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Offline Matthew

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Shacking up before marriage
« on: August 22, 2009, 10:10:08 AM »
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  • Here is part of a thread about living together before marriage. I received this "update" by e-mail, and found that there were a few interesting posts in it -- especially the first one. Here you go:

    ---Quote (Originally by Liberanosamalo)---
    One practical reason against shacking up... (for those who don't believe the Church is wiser than us on moral things) is that after a few years of watching things, I have come to the conclusion that inertia is the most powerful force in the universe.

    Followed by entropy.

    So you have a combination of things falling apart and people doing nothing about it.

    Add in one house/apartment, stir.  

    For most people, the status quo is the default mode.  It takes courage and energy to change things.  People living together are more likely to tolerate bad behavior because to shove someone out and have no one to help with rent seems worse than going along to get along.  And again, while you're with someone in an apartment, someone else may walk right on by who may have taken a look at you if you didn't appear to be in an overly committed relationship.

    Try this one on for size:  Yeah, you're really neat!  I want to date you.  First let me break up with the guy I'm living with.  Yeah... ummm.  it was going nowhere.

    How does that sound to a decent person?  They don't hear:  Wow!  She's really into me!  

    They hear:  Wow.  She isn't very faithful to a really committed relationship.  I don't want to get involved with someone who would cheat on someone they're practically married to!

    Practically married isn't really married.  

    But someone who gets married even though things aren't going so great because they think the piece of paper might make things better is kind of contradicting themselves.  Lots of them acted in the beginning like a piece of paper didn't matter.  

    Which is it?

    Fact is, people behave differently in a situation in which there is an escape hatch.   The guy in a rowboat without a life vest will be more careful than the guy who has one.  You're comparing people who really ARE committed to a relationship with people pretending to be committed.   Totally different behavior patterns.  Do you really learn much about someone who is playing pretend?   Who may have a short-timer's mentality?

    It's the difference between a renter and a homeowner.  Which one will work harder to maintain it?   And women are the ones who pay the price more.  They're feeding the commitment phobia that they complain about so much in men.  Guys don't have to grow up because they're allowed to behave as if they're footloose and fancy free for a decade longer than in the past.  

    It's just not a good test for anything.   You can live with someone for a decade and still remain in ignorance about things.  Take it from me.  I just found out something last week about my xh that I didn't know for 21 years.  :eek:
    ---End Quote---
    What you wrote is presicely the reason I would give my daughter as to why I would not want her to live with her boyfriend.  I really feel that women get the short end of the stick here.  I've seen it so many times where the woman is distraught and desparate to marry her boyfriend and he's digging in his heels b/c he's already got it all without a committment.  It's easy for the man in this situation and very difficult for the woman.  The woman has no leverage.  

    What I hated the most was how his sister treated me.  She treated me like I was some kind of tramp living with her brother.  She used to make snide comments about our arrangement.  She would make me feel like I wasn't family, and then she would turn around and expect me to act like a wife to her brother.  

    It was like we were family, but we weren't.  We were committed, but we weren't.  We were married, but we weren't.  I was expected to perform the duties of a wife, but I had no committment from him.

    After 2.5 years of this arrangement, I was fed up and ready to leave.  Luckily, my now husband really loves me and we have a wonderful marriage, but boy, did I take a huge risk by living with him and then threaten to leave.  I'm just really lucky, but most women aren't.  My husband is totally against divorce and I'm relieved that he feels that way, given how things began.

    I would never want to see my daughter go through that.  A woman should never be treated like a second class citizen and that's what living together can do to a woman.  My husband didn't intend to treat me that way, but I put myself into that position.  I have no one to blame, but myself in the end.  

    I'm just very thankful that everything worked out in the end for us.  We are now very happy and in-love with our new family.
    Re: Living together
    Posted by: ComputerGeek25
    On: Aug 21, '09 8:18 am

    ---Quote (Originally by Liberanosamalo)---
    It's bogus.  And moving in with someone can be dangerous.  What if he ISN'T a great guy.  What if you learn that he's an abusive person and you want to move out?  What if he doesn't want you to?  Then you're a prisoner.  And you have to have a totally different way of getting out than if you were dating from separate houses.
    ---End Quote---
    This is a key reason, in my mind, not to cohabitate.

    IANAL, but it seems like in this case, you do not have full legal protection of civil marraige.  This can open up a large can of worms.
    Re: Living together
    Posted by: Kit15
    On: Aug 21, '09 8:57 am

    ---Quote (Originally by Liberanosamalo)---
    My theory... the people who cohabit think that cohabiting helped them get to know each other better than if they didn't.  Because they made the decision to move in and play house relatively early in the relationship.  

    This woman couldn't learn about Jeff's bill paying routine by having coffee with him one afternoon as he wrote his checks and mailed them before they went out?

    She never had him over to her apartment and saw him pitch in to help?

    She never saw his anal retentive music collection classed by genre and subclassed in alphabetical order and figured things out?

    She never went shopping with him and watched how he purchased things?  Or looked at the kind of gifts he bought his mom on her birthday or how he spent money at restaurants or how he tipped the waitstaff?

    She didn't observe this constancy over a course of a year and realize it wasn't an act?

    None of what she wrote was stuff that an observant person couldn't glean (and more) from watching him.

    News flash:  You can also learn more than you want to know about a man by the way he maintains his car.  You don't need to live in his car to figure out how he treats an expensive purchase and how responsible he is about getting it inspected and renewing his tags.

    You can figure his cleanliness habits when he throws a fit because you dripped coffee on his arm rest.  (And learn more about him if he reaches over the burn spot on your leg to wipe the coffee off his door.)

    You can tell a lot about him by watching what he puts in the collection plate when you attend Mass with him.  (Does he have an envelope?  Did he actually JOIN a parish?  Or does he fish out change and leave the $5 in his pocket.)

    You can tell if he is kind by how he treats service people, waiters, and store clerks.  

    You can tell if he is honest by listening to him lie to his boss and claim he's sick as you plan a day hiking the trails.

    Can he keep a pet alive or a houseplant?  

    How he treats, children, dogs, beggars and anyone who can't do anything for him will tell you more about him than living with him will.

    It's bogus.  And moving in with someone can be dangerous.  What if he ISN'T a great guy.  What if you learn that he's an abusive person and you want to move out?  What if he doesn't want you to?  Then you're a prisoner.  And you have to have a totally different way of getting out than if you were dating from separate houses.

    None of this even touches the morality of the issue of premarital sex and the attitude both people have of "I don't have to be married to you to have sex with you."  That's great!  :thumbsup:  Now remember that when you're married and he's out late and you realize with a sinking feeling in your stomach that for years he told you by his actions that he was just fine with having sex with people he wasn't married to.

    Bad road test.  Used car salesmen let you test drive lemons all the time.
    ---End Quote---
    Resurrecting an old post here but I wanted to get it in because it's a good one.

    Almost every person talked to outside the family regarding my engagement/marriage was like....utterly shocked that I had never lived with my boyfriend before we got married.  "Really?   Are you sure you don't want to?"  For most of them I'm sure it was because they were concerned for my well-being...wanted me to do the "test drive" and all juuuuust in case (though they didn't use those terms).

    But we didn't.  In the end it turned out I didn't have to because when I finally moved in, there was nothing  I suddenly learned about my husband that I didn't know before or wasn't expecting.  For a while I could only shrug when people act surprised (positively) at how fast I adapted.  I couldn't place my finger on it and just chalked it up to time.  "I've know the guy for 10 years...there's nothing that surprises me about him anymore."

    But your post is the real reason why nothing was shocking to me...because I observed him while we were dating.

    Don't get me wrong, we certainly did want to live together and it was real a point of frustration for us because I can say with absolute certainty that we would not have had sex at the time (see post above about not being "hungry").  But I can also say with absolute certainty it wasn't to "test-drive" the relationship.  

    We just wanted to get a head start on our marriage privileges because we were sick and tired of only seeing each other once a week and not being about to travel to places we wanted to travel to together.  This "no scandal" business was ridiculously harder than "no sex".  It was also ridiculously more frustrating because we knew we weren't going to have sex.  "When I say 'I can't wait to sleep with you', I mean that quite literally."  You have no idea.  :o
    Re: Living together
    Posted by: EvelynEVF
    On: Aug 21, '09 10:44 am

    I am a SAHM in the middle of a divorce, from a mentally ill, abusive man, who currently doles out $1000/mo for me to live on with our two children.  When all is said and done, I expect to have enough money to put away a nest egg and go to school to become self-supporting in the next 5 years.

    I have a good friend who is splitting up with an equally ill and perhaps more abusive man.  He has evicted her and their two kids from their home and gives them exactly nothing to live on.  Fortunately, she has parents in the area.  They lived together for years, but never got around to getting married.  When all is said and done in her case, she will get child support.  No nest egg, no spousal support.  Everything she supported him in doing and gaining is completely his and she has no legal right to any of it.

    Inertia about that "piece of paper" is wrecking her life.
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