This guest article from YourTango was written by Kim Olver.
Should you go from boyfriend and girlfriend to roommates?
According to the CDC, more and more couples are cohabiting. About 30 percent of these living arrangements will result in marriage, 27 percent of couples will break up and 32 percent will stay living together.
This tells me that some couples are using it as a test run for marriage, while others are not necessarily “practicing” marriage, but are thinking about marriage as a possibility. So how do you know if it’s the right decision for you?
Here are seven things to consider.
1. Young adults are taking longer to be financial independent.
More and more young adults are living with their parents and even those who live on their own are still financially dependent on their parents. Therefore, young people are less likely to commit to marriage until they are somewhat sure of their financial stability. Living together provides an attractive alternative.
2. People are living longer.
The average lifespan for people live continues to increase. This means that to commit yourself to a person when you’re 25 years old mean you’re most likely committing yourself to at least a 50-year marriage if you stay together as a couple. Do you really want to be committed to one person for the next 50 or more years? Living together first can really give you a better perspective of what your significant other is really like.
3. One person may not satisfy you for the rest of your life.
The person that satisfies you when you’re in your 20s, may not be the same person who satisfies you in your 30s and beyond. You will likely find that your needs and preferences will change as you mature, and you may want someone different for your life partner as you continue your metamorphosis.
4. You will undergo many changes throughout your life.
This is connected to the previous point, but speaks to the idea that both of you will change. The hope is that you’ll mature in the same direction, but you may mature in opposite directions. Do you want to have a lifetime commitment to someone who may be an entirely different person later in life?
5. It provides some sense of what it’s like to live together.
There used to be evidence that couples who lived together prior to marriage were more likely to divorce than couples who didn’t. New research shows that this is no longer true. While living together won’t hurt your chances of having a successful marriage, it doesn’t help them either. It seems living together has no predictive effect on whether or not your marriage will last.
This is because while living together does provide the experience of what it will be like to live day-to-day with a person, it won’t prepare you for the specific marriage-related expectations that most of us have. Living together allows you to access behavioral patterns, while being married elicits an often entirely different set of behaviors and expectations. So living together really can’t necessarily be considered a dress rehearsal for marriage.
6. The social stigma is disappearing.
There was a time not too long ago when living together without the benefit of marriage was cause for scandal. You still likely have grandparents and possibly great-grandparents who will judge you for living together without being married. However, this is much more acceptable today than it used to be so you likely won’t have to cope with the shame and blame those who came before you did.
7. It will save money.
One of the best reasons I know for cohabiting, particularly in our present financial environment, is that one household is less expensive to maintain than two. If you want to live independently from your parents and can’t afford it, get a roommate. Often this roommate turns out to be your romantic partner. Saving money on bills is one thing, but please consider your exit strategy so it doesn’t end up costing you more in the long run.
Without an exit strategy, you may find yourself homeless. You may find yourself in the difficult situation of asking your “roommate” to leave when things aren’t working out. You may find you are spending lots of money should you quickly have to find alternative living arrangements. Will you move back home with your parents, find your own apartment, try to afford the one you already have on your salary alone, find a new roommate?
These are all questions you and your loved one should discuss before moving in together. After all, the statistics don’t lie. There is at least a 27 percent chance this will not work out. Being prepared and having options will help you from committing to someone who may not be right for you for the long haul.
To stay in touch with Kim visit The Relationship Center to receive your free monthly newsletter.
More living together advice from YourTango:
- The Moving-In-Together Survival Guide
- What They Don’t Tell You About Moving In Together
- Will Living Together Ruin Your Relationship? [VIDEO]