Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What are your thoughts on cohabitation?

This morning I had my annual "girl doctor" appointment, and when I came through the doors with my infamous red purse and super-stuffed overnight bag hanging off my shoulders, the receptionist said, "Wow, going somewhere?"

I didn't want to give her an invitation into my personal life, but I also didn't want to lie, so I said, "No, I just came back from my boyfriend's place." She responds, "Tell him to give you a drawer!" So much for not getting personal. The truth is, my boyfriend has offered me a drawer, and we've talked about possibly moving in together, but honestly, until it's really time to make those steps, I'm happy with how things are. We hang out a few times a week, which works great for us because it keeps things fun and exciting. I feel like we still have so much more to experience together.

And after almost three and a half years together, I finally got the keys to his apartment. I don't know why, but I didn't really want them or feel like I needed them until recently. (I'm still getting used to the extra keys on my chain!) 

The last thing I want to do is to sound judgmental and preachy, but I do think there is something to be said for taking things slow. I think too many times girls use things like getting the apartment keys or their own drawer as an indicator to where the relationship is going. Just chill out and have fun, and if you have confidence in the relationship, the rest will come. 

This is just my humble opinion. I know that as an almost 29 year-old woman living in the 21st century, I am probably pretty alone on this one. All of my friends that are currently in wonderful, happy marriages lived together before sealing the deal. I think I may be the weird one here. Go ahead, call me old fashioned—I've been called worse ;)

If you missed the funny story about my read purse, click here

I'm really curious to know: What are your thoughts on cohabitation?


  1. I feel like I am blowing up your blog a lot lately, but your topics have been of particular interest.
    In re: cohabitation
    1) Only you know what is right for you, so don't get hung up on how things "should be" based on your age, the era we live in, etc. Having time to yourself and time apart helps you to be an individual, and odds are, after over three years, your man is pretty keen on you as an individual.
    2) I live with my boyfriend and love it. It is awesome. I recommend it. We moved in together almost embarrassingly fast, but it just felt right. Oh, and I live in THE BIBLE BELT! I got mixed reactions from some folks about "living in sin", but for the most part my close friends, folks at my work and in my family were really supportive. I do refer to it as "living in sin" to make a joke of it when someone asks where I live. The reactions are great.
    3) The take away: doing what feels right in the relationship for the both of you is all that matters.

  2. Blow it UP, Shannon! Sounds like you're really happy--that's awesome!! And I love your term "living in sin" haha! I totally agree that everyone should do what works for them. I guess my only issue with this subject is that I know of too many girls who rush into things because they are either: a.) Scared to be alone. b.) Are insecure in their relationship. Some girls are too obsessed with having certain things or being at a certain stage in their lives that they sacrifice true happiness. Dont know if that makes sense? I'm typing fast and these damn finger nails are still getting in my way!!

  3. First time reader of your blog! Just wanted to say that for me personally I wouldn't want to live together before marriage. My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years (we were together for 4 and a half years before that). I am 27 and he is 28. I am old fashioned and we never really thought about living together. When he almost decided to move away for law school, we had to think about what we would do since I would leave with him, but that never happened. I think that of course it depends on the couple and the situation, but I don't think that living together helps the relationship or makes you more prepared for marriage. If so, then why do we have more people living together before marriage, and also more divorces? I don't think it leads to divorce, I just don't think it's a requirement for a successful marriage. I know several other women who did not live with their husband before marriage, and I know a few people who did and are already divorced. Everyone is different, do whatever works for you!

  4. my mom's favorite saying is "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" we all know what she's trying to say, and one of the few "old fashioned" rules that I've always wanted to stick to is that I don't want to live with a boyfriend until we're engaged (at least).

    I totally agree with you that it keeps things fun and interesting. and it gives you something to look forward to! my friends thought I was nuts to move from LA to Chicago for a boy that I'd known for 2 months and when I tell people the story, I'm surprised at how confused people seem when I tell them we don't live together. it's funny that these days, everyone just assumes that if you're in a relationship, you automatically move in or something...

  5. I'm definitely a "No" to moving in together. Aside from the moral debate, living together is taking a relationship to the next level without being either 100% invested or committed to it for the long haul. I think this is why couples who live together have a higher divorce rate, they are entering into the cohabitation stage of a serious relationship without the foundation of complete trust. No, either you're ready for the life commitment of marriage or not...

  6. I'm all for NOT living together. I think it's good to keep your separate residences and your own personal space. Good for you Ellen!

    Research does show that those who live together, divorce more often; but, I think it's because those who choose to live together before marriage may not have the morals and values that help keep a marriage going in the long run.

    Living together before marriage works for some, and doesn't work for others. I just figure, you have your WHOOOOOOLE life to live with that person, so might as well enjoy your own space for as long as you can! I also think some couples can get too comfortable with the living together stage of their relationship and take waaaaay too long to move to the next level.

    Anyway, enough with my rambling!

  7. Whoa, it's gettin' heated up in here! (Welcome JKW!) So, here are my thoughts:

    1.) Unless you are saving yourself until marriage, I don't understand the moral debate. Can someone explain that to me? (Or is that what is implied?!)

    2.) Again, I'm not judging, but the thing that is appealing to me about not living together before marriage/engagement is that it gives you something to look forward to. I just think (or maybe I'm assuming) that when you wait, it will feel like a BIG, exciting step...not just another step.

    3.) Whether you've been with someone for two months or two years, I truly do believe that if it's right for you and you're ready, GO FOR IT.

    4.) The only thing I will never understand are the people who say they need to "see what it's like" before they get married. If he leaves the toilet seat up or leaves dirty towels on the bathroom floor, will you love him any less?? (You'd probably already know that anyway).
    I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just saying I don't UNDERSTAND it. If someone gets it or has a different view on what this means, please share!

    Wow, this is getting intense. Love, peace and happiness to all! haha

  8. I just have to say I totally agree with your #4! I have always said that exact same thing. If he leaves his socks on the floor, do you really need to know that because that will change your mind about wanting to spend the rest of your life with him? Also like you said, you will already know that regardless of whether or not you have actually lived together.

  9. Ellen! i love this post ^_^ i come from a very strict conservative family. Living in is a big no in my family, no one has done that and people will turn heads if you did.
    I do agree though that you will just know, if you love the person and he loves you as much. You can make things work out, if you both respect each other, you'll respect that he doesnt like you to tell him what to wear just as he wouldn't leave the toilet seat up because he knows you also use it.
    I'm getting married and yes, people get shocked that we are even though we are still 23 but i think it's already right. My parents got married when my mom was 21 and dad, 23, and just last sept.21 they celebrated their 28th anniversary. My sister got married at 18&her husband,20, they're gonna be 10 yrs next year.
    I think marriage isn't based off of how couples can live together before or wait til their married. I think it is greatly measured by how you can work together in your marriage, respect,love,patience, initiative, trust and knowing how& when to compromise.
    Plus also learning how to see the great things about that person amidst the flaws. Don't focus about his snoring, think about how he's healthy enough, how much he loves you and how great life is being with him. That's changing perspective and i think that can be a great factor to having a successful marriage. ^_^