October 15, 2006
Relationships highlight in the holiday season, especially romantic ones. It is at this time that many couples decide to live together. 'Playing House' can be fun or folly, especially in the 21st century when all is about rapid change and self awareness. The number of couples living together is increasing. I firmly believe that people should live together before marriage.
On the other hand, if you are happily living alone, don't let anyone trap you into moving in with you by saying they just want to stay a short time then you can't rid of them because they have no money or place to go. It will 'cost you' in more ways than one. No matter how much fun you are having, watch out for the pitfalls of living together and separating. I would say that most couples who live together, know it's for the short-term when they move in. Don't feel used.
Statistically couples who cohabitate, do not wind up getting married. That makes sense because the living together period addresses the issues that will confront the couple in marriage which would have ended in divorce anyway, or the couple would have felt obligated to remained married to each other after creating a family and financial ties. This generally results in extramarital affairs, not always about sex, but about understanding. Most of us are not here to experience one partner and one situation in this lifetime, too limited.
Along with the usual blood tests that couples take before marriage, I believe that no one should marry without getting:
a psychological profile of the other person (actually one might learn a lot about their own emotional needs that way). I can't tell you how many people I have read discover their partner suffers from emotional problems, camouflaged before living together, that result in a disastrous relationship for all concerned. If they are living together, couples can move apart. With marriage ... you know the deal.
a sperm count taken if children are wanted, infertility kills many marriages
a case history about each person should be made known (includes family background, abuse issues, genetic markers, etc.). You have to come into a relationship honestly or it will fail. It's worth all the time and effort in the long run. You can't be happy living with someone with secrets. In this century, many spouses turn out to be gay and leave. Best to learn the truth before living together and marrying.
Functional people develop functional relationships who live together, work out their differences having learned from past experiences, plan their future, generally including marriage, and stay together. Dysfunctional people will seek out people with similar issues so they can work them out, and whether they date, live together, or marry, or all of the above, they will generally not find happiness, just more drama, unless they get professional help.
Marriage is not easy. Two people have to want the relationship and to have the time and energy to make it work. I firmly believe that all couples should live together before marriage to get to know what the relationship is like on a 24X7 basis, to learn if they, and their partner, are equipped to live with someone else. It's not all about romantic dinners and all night sex. Not everyone can handle living with another person. Most people just want to play, spend some time together several nights a week, then have their personal freedom. The name of the game is, and will remain, Freedom, or fighting for it in a dysfunctional relationship.
In case you haven't noticed, it's not just the world that is changing, but people are awakening to their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. We no longer sit back and endure the stresses of bad relationships, as it takes too much out of us and causes disease to manifest in the physical body as a cry for help. (Equate area of disease with emotional problems, i.e. heart, breasts, and chest area problems = person seeks love.)
Reasons Couples Decide to Live Together
Economic or practical reasons.
Concerns about a long-term commitment.
Fear of divorce.
To give the relationship a trial run before marriage.
Lack of faith in marriage as an institution.
Escape from family home.
Compromise with partner who doesn't want to be married.
Why Some Researchers Believe Couples Who Live Together Are at a Greater Risk for Divorce
They may be more accepting of divorce.
They may be less committed to marriage.
They may have married for the wrong reason, e.g., pressure from family or having a child together.
They may think they know all there is to know about marriage already.
They may have too high expectations of married life and get disillusioned early in their marriage.
They often have poor conflict resolution skills.
They may not be able to handle financial decisions together.
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