Shacking Up Before Marriage

Separate Togetherness by Lisa K. Stephenson

Should I live with my boyfriend before marriage?


Here is an oxymoron, separate togetherness. A phrase which should precisely describe our generational love life in a nutshell, is this an opinion or fact?

Leading Separate Lives: Non-cohabitation, non-committed, unmarried, and simply unbound.

Togetherness: Dating, seemingly happy when enjoying the company of our non-committed partner in a habitat, preferably a home. Lastly, of course, is the big one, an exchange of sexual desires (Netflix and chill anyone?). Are many of us simply living a complacent life of the updated version of “friends with benefits?” Weekend visits, a drawer for clothing, and a toothbrush left in the bathroom for those overnight visits. Separate but together, let me begin by stating my opinion on this matter. It is necessary for a lasting relationship to in fact lead separate lives before settling down and choosing cohabitation with a potential lifelong mate.

Reason: I think it is safe to say that both time and space are so valuable that when we cannot obtain it on our own terms we risk the feeling of claustrophobia and long-term regret. Repercussions of this include despising our partner, becoming prone to cheating, and exercising a feeling of guilt and shame which can in turn become a transference of emotions. Many may argue this, as many have quickly transitioned from living at home with parents and siblings to cohabitation with a loved one. No bachelor or bachelorette lifestyle involved, no in-between, no alone time. No single life! How can this be healthy for anyone? When did you get time to simply know you, date you, love you, and be so truly confident in your wants and desires that once the opportunity presented itself to live with your significant other you have not one single shred of doubt?

Opinion: I will not cite stats as this is once again, my opinion. We as young adults must experience life on our terms. This means leading the life of separate togetherness. Let me allow you a drawer in my home rather than an entire portion of my wardrobe (good luck to my man on that one). Also, please do not leave your toiletries or personal belongings in my home without my permission, (i.e. your retainers, toothbrush, dirty socks, or even your dirty laundry). Let’s keep it classy! We all have a timeline, dating 2-4 months. Once the relationship evolves, separate lives until the big question is popped and we can both confidently say our partner is a want. I want to spend the remainder of my life with this person, therefore I do not mind waking up to them at 8 AM and suffering through the malodorous aroma of their morning breath every day.

Fact: Many men and women of our generation skip this important phase of their lives, transitioning from a home with their parents, to a home with their mate. Why must we rush this seemingly important phase in our lives? Is it financial reasons or simply co-dependency, neediness?

Maybe it’s time to shake old habits and stop entertaining memes of how relationships are supposed to go, or how men are supposed to treat their women and simply enjoy a life of separate togetherness.

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