I have a question about my relationship with my boyfriend of over 1 year. We are very committed and love each other deeply. He recently confided in someone that he wants to ask me to move in with him. This makes me very excited and worried. I am worried because I know that my parents wouldn't be ok with us moving in together without being engaged. I am also worried because I want to get married and I know that when couple move in together before marriage they get too comfortable and don't ever get married. So I don't know how to react to my boyfriend when he does ask me. Because I don't want him to feel rejected or that I don't want to move in with him and I don't want to pressure him into getting engaged?
Ahh, I love this question because I had gone through a similar experience with my now husband after graduating from college.
I had been with my steady boyfriend for about a year and a half when we graduated college. He was accepted into a PhD program in Colorado which could take anywhere from 5 to 7 years. I, of course, had no freaking clue on what I wanted to do with my awesomely helpful Sociology degree. I had several issues when it came to the fate of our relationship. I knew we would stay together but 1) I had lived in Colorado for 1 year of college and really, really did not like it. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled about moving to a state where I would be "stuck" spending the better part of my 20's, 2) I really didn't want to become permanent roommates with my boyfriend (ie I wanted to get married and before he graduated with his PhD), 3) I wanted to be clear that he would be willing to follow me in the event my future job took us in a different location.
Unlike my reader, I didn't have the family pressure of them NOT approving of me living with a boyfriend without being married. It was a no-brainer for me. If I wanted to see if we were compatible, we needed to live together. I was pretty adamant about not wanting to give away the milk for free, as the saying goes. We had separate checking accounts because, let's face facts, there was no way I was saving shit back in those days, sometimes we spent holidays apart and with our respective families, and we basically settled into living together.
We got engaged about a year after we began living together and married the following year. Incidentally, this week marks our 20 year anniversary of being a couple.
When it comes to family dynamics (and if they approve of you living with someone before marriage) I am of the thinking that, unless they are paying for your rent and lifestyle expenses, they are shit out of luck. Here's the deal, parents want us to be happy. Sometimes they want us to be happy in the way that makes them the happiest, but that doesn't always happen, does it?
My parents knew and loved my now husband from the time they met him. They also knew that I am not the type of person who would just let someone else dictate how I live my life. Just like I had conversations with my now husband about what my big picture plan was, I had those same conversations with my parents. Both my parents and boyfriend knew that I expected a marriage proposal after a reasonable amount of time.
Living together before marriage makes a lot of sense to me. However, if this is someone who you don't eventually see yourself marrying then there isn't much of a point living with him. Relationships are a bit of a gamble and come with no guarantees.
Incidentally, a newish study found that living together before they get married are less likely to stay married.
I guess I'm a little stuck on the parent disapproval. Does disapproval mean you would be cut off from your family? Or does it mean that they would be mildy dissapointed in your life choice? In any event, does it really matter if you end up getting engaged in 6 months or a year?
However, If living in your parents home until engagement or marriage is something that is culturally expected of you (and you agree), then there isn't anything to feel bad or guilty about. It's just the way it is. You two can continue to date and have a loving relationship, but now he is aware that he will have to propose to you if you want to live together.
Clear communication is a wonderful thing. It can take a lot of the worry and anxiety out of these types of situations because everyone is on the same page.
Best of luck to you and please keep me posted!