Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Living together vs Marriage(22 Posts)
Help me determine what I want next wise Mumsnetters!
I have a lovely lovely bf. Together about 18 months. Both late 30's. No kids ( either of us). I lived with someone previously and it ended very acrimoniously. We were engaged and he called it off just before the wedding. I was devastated and it has taken me a long time to get over it. I was single for 3 years before meeting lovely bf.
Things are going really well with lovely bf. We've had a proper romance - lots of lovely dates, romantic breaks etc.
I own my own flat. He rents but has savings (much more savings than me!). I earn quite a bit more than him - 2 to 3 times as much. No debt ( either of us). At the moment we pretty much split the cost of the things we do together equally. This occasionally means me choosing a slightly cheaper hotel or restaurant than I would do but I am not particularly flashy anyway - I would prefer to eat somewhere interesting than somewhere swanky if that makes sense. We like doing similar things eg walking, music etc.
We stay over probably 3/4 nights a week on average. He stays at mine most weekends and we see each other at least another night during the week.
We've talked a lot about marriage and having children. Both are things I want (conscious of my age of course).
To start with I was adamant I wouldn't live with someone again after my ex unless I was married. I feel like my ex took the complete piss out of me. He was happy to let me pay for stuff and pick up after him but when it came to the crunch didn't see me as worthy of marrying. I told current bf this when we started dating.
Now I feel a little differently - I like being with bf and think living together would be nice. It would also let us test each other out before making a massive commitment like marriage is. So far I think we would be compatible living together but am conscious we do still have half the week apart. Everything is still very 'romantic' but It can be different when you live together 24/7 ( I know from previous experience). Bf says I am giving him slightly mixed signals about what I want next, which is true. I am a naturally cautious type and and even more so now after previous bad experience. We are talking about making plans to move things on over the next six months but I am not that clear in my own head what I want to happen.
Help! What would you do?
Live together first. Set clear expectations of who pays for what. Keep both your flats for a while. Keep your social circles and your time for yourselves.
If that works, and you want children, the easiest way to protect yourself legally is marriage. You can of course see solicitors and draw up various things that will give you similar protection but marriage is simpler and easier.
When you're living together, watch for the little red flags. Him not contributing, via effort (housework, cooking, shopping etc) or financially. Ask yourself is my life easier and better now we live together?
I think it's perfectly OK to be frank with him. You like him, you e been burned before and you want to take each step slowly. It's ok to do that. Keep your line of retreat open until you're sure.
Live together first. And start as you mean to go on - have a proper discussion about how to split chores and how to approach finances. Don't just slip into a pattern where you pick up after him.
I seem to be the only woman I know in a relationship where my DH genuinely does 50:50 around the house and I think the main reason why is because I never accepted anything less from the very beginning.
Unless you can't live together outside marriage for religious reasons, I'd definitely recommend cohabiting first.
Yes, I see the logic. But how do I prevent myself getting into a situation where I am acting like someone's wife but not married to them.
When I lived with my ex I kind of expected him to propose within a couple of years of moving in - he waited 5 years to propose and then dumped me!
I think my bf realises I am cautious - he says is in it for the long haul and however long I need he's there. Which is nice to hear
What does 'acting like someone's wife' actually mean and how is it different from being someone's partner in a committed relationship? If marriage is your ultimate goal, living with someone won't prevent that. It sounds like your more concerned that you won't fight your corner for something that is important to you see and not living with your bf prior to marriage as some sought of insurance.
A quality relationship should precede marriage and living together is an opportunity to road test your relationship in a similar environment as marriage. Your current bf isn't your Ex and you aren't the same woman that was in a relationship with your Ex.
Enjoy your relationship without burdening it with your master plan.
If you are late 30s I'd move in but having discussed a v clear timeline for progression to marriage and kids - if you know he's right for you of course. Is he the type to be reasonable about that? I got together with my husband in mid 30s, we moved in but we were clear it'd be 6 months living together, try for kid, get married after kid in low key way. When you are that bit older decisive is good.
I'd stay as you are until you reach the three-year mark and then review. 18 months when you only see each other half the week is still a honeymoon period.
You may see your way clearer at the three-year mark.
After that, if you want to go straight to marriage, you can explain that's the way you feel.
If you want to live together, fine, but set a deadline of when you'd like to be married or you move out again. These things have a tendency to drag on if you are not clear at the outset.
Your boyfriend sounds like he understands you and so can choose to accept or reject your plan.
Statistics show that you are more likely to split up the shorter your dating period and if you live together first.
Normally I would recommend marriage, but in your case I would wait until you were TTC - you earn more, you have the house and in a marriage he would potentially have a claim on that if it went wrong.
I never ever want to be married. So I recommend sorting out all the legal stuff, wills and so on, and live together. But do all the legal things before you have a baby.
If you want a child and are late 30s I'd decide priorities quickly. If you decide ttc is most important, I'd live together ASAP and maybe start ttc ASAP too. There is a risk that it may not be the perfect relationship, but you have far more time to find the perfect relationship than you do to have a child (sorry if this sounds harsh, I've been in this situation myself
I don't want to be the voice of negativity and doom here but if I were in your shoes I wouldn't bother with marriage.
He sounds lovely and you should give living together a go before you make any decisions.
You own a property and make more money than him, the only person to benefit from you getting married would be him.
Posters on mumsnet will always advise getting married before children as a security measure, but in your case you'd essentially be handing over half your hard earned assets.
I do think that marriage is about sharing what you have, as long as you both have something to share.
I doubt mine will be a popular opinion on here but I've had a glass of wine and don't really care.
I agree. If yu both want some kids, you'll have to be much quicker than if you were in your 20s or even early 30s.
YY to moving in together first but then you need a clear timeframe to have kids (and be married if you want that BEFORE having dcs).
You won't have a lot of time to adjust and 'get to know each other'.
Having said that, 18 months after meeting DH, we were married...
suspicious that would be true only if the savings her bf has are very clearly much less than what the OP has on her house.
Nothing is saying that actually it's not similar (esp if you start including pensions etc... Into it)
His savings / the equity in my house are probably a similar amount. If anything his savings might be a bit more!
I do earn a lot more though - so would expect to pay proportionally more of the bills.
I don't want to view marriage as purely a financial transaction though. Yes, finances are important to a certain degree but I think he brings more to the relationship than what he earns (as do I for that matter - I don't want to be valued solely on my earning potential!!). For me marriage is about making my own family and putting down roots, not just pooling finances.
Iestyn - I agree about the masterplan comment - that is a fair comment. Marriage is important to me for the reason I've noted above but it's got to be right for both of us rather than a box to be ticked as you have pointed out.
Toadgirl - 3 years seems much too long to wait. Most people I know who meet in their 30's move in after 6 months, so I feel we are moving quite slowly and cautiously anyway.
3 years seems much too long to wait
I agree it seems a long time as you are late 30s and would like children.
I was kind of thinking if you wanted to go straight to marriage and TTC, it would be better after three years. You could just go straight for the whole package at that point.
Most people I know who meet in their 30's move in after 6 months, so I feel we are moving quite slowly and cautiously anyway
Yes, it's true, the longer the better and 18 months is a substantial chunk of time.
I suppose you just need to decide if you are prepared to live together without marriage and how long you'd like to trial that before getting wed. You definitely don't want to get caught in another situation like with your ex. You haven't time to lose if you want children.
It sounds like your man is definitely taking on board what you say, which is a great start.
I did the same as crazyhead, late 30s, never lived with anyone, always said I'd want to be married first but knew I wanted kids. after a year together he moved in with me and we agreed 6 months, see how it goes and then start TTC if both still happy. We also agreed 'ground rules' like how to split chores, money etc. This has worked well for us, I think the main point is that you can arrange things in a way that suits you as a couple even if that's live together, then decide if you'd like to marry in a years time of whatever?
I think what I'm trying to say is that if you want to be married before children, then you don't want the living together/trial period to start getting protracted as you could find yourself years into the relationship anyway before you start TTC.
I didn't live with my DH before marriage, however I spent almost every night at his flat. You see people's true colours when you live together though.
Rather than just live together with no concrete discussions, why not discuss timelines for engagement and marriage before you live together. If you realise you're not compatible after 6 months or less, then you part company
So you are living together with a view to marriage. Not to marry sometime in the future, but in 2 years time or whatever.
I'm also not in support of doing wifely duties without being a wife, or an intended wife.
If it's at all possible financially, I would recommend that you keep your current home and rent it out when you live with or get married to him.
A woman being financially secure is something I strongly believe in, but if the figures won't balance then make other plans.
I think it's crucial to live together for a decent amount of time before making any kind of big commitment (joint mortgage, marriage, child). I suggest he moves in with you but you see a solicitor to get a legal document drawn up to say that he has no claim on the equity. Work out a fair division of finances and household chores. See how it goes! If it goes well, great - you can consider co ownership, marriage, children etc - and if it doesn't he can just move out. Nothing ventured nothing gained.
Remember this is another relationship and another man. He is not your ex. I can imagine how hard it must be to let go of the hurt your ex caused you, but you must do your best to leave it behind.
(I'm a wife and don't do much by way of "wifely duties", whatever they are )
Join the discussion
Please login first.