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Hey Madame,

Is a man’s excuse for not marrying you yet — “because I don’t have money?” — a good excuse? And what about living together before marriage? Good idea or bad idea? What if we both have similar goals? We both want to get married but our finances aren’t exactly where we would like them to be.

Victoria: First question — In my opinion, not having money is a legit excuse. I don’t think we consider all that comes with popping the question and preparing for marriage. A man often has to buy a ring that’s not cheap, and you will have to share finances and prepare to put up money to have a wedding. If he doesn’t feel financially stable enough yet, at least he’s honest about it. But if you all have been together for quite some time and you feel like he’s just using it as an excuse to keep stringing you along, then yeah, it might be a problem. If you’ve been together very long and he still hasn’t considered even trying to save or get his money straight, he’s playing games.

Second question — For me, moving in together is just a no-no. I think when people are engaged, it’s not so bad of an idea, but when you are just dating, you could be setting yourself up for a trap. You could end up living with this man for years and years with no incentive to put a ring on your finger because you’re already living the married life. Folks get comfortable very easy. And I think if you guys decide to go your separate ways, you’re sharing bills and you’ve bought things together and so it’s not an easy exit. But if you’re not worried about those things, your relationship is stable (as in you’ve been together for a while), you really want to share rent and save money and you both have the same goals for the future as you say, why not?

Brande: I wouldn’t consider a lack of money an excuse unless your partner has been using that line for years. Money is a legitimate concern when it comes to a decision this big. Engagement rings, wedding ceremonies, and homes are all significant financial investments and often the monetary burden of these things weighs on men as heavily as, if not more than, the weight of a lifetime commitment. I’m not a fan of living together before marriage, but given what I just said, I wouldn’t move in with your guy unless it was strictly a financial move to save for a wedding. That means you two would have a discussion about why you’re moving in together (it’s the next step toward marriage) and establish a one- to three-year plan for saving in order to pay for a ring, ceremony, and possibly a new place together after you jump the broom. Financial issues are one of the top causes of divorce. You don’t want to go into a permanent union with these things unresolved; nor do you want to marry a man whose commitment you’re unsure of.

Jazmine: For your first question, I would say that financial stability is a major part of getting married. An engagement ring and wedding ceremony are only the beginning of the financial responsibilities that are ahead. In many cases, when a man takes a woman as his wife, he wants to be in the position to provide for her. Are there men who will use their lack of funds as an excuse to avoid marriage? Absolutely. But only you know whether or not your guy is the type to do that. Has he expressed a desire to marry you or is this a conversation that you are the only one initiating? Is he making steps towards bettering his financial situation or does he seem reluctant about the whole thing?

As for your second question, personally, I would avoid living together before marriage. It’s great that you all have similar goals, which means you two can put your heads together and figure out how you can get your finances in order for marriage. If the two of you can afford to continue living separately, I’d stick with that for now.

Veronica: This is a tricky one for me. Rings and weddings and honeymoons cost a ton of money. That’s true. But at the same time you can go to the justice of the peace and get married on a Tuesday. So, while it is a valid point I can’t say it’s a “good excuse.” But if a man wants to have a wedding done a certain way, that’s something that you should be able to respect. In the meantime though, have conversations about when the both of you want to be married–if he does at all– and what you’ll need, financially and emotionally, in order to make that happen when the both of you are comfortable with it.As for living together, that’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself. Personally, it’s not something I would do because I think it’s harder to leave those relationships when necessary. But that’s my personal preference. If you’re already having issues wondering if this person genuinely wants to marry you, maybe you should hold off on moving in until you see where the whole marriage thing is going to go. We’ve all heard stories of women moving in or moving their man in and they never get married because there’s no incentive. I’m not saying that’s what will happen to you but there are some very vital answers you need first.

Lauren: If your significant other is not financially stable, it would be best for you both to financially plan how you will pay for your wedding and eventually, married life. If your partner isn’t willing to make a plan, you should take that as a sign he’s not ready for marriage or may not want to marry you. I think it’s perfectly fine to live together before you are married but if marriage is the ultimate goal you are striving for, have that conversation with him before you move in together. Living with your boyfriend gives insight on how he manages household duties and his level of cleanliness. These factors help you understand him better as a person and it also adds another layer of intimacy.

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