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Moving in with your partner

By Faeza
22 June 2016

My boyfriend and I have been together for the past two years. Last night, he said he had something serious to discuss with me. It turns out that he has just got a promotion at work and he would like us to move in together. He wants to stop renting and buy a property where we will live together.

I have never believed in living together with someone I'm not married to, but my boyfriend has given compelling reasons why we should do it. We are both starting out in life and living together will make things easy for us financially. I was also planning to move out of my parents' house to get my own place. Is this a good idea?

WORRIED.

Living together seems to have gained a rather negative reputation, but contrary to popular belief, it is not all bad. It also has its positive aspects. There are strong arguments on both sides of this discussion.

Let's look at the pros and cons of living together.

PROS

Living together helps you to get to know each other better:

While you are dating, you see your partner at their best. They dress up, behave themselves and do all the good things to impress you. But once you start living with them, you get a chance to see their other side. You see the person when they have just woken up. You get to smell their morning breath and body odour before they take a bath. You also get to how they behave when they are having a bad day. These are the things you would probably only discover once you are married, so this will help you determine if you are able to actually live with this person for life.

It teaches you to be responsible:

This will give you a chance to learn more about handling finances, sharing household chores and other responsibilities. In the process, you'll learn about each other's strengths and weaknesses.

You learn about accountability:

When you live together, you learn that your decisions are no longer just about you. You need to think about your partner in everything you do, even when it comes to a small thing like stopping over for drinks with friends on your way home.

It is financially more viable to run one household instead of two:

You combine finances and other resources and work towards a common goal. You don't have to pay a bond or rent, and buy other items for two households. This is more expensive than maintaining one home. Living together under one roof helps you share costs.

CONS

This could signal the end of your relationship:

You might discover that you actually can’t stand each other. But this is good in a way because it will stop you from making a lifelong commitment with the wrong person. However, at this point, you may have already disposed of your place and furniture. This may mean that you have to start from scratch.

This also puts some couples in a comfort zone:

Once they start living together, some couples stop experiencing growth in their relationships. I'm sure you have heard the phrase, "Why buy the cow when you are already getting the milk?" Living together may make your partner feel like he is already getting all the benefits of marriage, so why bother marrying you?

Your parents might oppose it:

Depending on how traditional or religious your families are, they might be opposed to the idea of you living together.

MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE

Before you make a decision, you also need to look at this question: Is marriage a consideration at all in your relationship and have you discussed it? A compromise that you could reach, while deciding what you ultimately want to do, is to keep your own place for a while. Explore living together for a couple of months, before you take the final plunge and get married.