Cohabitation Before Marriage – Does Living Together Spell Game Over?

Cohabitation before marriage

The short and long of it is not necessarily. Not if you’ve done a little “self love” homework for yourself before jumping onto the living together bandwagon.

The important thing to remember when in any relationship is that the relationship is not the “be all/end all” of you. It’s more like an extension of you and it can either be an unhealthy extension or a shining example of love and hope to struggling partners everywhere.

Is Cohabitation Before Marriage a Good Idea?

It depends. Too many people get involved with the wrong partners because they are literally incapable of being alone and feeling whole without another person there to validate them or “complete” them.

In Girl Gets Ring we talk about this more in-depth but the gist is this: you have to be a healthy, whole and complete person all on your own before inviting another to share your life with you, whether that’s living together first or getting married first.

When you aren’t able to be happy by yourself it’s generally a self-esteem issue and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the saying “like attracts like” but it’s so true.

When your self-esteem is low you tend to attract other people with low self-esteem and as a result you wind up in a relationship that is dysfunctional on its foundational level.

So whether you’re living together before getting married or living together after marriage, you’ve set yourself up with a recipe for disaster and heart ache that no one will emerge from unscathed.

However, if you learn to love yourself and live your life in a way that makes you happy all on your own, you begin to attract men who are of a similar mind set.

These are strong, capable men who are as comfortable in their own skin as they are cuddling up against yours.

Healthy men who (like you) love their lives, enjoy their passions, and are looking for the perfect person to share those experiences with… but could just as happily enjoy those experiences alone until the right person comes along.

Living Together Before Marriage Cons:

Cohabitation is very much like marriage already… Have you ever heard that old saying “why buy the cow if the milk is free”?

That little bit of wisdom comes into play a bit here. Just like having sex too soon can interfere in the forward progress of a relationship, so can living together before marriage, especially if he has commitment issues.

One thing it’s important to remember is that when you live with someone, it’s almost like marriage already. The only thing missing is the $20,000 wedding debt, the marriage certificate, and vows of love before the public!

It’s one of the reasons many couples who have lived together for any length of time, choose never to take that next step.

For all intents and purposes (in their minds) they are already married and for whatever reasons have decided the actual marriage ceremony doesn’t need to take place for their relationship to feel validated. They may even feel that if they are already living together, what’s the point of getting married?

Or more accurately for men it may be closer to “what’s the benefit”?

In his mind you are already living as though you’re married, so why conquer the fear that often goes hand in hand with marriage and take that next step if he doesn’t have to? He already has all the benefits of being married to you!

Living Together VS Marriage

Ultimately marriage is a personal choice between two people and God that should be made with the utmost of care and a healthy dose of clarity going in. Living together is also an equally weighty decision and should be considered carefully before leaping in with both feet.

For other less healthy relationships, couples that live together may find themselves getting trapped in patterns of behavior that wind up driving them apart rather than progressing them forward towards marriage.

Even if you bypass the whole “milk is free mentality” there are other landmines that can be dangerous.

For instance if while living together you inadvertently trigger your man’s warning bells and change his “inner traffic light” (which was clearly green at some point) into yellow or red, then your relationship will wind up stopping it’s forward momentum just shy of marriage.

You will then be stuck in a holding pattern of your own making. (We talk more about this “inner traffic light” and how to get him to commit here.)

So Live Together Before Marriage? Do We or Don’t We?

As you can see, the title of this post is a relatively tricky question. I don’t believe there is a one size fits all answer here.

Living together before marriage pros can be that it’s a valid opportunity to “test the waters” and really work on helping your guy shed his “super hero armor” and figure out how much you both want the next step.

…But, it can also backfire on you and create irreparable damage to a long-term future together.

Ultimately only you can decide the path that’s right for you and whether or not living with your man is the best next step to take. I’d love to hear about your experiences with this issue.

Did living together before marriage enhance your end result? Or did it derail your “till death do you part” future together altogether?

Feel free to share in the comments below.

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Leave A Reply (9 comments so far)

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  1. Wendy
    6 years ago

    Living togeda before marriage is a very bad ideal cos d man already has all d access to u,so y will he tink of spending extral money on marriage

  2. Faye
    6 years ago

    Bad idea, because it’s never taken serious by the man he has everything and theres no need to go to the next level, especially if the couple are having several differences.

  3. KRIS
    6 years ago


  4. Gloria
    6 years ago

    Well,me and this guy have been dating for two years now on and off. He told me he was not financial stable at the time to have a committee relationship. So he stop calling for two months I went on with my life to get me together.One day he just end up at my door.I was not feeling him like that anymore.He told me he took these two months to get himself together also. He said he was ready to be in a committee relationship now..I ask why now? He said he always love me but so many problems he was dealing with was the reason why he couldn’t focus on us
    .So I allow him into my home.Still he has financial difficult. We get along just great ,we are best friends as well as lovers.For Christmas he gave me a ring with no proposer. I was very disappointed about this. He said he wants to wait until he is better financial stable. Its bother me living with he because of my spirituality …But I don’t want to lose him.And I think he just dragging
    Me alone for his own well being! What can I do about this situation? He says he love me but sometimes its hard to believe it.

  5. J
    6 years ago

    Bad, bad idea. Choosing to live together because it’s financially, geographically or sexually convenient is a recipe for disaster. The man has all the benefits of having you close without ever having to move the relationship forward. He’s free to leave, and usually does, when he gets bored or simply doesn’t want to try anymore.

  6. Felicity
    6 years ago

    I was in a 11 year marriage and ended it. I got involved in a 17 year “live together” relationship and had a son with him, i told from the beginning of the relationship that i would never commit to marriage again. We had a wonderful loving relationship, did everything together, loads of respect for one another and honestly not ever one argument, violence or bad language, he went to work every single day, was beautiful both on the inside and outside, a real angel, i was 12 years older than him, but he truly loved me. I left when he went fishing, his world fell apart, because he never knew why, i just needed solitude, but all ends well, we are the greatest of friends, he has a new partner but he keeps in regular contact with me, visits, texts and emails, i have never been intimate with him since our separation, he keeps passing hints that we should get back together. So the point is that a person can have a healthy relationship whether you are married or not, as for people judging whether it is a sin or not, let God be the judge and well if you feel that a marriage is the way to go, so be that too.. Good luck whichever way you choose because i believe that there is no wrong or right, we are all free to choose what makes us happy!!!

  7. Felicity
    6 years ago

    Just got to mention that it’s not always the man who does not want to commit to a marriage, i for one prefer to live together, again, just a personal choice, and if children are born out of wedlock, they can still have their dads names.

  8. Zee
    6 years ago

    I have not lived with a man but I believe that if a man will leave you, or cheat on you, he will do it even if there is a signed contract. Why are there so many married cheating men then? Signing a marriage contract and announcing to the public is just not enough to keep a man, this has been proven too many times. With all that said, I believe partnership should just be about two people who have each made an individual decision to be together, married or not. I prefer that he leaves while we are not married instead of me signing some contracts and then he treats me like dirt. People will judge yes but I am not made by people. I have seen way too many unhappy and failing marriages. I should rather focus of enjoying a life with someone while he still wants to enjoy life with me instead of worrying about trying to hold him down with a marriage certificate or vows. I am currently in a relationship with a man who is just wonderful to me and we are together now for 3 years. He has a bit of sadness as he doesn’t know his parents and has no real family, I am also staying in a town about 2000 km away from my home and family but ever since we have been together, we are best friends, we find comfort, belonging and happiness together. As wonderful as he is to me I would never hold him down, I want him to be free, free to love me, free to be with me and even free to be without me when ever he chooses to. We both just wanna spend more and more time together but I do not expect him to ask for marriage. We talk about it but he knows I don’t expect anything, I just wanna love him and enjoy life with him that’s all and that will be all until the day we part as human, married or not married,it makes no difference.

  9. Christina
    5 years ago

    I have a unique situation. Apparently I have done a lot of things right because the man I am seeing told me early on that he was never getting married again. Yet, during the past month, he has said many things to let me know how GREEN his light is. He has said things about how wonderful I am inside and out, how he loves that I am not jealous, how smart, pretty and driven I am. He notices every single detail and lets me know that he thinks we are good together. He texts me in the mornings to say “Good Morning” and sometimes tells me he woke up thinking of me and it made him smile.

    I am dealing with Lyme disease, Chronic Fatigue, C Diff, and just recently a gallbladder attack that may lead to a gallbladder removal soon. I went to his place to stay overnight. He offered to help me bathe, a shower or a bath and he bathed me, washed and conditioned my hair, and shaved my legs. He really enjoyed it and wanted to do that for me because I was in so much pain and had more fatigue that usual. How wonderful! I felt so blessed and surprised that he knew how to shave my legs! What a treat…. He also cooked the food I brought for myself and offered to bring dinner to me in bed.

    Yesterday, he listed the some of my attributes, about how smart, sweet, sexy, loving and wonderful I am. Then he said, “So, are you planning a big wedding?” I said “Oh so silly” “I am planning to enjoy time with you”. He said that was not an answer. So I said, “No”. So, he said ” A small affair then”… I said “Who’s getting married? Do I need to become a wedding planner next for someone you know?” He was just kidding around, he said. I know… I told him, “I am planning on being well. 🙂 ..Having fun and enjoying life more fully again…. with you.” He called me during those last texts. He asked me seriously how I felt about marrying him.. He wasn’t proposing but wanted to know if he was someone I could consider marrying. I told him I didn’t want to marry a man that didn’t want to get married. He said he didn’t ask me that. ( I knew I shouldn’t have said that, but it worked out just fine.) We have already committed ourselves to one another and spoken of how much we care about each other, and want to be together for a long time, etc. He really wanted to know how I felt about marrying him. So, I told him, I am still getting to know you. So, he said, “So, is that a ‘No’?” I said, “No. I believe it is wise not to make quick decisions. I believe it’s best to spend a long time with someone before deciding something like that. He said that’s exactly what he would say. He had been talking to his friend, whom I have met and who also thinks I am great, who said, “I can see how much you like her. Don’t go getting married on me.” So, I guess they discussed it and he really wanted to know where I stood. In that conversation, I felt like he wanted to know because he feels like he could marry me. PLUS, he then began talking about a friend who wants him to go to Vegas with him on a business trip. It seemed very interesting that he spoke of Vegas after asking me about marriage. Ha, ha, ha. Of course, he may or may not actually suggest something like getting married there. I think he and I would both probably prefer to get married elsewhere.

    It’s moving forward quite naturally and all because I have done so many things right by being myself and respecting him, supporting him, not calling or texting him much but just enough, by being myself and not always wearing make up when I visit him, etc. I have truly been myself…without trying. And I wasn’t planning a wedding with him, in my head. So, his question came as quite a surprise.

    I usually take my own food up to his place because I have a special diet and he respects that. So, we’ve only been out to eat once due to our schedules and such. I mention this because he knows I don’t seek out expensive dinners all the time, and knows I am frugal. He likes that.

    He also wanted me to go hear him sing 2 wks ago and dedicated a song to me…that spoke of a lasting relationship.

    Here’s the interesting thing. He has a grown daughter and 2 teens. Only one lives with him. He’s very nice and smart too. He has been through a lot with two wives and a long term girlfriend that lived with him for several years. He has been through a lot, to the extent that an ex-wife extorted a large sum of money from him. So, his idea of how women can be, has been dented by some terrible experiences. But, he is an excellent person when it comes to people skills, has taught courses and consulted multi-million dollar companies, attorneys and friends on how to make the right decisions. He knows I am genuinely good and the trust is developing.

    The truth is, he’s still a man that wants a real relationship and wants the love and commitment that comes with the support from a wonderful woman. He’s been a wealthy man most of his life but has an even more wealthy future ahead. I haven’t ever discussed it with him and he knew, and noted early on that I didn’t care about his money or his things. I told him, I care more about how you treat me because that is what matters.

    He has fallen for me, no doubt. I didn’t do this on purpose. IN fact, when I met him, I wasn’t even meeting him to date him and didn’t know much about him. He went to my grade school, found me online 3 years ago and we sent a few messages. Several months ago, he made it a point to check on me now and then by email and said he wanted to help me get the help I need for Lyme disease treatment.

    Nowww, he helps a lot of people because he is able. We both agree that I need to be self sufficient and that we want a relationship based on loving one another, not on me depending on him. He plans to help me have a job working at home for the days when I am too ill to leave the house. He wants me to be independent again… It’s also exactly what I want.

    The best part is…we didn’t expect to like each other so much. I have been myself. He has made it clear that he prefers monogamous relationships and that he loves me more than anyone now. He has shown me his light is green.

    The current Dilemma:
    I have to go through Lyme disease treatment and may need real help due to possibly having a PICC line in my arm and becoming extremely ill due to treatment. So, I do need someone to help me through that. It would be wise for me to have someone live with me or be close by if needed. I can arrange that with some difficultly and find a good housemate, hopefully.

    He’s made it very clear that he will take care of me. He also told me that he doesn’t care what other people think. But, for some reason, he cares immensely about what I think. And, he said he likes me so much that it almost makes him mad. That’s because he jhas those feelings and knows how deeply he feels those feelings and he hasn’t been able to figure out what to do about it.

    He does tell me he misses me, that he tries not to, but it does not work. 🙂

    Nowww, he is looking for a house and we would like to live together. But, years ago, I told myself, I would not live with a man I knew I wanted to marry because it might be a determining factor in the long run. I haven’t lived with a man in a relationship in over 13 years. So, I have the option of finding a house to rent and living there instead of moving in with him. I have that option and he will help me with that. Hey, in the best scenario, I would only have to live there for a year, at the most because we may be married after that. That’s not very long.

    I know that if he finds the right house for us, it will work out beautifully. But, I really do want marriage in the long run and I don’t want to do anything that would discourage that. But, so far, it sounds like he’s the one thinking about marriage already and maybe sending gentle signals that he is willing to consider it with me as well.

    PS: I am 44 and not seeking to children. I don’t have any and have never been married. He’s 47 and a truly wonderful person. We line up in the ways a couple should, regarding the 5 main things I consider: We both don’t want to have children. We are both Christians. We both have the same moral values. We agree on the way money should be handled. We agree on our sexuality and monogamy. And, we agree that the chemistry we have is a truly wonderful thing.