** My boyfriend and I have discussed moving in together. It makes sense financially, but my mother is telling me it’s a bad idea. He’s getting all the perks of a marriage without any of the commitments. His discussions of marriage are noncommittal, and says this is a good way to see if a marriage would work. What should I do?**
A: So, your mom isn’t wrong. He definitely gets the perks of marriage without the commitment once you move in. As the old saying goes...he gets to have the milk without buying the cow, so why would he want to buy the cow if he already gets the milk for free. Moving in together prior to mar- riage is usually a very personal decision. Have you considered the possibility of you and your mother sharing a different set of values?
You are definitely not alone in this dilemma. Many people struggle with the decision of living together prior to marriage. It typically makes a lot of sense financially to NOT spend money on two homes, especially if you are already staying together often or plan to get married. There is some benefit to knowing a person’s living habits prior to marriage. Research exists to support the argument that cou- ples are more likely to divorce if they have lived to- gether prior to marriage, but similar research exists to support the argument that couples are less likely to divorce if they have lived together prior to mar- riage. Other research indicates that cohabitation prior to marriage is not actually linked to divorce.
but, rather, the important component linked to cohabitation/marriage and divorce is the age the individuals were when they made that first big commitment. Religious beliefs also tend to play a big role in this decision and the struggle to make it. Many individuals, as well as professionals, see it as your mother does.
I decided to ask for a bit of input from a man... here was his response: “My opinion is, if a man wants to move in with a woman and is non-com- mittal on the future... Beware! I think it means he doesn’t understand what being “with someone” means and/or what is expected of a man!!!”
Maybe there are some questions you should con- sider before making the decision. How old are you and your boyfriend? Is there a plan for marriage, or is this just to save money and/or have a roommate with benefits? What is the plan for one of you or both of you, if this cohabitation situation doesn’t work out? I think the most important thing is for you to determine what is good for you! Though I do think it is reasonable to take into consideration the input from your parents (age does sometimes equal a bit of wisdom most of the time), this is one of those big girl/grown-up decisions you get to make regarding YOUR life! Whether you suc- ceed or whether you fail, you will know it was your decision. Just be prepared to take ownership of the end result.
**If you have an anonymous question you'd like to ask Dr. Misty, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org**.
Writer, Speaker, Radio & Television Contributor, Dr. Misty Smith is the Founder and Managing Director of the Birmingham, Alabama based Mind, Body & Heart Wellness Clinic. She is an ASSECT Nationally recognized Certified Sex Therapist (CST), as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) of more than 15 years, who focuses on assisting individuals and couples to achieve their optimal emotional, relational, and sexual health through a results-oriented counseling process tailored to the needs of the individual or couple. In addition to being ASSECT Certified, Dr. Misty has a PhD in Counselor Education from Mississippi State University and her EdS in Counseling from the University of Alabama. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or mbhwellnessclinic.com.