Shacking Up

Good subject, as my SO and I just decided last weekend to shack up. I’m not sure if it’s the “best” thing to do or not, but I can say we’ve both put a lot of thought into it. We’ve both been married (and divorced) before… we both lived with our spouses before we married them. I personally don’t think that either living together or not living together is a sure fire way to make sure a marriage works. I do think that my previous experience of living with my ex-husband before marriage was done hastily and without a lot of thought put into it.

The decision for us was mostly because we feel we’re ready to move on to the next stage of our relationship. We have a lot of future plans, and although we’re not ready for marriage yet, we’re ready to start working towards these goals. The decision was also partially financial, but not in the way decscribed above (“The gal gets free rent…”) My SO needs the tax savings that a house will get him. I have a house, and although I can make the payments myself just fine, some extra cash would be nice every month. Seemed like a good match.

So maybe we’ll burn in hell… but it seems like this is the best way to go for now.

Someone in a previous thread mentioned a site called There is a column on this very subject, which you can get to by clicking here.

In a nut-shell, people who live together before marriage are almost twice as likely to divorce as those who don’t, and accounting for factors which may lead people to live together first doesn’t account for the increased rate.

My wife and I lived together a year before we were married (about the worst thing you could do, according to the column). We’ve been married 8 1/2 years now, and everything is wonderful. I think it has to do with WHY you are living together. Looking back at it, we weren’t hedging our bets, we were just procrastinating (as we do in everything else). My attitude was that I was committed to the relationshp, and hers was the same.

That may be why people who get married first do better. They’re committed, and MAKE it work.

It is too clear, and so it is hard to see.

Drain Bead wrote:

How hard is “Bead” to pronounce? :smiley:

It is too clear, and so it is hard to see.

Interesting you should point that out, Zen, since every time I see her handle, I have to force myself to say it the way it’s intended, instead of as some weird plumbing product.

I await the full wrath of Drain.

Nothing like a bad decision
Says who you are.
-Gin Blossoms, “Perfectly Still”

Gotta be better than dying together before they get married.

(I am appalled to see that nobody beat me to that. You guys are losing yer touch.)

Lex Non Favet Delicatorum Votis

I lived w/my boyfriend after we dated for 3 years. We were married 4 months after we moved in together and divorced 28 months after we got married. We should have divorced about a year sooner but we really tried to make it work. I can’t really say that it was living together for 4 months that did it but something definetly changed after we got married. I would rather live with someone than get married again though.

“After childbirth, women want to return to their careers. In my opinion This is
wrong; an exception would be if the couple agreed in advance that the woman would work and the man would stay home with the kids. Any other arraingement is bad for the kids. Period.”

“I can’t really fault you there, but what if you, hypothetically, were married and
wanted children, but could only afford it on two incomes?”

I can fault him there. Making the blanket statement that shared childcare is bad for kids is an ignorant generalization. It isn’t supported by research on child development or by historical precedent or by anything other than personal prejudice. Mayn arrangements for childcare can be bad or good, including Mom at home alone with the kids which we falsely call “traditional.”

Shacked up once, got engaged to the girl, then she broke it off.

As far as stats go, the only ones I trust are the ones I create, and even those I wouldn’t recommend anyone else trust.

Regardless of how many people live together then get married only to divorce, it is ultimately going to depend on those two individuals. Living arrangements before marriage shouldn’t count for or against 'em.

Rubes says, “Do what you like.”

The idea that women obtain some unique finnacial benefit from living with a man seems outdated to me; sure, two together can live together cheaper than apart, but both parties are saving. I really resent the implication that I am spreading my legs for finacial gain–if anything, HE’s lucky I let him live with ME.

As someone already suggested, the reasons for living together are critical. I moved in with my SO because he is my favorite person in the world; We have FUN living together–anyone else as a roommate would be something to cheerfully put up with, but not fun. And I don’t see how this could possibly be harming our chances for a sucessful marrie down the line–not helping our chances, perhaps, but not hurting them.

I don’t know whether the breakup statistics are accurate or not, and if they are, whether it’s that living together before marriage causes couples to break up or people who live together just share characteristics with people who are otherwise likely to divorce.

I have moral objections to shacking up, and practical ones as well. From my outsider’s (no SO, no sex, no change likely)perspective, it always looks like playing house to me.


Unless you put everything out on the table in the relationship (no skeletons in each other’s closets) then it is highly likely that the marriage will fail after living together. My wife & I lived together for about 1-1/2 years and dated long distance for 2 years. We are polar opposites and only have a few common interests but because we are both unselfish and do things that the other is interested in: she is trying to learn golf and I go to a lot of flea markets, orchestra performances. 8 years strong this past September!

Of course I don’t think you can use our marriage in your statistics due to the fact that we got married on Friday the 13th! So we are tempting fate already!

Now on the flip side, an old girlfriend lived with a guy for a few years before getting married. They were wed for a short while, like 6-9 months and then the groom decided he was gay.

So like I said, you must not leave anything lurking in your closet should you decide to cross that threshold.

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’”
E A Poe

I moved in with my girlfriend/semi-fiancee (obviously, marriage wasn’t exactly an option for us, at least not in this state). I lived with her for a while, then we broke up. On the one hand, I had to sacrifice a whole lot of things in my life to be close to her like that. But on the other hand, I found out very quickly that we didn’t have nearly as much in common as I had thought, and in fact, were almost completely incompatible! Basically, what it boils down to is the fact that we could have maintained a more distanced relationship until we were both ready to invest some serious time and effort into it, but then, we would have been much more entangled in the relationship when it started to go bad. So, by all means, move in together, just be prepared for any consequences!!!

“That’s entertainment!” —Vlad the Impaler

Thufferin: way to generalize! What are you, an idiot?

My husband moved in with me, by the way, so whoever said the woman gets “a free place to stay” is also overgeneralizing.

I got married at 19, had a kid at 23, and am now 27 and a stay home mome. I lived with my husband before we got married and we’re still married and very happy. And I’m not inclinded to divorce him when things get rocky just because divorces are easier now. Sheesh.

I seriously wonder if some people ever actually look around them before they start spouting off about “how it is”, or if they just take the few people they’ve met and some statistics in a magazine and declare the world to be so!

Teeming Millions:
“Meat flaps, yellow!” - DrainBead, naked co-ed Twister chat
O p a l C a t

Way to go Opal; because you disagree with someone’s view, that makes them an idiot. Personally, I don’t give a crap whether you agree with me or not; all I ask is that you elevate your responses from childish name calling to logical discourse.


“Believe those who seek the truth.
Doubt those who find it.” --Andre Gide

Ayesha and I “shacked up” for 6 months and have been married 22 years.
We ended up having a shotgun wedding with my mother holding the shotgun, on me!

t lion

" I Wonder What Happens When I push THIS Button? "

Marriage is a very different thing than living together. Lots of differences, to the people themselves, and the rest of the world. You shouldn’t let yourself think that a few years at the same address, and a few hundred times in the same bed will “test” your ability, or willingness, to be married. The two are insufficiently similar to justify drawing that conclusion.


“How long does getting thin take?” Pooh asked anxiously.
–A. A. Milne

Ironically, as it turns out, recent studies show that the highest divorce rate in the U.S. occurs in the Bible Belt, and in the most religious communities. A suspected contributing factor is the stigma surrounding premarital sex, causing potentially incompatible couples who want to have sex to get married when they shouldn’t.

I lived with my husband for 6 months before marrying. I Knew I was going to marry him,so it was just a formality.I wouldn’t live with someone unless I knew we were going to be married.

No, definitely not… I say get married.

That way when the guy gets bored with the little woman and wants some action, I have more customers.

This post has nothing to do with my personal feelings, just job security ya know!

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good
things.” --Edgar Degas

“Ironically, as it turns out, recent studies show that the highest divorce rate in the U.S. occurs in the Bible Belt, and in the most religious communities. A suspected contributing factor is the stigma surrounding premarital sex, causing potentially incompatible couples who want to have sex to get married when they shouldn’t.”

I live in the Bible Belt, in a hyperreligious community, so let me make a minor correction here, pldennison. The stigma isn’t about premarital sex- technically it’s immoral but everyone does it anyway- the stigma is about talking about or admitting to having premarital sex. This is based on the unshakeable belief that if you never mention sex to your kids, they won’t realize it exists.

Kids around here actually lose their virginity, on average, a couple years before kids in less religious communities do. The difference here is that everyone knows all the kids are getting it on, but you absolutely can’t talk about it. We have no sex ed, limited access to birth control, complete ignorance of how to use birth control, and no option of abortion (not only is abortion considered to be morally reprehensible, even in the case of incest or rape, you must travel over 400 miles to get one).

End result: almost all kids have sex here, despite their religion’s disapproval. Sex almost invariably leads to pregnancy. (It also frequently leads to disease; we have the highest STD rate in the nation.) Pregnancy means marriage is mandatory, preferably before the 15 year old bride begins to show.

Married too young and for the wrong reasons= divorce.