Moving in Before Marriage


Dating is the foundation for marriage — teaching us what we want, what we don’t want, and what we hope for and envision in the future. It’s common to consider living with your boyfriend or girlfriend before you get hitched or even engaged — just to see if you really can put up with each other on a daily basis.

However, before deciding to combine your unhealthy obsession with high heels and purses with his video games and color-coordinated ties, ask yourself these questions and think about the challenges you may, and most likely will, face.

Am I secure enough in myself?

The process of two becoming one is not an easy task — regardless if it’s moving in together or just being  in a relationship. The healthiest of relationships allows both partners to be themselves and have individual tastes, desires and activities. Your significant other must be confident in himself, just as much as you are in yourself, so the relationship can grow strong enough to support two individuals living and growing together.

If you do decide your relationship and your self-confidence is up to the challenge, make sure you discuss the ideas of space before you move in together. Each week you should set aside a few hours for each of you to spend time alone. Even if your apartment or house is small, you each need to designate a space and place that caters to alone time. For you, it could be the bedroom or a relaxing bubble bath. For him, a few hours alone with the television or enjoying a hobby in the garage may give him the solo time he needs. If you aren’t confident enough in yourself and secure enough in your relationship to give one another space, you won’t function well in a living together situation.

Am I moving in with him for the right reasons?

Most women have dreamed of the moment when the man they’ve been searching for walks into their life by chance and they fall head over heels. Even more than meeting this magical man, women often fantasize about the moment he drops to one knee, promising everlasting love and asking her to spend the rest of her life with him. Consider if your childhood imagination outlined moving in with your prince charming before saying “I do.” And even more, consider if you’re interested in moving in with your boyfriend to see if your relationship can handle it or to see if you can receive your Harry Winston earlier.

For many couples who have moved in together, cohabitation wasn’t meant to test the relationship, but rather just the next logical step in a succeeding relationship. Other couples think moving in together is the best way to check the longevity ability of the relationship. And in some instances when two people decide to move in together, one party believes the change will speed up an engagement. However, according to some experts, moving-in together can delay the process and possibly even end the relationship.

Cinthia W. Pratt, a family and marriage coach and Sociology Professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., does not suggest cohabitation for any relationship.

“Research bears out that [cohabitation] causes greater stress on the couple, sets up unrealistic expectations, and almost always leads to early habitation, apathy and the couple breaking up,” she said.

Pratt always believes engagement is less likely when a couple moves in together.

“Men get comfortable in the status quo and have no reason to change things or marry,” she said.


Am I prepared to adjust to new changes?

Like anything good and worth working for in life, relationships go through a series of changes. From the first months of bliss and nights of passion to the first real fight and initial discussion about the future, relationships must roll with the tides and be strong enough to stand firm after any storm.

If your relationship is ready for the next big step and together you believe living together is the best decision, remember to keep in mind that your relationship will transform along with the appearance of the new apartment or home.

Not only will your boyfriend now be your partner and your lover but also your roommate. Like any other roommate you’ve had, there will be quirks or habits that drive each of you up the wall. Maybe he leaves the toilet seat up, or your long hairs clogging the drain annoy him more with every shower he takes. You’ll probably have to change some of your habits so that you’re both happy. Both of you also will have to make minor adjustments to your routines so you can create a well-oiled schedule that works for your relationship.

At every stage in a relationship, compromise must be something that’s understood and practiced by both individuals. Now that you will be managing a home or apartment together, you will learn even more about who the person you love is and what they are like at the everyday level. Living together makes some couples feel better prepared for marriage and gives them a better idea of what to expect in the years they will share together.

Nevertheless, before deciding to move in together, weigh the pros and cons and consider the nature of your decision. For cohabitation to work, both you and your boyfriend must have realistic expectations of what living together means: responsibility, the joining of your lives and money, and the next stage and change in your relationship.

You will have the mornings when you wake up side by side in the bedroom you share, looking at the clustering of your favorite painting with his favorite signed jersey and feel complete delight in your joint address. Other times, you will argue over his unwillingness to do the dishes and the aftermath of your 10-outfit change from yesterday morning. However, if your relationship is strong enough and ready to tackle any challenge, you will be able to enjoy the good and the bad and still be completely in love afterward.

Lindsay A. Tigar

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Comments (9)


  1. Katie says:

    I think if you move in with someone to test them your relationship might already have some underlying problems. But if you move in with the intentions of marriage and have talked about the future and even have a time frame I think you would be headed in the right direction for a successful future.

  2. Mariela says:

    i think you will figure out if the relationship will work and you will know each other better

  3. Tiffany says:

    My boyfriend and I are talking about moving in togehter within the next year. We would have moved in already if we could afford it. We love each other, but I have a hectic schedule and we want to spend as much time together as possible, so getting to see him every night would help. I don’t know if he thinks of it as “testing” our relationship, and I know I don’t. But with a failed engagement under his belt with a different woman from years ago, I can see that living together first will make him feel more comfortable with an engagement to me in the future.

  4. Stacy says:

    Definitely talk about plans and expectations for engagement/marriage if you plan on moving in together! If you expect engagement to be the next step after moving in, make it very clear to your boyfriend.
    I moved in with my ex and we lived together a year without ever talking about it, which resulted in me building up resentment and unhappiness and he just got lazy with the relationship because he didn’t have to work to win my affections anymore. “why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?”

  5. Ajahlee says:

    i think it all depends im in a crazy situation right fiance and i have been together for almost a year and we are about to exit job corps together,we been talking about getting a place forever now he has a friend that wants to stay with us and his friend has friend that wants to stay wit us too,and i dont know them but he says there cool,but im worried a little,he wants to do this so we can save money.and now i dont know what to do but compromise and see if our relationship will handle was a hard test being togther at job corps but we always work out our problems. now is just the time to really compromise,love,trust,understand,respect and be there for eachother through the thick and thin.

  6. teekadd says:

    I agree 100% that However, moving-in together can delay the process and possibly even end the relationship!! Indeed!! very true as per my personal experience.

  7. Jamie says:

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 8 months and he moved in with me after 6 months of dating. We decided it was the next step. We both love each other very much and wanted to see if we could stand being with each other every single day. So far, the cohabitation has been great. We have our moments of things that drive each other up the wall but as long as we talk about what is bothering us, we have managed to make it through the rough times and has made our relationship even stronger. We’ve talked about getting engaged and since I’m currently going to college full-time. We have decided waiting til I graduate is the best thing for us to do. Going to College is stressful enough, why add more stress of planning a wedding on top of that? Planning a wedding should be exciting so waiting til the moment is right is key. I think living together before getting engaged is an important step a relationship should take.

  8. JC says:

    Thank you for all the comments before mine… I have been in a relationship for 5 mos. now and he’s talking moving in soon, I was thinking about a yr into it but he’s able to get out of his lease in Sept so 3 mos. shy. He’s talked about engagement already too. But I’m just having fun getting to know him and I was just wondering if moving in before marriage is ideal. Hummm I don’t know, call me old fashion but lets not talk about engagement and when he’s ready I rather just have a surprise out of no where and if I’m feeling it the answer will be yes. thanks again everyone this helps

  9. Tiff says:

    My boyfriend and I have known each other for a VERY long time (nearly 15 years) but had never been a couple or dated before he moved in. I had moved 1200 miles away from our home town and about 5 years later he was making plans to move to the same area I had relocated to. We didn’t plan any of this but about a week after he got here his “roommate” decided to have their new partner move in and it was just too crowded for all 3 of them. I lived about 3 hours away and told him to come move in with me. Within days we knew that the stars had aligned and we needed to see where this thing was going. The rest as they say, is history. We have been together for just over 3 years now and it has been the happiest 3 years of my life. Honestly I wouldn’t change a thing! We were friends before he moved but we weren’t that close. Neither one of us even realized that we liked each other until we became “roommates”. We never rushed anything in our relationship and that was nice. Taking your time to get to know someone is so important! He bought my engagement ring earlier this week… I know because he asked me about it to be sure it was something I would adore! No idea what kind of adorable proposal he will come up with but knowing him it will be memorable I’m sure.

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