Living together before marriage — or even prior to getting engaged — can be a good indicator of what married life is actually like. In fact, 67 percent of couples do live together before their engagement. Others, though, are a bit warier of taking this step pre-engagement or before marriage, whether it’s for tradition’s sake or concern about losing independence before it’s absolutely necessary. And while there's nothing like waking up every morning to the person you love (who is also willing to spoon and snuggle you), there will be a few surprises along your road to roommate bliss.
Here, relationship experts give those “living together before marriage” expectations a healthy dose of reality.
Expectation: You’ll spend so much more time together.
Reality: While this isn’t entirely untrue—after all, clocking a solid eight hours lying next to each other in bed each night counts for something!—you might envision a whole lot more date nights in your horizon. But Claudia Six, clinical sexologist, relationship coach and author, points out that this likely won’t be the case. “It’s when you live together that you might actually most need ‘me’ time, time without your beloved,” she explains. “It’s important to have things that you do for you: your own friends, your own hobbies, your own exercise routine. Otherwise you lose your sense of who you.” Remember, a good balance of work, friends, family and, of course, intimate nights that are about just the two of you, is key to a happy relationship. And, as Dr. Six notes, absence makes the heart grow fonder…
Expectation: You’ll have sex as often and as passionate as before you lived together.
Reality: This is especially true when couples haven’t lived together (with a romantic partner) before, notes April Masini, New York-based relationship and etiquette expert and author. “They expect that what they know to be true in the relationship, will continue.” But the reality is that living together can throw a wrench in the middle of what used to get each of you revved up.“ Seeing a partner naked all the time, using the bathroom and losing the sense of urgency that dating can foster with sex, can dampen your sex life and dash your expectations,” Masini explains. “When couples have a more seasoned view of sex over the long term, they’re less disappointed when their sex lives ebb and flow when they live together.”