Living Together Before Marriage – Benefits & Drawbacks

Explore both sides of the coin before you decide to share the same roof.

Reviewed by Sarah Kenville, MA (Marriage and Family Therapy) Sarah Kenville Sarah KenvilleMA (Marriage and Family Therapy) facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA Gracia Odile MA Experience: 3 years
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Living together before marriage was uncommon once upon a time. It is estimated that 50% of couples live together before their wedding (1). But is living together before marriage a good idea? The answer to this age-old question depends on many factors, such as compatibility, trust, and the age of your relationship. This article explores the benefits of living together before marriage and its drawbacks. Scroll down to find more information.

Is Living Together Before Marriage A Good Idea?

Loving couple moving in
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Prior to getting into the benefits and drawbacks of cohabitation before marriage, let’s first address a crucial issue: what are your and your partner’s ultimate goals?

You may have already decided to marry your partner, but they haven’t decided yet or even thought about it. This isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, but knowing this information is important. Make a list of what each of you ultimately want out of the relationship. It may be marriage, or it may be living together indefinitely. It could even be living apart from each other, as improbable as that seems.

In a sense, these goals can exist in separate spheres – marriage and living together are not the only two things you can do to secure a lifelong commitment with someone. Other goals can be considered in this scenario, such as living alone, having children, living with children from a previous relationship, living in the same home as your family or friends, etc.

Then, you can each make a list of what you want. Do this on separate sheets of paper first, as it helps to organize your ideas more clearly. Next, trade lists and discuss what is written down. Be honest and take the time to listen to each other’s goals, no matter how out there they seem to you.

Living together before marriage gives you insight into your partner’s personality, habits, quirks, triggers, etc. Now, let’s talk about the pros of living together before marriage.

Benefits Of Living Together Before Marriage: A Stronger And Deeper Relationship

Couple having fun while doing household chores together.
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  • Living together will help you better understand each other’s expectations, needs, and personalities. It can also provide an opportunity for future planning for a domestic partnership and set realistic relationship goals as per your assumed gender roles.
  • Living together will help you better understand the demands of living with another person. Cohabitation can show how each of you responds to living in the same environment and sharing the expenses and household responsibilities. It’s an opportunity for you to learn about each other’s living habits and style, communication skills, and family ties.
  • Living together will help you learn new things about your partner that living separately would not. You will see first-hand what makes your significant other tick! You will also begin to understand them better than before, and it will help you feel closer to them.
  • Cohabitation before marriage will allow you to plan more effectively for your future as a couple. You can figure out how to divide and manage your finances as a couple. In many ways, it can also help you overcome the fear of commitment.
  • Living together before marriage can help you figure out how sexually compatible you are, which is extremely important for any long-term relationship.
  • Sharing space before getting married can help you save money for your wedding or a downpayment on a house. It can also help you more quickly pay off any loans you may have.
  • The process of planning a wedding is time-consuming and can be exhausting. There are so many things to accomplish and not enough time to do them (on top of your job and everything else you may be doing). One advantage of living together before getting married is you can plan the wedding more efficiently.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Living together before marriage may cause boredom because you discover more about your partner and may not like some qualities.

As appealing as living together before getting married sounds, there are some drawbacks to this arrangement of which you must also be aware. Learn more about them in the next section.

Drawbacks Of Living Together Before Getting Married

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  • You may think that living together forever will be easy, but living with someone requires compromises and patience that living separately does not. While living together can bring you closer to your partner before marriage, living in the same house might cause more problems than it’s worth and even lead to a premature end to the relationship.
  • It is said that having more than one serious relationship in the past affects how likely it is that you’ll divorce if you cohabitate before marriage. If you’ve had two or more significant relationships before marriage, living together increases the risk of separation. However, the research behind this claim is not conclusive.
  • The more cohabiting partners share living expenses, the less likely they are to marry each other. Sharing living expenses looks logical on paper. After all, living together does make living expenses more affordable. But, there is a price to living together: it becomes increasingly difficult to break up with your partner if you split living costs. However, the problems you two are facing may also prevent you from taking the big marriage step. As a result, your relationship may get stuck in limbo.
  • It is said that those who cohabitate before marriage are more likely to become violent towards each other than those living together after getting married. If you’re living with your partner before marriage, avoiding letting conflicts deteriorate into violence and abuse is essential.
  • Having friends and family “approve of” living together does not necessarily reduce the risk of separation later on because living together does not necessarily increase the quality of your communication.

A blogger, writes about her experience of being in a cohabiting relationship. She admits that even though the first few months were blissful, the weight of the relationship started setting in. The differences started seeping in with their sleep patterns, sharing of household chores, finances, and sex. Yet she added, “To be honest, if you are thinking of cohabiting I say give it a try knowing that it might actually work out for you and if marriage is the end goal for both of you it might happen (i).”

protip_icon Quick Tip
Try to be transparent and share the costs as a couple while living together before marriage. Also, always keep emergency funds ready for unforeseen crises.

Whatever the reason, living together can be complicated if you don’t plan for it in advance. There are many things you should consider before living together. Learn more about them in the next section.

How To Prepare For Living Together Before Marriage

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  1. Be Clear About Your Goals: Be clear about what you ultimately want from living with your partner. Do you want it to culminate in marriage? Or do you just want to live together indefinitely? Talk about what’s important to you and make compromises as needed.
  2. Set Some Ground Rules: Create ground rules that work best for you. These ground rules could include how much space each person has, how to spend money and budget, dividing chores, living arrangements during holidays, etc. Agreeing on these things before you start living together will make your life easier.
  1. Communication Is Essential: Don’t assume your partner knows what you want or how you feel. Instead, discuss issues as they arise to avoid any misunderstandings later down the line.
  2. Discuss Finances Regularly: This may include financial planning in a way you both agree on and, if necessary, having a savings plan in place for big purchases. Take into account any debts each of you have and include a plan to pay them off.
  3. Involve Your Families Early On: Living with someone changes the dynamics of your relationship. Living together before marriage means interacting with your partner’s family to some degree. If possible, involve the families in decision-making processes that affect your living together. This can save you a lot of stress and frustration.
  4. Be Realistic About What Living Together May Lead To:
 Young couple sitting on the couch and not talking after an argument at home.
Image: Shutterstock

Cohabiting before marriage does not guarantee a long-term commitment. It could be like a trial period for your relationship when you both figure out it will not work out in the long run.

  1. Compatibility Testing: Before living together, couples should take compatibility tests to assess the extent to which they are compatible with each other. These tests can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses as a couple and work on areas that need improvement.
  2. Cultural Expectations and Social Stigma: Living together before marriage can also be influenced by cultural expectations and social stigma. Couples should be aware of these factors and be prepared to deal with any challenges that may arise.
  3. Mutual Respect: Last but not the least, living together requires mutual respect between partners. Couples should respect each other’s opinions, feelings, and decisions, and work towards a healthy and loving relationship.

Infographic: What You Need To Know About Living Together Before Marriage

For a lot of couples, living together can strengthen their bond, but it also comes with challenges. The benefits include better understanding and the opportunity to assess your compatibility. However, the drawbacks, such as potential relationship strain and difficulties in ending the partnership, can’t be ignored. Check out the infographic below to understand the advantages and disadvantages of a live-in relationship.

what you need to know about living togerher before marriage (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Living together before marriage has its share of advantages and disadvantages. It helps you understand your partner better, understand each other’s expectations and needs, practice personal boundaries, work on commitment levels, plan the future more effectively, measure compatibility, and manage finances well. On the other hand, it may increase the chances of conflict under certain circumstances, leading to a breakup. So, it is not as easy as it sounds and may not work for everyone. Before you cohabitate, be sure of each other’s goals, talk about finances regularly, and communicate well to reduce the chances of conflicts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of couples break up after moving in together?

Recent data shows that about 40-50% of couples moving in together may end up having complications in their relationship that may lead them to break up. However, it entirely depends on your mutual understanding and willingness to take the relationship seriously.

How long should couples wait to move in together?

You should at least give yourself 1-2 years of initial dating time before you decide to move in together. Before you take the big leap, you should be aware of each other’s lifestyle and preferences .

Does living together before marriage impact the likelihood of divorce?

Different studies show different results. The likelihood of divorce is not entirely based on the factor of live-in but includes other important aspects, such as age, education, background, health, among other circumstances.

What are some financial considerations when living together before marriage?

Sharing day-to-day expenses, opening a joint account, debt, property ownership, insurance, and emergency funds are important financial considerations for partners.

Are there any religious or cultural perspectives on living together before marriage?

Yes, some religions and cultures view it as a non-conformist, immoral, and unacceptable practice, while in others, it is thought of as a practical approach to test compatibility before marriage.

How can couples navigate the decision of living together before marriage with their families?

Living together before marriage can be a tricky situation, especially if your family holds conservative values. It is better to have an open and honest conversation about it and give the family time to accept it.

What legal rights and responsibilities do couples have when living together before marriage?

The legal rights and responsibilities of couples who are living together before marriage in the US can vary depending on each state. In most of the states, live-in couples are not given the same rights as married couples. This means a live-in couple cannot legally share debt, insurance, healthcare, property rights, and child care and support.

Does living together before marriage affect societal perceptions or judgments?

It can if you live in a conservative society. They may distance you and refuse to accept your relationship as legitimate.

Are there any strategies for resolving conflicts that arise from living together before marriage?

To deal with conflict in a healthy way, it’s advisable to take time to reflect on the fight and process it so that both parties can have an honest conversation about it.

Does living together before marriage affect the timeline for getting engaged or married?

Yes, a couple might take more time to understand each other as they unearth new differences each day. On the other hand, if they work really well together in a live-in, they might want to get hitched earlier than planned too.

Key Takeaways

  • While living together is more common than it used to be, there are still certain questions to answer.
  • Living together before marriage gives you the time and opportunity to know your partner and test your mutual trust and compatibility.
  • Sharing a place and expenses may lead to certain disputes and challenges ahead of marriage.
  • Coming to terms with the various aspects of each other’s personalities may lead your relationship either way, based on your mutual level of understanding and willingness.
living together before marriage

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team


Take a look at this video and explore the pros and cons of living together before marriage and how it affects relationships.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. A Longitudinal Investigation of Commitment Dynamics in Cohabiting Relationships
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3377181/
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Sarah Kenville

Sarah KenvilleMA (Marriage and Family Therapy)

Sarah Kenville has a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a law degree. She has 8 years of experience and offers premarital counseling and relationship coaching to dating, engaged, newlywed, and same-sex couples. She is passionate about helping clients discover their strengths and growth areas to enrich their relationships.read full bio

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