Once upon a time, all the way back in the 50s, there was only marriage and sin. And then came the 60s and 70s and alternative lifestyles that popped up all over the place. Most especially couples simply living together before marriage. Since then marriage rates in the United States have declined while the number of couples that are living together has gone up tenfold.
Living together before marriage has morphed into a virtue in the eyes of most Americans. In fact, for the first time in U.S. history more couples are living together compared to those who are married and this trend is continuing. In the latest study done by the CDC, about 48% of unmarried women were living with a partner as their first union rather than being married as compared with 35% only 15 years ago. This pattern is also being seen in Europe and Australia.
More and more couples are simply packing up their things, moving in and sharing digs. They say it’s because they want to try things out before marriage, a test drive so to speak, with their partner—to avoid a bad marriage. Some say it is more convenient, more economical. Especially in hard financial times. A fewer-strings-attached, safer, more economically sound alternative to tying the knot.
Usually the decision of living together happens without a great deal of planning or discussion. For a younger woman in her 20s or 30s it may seem like a natural but unspoken step before marriage. But according to researchers, for her male counterparts, the living together decision may have little to do with eventually saying “I do.” What men want is definitely different when it comes to living together. So is living together, good bad or ugly for your relationship?
Before I share the true story of a couple who’ve been through this chapter, I’d like you to take a moment and take advantage of my ongoing FREE support. You can learn EXACTLY how to find your soulmate, how to tell the DUDs from the STUDs, how to go from casual to a real commitment and how to keep the passion going in your relationship by subscribing to my Dating Tips & Relationship Advice Newsletter.
Now, to our story. Shelley, a sparkly 30-year-old graduate student in Public Health, serendipitously found Jared, her super secret crush from high school on Facebook. They wrote on each other’s walls, chatted up a storm, flirted like crazy and fell deeply into what seemed to be a magical connection. They used the L word liberally with each other and called each other smoochie names. Cut to one year later. Shelley’s apartment lease was up. Jared, web designer geek, had a roomy, but cluttered loft downtown, close to Shelley’s school and anyway, she was spending so much time at his place. So they decided she would move in and they would take the relationship to the next level by living together.
Shelley made herself at home complete with Miffles the cat, right in the midst of Jared’s mess. Before long, she began to reorganize and clean it all up. Shelly had been through this before, when she lived with her ex, Jonathan. She was used to putting her touch on a guy’s place. Things ended badly with Jonathan, when his drinking buddies took over the place one time too many.
But this time Shelley felt differently. She knew in every cell of her body, down to the tips of her toes that Jared was the One. Shelley was absolutely sure that they would have the whole white-picket-fence future, complete with 2 dogs, 3 kids and, of course, Miffles II.
OK we will cut away from Shelley and Jared’s cozy loft nest to give you, dear reader, a quiz. Do you think that this couple is likely to:
a) Live together happily ever after
b) Get married and go through a yucky divorce
c) Live together unhappily ever after
d) Part ways after about a year and a half
e) Not enough information
To learn what happened to our living together lovers, be sure to check back to catch Part 2 of living together before marriage.
Wishing you love,