I’ve been seeing someone for nearly 3 months and he’s dead keen for us to move in together. I’m tempted – he’s pretty much The One, I think – but I always planned on only moving in with someone when I was marrying them. Also, there’s a part of me that worries we’ll stuff it up if we rush things, and I’ve read about how living together can make it less likely you’ll get married. How long should you know someone before you shack up? Should I just jump and hope for the best? Anon
Only you can really answer that question Anon, but I know where you’re at. It’s tempting to subscribe to the theory that moving in with a guy makes them far less motivated to ‘take you off the market’, as it were. I’m not saying this is the case with ALL guys, but it was the philosophy I lived by after a particularly messy break-up some years ago.
I vowed never, ever move in with a guy again unless I was ENGAGED, dammit. He could talk to the hand (or put a ring on it) if he wanted the joy of living with me 24/7. Then I met my future husband and we pretty much ended up living together from the get-go. The difference? We had discussed the future – marriage, kids, the whole bit – and although I was gun-shy, I had a good hunch we were heading down the same path. Throwing caution to the wind and moving in with a carefree ‘lets just see how it goes’ philosophy was too much of a gamble for me, and luckily the scary do-you-want-what-I-want discussion worked out for the best, as well as helping me sus out his real motives before I was in too deep.
What I’m trying to say is, I think it’s a very good idea to discuss your expectations with your boyfriend before you ring the removalists. If it’s too early to talk rings and babies (and hey, three months in might be) then delay the shack-up til you guys are sure you’re both in it for the long haul. That’s what ups your chances of making it long-term, according to a recent study which found that couples who cohabit before marriage – and have made plans to marry or get engaged – have about the same chances of a successful marriage as those who wait until they’re married to move in together. This completely flies in the face of old research (probably the research you’ve read) that found significantly higher divorce rates for people who cohabited.
As for how long you need to know someone before cohabiting, I recently talked to psychologist Amanda Gordon about this very issue. She said, and I quote: “The evidence is, people do better to only move in with someone if they know they want to spend their lives together, however, I don’t believe you need months and years to make that determination.” Amen to that.
Love, reality chick