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  6. Are you in my head? Makes perfect sense to me and I'm NOT married. I'm with you on that one. You know the saying, "Why buy the cow?"

    And if I WERE to go there, which I can't see me doing, I'm having all kinds of legal outs and separate bank accounts. Why bother? Glad I'm not the only old-fashioned one.

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  7. Tiffany In Houston4/21/2010

    I have lived with men twice, without a ring and married neither. I am now living with a man and am getting married September 26, 2010.

    Unless you have a wedding date set in the VERY near future, do not live with a man. As you can see it took me 3 times to figure that out.

    The end.

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  8. I don't like sharing space with anyone for a lengthy amount of time, so moving in with someone - even the man I love - wouldn't work for me. I'm just too damn moody. Marriage? I'm not sold on that yet.

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  9. Very logical, sensible argument, thanks. Living with someone before marriage isn't a decision I would be open to in my personal life, either. Aside from the arguments you mention, statistically speaking, few couples who live together ever get married. They tend to get into the habit of thinking of partners as disposable if the "test run" doesn't work out, so they go from living with one person to another, to another. Even if they eventually get married, the marriages rarely work out (according to statistics) since they develop a certain mindset. I've known people like this. One said it was "crazy" of me to NOT live with someone before marriage and said he'd never do that. He's been through literally dozens of relationships in all the time I've been in this ONE with the man I'm now married to. My attitude is if you genuinely love each other and want to spend your lives together, you're dedicated to that. If you look at people and relationships as disposable, your relationships won't be successful. Hmm...now I've said so much and the wheels are still turning that I ALMOST want to blog on it lol.

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  10. I have a feeling that if we'd had a trial run, my husband and I would not be married today because I probably would have been long gone! That isn't what happened, but from a purely practical and honest point of view I can imagine that I might have decided to stay single after our trial run.

    But since I was basically much more like the rest of you, we didn't test the waters first. And because of this our commitment to our marriage is what has reigned supreme in a way that would not have been possible if we'd lived together first. After twenty years, we're definitely in it for the long haul.

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  11. I totally agree with you. When I was younger I moved in with a boyfriend against my parent's wishes and ended up stuck with a phone bill in my name that I just paid off a few years ago. Never again. Unless there is a ring on this finger and prenup signed, I'm not moving.

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  12. Very interesting and timely post. I'm a 26-yr old female living in NYC. My boyfriend and I had planned to move in together this summer but my parents have the exact same opinion as you; my bf refuses to move in until we have their okay. Which won't happen. With all due respect, I actually think the opinion is a bit dated and unrealistic. I get it if you are young and idealistic, or if you're not cognizant/protective of your finances, or if you're moving as a *trial run* ... However, I do think that if the decision is made after a lot of open and honest conversations, there's nothing wrong (or immoral, dear parents) with living together pre-ring. It's a very important and adult decision, and as long as you treat it as such, I think it's a natural and necessary step.

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  13. I have a feeling that if we'd had a trial run, my husband and I would not be married today because I probably would have been long gone! That isn't what happened, but from a purely practical and honest point of view I can imagine that I might have decided to stay single after our trial run.

    But since I was basically much more like the rest of you, we didn't test the waters first. And because of this our commitment to our marriage is what has reigned supreme in a way that would not have been possible if we'd lived together first. After twenty years, we're definitely in it for the long haul.

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  14. Tiffany In Houston8/20/2011

    I have lived with men twice, without a ring and married neither. I am now living with a man and am getting married September 26, 2010.

    Unless you have a wedding date set in the VERY near future, do not live with a man. As you can see it took me 3 times to figure that out.

    The end.

    ReplyDelete

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