SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

living w/sig other

Discussion in 'Spouses and Partners' started by vixen, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. vixen

    vixen I like members 10+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2000
    upstate ny
    Just wondering what your guys' opinions are of living w/your significant other before being married. I didn't think it was a big deal at first until I read an article about it, which made me change my mind. I don't think my mom would ever accept of it...just wondering how you guys handled that...and what your parents thought...thanks :)
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. vietcongs

    vietcongs Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    kansas city, mo, usa
    well i lived with my now husband 3 yrs before we got married and coming from a conservative catholic family, it didnt go down well at first. but my family soon learned that i'm an adult and able to make responsible decisions with my life. living with my bf saved money for both of us rather than each of us having our own place which would have been an absurd idea esp if we would always be together anyway. i dont think that there is anything morally wrong with it. if youre in a long term committed relationship, there's nothing wrong with living together. its not the 1950s anymore..
  4. k's mom

    k's mom Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2001
    Pennsylvania, via Tucson
    What is at issue are YOUR beliefs, not your parents. My husband and I lived together for over a year before we were married, and to be honest, I can't see it happening any other way..but that is just out of personal experience. Even if you are in a very committed, loving relationship, living with another person is very different than simply dating them. All sorts of issues rear their ugly heads, and personally, for us, it was good to get most of those things sorted out before the trials of marriage came along as well. I know many people look forward to the "surprise" and excitement of crossing the threshold for the first time as husband and wife....but there is alot of nasty reality that comes along with the wine and roses <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
    On the other hand, a friend of ours was 28 when she got married, and even though she and her now husband had already bought a house, her mother refused to "let her" move into it until the wedding. (THey moved the wedding up 6 months!)
    That seemed completely ridiculous to me, but it worked for them.
    So, in summation...I don't know. Good luck.
  5. k's mom

    k's mom Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2001
    Pennsylvania, via Tucson
    ...what magazine was the article taken from? There is a good chance that it was one sided or biased. What, specifically, did it say?
  6. vixen

    vixen I like members 10+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2000
    upstate ny
    it was awhile ago...something about how when people are married they are more committed to make it work so they're less likely to have major problems w/the living situation...meaning, they're more likely to compromise etc. They also said the families were more accepting when they were married so that created less stress and therefore a happier home...some other stuff I can't rememeber :)
  7. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie 10+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2000
    Dickinson, Tx
    Hmm..well, to me, it depends on the context. I dont have a problem with OTHER people living together, but for me, personally, I wouldnt live with someone who hadnt made a committment of some kind - engaged, married, whatever. I also wouldnt live with somebody - even with a ring - if a wedding date wasnt set. My parents always told me - hey, if you're living with a guy, he's got all the priviledges and none of the responsibilities. Why get married (from his perspective)??? and I can see their point.

    But that's just me. I can also see the point of "lets try it and see if it works out or not". It just isnt my style.

  8. Peeshee

    Peeshee Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2000
    Here are some articles about living together before marriage: <a href="" target="_blank">Living Together</a>
  9. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel 10+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2001
    "Did you know that 40 percent of couples who live together break up before they marry and of the 60 percent that do marry, 40 percent of them divorce after ten years? Why, then, do more couples continue to live together before marriage than ever before? We want you to understand the problems that cohabitation can create and learn about the benefits of a marriage commitment."

    See, this is sort of skewed...the 40% of marrieds who have cohabitated divorce is probably less than average for the general population. Also, people living together may not have intentions of marriage which accounts for the 60% getting married.

    "The Census reports a 72% increase in the number of cohabiting couples since 1990. Unfortunately, research shows that cohabitation is correlated with greater likelihood of unhappiness, and domestic violence in the relationship. Cohabiting couple report lower levels of satisfaction in the relationship than married couples. Women are more likely to be abused by a cohabiting boyfriend than a husband. Children are more likely to abused by their mothers? boyfriends than by her husband, even if the boyfriend is their biological father. If a cohabiting couple ultimately marries, they tend to report lower levels of marital satisfaction and a higher propensity to divorce."

    Also, this is confounded because maybe men who are more likely to commit to marriage are also less likely to abuse their wives. Maybe there's a reason unmarried people are unmarried!

    "No one can simulate self-giving. Half a commitment is no commitment. Cohabiting couples are likely to have one foot out the door, throughout the relationship. The members of a cohabiting couple practice holding back on one another. They rehearse not trusting. The social scientists that gather the data do not have an easy way to measure this kind of dynamic inside the relationship."

    I also don't think this is true - it depends on whether or not you go into the cohabitation with the intent on eventually getting married or not. Many probably do not have the intention of getting married and thus do not treat the cohabitation as a serious agreement.

    Sorry for all of this analysis, but a lot of times statistics can be skewed or mis-interpreted leaving people without correct information. I think those who enter cohabitation with the intent to try it out for a certain period of time (why not have a set period of time?) with the intent to marry do not have these same problems. Any thoughts?!
  10. k's mom

    k's mom Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2001
    Pennsylvania, via Tucson
    Thanks for all of that analysis are absolutely right! Statistics in general drive me crazy...don't get me started on those ridiculous USA TODAY polls :mad:

    I would have to ask the obvious question of how many people who wait until after marriage to live together waited because of PARENTAL pressure, instead of their own desires, and how many of those same people are now struggling to deal with the continued pressure of parents on other life, children, etc... Just curious. I am blessed with a doll of a mother-in-law, and a very supportive mother who has never ONCE offered any unsolicited advice..she's so cool!!!
    It has always been my feeling that the job of a parent is to raise an adult. Pressuring someone on a major life decision sounds to me like the cord needs to finally be cut.

    Also, no one has mentioned the option of co-habitation without sex. Yep, it happens! A friend of mine ( her mid 20's) and her fiance lived together WITHOUT "sleeping together" for the 10 months prior to the wedding. No, neither one was a virgin, they just made a "commitment" to wait.
    (Midway through the reception she freaked because they didn't have any birthcontrol for the honeymoon :rolleyes:
    We made a quick trip to the store for her..LOL! )
  11. Sugar72

    Sugar72 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2001
    My husband and I lived together for a year before we were married (6 months before we became engaged). It was stressfull to move in together and adjust to living with another person. The wedding was stressfull too. I was glad that we had already worked through all of the stress associated with co-habitation so I could focus 100% on the wedding stress!

    I have a friend who married her boyfriend before they moved in together to please her mother. They divorced after 3 years of living together. She had to spend a mountain of money on divorce stuff.

    For my family premarital cohabitation was a complete non-event...I don't even remember telling my parents I was moving in with my boyfriend.

    My plan of action is always the path of least resistance!
  12. rrilling

    rrilling New Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    My wife and I lived together for a year before marriage, and things have been fine weakness in the underbelly of our whispering behind our backs amongst family and smoteing from God or any other diety.....

    This particular topic has always pushed the hot button for me, and I tend to want to immediately dismiss the "statistics" as conservative rot. For example a previous poster quoted the following:

    "Unfortunately, research shows that cohabitation is correlated with greater likelihood of unhappiness, and domestic violence in the relationship."

    Well sure, but other studies will tell you that the main reason for delaying marriage is money, and domestic violence and child abuse are also more likely to take place in households with major stressors (such as lack of money). The end result is that there is more DV and CA in poor or lower income households, who also, guess what, happen to be unmarried. I mention this because there are those who would just report part of this equation for justification of their viewpoints......I could go on and on...

    Another major influence is societal acceptace of divorce. I know plenty of couples from my parents and grandparents generation who didnt live together before marriage, but boy, do they hate each other now. Just because some people dont divorce does not mean that the marriage is solid or worthwhile to any of the parties involved....

    But back to my main reason for posting (if there ever was one). I ran across the following study which seems to make a lot of sense:

    "A recent study at Johns Hopkins University found that when couples choose to live together outside of wedlock, their relationship is something quite different from and significantly weaker than marriage. Researchers found specifically that most cohabitations end within two years and that "cohabitations are not informal marriages, but relationships formed by a looser bond. " The Johns Hopkins' study went on to show that men and women looking for someone with whom to cohabit look for "characteristics such as education which can reflect a short-term ability to contribute to the relationship ." In contrast, men and women looking for a spouse pay more attention to "ascribed characteristics (such as age and religion) that reflect long-term considerations." The researchers concluded, "While cohabitors anticipate time together, married persons anticipate a lifetime."

    So what I take from this is that, some couples live together (in a looser bonded arrangement) and then things change after marriage, and they dont adjust (at least right away). The couple feels trapped by the new dynamics, and some of them split as a result.

    From personal experience the JH study makes a lot of sense....My wife and I still had to adjust to the shifting dynamics of marriage - - things really do change after the rings go on. However I believe that the changes are mostly good. I dont worry that an argument (sorry, I should have said "calmly discussed disagreement") will lead to a breakup anymore, and the silly things that were important to me at one time (the hot girl at McDonalds)don't really matter anymore, and the times I used to spend debonairly asking the fry girl about her salting technique, are now spent concerned with making the wife happy.

    Bottom line: The key to an effective relationship (whether married or co-habitation) is mutual respect, shared outlook on life (which could include everything from religion to sense of humor) and EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION.

    Toss the rest of the cr*p, and be careful with the adivce given by people with your best interest at heart (including me I suppose...or maybe everyone else but me). If your belief in your religion precludes you from living together before marriage (I am a very spiritual non-church going Roman Catholic - no heathen here) then dont - but then no pre-marital sex either, or sleeping over at each others apartment after a night of everything changes just as much as everything else after marriage!!

    Good Luck!
  13. dustinspeer

    dustinspeer Who's your daddy? 7+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2001
    Conway, AR
    My wife and I did not live together before we got married. I wouldn't have it any other way. We don't argue much at all, both take care of things in the house pretty well, and both work hard to make the other person happy. It's all about committment.
  14. smc927

    smc927 El Flaquito 7+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2002
    Wandering Around
    I'm with dustinspeer.

    My wife and I dated 5 weeks. We were engaged for 4 months. We had a simple but nice wedding. We didn't live together until we got married. Marriage isn't like a car. You don't test drive it and then get a new one when it gets worn out or out of style. Marriage is like a house. You look for the one that's right for you. You pray about it then you go for it. Then, over a life time, you work at it and work at it. After 50 years its a sweeter, happier place to live not because it is a different, more modern style but because of the love that has grown there.

    Besides, marriage usually means a better deal on your taxes.
  15. dental

    dental Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2001
    I think it's a good idea to live together with someone before getting married. You don't know about the problems you will run into while living together but hopefully you will be able to work things out before committing to marriage or maybe he/she is not the right person for you.
  16. Robert Smith

    Robert Smith grumpy 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    Fascination Street
    If you want to read findings of various studies which examine, in part, co-habitation prior to marriage here's a good list (includes some of the studies themselves - straight from the journals - as well as books that cite the studies):

    Deal with the social, economical, physical, and mental advantages to marriage as opposed to co-habitation:

    S. Nock, Marriage in Men?s Lives (1998)

    David Popenoe and Barbara D. Whitehead, The State of Our Unions: Social Health of Marriage in America (1999)

    J. Gottman, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (1999)

    L. A. Lillard And L. J. White, ? ?Til Death Do Us Part: Marital Disruption and Mortality,? American Journal of Sociology, Mar. 1995

    L. J. Waite, ?Does Marriage Matter?? Demography, Nov. 1995

    W. R. Gove, ?Sex, Marital Status, and Mortality,? American Journal of Sociology, July 1973

    J. S. Goodwin, W. C. Hunt, C. R. Key, and J. M. Samet, ?The Effect of Marital Status on Stage, Treatment, and Survival of Cancer Patients,? Journal of the American Medical Association, 4 Dec. 1987

    J. A. Burr, P. L. McCall, and E. Powell-Griner, ?Catholic Religion and Suicide: The Mediating Effect of Divorce,? Social Science Quarterly, June 1994

    L. N. Robins and D. A. Regier, Psychiatric Disorders in America: The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study (1991)

    ?Sex, Marital Status, and Mortality?; S. Stack And J. R. Eshelman, ?Marital Status and Happiness: A 17-Nation Study,? Journal of Marriage and the Family, May 1998

    Psychiatric Disorders in America: The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study

    R. H. Coombs, ?Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review,? Family Relations, Jan. 1991

    W. R. Gove, C. B. Style, and M. Hughes, ?The Effect of Marriage on the Well-Being of Adults: A Theoretical Analysis,? Journal of Family Issues, Mar. 1990

    W. Wood, N. Rhodes, and M. Whelan, ?Sex Differences in Positive Well-Being: A Consideration of Emotional Style and Marital Status,? Psychological Bulletin, 106, no. 2 (1989), 249-64.

    R. R. Rindfuss and A. VandenHeuvel, ?Cohabitation: A Precursor to Marriage or an Alternative to Being Single?? Population and Development Review, Dec. 1990

    R. T. Michael, J. H. Gagnon, E. O. Laumann, and G. Kolata, Sex in America: A Definitive Survey (1994)

    G. T. Stanton, Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society; Marriage in Men?s Lives

    Specifically deal with the researched ill-effects of co-habitation:

    D. Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (1995), 330

    F. Goldscheider, A. Thornton, and L. Young-DeMarco, ?A Portrait of the Nest-Leaving Process in Early Adulthood,? Demography, Nov. 1993, 695.

    Council on Families in America, ?Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation,? in D. Popenoe, J. B. Elshtain, and D. Blankenhorn, eds., Promises to Keep: Decline and Renewal of Marriage in America (1996)
  17. Robert Smith

    Robert Smith grumpy 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    Fascination Street
    I might add that overwhelmingly the above studies and articles citing studies agree that marriage is far superior over cohabitation mentally, physically, and economically for individuals (both male and female). In fact, there are studies (the last few I cited in particular) that demonstrate serious problems for the individuals involved resulting from co-habitation. It's good reading - especially if you buy into the current pop culture beliefs on co-habitation that seem to be subscribed to by many of the posters on this thread.
  18. Hey Vixen,

    It's good to see you're thinking seriously about this. Marriage isn't like deciding to go to the Big Name private school vs. the local state school or to go into ENT vs. radiology. It actually matters. And furthermore, it matters to a lot of people besides yourself, like your future kids. The quality and duration of your marriage will have a life-long impact not only on yourself, but will probably have an even more profound one on theirs.

    I've been married for a number of years and have a few kids. My wife and I didn't live together before getting married and I think that was one of the best things we ever did for ourselves. Marriage is NOT easy and is certainly much more complicated than a dating relationship. And for that reason it makes it so much more rewarding to know that the person you're married to is committed 100%.

    One last word: I know of plenty of people that lived together before marriage that have a good marriage now. But I know of a lot more that are either unhappily married or are divorced. (I haven't read the research, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's the norm. And of course, the ones who are hit hardest are almost always the kids. Sad.)

    Anyway, that's my 2 bits.

    Good luck!
  19. vixen

    vixen I like members 10+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2000
    upstate ny
    Thanks for all of your responses guys! I really appreciate the feedback! :)
  20. u2ecila

    u2ecila Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2001
    VA area
    Hi Vixen,

    My boyfriend and I got together at the begining of our freshman year. We moved in together the following summer and continued living together throughout undergrad.

    Once we graduated, we had some problems in our relationship, so I got my own place. Having never lived on my own before, I think it was a good experience for me. After about 6 months, we worked through our problems and moved back in together. That was 4 years ago, and we are getting married this October.

    I think living together is a very personal decision, and it can be both good or bad for a relationship. Ultimately, it was good for ours. However, we first had to learn that we were capable of living on our own before we could happily live together. Now, we are absolutely inseperable (working and living together), and we are both applying to med school for fall 2003.

    One interesting note - my friends in France say it is very common for couples to live together and not be married, much more common than in the United States. I thought that was strange considering the country's strong ties to the Catholic church.

    Bottom line - if a couple is meant to be together, I believe living together vs not living together prior to marriage is not a big deal. A strong relationship will survive whether you live together pre- or post- marriage. :) If you are uncomfortable about doing it, don't. I do not have any religious beliefs that about it, and neither do my parents.

    Just my thoughts.

    good luck,
  21. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    I also think that this stuff all depends on the people involved. I've been living with my fiance since...gee 1996, so I guess nearly 6 years now and we were dating for 2 years before that and everything has been great. In my mind, I made the same committment as marriage to her 6 years ago and we're going to finally get it all legalized on this June 8. I asked her to marry me 3 years ago, so half the time we've lived together we weren't engaged and the other half we were. So why did we wait? Well, I'd say money was the main reason as we've been saving up for a couple of years now. Neither of our parents could afford to throw us a wedding and even if they could, we both would rather pay for it ourselves. Additionally, I really wanted to wait until I was done with school. Maybe that's the provider instinct in me, but that's was just one of my personal desires. For myself, I've already made and have been living the marriage commitment for 6 years, now I just need to get it legalized for the financial benefits, insurance coverage and I'd like to be married if we do decide on children some day.

    We're both Roman Catholics, although she is certainly more devout to the church than I (I wouldn't even go if she didn't go) and our families haven't said anything about it (at least to our face). She's been working and pretty much supporting me throughout medical school as well, so I guess if I was going to be cynical about it, she certainly was taking a huge risk in living with me for all these years, but I think everything will work out fine.
  22. OldManDave

    OldManDave Fossil Bouncer Emeritus Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 1999
    Lafayette, IN
    <strong>"Did you know that 40 percent of couples who live together break up before they marry and of the 60 percent that do marry, 40 percent of them divorce after ten years? Why, then, do more couples continue to live together before marriage than ever before? We want you to understand the problems that cohabitation can create and learn about the benefits of a marriage commitment."</strong>

    Furthermore, since the national divorce rate hovers at around 50% & this study indicating that previous cohabitants only have a 40% divorce rate...the overall cumulative divorce rate strongly implies that those who DO NOT cohabitate prior to marriage REALLY must have a high divorce rate! In fact, it must be sufficiently high such that the average of the two values approximates the 50% rate for the total population.

    (40% + x )/2 = 50% ----&gt; x must approximate 60% by my math!

    Sounds like one hell of an argument FOR pre-marital cohabitation!!!
  23. isidella

    isidella 7+ Year Member

    May 23, 2002
    Nice discussion here. . . I have lived with a man I thought was my soul-mate for two years. I have since decided that we are not compatable. Living together was a good litmus test for us. (We are still living together and his presence is like nails on a chalkboard to me-I must get out soon!)

Share This Page