See this key? It means more to me than you think. This single key is not only access to my new home but also my home until I…get engaged. No more moving in with boyfriends. As this is such a debatable topic, you’ll see Mark’s comments in blue. Let us know whose side you’re on.
When I was younger, an older,wiser colleague told me she moved in with her then boyfriend even though she knew in doing so, it’d slow the progression of their relationship. Her then boyfriend somehow convinced her that moving would speed up the process…that if they both realised how much they loved living with each other, they’d be racing down the aisle. (I think the bf missed the point – the implicit understanding is that moving in is an experiment if you two can actually get along with each other if you see each other’s face every waking second of the day) What actually happened was – they moved in. He got complacent, was happy in their routine and didn’t want to get married. They broke up a few years later (So what you are suggesting is that if they didn’t move in together, then got married, he wouldn’t get complacent and they won’t breakup?)
Thinking that hers was just an isolated incident, I too ventured the path of co-habitation. One breakup, a whole new set of furniture combined with a small dent in my finances later, I can no doubt confirm that moving in with your bf/gf should come when you both are dead set on a shared future together i.e. when you get engaged.
I’m not sure what compelled me to move in with my now ex, but I’m pretty sure I did it because a) It would save both of us rent b) I was tired of shuttling from one home to another c) It was the ‘next’ step of our relationship and the grown up thing to do (or, because everyone else was doing it)- I moved in for ALL THE WRONG REASONS. (No, I don’t agree. A) and b) were for practical reasons which are totally understandable) The point of moving in with one another is to build a shared life together, not a shared pantry. (Money plays a HUGE factor in relationships) When you blindly move in together because of convenience and with no end goal in sight, you tend to just go with the motions, the routine. Where does the relationship progress to? Maybe marriage, maybe not. The chase is over. Why get married when you’re already playing husband and wife? (Tell that to Sweden – one of the highest rates of cohabitation. I don’t see Magnus complaining.) …But Mark, I think Sweden has one of the highest divorce rates in the world.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t move in so you can put the pressure on your boyfriend to propose. What I am saying is that moving in with your partner is more meaningful than combining furniture. It’s a big commitment and a decision two people make when their relationship is ready, not when their bank accounts are. (I feel like all of these things can be addressed if both parties have a talk before moving in on expectations and what it means – a small but important step).
I understand the try before you buy theory but does it always apply in life? You try on lipstick and clothes but when it comes to bigger non-tangible experiences (like love and bungee jumping)…can you really try before you buy?
More from Mark – I am on the total opposite side of this argument. There’s a relationship between how valuable something is worth and trying it before you jump head on. Sure, you can buy lipsticks without trying it – if it’s not right for you, it’s a few dollars out of your pocket. Would you buy a car without test driving it? If it was legally possible, I’m sure most people would live in a house before they bought it (in case its haunted and stuff). We had to go on dates with people before going out with them. With the exception of Russian mail order brides, people usually take trial runs before engaging in something so important – because the refund process is painful and troublesome. What if your loved on turned out to be messy? Addicted to porn? Leaves his toenail clippings on the floor? Don’t you want to know this crap before you get engaged? I’m not saying this is a make or break trial – it’s more like bracing yourself on what to expect. I think if both parties agreed to what the point of moving in is all about, then they can proceed to marriage.
So what are your thoughts? Are you living with your better half?
By: Iona with comments from Mark
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.