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You Asked: Should I Move in Before Marriage?

Dear Sugar,

I have been with my boyfriend for two and a half years. We were in the service together and when I got out of the army, I half expected him to propose, but he didn't so I went back to my hometown and he is still in Korea. We stay in touch and he tells me things like he wants to spend his life with me, grow old together, etc.

When he gets out of the army in November he plans to come to my hometown and live with me. The problem is I don't know if I want us to live together without being married first. I appreciate that he is taking a step towards committing to me, but if we move in now, why would he ask me to get married later? We have talked about marriage but he says we aren't ready. I don't know what to do or how to approach the situation without hurting his feelings or pushing him away. Help! — Going by the Book Beatrix

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Going by the Book Beatrix —

I think a lot of women ask the same question you're posing — why buy the milk if you can have the cow for free — but that isn't to say that your boyfriend necessarily sees things that way. Some people feel that living together is like a trial run before marriage, to see if they are compatible with their partner before saying I do, and I happen to agree in most cases.

It's clear that you need to have a talk with your boyfriend about your future together, your concerns, and your living situation, but since he is still overseas, I would wait to have such a serious talk until he gets home. Since you have such different perspectives, take some time to really think about your options. In the meantime, rest assured that your boyfriend loves you and that he wants to spend his life with you, and who knows, your feelings might change about living together before marriage. Good luck!


Join The Conversation
lovelymess lovelymess 9 years
I know that this respose is late, but I hope it still helps. (I'm avoiding a writing project at the moment...what a perfect time to post!) Having just celebrated my first anniverary with my lovely husband, I would *NEVER* recommend getting married without living together first. They say that the first two years of marriage are the hardest, and I absolutely believe that's true. But I also think that living with my husband for 2 years before we got married actually got a lot of that "first two years" ickiness out of the way before we said "I do." It sounds trivial, but I think if I had married my husband before I actually *lived in* the filth he can create, I would have imploded. That's not to say that we haven't had our nasty moments during our first year of marriage, but I think all in all, it's been a fantastic year and I feel closer to him now than I ever did when we were just living together. I also don't think that living together really took away any of the magic of getting married. When you love someone enough to know that you want to be with him every day for the rest of your life, then you will love him more every day, regardless of your geography.
erinsugar erinsugar 9 years
If he gets to say he's not ready for marriage, you should be able to say you are not ready to live together. Don't be talked in to something you don't want.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
In my opinion marriage isnt the greatest thing and I dont think it is needed to be in a committed relationship (Ive never been married). So starting with that Im all about living with the guy before getting married. This is one way for you to REALLY know him and all of his habits. Then if you finally decide to get married you are not going to be shocked by how he lives. Also you can work out any issues before marriage. But that is just how I view it and I know that it is not for everyone
bastille_75 bastille_75 9 years
Sorry - as I explained in another post = I've had a litter wine - tonight. In my P.S. I meant divorce may ratio substantially once you have lived together prior to marriage.
bastille_75 bastille_75 9 years
I do not know. . . I've never lived with a guy - and I would never judge ( a lot of my friends live with thier boyfriends) so it's not about that and do not be swayed by opinions that take a 'moral' stand-point. All I know from seeing my friends is (1) saying, 'will you marry me?' = I want to spend the rest of my life with you - and (2) saying, 'can we move in together?'= this is convient for me right now. Going for Broke, stick to your guns - you kno wwhat is right for you! P.S. Also, Going by the Book shoud look into how the divorce ratio increase substantially after couple who have live together first and then get married.
Marci Marci 9 years
This is a very personal decision. Everyone can tell you yes or no, but it really comes down to what you want to do and you're the only one who really knows what you want.
karlorene karlorene 9 years
i'm not against it- i just would prefer to be engaged first - but you should do what's best for you
blondewithbangs blondewithbangs 9 years
DONT DO IT!!! My boyfriend an i have been together for 2.5 years and spoke about marriage constantly BEFORE we lived together. Thinsg we going so great that we moved in together last year. Its great, we've gotten much closer but the marriage talked has slowed down. He says "we live together, that is a commitment in itself" or "why rush, we are happy living together right?" UGH! so frustrating! The whole "why buy the cow if you get the milk for free" saying is so true. Guys get way to comfortable sometimes.
kgtg1 kgtg1 9 years
Wow, I could never marry someone without living with them beforehand. Have you ever had a best friend that you loved and then moved in with them and had bitter fights over stupid, household stuff? I know I have. I wouldn't want to have that with my possible future husband. I live with my boyfriend now, and it's been great - although, I can't relate with the "why buy the cow" thing as I don't really want to get married anyway. So, I would say that this is a personal decision - don't listen to anyone else, just listen to your heart.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Laughing at the term "trial marriage" is that like a trial size soap, use it and if you dont like it dont buy it? Love isnt that trivial. In My opinion living together is the easy way out, there is always a window to go out of, you dont have a commitment its not binding. To have a test run of something that cannot be "faked" like marriage, because its a totally different feeling to be called "wife" than girlfriend, you are basically playing house. And than there are 20 million girls on this site saying "we have lived together for 4 years and he still hasnt proprosed!" well duh.
erratic-assassin erratic-assassin 9 years
*TRIAL MARRIAGE* is NOT a mockery. Who said marriage was a joke? Don't assume that you're the better situation. IMO, just follow your gut instincts. I agree with some here, don't move in with him as soon as he comes back. I say you two should try being a couple FIRST (not long distance) and see how it goes from there. Marriage IS very serious and it ISN'T for everyone. But if you want to be married one day, then don't be scared to ask for it. You deserve to be married to someone who really does want to marry you.
jaxon jaxon 9 years
This is truly personal decision. I myself WILL NOT cohabitate. "Trial marriage" as someone refered to it is a joke and makes a mockery of the institution. Marriage is a lifelong commitment not a vacuum cleaner you buy off the tube late at night. In the last twenty years people have been devaluing and eroding away at marriage little by little and I think "shackin up" is a major factor. This is my opinion only I can't and don't tell others what to do or what's best in their life.
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
Wow, this is an extremely personal decision. Living together works for some people and it doesn't work for others. All of these posters (myself included) can list their reasons for doing one thing or another, but in the end it is really up to you. I am of the mindset that you don't need to live together before marriage. There are plenty of ways to get to know each other without living in the same house/apartment. And don't forget that living together doesn't mean you will get to know everything about your future spouse either. People are constantly changing and "shacking up" pre-marriage won't change that at all. :) If you aren't comfortable moving in together, that's okay. There is nothing wrong with it. My suggestion to everyone when they get engaged is to go through pre-marriage counseling whether it is secular or faith based. It will dig deeper into compatibility than knowing how someone brushes their teeth. ;) Good luck!
Jen4Luck Jen4Luck 9 years
I think it is very important to live with someone for at least a year before you marry them. The "trial marriage" will give you a chance to see what you really look like to each other in that framework, will give you time to work out what you need to and gives you the option to step back and re-evaluate if you can determine that there are some deal breakers you can't resolve together.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
Hey Beatrix, I think that if you are uncomfortable with it, don't do it. I Am having this same conundrum now...assumin gmy boyf of almost 6 years proposes when he graduates in the spring, he could either a) move in with me (we live 3 hours a apart now) and get a job here, or b) get a job where he is and that delay our marriage a bit. At first i was gonna give in and let him live with me, but he knew it was important to me to wait, and even though he doesn't have the same beliefs, he says he would rather wait so that I am happy and my parents are happy. I thought it was very sweet of him to say that since I was going to compromise and let him move in. and he knew this. good luck!
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 9 years
I don't think living together before marriage is necessary at all... only because my parents didn't live together before they were married and they have been married for 25 years now... my fiance tried to pressure me into living with him before marriage, and I told him I couldn't because of my religious beliefs as well as my respect for my parents... we spend pretty much every day together at his house, I sleep there every weekend, so the only time we're apart is for sleeping during the week... I have responsibilities around the house, as does he... so thats about as close as we're going to get before we walk down that aisle :)
hankehpankeh hankehpankeh 9 years
He's saying you guys aren't ready, not that he doesn't want to get married. Why did you assume he'd just propose when you left the army? If it means so much to you say to him that you don't like the idea of moving in before marriage and if he doesn't want to take the step he can just rent a flat nearby. Don't make it overly complicated or deliver sudden demands.
omilawd omilawd 9 years
There's studies which say that couples who cohabitate without being married just see marriage as the "next step" and decide to take the plunge, even if it's not what they want. They assume that, hey, we're already doing everything else that married couples do; why not take it a little further? Marriages like this fail! Be careful! A lot of people think they're the exception (and sometimes they are), but oftentimes, that's not the case.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
I wouldn't live with a mate before marriage but that's just me - i'll leave that aside for now. I think you should have a talk with him about your expectations/what you want within the relationship. I mean, just like you want him to propose, you could've proposed yourself, right? Talk to him about your future plans.
JessBear JessBear 9 years
All that really mattters here is that you obviously aren't ready to live with this guy. Personal beliefs, whether or not you'll do it eventually, and all us sugar pals' opinions don't matter, because YOU'RE NOT READY. Tell him you just need time, that he can sign a six month lease and then you two can talk about it again. If he's worried about affording a place on his own, help him- you can find him the best deal, since you already live there. And TALK to him about the marriage thing.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
do not move in, i repeat dont do it.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
If you don't want to live with someone before marriage then you have every right not to. He has to accept this fact the same way you have to accept the fact that he is not ready for marriage! If you can't tell him the truth about how you feel then maybe your not as ready for marriage as you think you are!
Advah Advah 9 years
The 'living together before marriage or not' can have many different answers, so see what makes you more comfortable on a religious/beliefs point of view. However, I wouldn't recommend moving in with him as soon as he comes back. A lot of my friends have been in long-distance relationships, and they all said it took them a couple of months to get used to being around the other person every day or so after spending all this time apart. You may not want to add that pressure to your other issues of marriage.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 9 years
Call me old-fashioned, but I don't plan on living with my boyfriend before we get married. I do agree with the statement "why buy the cow...?" I don't think living together prevents divorce. The only way marriages work is if the two people involved love each other and work their hardest every single day of their lives to make the marriage a good one. If you're dating someone for 2+ years, chances are you know their habits whether you live with them or not. Living togther should be reserved for marriage. Otherwise, what's the point in being married?
melkem melkem 9 years
This comes down to personal beliefs. Now a days it is quite expected that a couple lives together before marriage. But it is not always the right way to go. **My personal belief is live together before marriage. I am a Christian girl. But if I didn't live with the last guys I was with I would not have known if I can 'handle' living with them for the rest of my life! I lived with my last boyfriend for a year...he proposed a year later and now we are married! Happily!!** You have to decide what is best for you and all around best for your relationship. Sit down and talk with your man tell him your feelings and discuss it. Good luck!
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