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Cohabiting: the Good and the Bad

The Good and Bad Points to Be Considered Regarding Cohabiting

This generation thinks living together without being married is a better way to do things. Let's look at the pros and cons of premarital cohabitation.
Chesley Maldonado
Last Updated: May 30, 2018
In the modern society the stigma behind living together without being married is virtually non-existent. The current generation feels uneasy about the commitment of marriage. The trial run of living with a partner serves as a common method of truly 'getting to know' the other person. This article examines what are the positives and negatives of having the view that living with someone without a solid and legal commitment is a way to make sure marriage would work.

Dating someone seriously over a certain period time often makes one desire more. Physical intimacy becomes more intense, and one of the partner's may be wondering if they really want a serious long-term commitment. While marriage is still the desire of many, there are plenty of fears regarding the legally binding institution. With the divorce rate of this country rating about half of all marriages as failures, people are more reluctant to take that step.

Moving in together is the next logical step in a serious relationship to many people. For some, it is a pre-marital step. What are the benefits of living together before marriage?

First of all, you don't always get to know the living habits of the person you date. Many couples have completely different habits. Eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene are three of the major habits about which certain individuals have very specific preferences. Living with someone is one way to see the other person's lifestyle, and try to determine if they can deal with the other person's habits.

Spending more time with the person you love is another benefit to sharing a place. Plus, you save on gas, because you don't have to travel to see them. Depending on the schedule, phone conversations will probably be shorter, so that means lower cell phone bills. It's nice to have them close by and you don't have to miss them as much. It's just nice.

Another good thing about living with someone is that you find out how responsible they are. Paying bills on time is a major factor in how a person handles responsibility. If chores and bills are split between the two of you, it becomes clear who is more efficient and responsible. If the two of you are snuggled up on the couch watching an old movie, and all of a sudden the lights and television go out, you know that the person next to you forgot something. Or maybe it was you.

Living with the person you are dating can be difficult. When faced with habits, responsibility, and strange preferences, relationships often take a turn for the worse. The shock of poor hygiene or the extremely picky and obsessive living manners of your significant other could be a major turn off. If you find that your lifestyles are just not compatible, the relationship may sadly end. Some people feel this is a good thing because they have the freedom to easily leave, in most cases, because there is no divorce process.

You may get sick of each other. Spending more time together is wonderful, but clinging to one another every free moment is not so wonderful. The mistake many people make when living with their partner is constantly desiring attention and taking it personally if their significant other wants to be alone. Many people break the relationship because they feel that they need more personal space.

A relationship that would otherwise work out is broken from rushing to live together. This can be resolved if there is a preset alone time and together time. Living under the same roof makes personal time more difficult. Relationships need rest time so that the connection is fresh and renewed.

Expectations of marriage without a true commitment can cause friction and frustration. After some people have lived with their partner for some time, they still want more. Their partner may be content with having the perks of marriage without the solid vows of commitment.

Almost being married is eventually unsatisfying, and people argue over the need to actually get married. There can be worries of infidelity, or even worse, the desire to explore new partners.

The original reluctance towards marriage may not have been settled by simply having a trial run. Some people remain fearful of the commitment and their partners become discontent with the fact that their significant other won't vow to stay with them.

Living with someone doesn't mean you will find out everything about them. If you have gone away to college and lived in a dorm or with roommates, you should know that this is true. While you may have gotten to know plenty about your roommate's lifestyle, there is a deeper knowledge of who they are that living with them will not reveal.

If there is dishonesty in the relationship, and you suspect as much, moving in to 'keep an eye on them' may not solve the problem. Marriage requires honesty, trust, understanding, compromise, and sacrifice. Close relationships like this also need a healthy means of conflict resolution, or arguing properly so that the root problem is dealt with.

If your relationship does not have these qualities, you are not ready to live with them. If you have these qualities, then it is extremely healthy and you might as well take the plunge and get married. In that case your chances of staying together are fantastic.

If you do choose to get married, it will seem like nothing has changed from dating to marriage. You have dated. You have lived together. You have had sex. You sleep in the same bed. You share responsibility. Some people already have children, too. The excitement of getting married is lacking because there is very little to look forward to.

After the big day everything will go back to the way it was. You might be wearing a ring now, or even change your last name. There is a document that states you are officially a legal couple. The changes are few and the joy of being married isn't nearly as strong as it would be if you found a way to be secure in the relationship without pretending to be married first.

My Opinion
There are many more important things to settle in a relationship besides living habits and household chores. If you really want to marry someone, make sure that you know that the relationship is solid. Remember that healthy conflict resolution, honesty, communication, compromise and sacrifice is what makes relationships work. You don't have to live with someone to achieve that. As a matter of fact, if you have these characteristics in your relationship, your partner leaving the toilet seat up or leaving unwashed dishes on the floor isn't going to be a deep regret in your marriage. Compared to what is actually important in committed relationships, living together is the absolute last thing you really have to worry about.