Half Is Often Easier to Handle
If you’ve ever paid rent, utilities, or bought groceries all on your own dime, you know the financial struggle living alone can be.
In light of this difficulty, going from paying everything by yourself to only being responsible for half is a dream. Often, this lightweight feeling is as euphoric as being in love. (Especially for the avid budgeters and frugality fanatics.)
Sharing the financial load is a common reason some couples choose to continue living together even after the love is gone or before knowing whether there is love in the first place.
Money is motivating. The fear of not having it is too.
Understand the Mask of Fear
As mentioned before, living together pre-marriage is often a substitute for marriage. Essentially, you may settle for living together because you don’t really want to get married. You just want the perks of a relationship without the title or marital commitment.
For fear of actually having to walk down the aisle, you deal with cohabitation issues that keep you a safe distance away from any form of “I dos.”
Recognize the Roommate Rut
It doesn’t take long to realize whether you want to move forward in your romantic relationship or you need to end it. Generally, when you live together, the average time frame for that type of discernment is about a year and a half.
Some people, knowing they’ve not found “the one,” choose to cohabit simply because they’re really good roommates.
In fact, you may think that after nearly two years of being really excellent roommates, it only makes sense not to end the era. You’d rather deal with cohabitation issues than break in someone new.
Identify Freedom as the Missing Piece
Slightly more uncommon, cohabitation issues can come in the form of obligation.
When you live together and your partner chooses to remain in the relationship—without any other commitments than to pay half the rent and utilities—it can welcome doubts that they actually chose you.
You may begin to wonder if they are simply used to you or even using you for the convenience factor.
Cohabitation Can Hide the Big Issues
Sadly, the majority of couples who choose to cohabit don’t sit down and discuss “big” topics. In other words, things like money, domestic responsibility, or careers are left to work themselves out.
You may not even know how your partner views finances or household chores. Most couples divvy up the bills and kitchen patrol, leaving it at that.
In love, it’s necessary to commit to vulnerability. Basically, those aforementioned “big” topics are what you should be talking about if you’re serious about making your relationship work. Without discussing them, your cohabiting habits are nothing more than a convenient way to live.
Cohabitation issues form when couples don’t clearly define their love. The “business” of love is tricky, so it’s easy to mistake convenience for love. If that’s your experience, a therapist can help you sort through the confusing bits of your romantic situation.
So, if you’re having doubts or feeling that something is slightly off, please reach out to me. You can also read about premarital counseling and learn how I can help you.