Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yes I'm home early

I flexxed off the afternoon to try on the final size for my Bridesmaids dress. Bad News? I'm getting bigger size over the smaller size. Good News? I'm not more than 50% depressed about it - preferring to think it's due to my bust rather than my back fat, and I can always get it taken in. And it's more comfortable.

Anyways!

The Hun sent me a link to this article this morning (he knows I'm into these sortsa things) and as much as I can't stand the SMH blogs, this is the second interesting one he's sent me in as many weeks:

Is living together a good idea?

Thinking of moving in together before you get hitched? Well why not?

If you do, you'd find out ahead of time what it's like to sleep in the same bed night after night; share a laptop and unclog their toilet. Plus it would be cheaper, you could halve the washing load and there'd be someone else to clean the dishes. What's not to love?

"It's absolutely necessary to live with someone before marriage," many of my friends in their late 20s and early 30s holler when I pose the question. "How can you not? It's like buying a car without a test drive, or a pair of shoes without trying them on."

True, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche believed we should all "live dangerously" if we want to reap the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life.

But moving in with someone is a whole different ball game from going the dangers of going bungy jumping, entering Australian Idol or taking a peak at a picture of Britney Spears, sans the undies...

Sure, if we are asked to move into our new partner's luxurious abode with park views, two bathrooms and a trained Chihuahua, our brains would light up as brightly as a kid's in a candy store. But the initial rush doesn't last. Nor does it translate into better relationships.

Now before you complain that it's 2007, and those ancient "living-in-sin" rules no longer apply, let me just say I've been frantically attempting to pool together some info that puts a positive spin on shacking up without the ring, but sadly folks, apparently it's just not the case.

In fact, while 60 per cent of Australians are living together before they get married, a BBC report on the subject concluded that partners who live together are nine times more likely to split up than those who get married.

Introducing the modern perils of serial monogamy. We live with one person for a few months, even years. Then, when things don't go our way, instead of working at them, like say, a married couple might, we simply pack up our things and move in with the next person.

Ouch. And you thought shacking up before the big commitment would improve your chances? Think again.

A Columbia University study found there's actually less chance of marrying a person when you live with them, with only 26 per cent of women and a scant 19 cent of the men surveyed marrying the person they cohabited with.

Psychologist and radio personality Dr Laura Schlessinger backs up the stats. She cites "shacking up with your honey" as one of the "Ten stupid things women do to mess up their lives" in her book of the same name.

And if that's not enough already for your don't-live-together-before-marriage arsenal, let's hop over to the bedroom for just a moment.

The findings are that those who live together before marriage do not have the best sex. (I'm not sure I believe it, but those living alone can still hope it ain't true.)

The blogger who calls herself The Truth is still undecided. She notes that, while Australian culture is big on moving in together before marriage, other cultures don't share the same reasoning.

"So which way is better?" she wants to know. "And if you do move in with a guy before marriage, how many relationships actually end up in marriage? Girls, how long did it take till he popped the question? And for those that married before moving in - do they regret not moving in together before?"

It's an interesting conundrum. Of course many believe something along the lines of, "Why would anyone buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

But as Nietzsche says, life's all about living dangerously ...

Would you live together before marriage? What are the pros and cons on each side? What do you think makes a more successful future?
Don't get me wrong - any old monkey can trot out this sorta thing - it's the comments that make it interesting.

There seems to be two schools of though on the argument - they yes' and the no's.

Personally, I'm (obviously) not against the idea of living together before being married. I don't see it as a test drive, and I don't see it as a decision to be taken lightly or based on convenience or 'why not'.

We'd been talking about moving out whilst living in the Monash house (after our hasty retreat from the Chifley house). The Huns best friend was talking about how he and his wife were buying, leaving their house available to rent - we'd been there for dinner and it was lovely and new in a quiet area. When they mentioned that the rent would stay at the same price as they were just transferring the contract, the seal was made. And there was a lot of discussion taking place about the importance of the decision to me - that this was a 'next step' in something that we knew was lifelong, before the usual engagement, marriage, children etc - and my priorities are still the same. Marriage is important, but not more important than spending a lifetime with the one you love.

We've been living together for almost two years now - we moved in after 11 months together. And I do think it was the right thing for us to do - I think it's important to really get to know the person you plan to commit to for the rest of your life, to see them with the frazzled hair, no makeup, tired and grumpy, flatulent, cramped, hormonal, food poisened and morning breathed. Some of the commenters in the article also made reference to overseas travel being a good test for couples - spending 24 hours a day with your partner in one of the most stressful ongoing situations to see their worst, while still combining it with the high of travel.

But there does some seem to be a whole lot of people speaking a whole lot of 'people who live together first don't stay together' and it's quite depressing to hear, being one of the people who's sure if was the right thing to do. Luckily I read some valid points in the comments - People who don't live together first are often on the more conservative side and more likely to stay married than go through divorce. The more people that you've lived with before, the morely you are to up and leave. Sometimes people may try to 'save' a relationship by moving in together or getting married (which isn't going to work!).

So I guess it's not all bad news.

Besides, one of the commenters actually read the article Sam was quoting and found that it actually said:
"Partners who live together are up to nine times more likely to split up as those who get married, according to national statistics. But people who marry without living together first are just as likely to separate as those who cohabit then marry."
What are your thoughts?

22 comments:

Amanda said...

I've read stuff like this before, and I think I'm on your side (although being single, I can't be certain).

I think it's important to live together first, and I can see why people who live together are more likely to separate than those who get married- but what proportion of that is made up of people that move in together on a whim? I suspect there'd be quite a few, rather than people who are living together with the definite view of 'being together forever'.

It seems crazy to get married before living together- as you said, you need to find out about their habits (good and bad), work out whether they drive you mad in confined spaces, see them at their worst etc etc.

Also, I don't know of many people who are getting married these days without living together, so surely that increases the odds of this type of relationship breaking up more than married couples, purely because of the bulk of live in relationships out there. It doesn't take into account the proportion of unmarried, not living together, but still 'serious' relationships that break up prior to marriage.

So, there's a few flaws in the article. I essentially think it's crazy not to live together first.

Chesty LaRue said...

MrL and I have always lived together (I met him when he moved in and then we hooked up), so I have perhaps a skewed perspective on it.

But - I think it's important to see how someone deals with the day-to-day shit before you marry them. It's boring and all, but you get to see them in their natural environment and you get to see if both your natural environments work together.

And I cannot read SATC. Or other sam. Them and hteir commenters make me so mad ...

M said...

I think it's a better idea to live together first - you're just postponing the inevitable problems of living in eachother's personal space if you don't. But having said that a couple of my friends have gotten married without living together first and although it was initially very very difficult to sort things out they're all good now. Either way, I guess it depends on how uptight you are about your 'stuff' and 'space'.

Jey said...

re the dress: better to have it a tiny bit big or shrunk down then trying desperately to loose weight or having fat rolls bulge out of the dress.

re living together: The stats say ppl might stay together once married and moved in however, sometimes ppl stay married for the wrong reasons. I don't see any reason why ppl married or otherwise can't decide to live apart but still stay together. Some ppl just can't live together, they may still love the person , just can't live with them. I wouldn't dream of marrying someone without living with them first

Enny said...

amanda - they were also talking about the percentage of people that would have broken up whether they were living together or not, especially when you look at 2/3 marriages ending in divorce. You do make a valid point about people getting married these days - of mine or The Hun's friends, all those married or getting married have lived together first - and commenters did note that a lot of the reports are taken from data in the 80's, how times have changed!

c'l-r - I'm biased too, but you're right - you've got to see someone in a real environment, not just when they're all done up or on their best behaviour. And I don't read them by choice, I got sent this one (the other one was a feel good for slightly chunky women about how men prefer them to supermodels).

m - that's exactly how I see it - you don't really know someone till you REALLY know them. And surely if those people had lived together before getting married (and presuming marriage was an inevitable), they'd still be together now, yeah? It's just their time together pre-marriage is longer...

jey - I know, I know - but it was enough to make me skip out on the gym - and the smaller size WAS tight on the handles... at least I'll be able to sit and eat and relax a little. And it's true - people can stay together just for the sake of staying together - moreso when there's marriage and divorce involved. Tho in terms of people lving apart - I only know of one couple that couldn't live together so moved back away - they broke up.

ChickyBabe said...

I don't believe that one is better than the other and leads to a more successful relationship. You could spend a lot of time together and not live together, and still get to know the person really well. Or you could live with them know their little quirks but not know the real person, because say, they're not a communicator and one day you drift apart.

Take the hype of pre-marriage counselling for example. It doesn't mean anything having seen in on both sides.

We all take risks in life. Stuff happens, and it's how we deal with it determines whether we drift apart or grow together.

Jey said...

Tho in terms of people lving apart - I only know of one couple that couldn't live together so moved back away - they broke up.

Well I hope it can be done, because I'm terrified I won't be able to live with Andy.

Enny said...

cb - That's also true, though I would think it's pretty hard to live with someone and not get to know them well. I didn't realise that pre-marriage counselling was a new thing - I though everyone had to do it before they could get married in a church and they couldn't really say that you can't get married but it's just a formality and a way to get some discussion going.

jey - As in you think you'll live with him and then move out? Because these people lived apart, then together, then apart and then broke up...

Jey said...

Yeah, I know that's what you're saying.
I'm just really obsessive about my living space and I don't think I could live with anyone, it's really no reflection on him or our relationship.

Deb said...

i've been living with the bf for a couple of years now... he moved straight out of home and in with me. Big mistake there, because he's never had to fend for himself and is utterly undomesticated, so its always been a bit of a battle with us living together and trying for find harmony (even more so lately with me being a vegetarian now). I don't want to be his maid, and he's completely clueless... I tell you, its TOTALLY sucked all the romance out of the relationship. I used to want to get married, and have a special day together, cement the committment but now I don't see the point... the romance is gone. I feel like getting married would just be a huge expense and fuss to end up with the same result. Ooh, thats a bit bitter isn't it?!

Kinda sucks really.

Mick said...

Well I moved straight in with a girl when I was in the US. (basically because I had nowhere else to live), but it worked pretty well for 4 months.

The only reason it did was because I had little stuff. It was her place and I was basically just a temporary visitor and we were in the 'early exciting phase' of our relationship.

Then I returned to Australia. She stayed there. We talked about living together back home. I freaked out and broke it off with her.

I realised that living together in a bubble of no responsibilty in the US was a lot different to shacking up back at home with family and friends nearby (ie. lots of responsibilities and distractions).

Anyway...not sure what this has to do with anything, but living together is a necessity for me because you see all those things that you know you'll have to get used to in the long run, and it's better to accept them earlier than later.

Enny said...

jey - I guess there's only one way to find out, but I'm sure you'll be fine...?

deb - that's a bit to the opposite of The Hun and I - he was at home before half with me and then full with me and I'M the undomesticated one (though I'm trying to do my best!). How long were you together before moving in together? It does suck that it's rough, though there is sense in seeing that weddings can be expensive for a not a whole lot of change (for better OR worse!).

mick - welcome back! I imagine that moving into someone elses place - tricky to fit into their routine and their space. I've never been a part of a long distance relationship or fling-thing, but it would be a bit of a rough landing - two people can do so well in one situation or time or place and just be all wrong in another. And thankyou for your input!

Jennifer said...

Awww, I typed a big comment and Blogger has eaten it :(

To summarise:

* I don't hate the idea of living apart until you are married or engaged. I don't mind either way if someone chooses to do it or not, whatever works for you and all, but I think it would be a nice idea to stay apart :)

* I think that some guys (like The Ex) would never get married if they had a girl living with them because then they could become even lazier and never have to actually commit to anything.

* Both parties moving from their parent's house in together would be...interesting, so maybe if both had previous experience in share houses it would work out a bit better.

*I don't think it would be entirely shocking to move in with someone after you get married if you've spent a lot of time doing the sleep over thing and going on holidays and things.

Enny said...

d'jen - I've gotten into the habit of copying my longer comments before hitting publish 'just in case'.

I do admire the 'romance' in the living apart, but I think it's one of the rare occassions that I would worry more about the practicality - though a good long holiday would be another way to get a fair idea. Though holidays don't last forever and marriage should...!

Funnily, I can think of two other couples where one or more of the ppl has share housed, and another two where they've moved straight from home! So I guess it's a fairly even split between my friends - though 3 of of the 4 are now married or engaged, so hopefully all signs point to 'good'!

Adam said...

I haven't read the other comments yet so I don't know if anyone else has said this, but I don't think those statistics mean anything at all.

I would say that the same people who have the cultural/community freedom to live together in the first place are the same who might also get divorced.

There are still a number of cultures in Australia where it is frowned upon to leave home before getting hitched, and those same cultures would also frown upon divorces. I know the divorce rate is high, and partly it's because people may not put enough effort into reconciling their differences, but there are no statistics on how many Australian marriages are unhappy. Personally, I'd rather be divorced than miserable.

Adam said...

D'Jen, in your point 2, I think it would be better for everyone then, if those dudes don't ever get married.

Enny said...

adam - That's true - there's not even as much stigma on divorce these days anyway (on the offchance it didn't work out) so it's much better than being unhappy and trapped.

And well said to d'jen!

michellesarah said...

TallBoy and I will soon find out! We've been living together around 3 and a half years I think... together for six years. We're getting married this March. It'll be interesting to see if it changes our relationship - I think it'll actually make it stronger.

I don't know if I could have just married straight from living with my parents. I know two couples who did this - both couples come from religious families, and it was just unacceptable for them to do otherwise. Both seem to be going strong - just as strong as TallBoy and I. It is so unusual and so rare these days though, I would describe the idea as 'quaint'.

To be honest, I'm not sure it makes a difference. I think you know if you're marrying for the right reasons - and I think you know whether you live with the person or not if you can truly see a lifetime together.

I think the spiraling divorce rate has more to do with the 'want it now' attitudes of our parents generation and our generation. And if it doesn't work out to our idea of perfection, then I 'want out of it now'.

Enny said...

m'sarah - Congratulations! So you were together 2 and a half years before moving in together - that's a pretty good run (also to that you are getting married after living together so long). It is quite quaint - the whole parents to marriage thing - I would imagine it to be a pretty steep learning curve! Though the determination to not live together (and consumate the marriage in stricter relationships) would proddly ensure you fought for it once you were pretty deep in.

The 'want it now' thing is also so true - perhaps even on the other side of 'I want to be married/have children/sex on tap' making marriage/defacto for the wrong reasons.

Enny said...

If you're here to discuss Dr Laura Schlessinger, please read:

http://enny-pen.blogspot.com/2007/01/new-fame.html

Thankyou!!

lol said...

The link to http://enny-pen.blogspot.com/2007/01/new-fame.html doesn't work. You can get there the long way! Thanx.

If people want to blog or link "Psychologist and radio personality Dr Laura Schlessinger" perhaps proof of this statement would help legitimate, sincere readers and bloggers.I do not want to pass on misinformation, I hope you understand, and will be thorough. I make mistakes, and welcome sincere, legit correction. I also like to be aware of blogs with integrity. Thank you! lol

Enny said...

lol - no stress! =o)