To Cohabitate or not? That is the question.

In this day and age, it’s pretty common for couples to live together without being married. Most young Americans support cohabitation. Many view it as a necessary step to measure the growth of a relationship and strongly believe that it helps you to “really get to know a person” you love. But how beneficial is cohabitation, really? 

According to a Gallup poll, two-thirds (68%) of Americans were married in 1960 compared with 26 percent in 2008. Marriage just doesn’t seem necessary these days. Women and men both appear to be satisfied with living together because they “plan to get married eventually.”

Whenever you decide to live with someone, it’s best to have a realistic approach when it comes to what you’re signing up for. You need to understand that though you may be living together, each person can leave without any legal consequences other than a broken lease, and that’s IF the residence is in both parties’ names. You can go into the situation with the idea that you’re both here to stay, but the reality is that people change and sometimes it’s best to call it quits. In fact, this very reason is one of the main arguments expressed by couples who are strong advocates for cohabitation.

1) If you look at it as “getting the milk for free” then cohabitation is not for you. 

It is imperative that both parties feel good about living together. You should not move in with someone in hopes of them committing to marriage. You should not live together to keep tabs on each other.  If you feel that you’re settling or have issues with trust, then no matter how great the relationship is, you’ll always find/create a problem. You must be willing to live in the present and take the relationship for what it is. If your mate has communicated to you that the move comes with the possibility of marriage, then that’s what it is. A POSSIBILITY, not a guarantee. So do yourself a favor and do not expect more than what is being presented.

2) Respect is the name of the game. 

While you can’t move in and expect things to magically change, certain behaviors are unacceptable when you live with someone. Rules must be established and adhered to in order for the new living arrangement to be fruitful. You cannot have company all hours of the night. Coming in at 4 a.m. after a night out with the guys is probably a bad idea. Showing your mate and your new home the proper respect is a must. If this sounds unappealing to you then ask yourself if you’re ready to give up that type of freedom.

3) Be ready to compromise. 

We all have a certain way of doing things, but when it comes to living with someone else, we must be willing to bend a little. Just because you like to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom up doesn’t mean that squeezing it from the middle is bad. When you live with someone, creating a household with new, shared traditions is very important to the success of the relationship. Being willing to compromise doesn’t just show respect, it’s a measure of maturity and investment in the relationship.

Personally, I have no problem with cohabitation if done for the right reasons. Marriage isn’t for everyone, and some people are more concerned with building a life-long partnership than a title, but it should never be a scapegoat for one to avoid commitment.