Written By: Micaela V. Rosario
There is a point in every relationship, no matter the length, where one will ask the ever-burning question…“When are we moving in together?!” This one question could either invite instant exhilaration or a festering unease. To be honest, Fuzionistas, both are valid reactions to have and there is much to consider when “sharing” your life with someone.
Today in the U.S., it’s not taboo to find most couples shacking up and living together for years before either makes a “traditional” commitment, which is otherwise known as “cohabitation”. This lifestyle trend has continued to increase from 34 percent of women cohabitating in 1995 to 48 percent in 2010 and the numbers keep rising. More interestingly displayed on Psychology Today are the averages of what happens after most couples shack up. It’s estimated that over a three-year span, 32 percent of couples continue living under the same status, 40 percent got married and 27 percent broke up.
There is no sure way to know which percentage your relationship will fall in, but understanding who you are and what you want will clarify your motives that will then help you understand your true intentions for shacking up. “My girlfriend and I moved in together 6 months after dating each other, which was too soon,” says Nick from Long Island, “…we both felt forced into it financially and now that’s all it is really based on, paying bills together.” Because of a busy schedule, no one to watch his pet and an overwhelming rent bill each month, Nick decided to move in with his girlfriend while they were in their honeymoon stage. It’s easy to admit that having some help with monthly bills is a welcomed relief, but it should never be the primary reason for wanting to shack up. The takeaway is to not be co-dependant while you co-habitat. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck in an unhappy relationship just for your bills sake! The decision should be based on common goals and enjoyment of the other person – the rest is just a bonus.
What happens when you’ve been together for over a year, the honeymoon stage is over, but you still aren’t ready to share keys? Many women and men get stuck in limbo with each other for very different reasons. Some fear the romance will end, some want to keep their privacy and others just plain ole’ aren’t sure about their future with that person and they just can’t bring themselves to say it. “I won’t move in with my boyfriend because he hasn’t proposed to me yet and I need a ring before I play wife!” explains Yesi from Brooklyn. Her reason is completely valid, but she doesn’t consider that moving in with her boyfriend could be a step in getting to know him better before marriage. Once your motives are in check, you can think of cohabitating as a free trial that you won’t have to pay for later.
Living with a significant other can be a great experience for couples that feel very in tune with each other. If there is unsettled business such as problems with money, infidelity or commitment doubts – don’t consider shacking up as a solution!