Unbelievably, after years of first dates and dead-end boys, I think I may have found "the one." I know that you mainly deal with issues of singletons, but I was wondering if you would be willing to address this issue in your column, since some of us have now moved on to the next phase and are wondering if we should live together before we get married.
I am a well-educated, independent, liberal, 30ish female who has always been against living together before I got married. I'm not a square, and this isn't for religious reasons. I think it all stemmed from reading some statistic that said that the divorce rate was 50 percent higher for couples who lived together before they were married. I started thinking about why that was, and decided that maybe it was cuz they always remained in this perpetual semi-noncommittal state. Example: When you ask someone who lives with their significant other about whether or not they are excited to get married, they say, "Well, it's not much different than living together," or, "Things won't change that much. . . . " Exactly! Things should change! Marriage should be more binding than just an address (or at least that's my opinion). More importantly, I felt that until I was married I wanted my own space to do with what I want, and I am confident in the amount of time I have spent with my boyfriend to know him and know myself with him.
Well, unfortunately, that's not how my boyfriend feels. He is just as committed to the idea that you must live together before marriage. He feels that you can't truly know someone until you live together, and that in order to make the final decision, you have to live in the same house for six months to a year. I am willing to consider this, but I really wanted some outside second opinions before I gave in. What do you think? Is cohabitating a must to really know if you should marry a person? I realize very little can predict whether or not a marriage will last, but in general, do you think it is helpful or harmful to the relationship?
I Could Lose This Bet Depending on What You Say
This is a no-brainer—get engaged before you move in together. That way you're half-married, but your man has an out because it's a helluva lot easier to break an engagement than it is to go through a divorce. Whether or not you choose to cohabit, you never really know another person. I recently met a lovely lady who had been with her boyfriend for something like 10 years. They lived together, eventually had a huge wedding, and then the week (seven days!) after they'd tied the knot, he confessed that he'd been seeing someone else for the past month and was moving away to be with her.
So much for the sanctity of marriage. Which brings me to my next point . . . wouldn't it be nice if our gay friends could have a dilemma like yours? Instead, voters in 11 states are so freaked out by the idea of two people of the same sex registering for ugly cookware at Crate & Barrel and wedging their female friends into mauve taffeta frocks that they've actually voted for an amendment banning it. And these hatemongers call themselves Christians! If that's the case, where's that Christian love I've heard so much about?
You'll have to forgive me if I'm a little off point this week, but you see this election (and I think you know which one I'm talking about) has me in a bit of a tizzy. As the U.K.'s Daily Mirror put it so eloquently, "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" But really, it's not even so much that My Fellow Americans are so dumb—I feel like the stupid one. Because while I had an idea that there were folks out there who are pathologically afraid of mythical gay bogeymen and firmly convinced that Saddam Hussein bombed the World Trade Center, I had no idea there were so many of them! That shit is scary.
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