Thus far in my adult life, I’ve had several very serious relationships. I’ve moved across the country for some, contemplated moving across the country for others, and have altered more than one life plan because it seemed like the right thing to do at the moment. I’ve had drawers full of my belongings at boyfriends’ homes. I’ve cooked dinner and done laundry with them, neither of which ever felt like chores. Playing house is fun, and I’ve been in love more than once to consider making it permanent.

Still, I would never move in with a boyfriend before marriage. It’s not for moral or religious reasons. I don’t have a fear of commitment, and yes, I really do want to be married someday.

I’ve watched close friends move in with their significant others, and many went on to have wonderfully successful relationships. Others have faded away, but would still never regret moving in. I’ve listened to girl friends gush about how wonderful he is for cooking dinner every night and, on the flip side, complain that he never vacuums.

I’ve examined my own values, relationships and lifestyle and decided there are four reasons I would never live with a boyfriend before marriage. They may not apply to you, and frankly, they may not even apply to me at every stage in my life or every relationship I’m in. But here’s where I am right now.

Boredom. Before you moved in together, sleepovers were fun. There’s something inherently exciting about packing a bag to stay over, even if it’s the 100th time you’re doing it. After sharing a bed, day in and day out, it loses its thrill. Additionally, when living together, staying in is a lot easier than going out. You have a friend right there next to you on the couch to sit and watch Friends reruns with. There’s no need for dates. In fact, there’s really no reason to leave the apartment.

A loss of independence. I actually hate being alone for more than a few hours a day. It’s boring to me. But, still, I like being away from a significant other for a few hours (or days) at a time. I need time to recharge and take a step back. I need 30 minutes after work to unwind. I need time to read in bed, pluck my eyebrows and watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo without someone commenting on it. Most importantly, I need a really, really big closet. Sharing is non-negotiable.

Social pressure. “When are you getting engaged?” will become a resounding question. You may not believe in or conform to societal norms, but that doesn’t mean others don’t, especially people such as your ailing grandmother, whose one wish is to see her only grandson get married before she dies.

You can’t go backwards. If things aren’t working out in your new, shared home, you’ll move out, but you likely won’t stay together as a couple. I hate saying “you’re stuck,” but let’s face it, you are. You can either move forward, towards marriage, and a life together, or end it, and go your separate ways. It’s a normal breakup with the headache of leases, shared furniture and pets.

What are your thoughts on cohabitation? 

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