The Case Against Shacking Up

Jennifer Cullen

Moving inLast month, the Census Bureau reported that the number of opposite-sex unmarried couples living together had increased by 13 percent from 2009 to 2010.

And to that I say, "Whoopee!" Everybody's cohabitating. And it sounds like fun.

Find a guy and move in together. Save money and get a much nicer apartment by pooling your resources. Sleep in the same bed as your boyfriend every single night.

And have sex whenever you want to. Even while your laundry is being washed in the machine in the basement.

You can now play house.

Only sometimes, it doesn't work out that way. After a while, you decide that you don't care if your rent is cheaper or that the apartment is nicer than one you could afford on your own. You don't want to have sex with your boyfriend anymore, much less sleep in the same bed with him.

There's no legal bind, so you break up and move out. You have to figure out what to do with the apartment. Split up everything you bought together. Work out a custody agreement for the cat. And then find a new place.

It's like a starter divorce.

Living together before marriage, though it has become more commonplace, shouldn't be the stepping stone between dating and marriage.

Forget the school of thought that living with your boyfriend can help you figure out if you're compatible. And whether or not you should get married. If you can't figure that out just by being in a mature, monogamous relationship for a period of time, you'll never be able to figure it out.

And sure living together may be financially desirable. But there are other options. Get a smaller place. A studio is perfect for one person. Or share an apartment with a friend. You have the rest of your life to share a bed with your snoring, drooling husband-to-be. There's no real reason to rush into the "magic" of married life until you're married.

So, sure cohabitation is convenient. But there is something to be said for being a little old-fashioned and having that anticipation of what your lives will be like when you get married: finding a place, setting it up, and moving in together.

Wait for it.

Did you live with a boyfriend before you got married? Did you end up marrying him?

Image via Johnathan!/Flickr

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