In respect to the seriousness of marriage, one should not enter into the decision to live together lightly. Since most people's ultimate goal is to become married, living together should only be a precursor to that event, and should only be entered into when both people have that as the ultimate goal.
While living together definitely has its advantages, it can become a crutch to your relationship as well. Taking the time to go over what each other expects from the other before you make these arrangements will go a long way to helping you create the long-term future you desire. And, in the unfortunate event of a break up, you will have some sort of agreement to fall back on.
Answer the following questions together to help you come to a predetermined agreement about the way things should be handled.
- Who will pay the bills? Discuss what arrangements you want to make regarding the bills. Will you both split the bills? If so, who will be the one responsible for ACTUALLY paying the bills. If one partner is paying the majority or all of the bills, what will the other partner do to have an equal exchange?
- How will you divide the household responsibilities? Will only one person be responsible for cleaning up? Who will handle the food preparation? What is your idea of a clean home? What is your partner's? Who will do laundry? Will you both be responsible for your own mess?
- How will you handle private time? One factor in living together to consider is that your privacy will be severely limited. What kind of agreement will you make regarding needing time alone? Will girls or guys nights out be a problem? Will you spend one day a week on your own?
- What pet peeves really, really, really bother you? You might as well get these out now, BEFORE you move in! Agree on a compromise or solution to handling these.
- How long do you plan to live together before deciding if marriage is right for you? The purpose here is marriage, so having some general decide or cut your loses deadline will avoid wasted years and keep the ultimate goal in target.
- What will happen if you split up? Couples tend to make major purchases together. If you split up, how will those things be handled? Who will keep the apartment or house? How will you handle pets, if you have any? How will you handle any bills you are both responsible for?
Make an agreement up that will include the following things:
-- What bills you are both responsible for. List each one, and add new ones as they come. Trust me you do not want to be stuck in a bad break up and be held responsible for all the remaining bills! Keep all records of payment.
-- What items belong to whom? Avoid any unnecessary problems by keeping track of what belongs to whom. Keep all receipts.