Welcome lovebugs! After taking a week off to celebrate the holiday, I’m back with my take on hot topics! This week I’d like to talk about live-in boyfriends/girlfriends. A popular trend in millennial culture is cohabitation before marriage. According to Dr. Arielle Kuperberg (2014), today 70% of women aged 30-34 have cohabited with a male partner. While the number of people living together in relationships continues to rise, the U.S. marriage rate has stayed about the same for the past few years at approximately 50%. These statistics have made me wonder, what reasons do people choose to live with their spouse? Through some reflection, I was able to identify the obvious pros and cons of cohabitation.
- Shared bills
- Opportunity to get to know each other better (likes, dislikes, living habits, etc).
- Working together to reach financial stability before marriage
- Cohabitation does not necessarily guarantee marriage
- Living with your partner could cause you to settle
- More inclined to have children before marriage
In my reflection, I began thinking about all the friends and family I have (men and women) who are or have been in relationships where they were cohabiting with a partner. Many of them are unwed with children. Most of them have also admitted that while they may love their partner, comfortability plays a part in why they stay in these relationships. The idea of breaking up and having to restart their life as a single person is overwhelming for them.
I’d like to be clear in that, I am neither for or against cohabitation, as I have lived with a boyfriend or two for periods of time (lol). However, I’ve come to the conclusion that the success of cohabitation boils down to the purpose you both set when moving in together. Moving in with someone because it is the next step in your relationship, differs from just moving in to save a few dollars on rent and bills. Like anything else in life, the success you reach in your goals is determined by your mindset going in. While millennial culture has changed the stigma around “shacking up” to something that is no longer a big deal, moving in with someone is a huge deal. Viewing cohabitation as a commitment versus convenience is the difference between having a relationship and having a roommate. When making that choice, we must be intentional and thoughtful because the reality is sharing everything with someone can truly alter the relationship you had before doing so. The littlest things that you never noticed while you were just spending the night together are now astronomical things you notice while you live together. When your mindset is, “This is who I know I want to be with” rather than “Oh, we just felt like it was more convenient”, you are more inclined to approach decision making, conflict resolution, and compromise differently. I’d love to hear what you think! Drop a comment or shoot me an email with your thoughts!