In New York City, living together seems to be the natural progression of a relationship. Why pay double the monstrous rent when you’re sleeping over every night anyway?
If my grandmother were alive today, she would be cluck-clucking her tongue, frowning and whispering in J.’s ear to “buy the cow.” But it’s not the 1950s, and in my own family there have been 12 marriages (and multiple divorces) among only a few women. I am not one of them.
By age 29, more than a dozen of my friends had both walked the aisle and filed for divorce. Losing homes, losing heart and losing hope wasn’t a path I wanted to follow. A divorced friend shared, “It’s better to say you’ve at least been married once.” I don’t agree. Maybe I’ve been more cautious, but I knew the signs of when to run…
“If you want the ring, don’t move in.” That old-fashioned sentiment has certainly worked for some, but it’s just that — old-fashioned. The truth is you really don’t know someone until you live with them. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cohabitation is on the rise, rise, rise. Many of these cohabitating couples go on to marry within three years. Speaking on behalf of my fellow cohabitators, I already feel like I’m married.
You have to do what works best for you. There is no formula for the perfect relationship. Some see marriage as the finish line. WE all crave love and companionship, and whether it’s cohabitation or a church wedding, it’s love. That will always be the key ingredient.
To my 13-year-old nieces, I only advise you to follow your heart, not to be pressured by your peers, your mom or any man. Never lose yourself in the process. And if you do decide on the big-church wedding, I will be there donned in pink taffeta ready to throw some glitter your way!