Moving in Together Before Marriage: Smart or Stupid?

by Kristina on September 5, 2011 · 7 comments

moving in, couples advice, couple tips

Good Morning DINKS.  Today we are discussing maybe one of the biggest financial decisions of our lives and in our relationships. Today we are discussing the question of whether to stay at home until we get married, or to hire movers and move in with our boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiancé before we actually tie the knot.

DINKS have dual incomes and no kids, but does that necessarily mean we have to be living under the same roof? If you are now married without kids, did you live with your spouse before you got married? If you are in a committed relationship but not yet married, do you live with your boyfriend or girlfriend under the same roof? Maybe you don’t live together quite yet but you already share expenses and save money together.

Moving in Together Before Getting Married

The reason I bring this up is because this past week I became aware of three very different living situations between three of my colleagues.  You may remember my colleague Tamara who has a new boyfriend that treats her like a royal princess and pays for everything in their couple.  Tamara lets her boyfriend spend his money on her and she never offers to split the bill.  Now they are moving in together.

Tamara and her boyfriend aren’t planning on getting married (as far as I know) but they are planning to move in together next month.  I am trying to see this situation from the boyfriend’s point of view; I wonder why he would want to move in with a woman who doesn’t contribute towards the household expenses.  This living situation bothers me a little bit because I know that marriage is till death do us part and for richer or poorer, but should a man spend his own money to take care of and provide for a woman who is only his girlfriend and not his wife?

Living Together with Your Parents and Your Fiancé

Joanna is another co-worker who works with me at the bank.  She is a Senior Teller and makes approximately $30,000 per year.  Her husband also works for our financial institution, but at a different bank branch.  He is a Personal Banker and makes approximately $45,000 per year.  This couple has been dating for less than two years and they are planning to get married this October.  First of all I would like to know how long you dated your spouse before you got married because 2 years doesn’t seem like a long time to me.  However, that is beside the point.

In an effort to save money for their wedding and the down payment on their home Joanna and her fiancé have been living with Joanna’s parents for the last year.  He lives in the basement and she lives in her childhood room, and neither one of them pay rent.  The reason the couple is so desperately trying to save money is because Joanna’s husband has approximately $15,000 in debt and she wants to be married debt free.  Would you pay off the debts of someone who isn’t your spouse? I personally think that a couple should live together before getting married because moving in with someone is a major living adjustment.

Staying at Home Until We Get Married

Paula is another Financial Planner who works with us in our bank branch.  Her boyfriend is also a Financial Planner, but with another financial Institution.  The both make close to (if not more) than $85,000 per year.  According to Paula my boyfriend Nick and I are living in sin.  She does not believe in living together before marriage.  Paula can definitely afford to move out, but she still lives at home with her parents…and she is in her 30s.

Paula doesn’t feel the need to move out yet because she isn’t married.  She doesn’t want to move out of her parent’s house because she thinks that she will be lonely.  Paula saves bundles of cash by living at home with her parents and she gets to travel the world because other than her car and her cell phone Paula has no monthly expenses.  At what age did you move out of your parent’s house?

Photo by Mercedis

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 calgirlfinance September 5, 2011 at 10:27 am

My husband and I got married 5 years ago. We never lived together before getting married, but did spend a lot of time together. We met while living on the East Coast. Then when we returned to the West Coast, I stayed with family, while traveling a lot for work. He followed about 6 months later and lived with his parents until we got married.

Because we are Christian, there’s no way we would have lived together before getting married, but both of our siblings lived with their S.O’s before marriage (they are not religious). From what I can see, all 3 marriages are strong, healthy and happy. My husband and I dated for 3 years before getting married (2 years dating, 1 year engagement). One sibling + SO couple dated for about 3 years as well. The other couple dated for about 9 years, but they started dating 1st year of college.

2 Kristina September 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm

It’s nice growing up with our other half. I also started dating Nick while we were both in college. I like the fact that we live together now because he doesn’t want to be married so living together is as close as we are going to get :-) If I stayed at home until I was married I would be still living with my parents. Maybe couples don’t have to live together before marriage but they should definitely experience life on their own whether with a roommate or by themselves. Then the chores of daily living won’t be such a shock!

3 Tech-Yuppie September 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

I think we’re weird, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We were together 9 years before getting married and lived together for 6 of those. We got together young and still had a lot of growing up to do before making that level of commitment.

I think everyone should live away from home before moving in with their significant other. Your family will baby you. Even if you’re doing chores or paying rent, the level of responsibility is totally different (both financially and in getting crap done). Plus, you’ll never know if you’re capable of being an independent person. If you’re lonely get a roommate.

I also think couples should live together before getting married. Dating and living together are very different. Not only do you experience a different side of the other person, but you experience a different side of the relationship (the boring side). If you can’t make it work just living together, then trying to make it work while married is just a recipe for a miserable life.

4 Kristina September 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Tech Yuppie I don’t think you are weird I think you are totally right. Couples should live together before becauuse the adjustment after marriage could be very shocking and end up causing problems in the marriage.

Nick and I have been together for a very long time and we aren’t married, and I don’t think that we will ever be married; so living together is kind of the end of the line for me.

I recently met a girl who has been with her boyfriend for 12 years and when she asks him when they are going to get married he keeps telling her “soon”. I am thankful that Nick is honest with me and tells me that it’s never going to happen. This way it doesn’t lead to false expectations.

5 Janette November 2, 2011 at 10:20 pm

My husband and I knew each other seven months before we were married. We did not live together- but we were constantly together. We met 30 years ago on Nov 6th.
My daughter and her husband followed our course. Met and married in seven months. They have been married five years this December.
Our son and his wife knew each other eleven months. They did not live close enough for daily physical contact when “dating”. They have been married two months. I think they have the longest road to haul since they did not have constant company that puts in constant talking. They both lived on their own for several years- fully supporting themselves.
I have many friends who have lived with spouses and not lived with spouses before marriage. Many are still married (including most of our siblings). Some are divorced–even after 20 years–so there goes the “getting used to each other” theory.
I think marriage is about the commitment. You either are in it for better or worse – or you are not. I think love is a part- but being able to look at that person and say it is “till the end”—that is the secret of marriage.
I have to tell you- sometimes I have to talk myself into staying. In every case, he is worth it. I spend time helping my children see that commitment is everything as well. Building up the partnership instead of working against it. For better or worse. I think they have chosen wisely- but sometimes it takes work to see that choice was a good one.

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