Sent via our form: I read the Should You Live Together Before You Get Married? article, and I had a thought. When do GUYS think it’s appropriate to move in with a significant other? And how would you go about asking a guy to live with you…without freaking him out?
Mr. Loves Boys Too SEE BIO NOW>
I moved in with my boyfriend about 452 LONG days ago. Okay, that is a joke—it has been a great thing for me (although the number is accurate!). But, we dated for at least that long before we were both comfortable with the idea.
The article you brought up suggests that you should be headed to the alter before you move in, but we don’t really have a prescribed path to marriage…since it’s illegal in New York at the moment. So, I’m not sure if a wedding in the future makes moving in harder or easier.
I do think that there is a point when you realize that you’re spending most of your over-nights at one or the other’s place, some of your stuff has migrated, and you’ve done extensive studies to figure out that a rickshaw is a faster way to get from your place to his than the cross-town bus. At that point, it becomes pretty clear that you can regularly deal with each other, there is no time to date anybody else and you are pretty much living together anyway—might as well make it official and sign a lease. Just a cautionary tale: I started out 452 days ago as a footloose, fancy-free man. Today, I’m running home to feed “our” two cats….
Mr. Noncommittal SEE BIO NOW>
In my opinion, the only time you should ever live with a girl is…never. I’ve lived with three girls in my long dating life and all of them have ended the same way—messy, ugly break-ups. I’m not sure what gets into a guys psyche that would ever prompt him to cohabitate without marriage. If you need help paying the rent, move into a smaller place. If you want your girlfriend over every night, buy a bigger dresser and let her leave some stuff there, but never give up your freedom by living with her.
In all fairness, in a girl’s eyes, if you are asking her to move in with you or find a place together you are saying, “I think I want to get married really soon, so let’s test drive this.” If you think she’s thinking anything else, you are bat-shit out of touch. If you ask her to move in just because it sounds fun and you’ve never done it before, you’re very selfish, really haven’t thought it through, and you should be forced to watch a 12-hour marathon of Hugh Grant movies. Not to state the obvious, but guys and girls have a different make-up. If you want to get married, get married. If you want a roommate, get a roommate. If you move in, just remember, the only thing separating you from marriage and a lack of freedom is a little piece of paper and a lawyer.
Mr. In a Relationship SEE BIO NOW>
Let me preface this by saying I have never lived with a significant other, but I plan on making the move within the calendar year. I’ve had opportunities to live with girlfriends in the past but it never felt right. A big part of it for me, apart from the obvious question of whether I really saw myself with that person in the long run, was simply not being at a point in my life where I was ready or willing to give up my personal space. Now that I am about to commit to living with my partner, I can say that the decision has just as much to do with being at a place in my personal and social life where I’m willing to share my space as it does with finally being in a relationship where I know I have a future with that person.
As far as your question of asking a guy without “freaking him out,” just have a frank discussion about the issue and don’t be the girlfriend that gives the guy an ultimatum about moving in together…or else. Whether or not he is ready to live together may have nothing to do with how much he values your relationship. Sometimes it’s simply an issue of timing.
Mr. Sensitive and Scientific SEE BIO NOW>
I usually give detailed scientific answers, and I can’t resist the quick answer that the article statistics are right, but possibly misleading. “Couples who cohabitate before marriage are less likely to stay married than couples who move in on their marriage night.” Statistically true, but perhaps the sort of people who cohabitate first are less likely to stay in a marriage than the (probably more religious) couple who chooses marriage first (this is the difference between correlation and causation).
Personally, as a non-religious New Yorker, I feel like cohabitation is probably something I’d do before I get married, for the reasons described by the author—it’s a test run. That said, in our modern culture many aspects of relationships that used to wait for marriage no longer do (“making out,” sex, living together, etc.). In the not-so-distant past, arched eyebrows, brushed bodies, holding hands and organized dancing were the bulk of courtship. I think I speak for most guys when I say I’m happy to have done more than dancing before marriage.
That pretty much gets to the crux of it. Standard guy modus operandi seems to be: find the cutest girl you can and sleep with her for as long as you can without getting committed. Commitment, whether moving in together or getting married, tends to occur when the guy decides he doesn’t want to lose the girl. In other words, the next step often happens when he’s threatened with the loss of his comfortable way of living, or notices that the girl is getting impatient with progress and may leave.
For you, I don’t think I’d ask the guy to live with you, but I’d drop hints. Culturally, it’s really the guy’s role to move the relationship forward (for example—he proposes), but it’s often the girl who wants it to happen. If your relationship is approaching the point where you think you should be living together, chances are he knows you’re getting impatient. It’s not that different from flirting. You drop hints, but if the guy doesn’t ask you out, it’s not going to work. Mention moving in, but don’t push it. If he doesn’t follow through and that’s not enough for you, then you have to leave. Counter-intuitively, being willing to leave actually makes it more likely that he’ll ask you to stay….
GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think? If you live with a significant other, how did the two of you decide to make it happen? Who made the call? What do you think of these answers?
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