Living Together Before Marriage – Benefits & Drawbacks

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

Reviewed by Sarah KenvilleSarah Kenville, MA (Marriage and Family Therapy)
By Harini NatarajanHarini Natarajan, Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner  • 

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.
  • 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 chores. 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 a living 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.
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

Couple stressed and angry at each other.

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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.
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

Man introducing his girl friend to parents.

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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 working out a budget that you both agree on and, if necessary, having a savings plan in place for big items. 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 decisions 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.

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, 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 .

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.


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
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