Living together before marriage has become almost the norm. Most couples see it as the first step to raising a family. There are plenty of resources out there to help you decide where the best place to raise a family, but there aren’t many to help you and your partner decide if you’re ready. Early cohabitation can sometimes be associated with increased pregnancy and divorce rates, but a lot of that can be attributed to age. Living with a loved one can be a really magical experience, but nobody wants to look back at their twenties haunted by a bad relationship they couldn’t escape because of a lease.
Make Sure You Don’t Accidentally Common Law
While this may not be the biggest influence for most, it can have major legal implications for others, especially for cohabiting couples in the UK. There are only a handful of states that still recognize a common law marriage in the US, but it’s important to know if you plan on living with a partner in one of those states. Alabama, though it did away the practice entirely in 2017, could apply for common law status in as little as a year and a half.
You have to live together for a specific amount of time, but other factors vary from state to state. Common law marriages aren’t preferable to most couples, as those who want to get married usually go ahead and do it through the normal avenues. While you may have decided your relationship is strong enough for domestic partnership, it doesn’t have to be until death do you part, at least in most states.
Is Your Relationship Ready for It?
There are lots of stressors in any relationship. Habits, good or bad, are going to come and go as you grow as people. It’s important to consider if you might be adding undue stress onto a relationship by moving in too early. This is probably the biggest consideration a couple needs to make before going through any other steps. Younger couples, with all their enthusiasm, might be inclined to move in together earlier just to get out of their parents’ house.
While this might make sense in every other aspect of their lives, suddenly spending a lot more time with your partner might not be as fun as you thought. Living together does not magically fix relationships either. You and your partner should make it clear to one another that you’re ready to invest the extra energy that might be required.
Even though it should be pretty obvious, some couples don’t take the time to lay out the financial expectations of one another. This extends to chores and household responsibilities as well. Just because one person makes more money than the other doesn’t excuse them from chores, or maybe it does, but that’s for you and your partner to decide. This is one of the pitfalls that most first-time cohabitating couples fall into. It’s all too easy to start resenting your partner for their domestic habits, or lack thereof. That’s why planning and communicating expectations from an early stage can only help you succeed.
Can You Separate Home-Time and Us-Time
Can you let your partner just be, without any emotional or physical obligation from you?
This is an underlying issue that has connections to all the other considerations. When the dishes are stacked to the ceiling and the bathroom needs to be cleaned, do you ask your roommate or your partner for help? When those two people are the same, it can be difficult to treat your partner with the same degree of patience they’ve come to expect from you. It’s important to remember they have needs as people that go beyond you, and hopefully, they’ll return the sentiment.
Can You Accept Their Habits?
Even the weird ones? We can’t all be primped and proper for every moment of every day. Are you ready to witness your partner in their less than presentable moments? Did you know they lick their fingers after every meal and eat Cheetos in bed? Get ready to find out fun facts like these and more. It’s not superficial or shallow to say that things like these bother you, and perhaps you didn’t even know they did. Habits can be asymmetrical, just like peoples’ patience, but it’s up to you to decide whether these are differences you can live with. And who knows? Some of these qualities may become your favorite quirks in the long run and help you and your partner develop an even deeper bond.