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.