Should I move in with him?

Should I move in with him?

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


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2 Comments

  1. Author
    reality chick 10 years ago

    Good points. I actually think you SHOULD live with someone before you marry them so you know you’re domestically compatible. But my point is you should be pretty serious about the person before you take that step. Shacking up is a big deal. You’re merging your stuff, you’re merging your lives – it’s not something to take lightly or with a ‘see how it goes’ approach (which I have done in the past myself) because often it doesn’t end up where you want it to be.

    Your second point – if you feel like living together would be more fun why hold back? Well again, if you want marriage/kids five years down the track you have to make it clear from the start. If you don’t spell it out, I think you can end up secretly hoping the other person wants what you want, and it’s very easy to watch the years go by while you ‘wait’ for them to be ‘ready’ to buy a house / get engaged / have kids, only to have them break your heart one day by running off with some strumpet. Or announce five years in that they were never really into getting married. Or have decided they don’t want kids. I’ve just seen so many situations like this, I am of the opinion that you have to be upfront about what you want from the start – wishy-washy just won’t cut it. But that’s just me.

  2. tulpoeid 10 years ago

    Two questions:
    1. Getting married with someone means living together. This may work out well or it may not. Then how on earth is it bad to know how it turns out before actually committing?? I freaked out every single time I read about that study, how can people not see that if living together fails, then it’d fail if you got married as well?!
    2. Since two people are dating, they are not seeing others (unless they do and they stop dating, or else get too complicated for the purposes of this entry). So, if they feel like living together would be more fun, what’s the reason for not doing so and holding back instead?

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