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Living Together Before Marriage

LianneCatherine
August 30th, 2006, 12:58 PM
Okay I will try not to make this very long. :sorry:

So, my boyfriend Chris and I have been together over 3.5 years, and we are headed for marriage, but not there yet. Chris says he is just not ready at this point, and I am okay with that.

When we met, we were both in college. After graduation, I moved to the city where I am from, and he was living with his parents. This was an 80 mile difference. A year later, he bought a townhouse even further away (in his hometown). The plan was that with the "time was right" we would sell our places and buy a house together. In the meantime, we've been seeing each other on the weekends, and trying to maintain a long distance relationship (for 2 years now.)

Long story short, the reasoning behind my living here was that my job was paying for school and therefore I had an obligation to stay with them for 12 months following the last semester that they paid for. However, I recently learned that due to "restructuring" I would be laid off as of Oct. 5th 2006. So, I thought of this as an opportunity to close the distance gap and get a job and a house up near Chris. It wasn't long before I found a new job, and am resigning my current position as of Tuesday the 5th. I start the new job on the 11th. :D

With the current housing market being rather poor at the moment, I thought I would wait a bit before selling my condo. It would also give me a chance to figure out if I really like the new job before I up and move. So in the meantime, I thought I would temporarily stay with Chris. It could be a few months(spring) before the housing market picks up again.

Does anyone see a problem with this scenario? Should I just commute 55 miles to work (one way) until I sell my condo? Or would it be better to live with Chris? I have always wanted to wait until marriage before moving in together, but this seems like an extenuating circumstance. What do you think?

Prin
August 30th, 2006, 01:02 PM
You could always rent your condo. Living with somebody is HARD. IMO it's best to have a back up plan (i.e. the condo), just in case and to take the pressure off.

Honestly, you haven't said much, but from what you have said, this guy seems a little non-committal. Maybe you need the "He's just not that into you" book (it really exists). I'm not dissing your relationship- that's just what I got from your post. :shrug:

All I know is, when you know you know. I moved in with my man 2 weeks after we started dating. It was logical (I had nowhere to live) and it didn't freak him out (because he was 'into' me).

LianneCatherine
August 30th, 2006, 01:05 PM
Funny you should mention that...I know all about that book!

After 3.5 years though, I have to wonder why he would be with me if he's not into me? He's made it pretty clear that he is, he's just not ready to get married right away. I know what you mean though, I think I unofficially gave it 5 years before I will pack up and assume he will never propose. *SIGH!*

I already considered the renting thing...though I have heard many MANY horror stories from people who have done that. I'd rather just sell it when I buy a new place. That way, it will always be there if I need it during the "transition period."

Thanks for your advice! :)

Prin
August 30th, 2006, 01:07 PM
Oh, sorry, I didn't respond to the poll yet.. Definitely live together before marriage. Dating and coexisting in a tiny apartment are two completely different things. You won't know how often he does housework, how often he expects YOU to pick up after him, how much he snores on a daily basis, how big an a** he is when he's stressed about work, or just generally if you can live together.

There has to be a certain amount of compatibility there that you just don't see with scheduled visits. When you date, your teeth/breath is always fresh. You just got out of the shower. You're on your best behavior- that is not at all what living together is about. Living together is seeing each other at their worst. I'd never get married before I saw that.:shrug: JMO

LianneCatherine
August 30th, 2006, 01:12 PM
We had a good taste for that in college. We shared a tiny 10x10 room within a 4 person apartment for quite a while! Now he has a spacious townhouse where I stay with him often on the weekends. He is messy and all that, but nothing that we couldn't handle (I hope!).

It should be interesting, that's for sure!

we3beagles
August 30th, 2006, 01:20 PM
I think every couple should live together before marriage. I did it for 8 years before DH and I were married and let me tell you there are times when I thought it just wouldn't work out, but we perservered and stayed together and by the time we got married we were very sure we were the one for each other. the profit from your condo to fall back on and don't lose a thing. I really don't see any downside to your plan and if things don't work out you always have your condo to sell or move back into. I think you should definitly wait till the real estate market picks back up to sell if you can.

phoenix
August 30th, 2006, 01:37 PM
Hi Lianne,

I had the exact same impression as Prin did from your post.

After 3.5 years though, I have to wonder why he would be with me if he's not into me?

Sometimes they just stay because they don't want to be single and it's comfortable... Guys like to go from one good/okay situation to another/better one. (I'm generalizing.) Most are not good with change in my experience! And most don't really like singledom.

I hope that things go well for you though. I didn't live with my fiance "technically"... we maintained separate addresses for personal (my family) and professional (worked in the Catholic school board) reasons... but we had the 'your house or mine' kind of arrangement. It wasted A LOT of money unfortunately but had to be done, and we made good money on the sale of my condo in the end (he was renting).

I think that your plan is good. Way to go, getting that new job! :thumbs up I'd say that instead of waiting / wasting 5 years for him, decide when YOU are ready, and ask him. I am NOT in the camp of women having to wait for men to make decisions. You deserve to live the life YOU want, not just the one he'll give you when he feels like it.

technodoll
August 30th, 2006, 01:40 PM
it's like that old catholic joke...

Mother: "Daughter, never sleep with a man before marriage. And never marry a man who snores".

Daughter: "But mom, how will I know?" :rolleyes:

Totally live together before committing to spending a lifetime together! After the "honeymoon" phase has ended (it can take between 3 weeks to 3 years for that to happen) and real life settles in, then you will see what your relationship is made of. It's like trying on a pair of shoes before you buy them, right? LOL :D

jesse's mommy
August 30th, 2006, 02:08 PM
Absolutely live in sin. :evil: I agree with everything Technodoll says. I think it's important to really get to know a person and see if their quirks are something that you can live with or not and vice versa.

Jackie467
August 30th, 2006, 02:15 PM
I say people should live with their SO before marriage because until you live with someone you don't truly know who they are. As far as the "he's not that into you" I think that is completely individual. I'm getting married in July and I had lived with the man. We have been together for 3 years, there were some bumps but we over came them. I lived with him for about a year when he dicided that he needed to move back home. At that time we went through the loss of a baby and he was having a hard time dealing with it (as was I) and we needed to take a break from being together so much to get ourselves back in order. Everyone handles situations differently, I wanted to help eachother through but he needed to step back and take a look at our lives, his life and the loss. This was his way of dealing with it and there is no wrong way of handling a situation. That was what he needed to do. We even broke up for a while. In the end he got his thoughts together and came back and when I was ready (I too needed the break) we started over. Now we are happier then we have ever been and have officially set the wedding date.

My point is that he may just not be ready. And that may just be it. Everyone handles things different and this may just be his way of making sure that your marriage will last. I know I would rather wait until my man is sure so I know that our marriage will last. Our long engagment and our brake up made us both realize this is what we want and this marriage will last.

Writing4Fun
August 30th, 2006, 02:26 PM
I voted "it depends". Living in sin is a fairly new arrangement, so you have to wonder how marriages have been surviving all these centuries. ;) Hubby and I dated for years (we started very young) and both lived at home with our parents before getting married and moving in together. We're both from strict Italian families, and 'living in sin' was just not an option for us back then. It totally depends on your own personal beliefs. If you're comfortable with living together, then go for it. If, however, you're having doubts for any reason (personal, religious, financial, etc...), then you might want to keep the condo like Prin suggested.

Melei'sMom
August 30th, 2006, 02:54 PM
I would suggest that before you decide to move in and then sell your condo, you need to check a few laws.

In some cases, the money you gain from your sale could become 'joint property' and if you later part ways, half could become his.

If you want to move, that is your decision, but make sure to protect yourself and what is yours so you don't get any nasty surprises.

LianneCatherine
August 30th, 2006, 03:15 PM
I think you all have made some wonderfully valid points. Thank you so much for taking the time to put in your 2 cents! :)

It is my hope and plan that I am not living with him for more than a few months, and possibly only during the week. We have been doing the "your place or mine" thing and have also had the experience of living together in college, so there shouldn't be too many surprises. What a good point about legality--I will definitely look into that, although for the length of time I will be staying with him (and I really like to say STAYING rather than LIVING, though it's a fine line :evil: ) I doubt it will be an issue.

That said, I think he is genuinely just not ready yet. None of his friends are getting married or have gotten married yet, and his sister waited 8 years before marrying her husband. So, he doesn't have many role models to motivate him (not saying it's an excuse, just doesn't give him the impression that "its time"). He knows that I am ready, and has told me that we are "coming down the final lap, the light at the end of the tunnel" so to speak, and it's only a matter of time. He wants it to be a surprise so maybe he's letting the subject rest a while before popping the question. Either way, it would be unfair for me to not give him this time. I wouldn't want him to commit until he's absolutely ready anyway.

Sooooo...I will keep y'all up to date on what happens--wish me luck!! :fingerscr

PS. No matter what, I'm keeping the condo for at least 6-7 months, so there's always a back up plan! :D

dtbmnec
August 30th, 2006, 03:26 PM
I'm currently living with Arron my boyfriend of a year and a half. So far we're doing ok. I mean we haven't killed each other yet so that's a good thing right? :p

Didn't take much in the adjustment kind of way really adapting probably because I'd lived in a student house and it was the worst possible situation ever. I mean we're talking a SHARED rent (ie. if one of us can't come up with our "half" then the rest have to cover it), the roomates drank and smoked up ALOT (like every day...didn't mind every once in a while cuz well its college but every day?!), didn't go to school, didn't clean the house, etc. I ended up being the "mother hen" sort and people started hating me for it. I will admit I wasn't perfect but there are a few things in life that drive me nuts.

Seriously though....right now there aren't any marriage plans (that I'm aware of)....no proposing (that I'm aware)...we're just taking it as it comes...:) If it turns out that he is "the one" then that's great....if not we'll see what happens...either way we're "stuck" (lol) together for the next 8 months or so...

We've talked about marriage and kids in a totally abstract sort of way (ie. When I get married I want a small wedding, No you aren't going to call any children we do have (if we have) "Yodas", I'm starting to think eloping is the best option but we AREN"T having Elvis, etc.) but nothing concrete in the least. We have much too much else to do before thinking about that sort of stuff.

I wouldn't want to get married for another couple of years and wouldn't want kids for a few more years after that. *shrugs*

Just my thoughts..:)

As for him "not being into you" well there's different levels of that I think. I mean he could think you're the love of his life and is okay with the thought of growing old together but terrified of "marriage"...just the connotations of the words you know? Like I could see myself spending the rest of my life with someone but the thought of "growing old" with them is rather scary. Does that make sense? Or he could be like the other's have mentioned too.

Or like you suspect he could be saying he's not "into you" but really he's just trying to figure out the best way to "pop the question" :p

Megan

Prin
August 30th, 2006, 03:35 PM
Sometimes they just stay because they don't want to be single and it's comfortable... Guys like to go from one good/okay situation to another/better one. (I'm generalizing.) Most are not good with change in my experience! And most don't really like singledom.I agree. If he only sees you once in a while, he can do plenty else with his time and still have reliable you to fall back on just in case he needs somebody.:shrug:

I voted "it depends". Living in sin is a fairly new arrangement, so you have to wonder how marriages have been surviving all these centuries. Oh, don't get me started on that... :evil: My grandmother was married for around 60 years when my grandfather died and if she married him today, they'd be divorced within a couple of years. She married him for the wrong reasons (he was good on paper) and stayed married to him for the wrong reasons (religious beliefs) and suffered her whole life. She was miserable. When you go through your grandparents' things when you're little, you expect to find love letters and instead all we found were "why did you hurt me so badly?" or "why do you always have to be so mean?" letters. Sure, we might divorce a little too often, but I am so thankful that it's an option. Sorry for the mini-rant. :o

Writing4Fun
August 30th, 2006, 04:12 PM
Oh, don't get me started on that... :evil:
Hey, no problem. ;) Everything we know, everything we believe is based on personal experience.

Prin
August 30th, 2006, 04:14 PM
For sure! I know a couple that has been married for over 25 years and they still act like teenagers together. I don't know how to get that.:D

rainbow
August 30th, 2006, 05:42 PM
It's like trying on a pair of shoes before you buy them, right?


LOL...that's exactly what my doctor I had at the time told me many years ago....back in the days when it really was thought of as living in sin. :D

I decided back then to hold out and be a good girl before I got married. After we got married it was a total disaster and only lasted a year (on paper). It was an on again, off again thing in reality. When it came time to go to court for the divorce, I was a nervous wreck so my doctor gave me some valium and then winked and said "next time try the shoe on before you wear it".

My hubby and I lived together for five months before we got married and that was 34 years ago this December.

Stacer
August 30th, 2006, 05:43 PM
Yup, you should definitely live together first. Everything I would have said has already been said by others. I think it's a good idea to keep the condo for a while, it will probably make him feel better too, knowing that you still have that available. If you're young (I'm assuming you're under 30), what's the rush? I don't think that living together will necessarily make him feel pressure to ask THE QUESTION.
My husband and I dated for 2 years then moved in together due to getting jobs in the same city and it just seemed right, we had already discussed moving in together at some point, it just happened sooner than we had planned. Then lived together for 2 years before getting married. I don't think either of us discovered anything weird/annoying about each other that we didn't already know, but adjusting to another person's quirks and routines takes some time. And to top it off we worked for the same company, so we commuted together everyday! Lots of quality time.

Smiley14
August 30th, 2006, 06:45 PM
I would suggest that before you decide to move in and then sell your condo, you need to check a few laws.

In some cases, the money you gain from your sale could become 'joint property' and if you later part ways, half could become his.

If you want to move, that is your decision, but make sure to protect yourself and what is yours so you don't get any nasty surprises.


What you are referring to is called Community Property and Maryland is not a Community Property State. Of the nine states that are Community Property, only two allow for common-law division of assets. All other states require a legal marriage. Otherwise, what's yours, ie, your condo and it's equity, remains yours no matter what. :) So you should be fine in MD in that regard.
The main thing I would recommend looking into is capital gains. Every state is different, but typically if you rent out your home, you can no longer claim homestead, which means your property taxes will go up and you could face possible steep capital gains tax when you do eventually sell. So depending upon your financial situation, if you can afford to hang onto the condo without renting it, that is usually your better option from a tax perspective.
And now for my disclaimer, I am not a tax or real estate attorney, so you may want to consult with one for full advice. :)

LianneCatherine
August 30th, 2006, 09:25 PM
Great advice Smiley, thank you!!! I plan on holding onto the condo and not renting it out, and what more of a reason after reading your post?!

I guess the next question is...how do you know if someone is just stringing you along, or if they actually want to marry you? Chris wants to buy land/property together, has asked me about what my dream house would be like, has taken me to show him what kind of ring I want, and has said flat out that he intends to marry me etc. but has said that he just doesn't feel that it's time yet. It was even his idea that I move in with him--he didn't even want me to get a separate place at all.

But at what point does my being understanding turn into being naiive? How long is reasonable to wait?

I don't want to find out a couple years down the line that he was just waiting for the next great thing...but how do you ever know? I hope that's not the case! :sad:

Skryker
August 30th, 2006, 09:37 PM
Let's see-9 years and counting of co-habitation-do I think people should live together before they get married? More like I think people should live together INSTEAD of getting married!

Not really. It's just that I see marriage as more about property rights than romance and love. :shrug:

I definitely think that you need to live with someone in order to truly know them. And you need to be really, truly sick at the same time to see if you can really do the "for better or worse" thing. If one person insists on being waited on hand and foot despite both feeling like crap, that's not a good sign.

But on the other hand, I was thinking about the long range thing. Ideally, both people will continue to grow and change over time, right? I don't think that can be predicted by living together first. Either they will be compatible changes or they won't. :fingerscr that my man and I continue to be compatible!

Skryker
August 30th, 2006, 09:40 PM
Great advice Smiley, thank you!!! I plan on holding onto the condo and not renting it out, and what more of a reason after reading your post?!

I guess the next question is...how do you know if someone is just stringing you along, or if they actually want to marry you? Chris wants to buy land/property together, has asked me about what my dream house would be like, has taken me to show him what kind of ring I want, and has said flat out that he intends to marry me etc. but has said that he just doesn't feel that it's time yet. It was even his idea that I move in with him--he didn't even want me to get a separate place at all.

Well, all of that sounds pretty promising! Wish I had some advice for you. Maybe you'd be better off talking to my man, who has be patiently waiting for 9 years....

LavenderRott
August 30th, 2006, 09:43 PM
You don't.

I lived with my husband for 10 years before we got married and we had a child together. In all the years we have been together, he has never strayed. I am 42 now and he is 29. :eek:

I married my ex husband months after meeting him and to be frank, he couldn't keep his pants on after we were married. I honestly couldn't begin to count the number of girlfriends that he had before I finally got up the gumption to file for a divorce.

LianneCatherine
August 30th, 2006, 09:52 PM
Thank you for sharing your experience Lavender...I appreciate your insight. I'm so sorry that happened to you with your husband. What a jerk!

I'm glad you have a good guy now though...and I guess you do never know. SIGH :)

jawert1
August 30th, 2006, 09:55 PM
I lived with my ex for almost 5 years, oddly enough, I'd do it again if for nothing other than the opportunity to discover if I could stomach all the little things that pile up (like his complete inability to ever do anything in a timely fashion). I hate unpleasant surprises, so I'd like to know if someone tends to forget the laundry wet in the washer for 3 days after he'd been asked for the 5 prior to do it in the first plac :evil:

Prin
August 30th, 2006, 11:59 PM
I think as long as you keep growing, and the relationship is still WAY better than living on your own, it's worth staying. The minute you stop growing and hit an irreversible rut, it's time to move on.

I just hope this guy isn't seeming to be gung-ho about moving in just so you'll shut up about marriage. You'll never know though until you get to that bridge. He still has the engagement after the moving in as a safety pillow. :shrug:

I actually know somebody who got married to prove to her man that she was trustworthy. She cheated on him once, got engaged, cheated again, got married... She actually told me that I'm lucky because I haven't reached the full level of commitment that she has yet, so I'm free to do whatever I want. Once you're married, she said, there's nothing more you can do to prove your loyalty.
:confused: :confused: :confused:

Sunkist/Winnie
August 31st, 2006, 08:22 AM
I think it depends on the situation.

I "lived in sin", but we were both very clear about our expectations BEFORE we moved in together. He knew that I believed in marriage and I wanted marriage, so I wasn't going to be content with just living together. He also knew that I wasn't going to co-mingle funds or assets until we married. So while I never gave him a time limit, or had one in my head, I knew that I could only proceed so far with my life goals with a living together arrangement.

I also had a co-habitation agreement drawn up. I owned my own house, and had other assets that he would have had legal claim to after living together for 6 months. So if things didn't work out, I wouldn't lose anything I had worked so hard for.

Now, we had only been dating 3 months before we moved in together, and we didn't move in together with the idea that it would be a "trial" marriage. We simply didn't think it was time to get married, but we knew we wanted to get married. He was working in another city so he only was here for part of the week, and he has a daughter from a previous relationship - both of these things contributed to our desire to wait to be married.

But 9 months after we moved in together we were engaged, and 1 year later married.

So I think if you move in together you should do so because you think he is "the one" AND be completely honest with your expectations of where you want the future to lead. Both of you have to be in agreement with this.

Also, protect yourself, if they can't commit to marriage (and that's what you want) don't set yourself up that you will lose if you leave because he won't go down the path you want to go down. I've know too many friends who stayed longer than they wanted to because they would lose so much by leaving...e.g. house, furniture, cash, cars etc.

LianneCatherine
August 31st, 2006, 12:49 PM
Also, protect yourself, if they can't commit to marriage (and that's what you want) don't set yourself up that you will lose if you leave because he won't go down the path you want to go down. I've know too many friends who stayed longer than they wanted to because they would lose so much by leaving...e.g. house, furniture, cash, cars etc.

Well luckily, I was raised with the notion that you don't do anything "serious" with a partner (ie get married) until you are financially and emotionally independent. I own my condo, I have a new car, a great job, furniture, etc. and am completely 100% self-sufficient. So, I stand to lose nothing but my heart in this move. :love:

Writing4Fun
August 31st, 2006, 12:54 PM
So, I stand to lose nothing but my heart in this move. :love: Which is worth more than the rest of it put together, if you think about it. ;)

LianneCatherine
August 31st, 2006, 01:22 PM
Here's us last year at Halloween-- Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf! Let's hope it doesn't turn out THAT way! :D

Prin
August 31st, 2006, 01:44 PM
Oh, you can't marry him! He's already married to Courtney Cox.:D :shrug:

LianneCatherine
August 31st, 2006, 01:47 PM
LOL he only looks like that when he's been drinking---David Arquette is such a GOOF! :crazy:

LM1313
August 31st, 2006, 08:28 PM
I say go for it! :) And if you still want to wait until marriage for sex, well, you can still do that while you're living in the same house. (Even if it is tempting. :evil: )

I would never marry someone without living with them for at least several months first, as the guys who turn out to be controlling can disguise it very well if you're just dating. It's once you're in the same house and he starts trying to discourage you from seeing your friends and reading the newspaper that the red flags pop up. (Not saying this is the case with your guy, Lianne, just in general with relationships.)