I started living with my now husband Mike before we got married. It was necessary for the relationship. He was living in Manhattan, and I was living on Staten Island. The commute to see each other took forever. Once we realized this might go somewhere (we’ll be together 6 years in a month, so it did) Mike asked me to move in with him. So 2 weeks after I met him on the subway, I packed up my stuff and grabbed my pet turtle, and moved in with Mike. My story isn’t uncommon (ok, maybe the subway part is uncommon). Good housing in this city is hard to come by. A lot of people move in together before they get married because they get along ‘well enough’, and two salaries going towards rent is better than one.
Most religions push the whole ‘no sex and/or cohabitation until marriage’ thing, including mine. So, what I’m about to say isn’t going to earn me any heaven points. I think living together before marriage is a good idea. When Mike and I decided to get married (we just woke up one morning and decided it would be hilarious if we eloped- it was) I already knew EVERYTHING there was to know about living with him. We even got this terrible TERRIBLE stomach virus at the same time while we were sharing our one bathroom studio apartment. If we could get through that and still look each other in the eye (and still want to have sex), there was nothing marriage could spew at us that we couldn’t get past. After we got married, nothing changed (except our tax returns and my newly hyphenated name) and we just went home to business as usual. In fact right after we got home after being married we watched a movie (“ET”) and fell asleep. That doesn’t sound very romantic, does it. I guess it isn’t. I don’t mind. It’s comfortable. It’s like when you’re alone in your apartment and you’re just sitting on the couch in sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt watching a baseball game without caring if anybody sees you, except there’s someone else there to grab you another drink. Living with him is like living alone without actually having to be alone.
Mike and I have to work harder than some to keep things romantic and exciting, but every couple gets to that point eventually. We just got to that point before we got married. The up-side to that is that we also went through the things that cause divorce before we got married also. We went through those things without the added pressure of being married so we were able to work through it knowing we could bail if we wanted to.
All that being said, if my daughter tells me she’s moving in with some guy before they’re married I’m kicking his a** and locking her in her room until she’s 30. Or I’ll hand her a box of condoms and tell her to be responsible. Or maybe I’ll do something in between. Let me get her into a good pre-school first and I’ll get back to you.
Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker. She is also the creator New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito. You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican.