Updated: August 13, 2012 6:53AM
The New York Times recently ran an article written by a psychologist called “The Downside of Cohabiting before Marriage.” It might have been called, “He’ll Never Buy the Cow Because the Milk is Free and Delivered Right to His Door.”
It quoted “Jennifer,” one of the doctor’s co-habiting patients, saying she felt like she was on a “never-ending audition to be his wife.” The author said women look at living together as the final step before marriage, while men see it as a way of putting off commitment a little while longer.
The truth is, in the last 10 years, living together before marriage — once so charmingly referred to as “shacking up” — has become the norm. Nobody blinks an eye when a couple sets up housekeeping before booking the hall. And statistics seem to say that couples who plan to marry and live together before have the same chances of a successful marriage as those who don’t live together before they marry.
Here’s what you had to say:
SHELLEY: I’d like to say something to women who marry for financial security: Get a friggin’ job! It’s 2012, way past the times when women had to rely on men. Financial security is not a good reason to get married. Go out and make your own money, and marry a man because you love him, not because he’ll pay your bills.
PENNY: There are many reasons people live together that benefit both partners. Older couples live together instead of marrying due to financial concerns such a social security, inheritance issues and commingling finances. And then there are gays and lesbians who want to marry but can’t in many states. If both people are satisfied with the relationship, it’s really nobody’s business, including the government’s.
ANNABELLE: I didn’t live with anyone till the month before I got married. I saw it as the final part of me allowing another in by allowing him into my home, which I earned myself and thought of as my paradise in the world.
BETHANY: I didn’t live with my first husband before marriage, and it was an awful marriage. Maybe if I’d lived with him first, he would have shown his true colors before I made the big commitment.
PATRICIA: I know several couples that lived together before marriage and are quite happy. One couple lived together for more than 10 years. But if marriage is what you eventually want, you need to be very clear about that and be willing to walk away from any man who can’t bring himself to make that commitment.
But marriage is no guarantee of lifelong couplehood or happiness. Women should strive to be independent and fulfilled whether single or coupled.
LANA: I dated my guy for 18 months before we moved in together. We lived together for three years before we got married. We’ve been married now for over 20 years, and it’s been great. For many people, living together is just the logical step between exclusive dating and marriage. And comparing a woman to a cow is offensive.
JESSICA: In 2009, a judge ruled that the North Carolina law against people living together without marriage is unconstitutional, but it’s still on the books. My dad and his lady friend, both in their 80s, are living together in North Carolina. I hope they don’t get into trouble!
Did you live with anyone? Did you want up marrying? Was it a good thing? Send your tale to firstname.lastname@example.org.