I’m in a serious relationship — the most serious relationship I’ve ever been in, in fact, which is still a bit terrifying at times. My boyfriend and I have talked about marriage, kids, and everything in between. We’ve also talked about moving in together, and we’ve made a decision many find surprising: we won’t share a place until we’re married. Shacking up seems to be the new precursor to engagement, but it’s a mistake I’ve made before, and it’s not one I’m looking to repeat.
- It’s not about religion. People usually assume that anyone who waits until marriage for anything is just doing so because of a religious conviction. While my boyfriend is religious and that may factor into his wishes, I don’t even believe in a deity. My reasons for not wanting to live together prematurely stem from my own past mistakes in that regard; I’ve personally experienced the downfalls of moving in together before marriage, and I want to do it differently this time.
- Moving in creates a comfort level that’s dangerous for a budding relationship. Comfort is a good thing, but it is possible to become too comfortable too soon. When you’re in a relationship that’s consistently progressing, it’s exciting. In my experience, however, moving in together before marriage can quell the excitement of the forward progression and stagnate the relationship before you ever reach the most exciting stages.
- It’s like a fake marriage, and I’d rather have a real one. In my past experience, I found that moving in with someone before marriage created a fake marriage-like state, and I really wanted to believe that it would lead to an actual happy marriage at some point. In reality, it led to a lot of pain. I was constantly reminded that the man I loved had nothing to do with me legally, and, furthermore, he didn’t want to. In the future, I want the actual legal commitment before I accept the complicated life of a married person again.
- It changes the dynamic of the relationship. When you’re dating someone but maintaining separate lives, the relationship still has a liberating novelty to it. You go about your normal business and meet up for date night, sleep over at each other’s places occasionally and leave a hoodie or a toothbrush behind. After you move in together, you inevitably spend less time whispering sweet nothings into his ear and more time asking him for the millionth time to please put his dirty socks in the laundry basket rather than scattering them about the apartment. There’s plenty of time to deal with that after the wedding.
- It makes it easier to give up when challenges arise. Let’s be honest; moving in together is only a semi-commitment. People move in and share apartments with random roommates they met on Craigslist. Moving in together without getting married is like having one foot out the door all the time; if you fight or drive each other mad for a little while, it’s pretty simple to just break up and move out. By getting married first, you cement that commitment and give yourselves something to fight for.
- Even when he pisses me off, I’ll still love him. I used to buy into the idea of living with someone before marriage as an “extended test drive” of sorts; if I hated living with him, I could just return him to the dude dealership and go back to being single. When considering this scenario, I forgot something important: if he’s the right one, I’ll love him and want to be with him even if he does piss me off domestically sometimes. That’s exactly how I feel about my current partner. I know he’ll piss me off sometimes, but I also know I wouldn’t trade him in for anyone.
- There’s something to be said for doing things the old fashioned way. My parents have been married for over 40 years, so the previous generations didn’t have it all wrong when it comes to relationships. There’s something sweet and colloquial about being a little more old-fashioned in a relationship, and it feels amazing.
- It makes a regular breakup feel like a divorce. Even without a wedding, a breakup that involves one person moving out is traumatic. I know this personally because I’ve been there. Skipping the wedding doesn’t spare you the pain of feeling like you’re getting divorced; if anything, it makes it hurt even more.
- Living alone is awesome. I’m really excited that I’ve met someone I want to spend my life with, but living alone is awesome and always will be. I’m not in a huge hurry to change that, and I shouldn’t have to be.