Episode 5: Shacking Up

Episode 5 is about the difference between living together and being married. We also have our first guest! Margaret! Who has been living with her boyfriend turned manfriend for a long time now.

Questions for the audience:

  1. Do you also feel like there is some kind of age threshold for when it’s way less financially/emotionally risky to move in with someone?
  2. Have you ever lived with someone and then had it not work out? Who moved? What was that like?
  3. For those who are married – what’s different about married life vs living together life? Is there a difference for you?

11 thoughts on “Episode 5: Shacking Up”

  1. #2. Have you ever lived with someone and then had it not work out? Who moved? What was that like?

    Yes. For about 4.5 years my ex and I lived together. He moved out to GR where I was living at the time. The goal of course was for him to get a FT job. However, that didn’t happen. So then it became me supporting us. Which caused its own set of issues. About 2 years after he moved in, he decided to go to school FT. I supported this, however, he still wasn’t working. We had many other issues — some connected to this, others not. And I was unhappy for a long time. I probably would’ve ended it sooner had we Not been living together. I felt trapped and guilty — if we broke up, he had nothing. He’d have to move back to the east side of the state and in with family, he’d have to quit school, etc, I realized even then that I should not feel responsible, but as I’m sure you and many others know, when you’re in the thick of it and truly do love/care for someone, it’s hard to let those feelings go. So we dragged our relationship on for years more than we might otherwise have, had we not been living together.
    Eventually I took a job back in our hometown and we both had to move in with family (he in his mom’s house, me in my grandma’s). That move alleviated any stress I had been building up about breaking up and what would happen to him if he wasn’t living with me. I could let it go because I knew now he at least had a place to live and what he did with his life was no longer my burden. We didn’t even last a full year after the move. In some ways I’m really fortunate because we didn’t have the messy “move out”. But I also was unhappy longer. So no real win in this situation.
    I feel a lot different about living with someone nowadays then I did back then. Right now I can’t see myself moving in with someone prior to being engaged. I don’t want to feel trapped again (or that I’d have no place to go) and, while I know that engagement/marriage is not necessarily a guarantee, there is more security in them. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll meet an amazing guy and I’ll feel differently. I’m not against living together, I just know from experience, especially with younger couples (as in age and length of relationships), it can be a decision made hastily, and I think that’s where the problems come into play.

  2. for me, the idea of marriage changing a relationship mostly is how society sees you- when Luke and I got married, everyone thought that we were now legit humans (dumb legit humans, as we got married the summer we turned 22, but legit nonetheless). It didn’t change our relationship that I can see (although we did get sweet sweet health insurance). We’re approaching the weird parity where about half of our friends are in long-term relationships (married and no) and half are dating, and that’s an interesting dynamic.

    Because we’ve been married for so long people will ask us about weather they should move in together/get married/whatever, and I never have any idea! I don’t know your relationship! Do you choose to love this person even when they suck? Yes? Then move forward. Who cares about anything else.

    In short, I don’t set any extra stock by being married v. living together, as long as the relationship is healthy- the things that you were talking about like being on the same page about kids, finances, etc.

  3. I lived with someone for about 3 years – from 19 to 22. It was a matter of convenience as we couldn’t really afford to live apart, didn’t really have anywhere to go, etc. Who moved out? Well, I tried to get him to move out numerous times over the course of 2 years but he wouldn’t leave, even after he was done with school and I wasn’t. I didn’t want to move home to another state and quit school, so I toughed it out. After a couple of months of biting my tongue and playing nice, I convinced him to move 1000+ miles away back to his hometown to work with his dad. I would follow him after I graduated in a couple of months. Nuh-uh. Bye, sucker. Wow, I sound pretty bitter. Guess I still hate that douche.

  4. Super interesting convo!

    My husband and I shacked up about 9 months after we started dating. My roommate was moving, he needed a place to live…so it just seemed to “make sense.” That, and we were ridiculously, annoyingly in love. We ended up living together for about 4 years before we got married–and while we talked about marriage early on, I don’t think it was a “for sure” thing (at least for me). But I was also super young when we got together–I was 22 when we moved in together. (And my sister spilled the beans on our move-in at a family dinner. SUPER AWKWARD.)

    And for us, I think it was great. It made the transition to marriage a LOT smoother, as we’d worked through a lot of stuff earlier on. We did NOT join finances until about 3 months before the wedding, though. For me, that felt like a much bigger deal than moving in together. Both of us felt like joining finances should be reserved for marriage.

      1. We are an exception to the 22 rule as well.

        So my husband and I met at work when I was 14 (!!!) were friends for the next 4 years and started dating when I was 18. I went away to college 300 miles away for a year, changed majors and moved “home” to attend my local university and moved in with my boyfriend. We knew we’d get married eventually but I was in school and it wasn’t the right time. We did get married 6 years later (I was 25). We are still married, I’ll be 30 this year and we have 2 amazing children, 2 and 9 months.

        1. We also didn’t combine finances until after we got married. My husband who is 5 years older than me made things way easier on me while I went to college, nothing was 50:50. I paid my bills but no house bills so finances were kind of combined and it worked out.

  5. I love this episode! We’ve come up against the question of “what is the difference between living together and marriage” so many times, because I would like to get married and my partner would like not to get married. It mostly seems like nothing would change, so there doesn’t seem to be a reason to get married or to stay unmarried, so it’s been very hard to move from this impasse we’re at! Since we’ve lived together for almost four years and we’ve dated for 12, we already share money and consider each others’ families our own and although we wouldn’t have to get a divorce, if we split up it would be extremely emotionally and rather financially challenging.

    The two things that are making us most consider getting married are: because of a recent job change we would benefit a lot from filing joint taxes, and we’d like to have a kid in the next few years and I absolutely want to be married before we take that step. But honestly, beyond the government giving us a tax penalty on being single and it being a pain in the butt to put together a bunch of legal protections for ourselves/our future kid, I’m not sure there are many other, non-symbolic reasons for us to get married.

    1. Oh, and the symbolic reasons are totally valid and awesome for people who care about them! Obviously! But they haven’t really been a huge consideration for us, personally, so they haven’t been able to tip the scales one way or the other.

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