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?Don't get me wrong - any old monkey can trot out this sorta thing - it's the comments that make it interesting.
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?
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?