The Secret to Living Together Successfully

couple holding handsHave you ever had your parent or grandparent say something like, "Why should he buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?" It's so dehumanizing and silly, but of course they mean well, and you can't completely blame them -- that was just their mentality growing up. Moving in together before you were Mr. and Mrs. just didn't happen. Now, it's practically all that happens. And guess what? Turns out, it's not hurting all of us "cows"!

The National Center for Health Statistics recently broke the awesome news that cohabitating before marriage does NOT affect the chances for a successful and happy union. As a technically "single" woman who has been living with her significant other for over three years, and plans to one day be his wifey, I have one word with which to react to this statement: "Suhhh-weet!" BUT, it must be noted, these stat people say the success factor weighs heavily on the couple's reason for living together.   


It seems living together won't work when you're doing it for convenience's sake. You know, because you hate your smelly, slobby, grocery-eating roommate, so you figure, why not just move on in with the BF? Or you're doing it to save money, or so you can enjoy morning sex without a double commute. This "new rule" is not black and white, though. And I speak from personal experience.

About three and a half years ago, I was suffering from horrific lower back problems due to a severely herniated disc. I couldn't sit for more than, say, 10 minutes at a time without being in excruciating pain, and my doctor had recommended surgery as a last resort. The Manhattan basement apartment I was living in had roaches, no heat in the middle of winter, and LOUD banging pipes. All of this really made for the perfect storm for me to pack up and make a new life in the 'burbs with my BF. But the storm also meant living together wasn't a precisely calculated move in our relationship. My boyfriend later admitted he would have asked me to move in around that time anyway, so it just happened that the circumstances sped up the process a bit. Thankfully, we had already established ourselves as a serious couple, and by that point, I had made sure we were in mutual agreement about our eventual next step. So, while our move-in sure was messy, it was not careless or made without forethought.

Not every living together experience that ends poorly starts out carelessly, I'm sure, but the key is that you've both gotta be on the same page emotionally about the step AFTER the move-in also starting with an "M" (or not, if that's how you both choose to roll). If not, the experience probably won't lead to marital bliss. It's not cut and dry, but it's not rocket science either. Even if it is still news to our parents' generation.

Did you live together with your spouse before getting hitched? Do you agree the reason you move in together can make or break the relationship's success?


Image via Rachel Davies/Flickr

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