Should You Move in With Him Before Marriage?

loveu-podcastepisode-54Living together doesn’t guarantee a great marriage, but it is a smart precursor for people to figure out if they can live together in peace. If you’ve been burned by living with a man, tune into this Love U Podcast, where I will give you a half-dozen facts about cohabitation that may just change your mind forever.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Karl R

    I strongly agree with the major points.

    1. Don’t rush to move in. Breakups are easier if you each still have your own place.

    2. Don’t marry out of inertia. Even if you live together, it’s still easier to break up one day before the wedding … rather than one day after.

    3. If you’re past child-bearing age, there really is no rush to get married.

    4. Only move in if you expect to get married.

    5. Living together allows you to see whether you irritate each other when you’re together constantly, sharing the same space.

    6. Recent studies show that cohabitation is no longer a predictor of divorce.

     

    Evan,

    You said one thing that sounded wrong to me (starting at 11:10 in your podcast), but it’s possible that I misunderstood your intent. It’s when you were talking about the woman who’d been dating for four months, but didn’t know whether her boyfriend wanted to marry her.

    You never specified whether she was thinking about moving in. If your point was that she shouldn’t move in at four months, because she doesn’t know whether her boyfriend wants to marry her, then I agree completely.

    If you’re saying that her boyfriend should have an idea whether he wants to marry her at four months, I’m going to disagree. At four months into dating my wife, I could tell that it was the best relationship of my life. But it wasn’t until the six month mark that we made our first long-range vacation plans (under the assumption that we’d still be dating at the one-year mark). And one reason I felt perfectly comfortable making plans that far in advance was that I could afford the cost if we broke up in the meantime.

     

    So I disagree with the statement that the woman has sunk four months into a dead-end relationship … at least based on the information you provided. If the guy is clearly acting like a boyfriend, and he’s slowly moving the relationship forward, it seems like it still has potential.

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “You never specified whether she was thinking about moving in. If your point was that she shouldn’t move in at four months, because she doesn’t know whether her boyfriend wants to marry her, then I agree completely.”

      Yes.

      “If you’re saying that her boyfriend should have an idea whether he wants to marry her at four months, I’m going to disagree.”

      And I would disagree with myself as well if that were my intention. I wasn’t sure I should marry my wife until six months AFTER we got married – all because I proposed in 16 months, married in 20, moved in at 22, and was on such a breakneck pace to have kids that I never got to explore whether I was making the optimal decision. We’re on the same page here.

  2. 2
    KK

    Evan,

    Did I hear you right when you said you moved in together 2 months after the wedding? Extended honeymoon, perhaps? Just curious. : )

    1. 2.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      That’s right. We planned a wedding in six months, and because it was so consuming, we didn’t have time to move in together until 2 months after the honeymoon.

      If I had to do it all over again, I’d make my wife 3 years younger so I wouldn’t have to rush, I’d have moved in with her after 18-24 months, proposed after 2-3 years, and had a couple of years to create our own memories before having kids.

      As it turns out, we got married, moved in together, I was terrible anxious because I wasn’t sure I made the right decision – all the while, we were trying to get pregnant. It wasn’t until our miscarriage six months AFTER we got married that I felt the peace and security of knowing I was with the right woman.

      Most couples get married at their peak passion (18-24 months) and slide downhill for years afterwards. My wife and I get stronger every year. That’s why I’m pretty evangelical about how smart women could take a page out of my book and make better relationship choices that lead to stronger marriages.

      1. 2.1.1
        KK

        Thanks for responding, Evan. I’m so sorry that y’all went through the heartbreak of miscarriage. That must be really tough. I’m glad to hear your marriage continues to grow stronger. I think your advice is solid.

  3. 3
    Alyona

    I have read a book called “Great Myths of Intimate Relationships: Dating, Sex and Marriage (Great Myths of Psychology)”.  and it has a whole chapter on this very question examining various research on this topic (including very large longevity studies) and it has the opposite conclusion: if you move in together before marriage, you are more likely to be divorced as compared to the couples who don’t move in together. It is a book with references to every single study they refer to. I can’t relay all the chapter in there but it is pretty solid.

    Exceptions (i.e. if controlled for these factors, the likelihood becomes the same): if you move in together after you got engaged; if you don’t have children with someone before you get married to them.

    Your stats on 2/3 couples living together before getting married from the Time magazine and so on don’t back anything up – especially that it doesn’t say anything about the size of the study (small studies don’t give reliable results).

      1. 3.1.1
        Alyona

        Should I respond “You don’t like the comment so you attack the author”?

        First of all, studies can be imperfect (they need to be controlled for certain factors + the sample has to be large, because small samples can produce radically different results).

        Second of all, I provided a reference to a book which analyses many studies on this exact topic (more than 3-5) carried out over a long period of time. It also addresses difficulties of doing a study like that and correlation vs causation issue.  However, it has studies which were carried out for a period of 25 years.

        So perhaps you should actually read this book before assumptions like that.

        1. Karl R

          Alyona said:

          “However, it has studies which were carried out for a period of 25 years.”

          And when comparing older studies to newer studies, the correlation between cohabitation and divorce has dropped over the years. It’s no longer statistically significant.

        2. Alyona

          Karl R,  just to clarify, the studies were not 25 yeas ago, and it is just one of the studies mentioned there. The book I am citing came out last year so it is not mentioning only outdated research.

          You say that the correlation has dropped, which study are you citing?

        3. Karl R

          Alyona,

          Look up the work of Dr. Arielle Kuperberg (University of North Carolina),Dr. Steffen Reinhold (University of Mannheim), Josef Brüderl (University of Mannheim), Andreas Diekmann (University of Berne), and Henriette Engelhardt (Max Planck Institute for Human Development).

      2. 3.1.2
        Alyona

        And by the way, why would I not like the findings?  I don’t care one way or another 🙂

        Why would you assume that someone you don’t know has a personal dislike towards any result?

        I just mentioned because I receive your newsletter (not sure why still as I am a Love U client) and this statement surprised me, because I have seen way more stats which say the opposite.

    1. 3.2
      Tron Swanson

      If a couple is willing to live together, it’s more likely that they’ll be willing to get divorced, should things not work out. But a couple that isn’t willing to live together–for religious reasons, say–may also not be willing to get divorced, even if the marriage is miserable. So I personally think that it says more about personal beliefs than relationship success or failure.

  4. 4
    Susan Taylor

    I dated 5 years, lived with my fiancée a year, then got married.  Expectations changed on both sides.  We were separated within 3 months and divorced in a year.  Its my 4th marriage.  All I can say is its a crap shoot!

    1. 4.1
      KK

      If I ever remarry, one of the top things I would do (that I didn’t think was necessary the first time) is go to premarital counseling, once I got engaged. I think people tend to overestimate in terms of being on the same page with their significant other and I think it would be helpful to have an outside party, skilled in that area, to break it all down and actually find out how closely our goals and expectations are aligned. Or not.

      1. 4.1.1
        Jess

        Reader for years, first time commentor. I’d like to hear more about premarital counseling, especially nonreligious and if one person has been through a divorce. I just don’t know what I don’t know. We’ve read through a relationship book together but perhaps that’s not the same as seeing someone. I’m not even sure how you find the right premarital counselor? I think we got what it takes, but then again he decided to end things. How do you know what will or will not change? Mid-30s and wondering…

        1. Karl R

          Jess,

          If you Google “premarital counseling questions”, you’ll probably get the same kinds of questions that a counselor will ask you.

          Before getting married, I had found some questions commonly used by Catholic priests (we’re not Catholic, my wife’s not particularly religious). Once we filtered out the ones that were overtly religious (i.e. “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior”) the remainder seemed pretty standard.

          (click here for an example of questions)

          The key point seems to be, you want to discuss these things before you get married, not afterwards.

           

          Needing a counselor, or not: If you run through these questions and feel the need for a referee or mediator, a live person is probably helpful. If it’s just a calm, informative discussion, you probably don’t need a live person.

          Finding someone: A lot of people who officiate weddings require a premarital counseling session … and have experience being the counselor. They mainly want to ensure that you have worked out the answers to the questions I mentioned above. Other than that, I suspect most marriage counselors would be qualified.

          What will change: Life circumstances change. People get jobs, lose jobs and change jobs. People have kids. Parents get old, sick, and need help. People move from one part of town to another. All of those things can change priorities, available time and energy, overall mood, and time management.

          What won’t change: You’re basically the people you are. Even the most successful couples fight. Studies have shown that those couples are still fighting about the exact same things 20 years later.

          My wife is grumpy in the mornings. I do not suffer fools lightly. Either those traits will remain the same, or they’ll become a bit stronger over time.

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