By and large, most of us are pro live-in relationships. You may decide to move in together because marriage is on the cards, and you want to see what it would be like to live with your partner under the same roof. Or, you may want to move in together simply because it seems like the right thing to do for your relationship. Because live-in relationships are a relatively new concept, and because our generation is still fighting for the arrangement to be socially acceptable, we tend to focus too much on the pros of making the big move, and not enough on the cons. Like everything else in life, moving in with your partner without the label of marriage also comes with its set of challenges and problems. As progressive a step it may seem, it’s best to venture into the territory knowing what you are getting into.
Why you should do it
You may be in a committed relationship, and know each other really well. But living with someone allows you to get to know them at a deeper level, which is not possible while living apart. You get to understand their moods better, negotiate space, and figure out how to deal with boredom. Physical and emotional intimacy also grows, and without the burden of marriage, you can strengthen your bond in an organic and relaxed manner. Although the pain of a relationship ending is not determined by your marital status, should things not work out, you will not have to deal with the agony of getting a divorce.
A live-in relationship allows the relationship to evolve into what is natural for it, instead of a prescribe idea of marriage. The irony of not having the social pressure to make things work is that you might actually be able to make it work better!
But before you base a decision on this wonderful idea, consider the other side…
Why you should not do it
Yes, no pressure means that you are living with the said person because you choose to, and there’s a sense of responsibility and value that comes with it. But, no pressure also means that should you go through a rough patch, you may not work as hard to save the relationship as you might have if you were married. That’s a possibility one has to be prepared for. Not having to go through the legal trouble and social stigma of a divorce, might mean that there’s less motivation to stay and work things out. Essentially, how invested one is in a relationship doesn’t depend on the living arrangement, but rather on the individual.
Even though, legally, live-in relationships are treated the same as marriage, the fact is that one has to deal with a bunch of external issues. It begins with trying to convince the families why it’s a good idea. There are very few families who embrace live-in relationships, and any couple would know that the family support is important. Finding a house as an unmarried couple isn’t easy either. Many hotels still cater only to married couples. Travelling together, moving to another country, adopting a child… all these decisions becomes just a tad bit more complicated because you don’t have that marriage certificate. It may seem like these things wouldn’t affect one’s love for each other, but having to deal with nuances of living with someone in a society where it isn’t all that well-accepted can take a toll on the relationship.
The point is, living-in together may not necessarily be better or worst than marriage. It comes with its set of challenges, and the decision has to be a more practical one rather than an ideological one. What you need to ask yourself is: What are the kind of challenges you are willing to deal with as a couple? And base your decision on that, rather than what may be the more progressive thing to do.