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tips for living together before marriage

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Relationship trends are constantly changing as couples realize that perhaps some of the norms and rules their parents lived by don’t apply to them – or might even harm them. Research shows that in recent years, more couples live together than ever get married. That’s a total reverse of previous generations, in which more couples got married than lived together before marriage. That same research found that 69 percent of adults say it’s perfectly fine for unmarried couples to live together, even if they don’t plan on ever getting married. Those who think couples should only cohabitate before marriage if wedding bells are in their future and those who don’t think couples should ever move in pre-nuptials are in the minority. It looks like, as a country, we’re becoming a bit more liberal when it comes to relationship norms.

There are many reasons a couple may choose to move in together, of course. Saving money on rent alone is a big motivator. One company did some research on the matter and found that, in some of the most expensive cities, couples can save an average of just shy of $1,000 a month on rent by moving in together. When you think of it that way, it’s almost no wonder so many couples move in together sooner today than they used to. A grand a month is real money. It can certainly cover the therapy if the relationship doesn’t work out. Some couples move in together because they’re basically already spending every night together, so driving across town to see each other and packing a little overnight bag on a regular basis simply doesn’t make sense. But are these really good reasons to sign a lease with somebody? It’s a bigger deal than many realize. We spoke with couples’ therapist Latasha Matthews (pictured below) about some of the benefits and pitfalls of cohabitation before marriage. Matthews is about to release conversation cards that help with boundary setting (something critical to cohabitation), which can be ordered on pre-sale by emailing her at

Latasha Matthews

Source: Noah Heinrich / Noah Heinrich

You can become just roommates

When you don’t yet live with your partner, it’s pretty clear when time together begins and ends. When you decide to meet up, you’re putting other obligations and distractions aside and focusing on each other. If you know your partner is coming over at, say, 6 p.m., you’ll try to wrap up any work or chores before that to give him your attention when he arrives. But when you live together, there is no real divide between domestic life and romantic life – not unless you consciously choose to create one. Matthews says, “Couples begin to take each other for granted and assume because they live together, they don’t need to plan time to date.” How real is that threat of growing apart? Well, one study found that living together before marriage increases a couple’s chances of breaking up.

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