Contrary to the woes of premarital cohabitation in our previous blog, evidence has recently come to light which suggests it is the individual's attitude toward the decision to live together that determines whether the relationship will succeed or fail. Couples who demonstrate commitment to each other before shacking up, by getting engaged for example, fair just as well as those who marry without living together first. Indeed, women may even reduce the risk of divorce if they make a conscious decision to live with their partner before marriage, though are twice as likely to part company if they serially cohabit. With this in mind, the decision to live together should not be taken lightly. Here is some advice on what to consider before doing so.
Speak now or forever hold your peace - discuss issues, such as chores or who's welcome in your home when you're not around, before you move in. This will save problems later down the line. If you're worried bringing issues up will cause an argument, then perhaps you shouldn't live together.
Discuss finances - paying more than either one of you can afford may result in the partner who subsidises the other being resentful. Make it clear that it is your choice to do so or if you think resentment may creep in, choose a place that is within both your means.
Have a trial run - spend a decent amount of time at each other's homes so you can identify your partner's habits and how they really live.
Don't be a nag - constantly nagging your partner about their annoying habits will not help. Living together involves negotiation. Find solutions that are not dependent on your partner changing and be prepared to change yourself.
Be independent - maintain friendships and your independence. This is are important after you move in, otherwise you lose what you enjoy and ultimately, your own identity.
First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations:* Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
* Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
* Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk
* Aberdeen: 01224-452848, www.aberdeenpsychology.co.uk