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Is living together like marriage?

One of my friends recently broke up with her long term boyfriend. They had been living together for years and she is having a hard time with the break up.

She said that they had merged their lives so much, it feels like she is going through a divorce. From finances to owning a pet together, untangling their lives is pretty painful.

While I won’t take away from her pain, I wondered if leaving a live-in situation could be compared to a marriage. Is living together that much like a marriage?

Does it have the same pros and cons? When a couple is “playing house” are they enjoying the benefits of marriage without the big commitment?

By Wise Diva, Misadventures in Atlanta Dating Blog

401 comments Add your comment

Foxy

July 28th, 2011
8:13 am

Morning Kids:

Foxy thinks you get all the “cons” but none of the “Pros” when living together. Foxy says make him buy the package. :)

Fion

July 28th, 2011
8:38 am

“While I won’t take away from her pain, I wondered if leaving a live-in situation could be compared to a marriage. Is living together that much like a marriage?”

Please tell me you’re joking!

Shannon

July 28th, 2011
8:40 am

I have been living with my boyfriend for 5 years and we have no plans to get married. I bought the house that we live in (although we both pay the mortgage), but we each have our own separate car payments, bill payments, checking accounts, etc. I think we are definitely enjoying the benefits of being married, without all the hoopla of that wedding. And I’m perfectly okay with that!

Dave

July 28th, 2011
8:47 am

Breaking up is nothing like getting a divorce because of the lawyers, legal aspects and stigma associated with it. No contest.

G

July 28th, 2011
8:51 am

“Does it have the same pros and cons? When a couple is “playing house” are they enjoying the benefits of marriage without the big commitment?”

I think it has pros and cons. I definitely think it is necessary to live with a person before you make the lifelong commitment of marriage to them because it gives you a chance to see how they REALLY live. Depending on how the household is ran would decide whether or not it was like a marriage but if you guys simply share a living space but have separate finances I do not think it is comparable to a marriage. I think it is just like having a roommate that you love and share a bedroom with!

markie mark

July 28th, 2011
8:53 am

I think it mirrors marriage to a large degree….but the time factor of the relationship has a lot to do with it…( dont forget common marriage laws, people…..ever heard of the word palimony?)

SlimNu

July 28th, 2011
8:59 am

I sort of felt like that when I moved out from being with the ex…

Oh, yeah….Good morning. And um…yeah…I’m struggling today but thank goodness this is my Friday. Picked up The Beau last night :oops:

Got the milk didn't buy the cow

July 28th, 2011
9:00 am

Any breakup is like a divorce two people are in pain and seperating their lives. Without a marriage license or with has no bearing and as a compassionate and caring individual everyone deserves your support.

With 55%+ of all marriages ending in divorce, I think it is a farce to treat this as some sacred institution. Respect the people and their commitment but whether they have a piece of paper is irrelevant.

And this “Make him buy the package” philosophy though appearing femminist actually perpetuates male misogynistic attitudes.

Georgia is among 10 Southern states with the highest rates of divorce in the nation. Data from the Census Bureau shows that the Southern Bible Belt states have the highest divorce rates in the country with born-again Christians within those states having the highest rates of individual divorce than people of any other denomination. Georgia joins Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas with the dubious distinction of being one of the top 10 divorce rate states today.And I think the Georgia statistics are understated due to the complicated nature of divorce in Georgia.

If two people are happy, let them be.

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
9:02 am

Good morning!

I believe living together definitely mirrors a marriage. When one commingles their entire life with another, absent a marriage certificate, no doubt it feels like a divorce. It is devastating when a relationship collapses, especially if years have been invested.

When a couple is “playing house” are they enjoying the benefits of marriage without the big commitment? The only “benefit” of marriage they have is sexual. Unless they live in a state that recognizes commonlaw marriages, there are no benefits…they’ve been dating w FWB while living together. The other so-called “benefit” is they don’t need to hire a lawyer or go to court to divvy up personal belongings!

Randyt (aka, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS)

July 28th, 2011
9:03 am

I am only going to address this from the male side for a moment.

Have the people on here who are talking about living together and comparing it to marriage actually been married before? I can only speak for myself, but I know marriage…and divorce. Both are TOUGH. I suppose it is possible to live with someone then marry them, but my gut feeling is that most of the time the guy (maybe the gal) will see no particular reason to get married if they live together. With living together, they have all the advantages and forego the major downside to a male…COMMITTMENT.

Do what you think is right ladies, but know that the man always will have in the back of his mind that he can walk/run at any time…and might.

I know this defies the “Man Law Book” that used to be touted on here, but I personally refuse to live with a woman (once maybe, but as I have become older and more aware, nope). If I do not care enough to marry her, then I want us both to have our own places so that when the “waste matter hits the Westinghouse” we can detach easily and cool off. Overnights are fine, but when we move in together, there will be a commitment. Just my take.

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
9:07 am

@SlimNu ~ you won’t get off that easy. What attire did you greet him with? How was the ride back home? Did you pull to the side of the road? Once you got inside your home, was it on and popping? Hey don’t scold me, I’m living vicariously through you for the moment. :lol: :lol:

Randyt (aka, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS)

July 28th, 2011
9:08 am

Strangely, some of the best marriages I have ever seen, with genuine love and commitment, were Hindus in arranged marriages where they didn’t even meet their wives/husbands until a few days before the marriage. I think it is becuase they try harder because “failure is not an option”. Go figure.

Into the Light

July 28th, 2011
9:11 am

@Slim: Ditto to what Leggs said….. :) :)

Country Gal

July 28th, 2011
9:14 am

Marriage is a ceremony and piece of paper. We have lived together wonderfully 12 years without either. Sharing all kinds of emotions from the joys of our 3 children to the heartbreaks that are bound to come as well. We are bound together by many things and I love my mate dearly. My biggest issue is not derived from the lack of a ring but comes from not having enough time in the day. Working a job, cleaning and taking care of everyone and praying there’s enough time left over at the end of the day for a little lovin’ …….and a load of laundry.

Into the Light

July 28th, 2011
9:14 am

With living together, they have all the advantages and forego the major downside to a male…COMMITTMENT

Living together IS a commitment. It is to me anyway.

SlimNu

July 28th, 2011
9:19 am

Leggs – To start, I went with the silky robe, see-through g-strings (if you can imagine that lol) and stilletos. He had the kool-aid smile once he realized what I had on. So he was messing around with me in the car but I was driving. We stopped at the licka stow for some adult spirits and headed to the house (which is just a hop skip and a jump from the airport) So after we attacked each other, I went and fixed us some dranks while he unpacked and got comfy, then I changed into my white tube top and sheer white panties…..fast forward to him hard and fast asleep :lol: :oops:

MCH

July 28th, 2011
9:25 am

Hey Dave when i look in the mirror I C U ;-)

Exiled!

July 28th, 2011
9:29 am

Good morning!

Getting a break up is always tough. It’s worse when u living together,married or not.

Now if u not living together and wanna break up,for a male,it’s wasaay way easier.

Dont forget that very emotional chic when u break up with her, fellas, whilst all the while,she had this illusion that u were heading to the alter!
Women luv to read signs and qs. Living together,for most,means he’s somewhat heading to the promised Land. When u alter those plans while all this while,she was cooking and u were milking that cow?

BeWare!

off topic: who drinks guineas(any beer for that matter) at 7:30 in the morning?

Good day folks.

Into the Light

July 28th, 2011
9:36 am

It’s the breakfast of champions, Ex! :) I kid….

Blondie

July 28th, 2011
9:38 am

In a few short months, my boyfriend and I are moving in together. He’d prefer we’d get engaged first, but since I’ve never lived with anyone except my parents -I’ve asked that he give me/us six months to adjust once we’ve started co-habitation. I think that if you live with someone for more than 3 years and there’s no rock on your finger with a plan to get married, you’re both waiting for something better to come along. You should live together for at least a year before you get married -before you buy the car, you take it for a test drive.

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
9:43 am

OMG, thanks SlimNU. It appears you achieved what you wanted. Kudos! :wink:

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
9:44 am

Speaking about beer, I finally got rid of the 16 bottles of beer I had in the fridge since Superbowl. Gave the last one away last night.

Michael P.

July 28th, 2011
9:45 am

I like what Shannon had to say, however, my “Wife” and I have a different view. We are also living together, though to be frank, I am far more commited to her, emotionally, spiritually and in every other sense, than I was to my previous wife, whom I was legally married to.
“Commitment” is in the heart and soul of the individuals involved, not in the piece of paper that the county or state requires to recognize the “legality” of your union.
My wife also bought the home where we live, and we also both pay the mortgage, and “our” car payments, and “our” auto insurance, and “our” bills and all other debts. My paycheck goes into ‘our’ bank account. We are bonded by our love and devotion to one another, and not by some legal standard that means absolutely nothing in the greater sceme of things.
A marriage license doesn’t guarantee two people will stay together for their lifetimes, as witnessed by our 50% divorce rate. Neither does it promise nor guarantee fidelity, in any sense, within the union, regardless of the “vow”, pets, finances, or even children.
As to my wife and I, our union was witnessed by God, as we understand Him (or Her in my wifes case) to be. We were ‘Hand-Fasted’ six years ago, and all our friends and co-workers were invited to our ceremony, which was held in the wooded area behind our home, and was performed by an ordained minister. Many of our friends, who were not familiar with this tradition, asked afterward if the ceremony was legal? Our response; does it really matter?
If you are truly commited and devoted to the one you’re with, nothing can or will keep you apart, and if you’re not…well, over 50% of us already know the answer to that.
Bear in mind that 150 years ago, marriages and their corresponding records were not kept by the state or county in which the marriage took place. They were held in the church where the ceremony was performed, or written in the Family Record Section at the beginning of the family Bible…there was no “legal” documentation which was recorded and held at a ‘Hall of Records’.
Now, you can argue that the legal issue is to protect assets and children produced in the union, but does it really? How many men AND women out their have shirked their parental duties and ditched their spouses for someone else, for some undisclosed reason, or even for what they consider to be better sex, more money or greater social prestige. In another sense, if one spouse is mentally, emotionally, financially or physically abusing the other or the children, the marriage license is now more like a set of handcuffs, legally binding the two together, and requiring the abused to take extensive and expensive legal action to seperate themselves from the abuser, not to mention the deep emotional trauma that could be suffered during the course of the procedings
I don’t believe our problems are with our current social, sexual or even financial climate, but with our values as humans. We have changed, morally and spiritually, over the past few decades, and not for the better, in my opinion.
Yes, living together IS the same as marriage, IF that’s what the two individuals involved in the union want it to be.

kimmie

July 28th, 2011
9:45 am

Morning All!

Exiled – You smelled beer on someone’s breath at work this morning? Yuck!!

Topic – If Wise’s friend has been with this guy a long time, any breakup is hard. The fact that they lived together, married or not, makes it VERY hard, feelings-wise anyway. Legally, it’s only less complicated than a divorce if there is nothing you guys are fighting over.

As for shacking mirroring the ultimate commitment, I would really have to say no. Sure, you can look at the practical, day-to-day aspect of it. But, even that is skewed. I’m so with Randy on this. It’s always in the back of one’s mind that this is not “for real”, that one can really cut out at any time. No real incentive to try to make it work, if one is not inclined to do so.

Everyone has to do what they think is best for them. For me, a weekend, okay, but living together was never an option with any I dated. I could see how you REALLY live over the course of dating and regular weekends over.I even had one to threaten that he would never marry me unless we lived together for awhile. He knew I didn’t believe in it. If he would use that as a “threat”, it’s no telling what else he would try to threaten me with. I let him go on about his way. And I think those that say “you don’t need a piece of paper” or always quoting divorse stats are fooling themselves as well. Like my mom used to say, there are no shortcuts.

I’m with Randy – if a guy doesn’t care enough to marry you, keep seperate residences.

SlimNu

July 28th, 2011
9:48 am

Leggs – So I had to take him to pick up his car this morning since it was in the shop while he was gone. I get up to go to the bathroom and there’s blood on the door. Then he gets up and I see blood all over his shirt. This fool done cut his hand some kind of way during the nightly festivities. He looked at me confused at first and I said, It ain’t me :lol: Oh yeah, I had another small surprise that didn’t take him long to discover…I had got a little razor happy the other day and just said to hell with it and went baby’s bottom-Mr.Clean bald down yonder. He was like Ooohhh! So I slapped his hand and told him to get outta there lol I’m just glad he’s home ;-)

Lovely Brown

July 28th, 2011
9:50 am

Good Morning all! :-)

I think it is becuase they try harder because “failure is not an option”. Go figure.

I agree with this Randyt- I believe that most( not all) people try harder when marriage comes into play. You just can’t walk away. I lived with my hubby before we got married, it was still a change because we looked at each other like :shock: I am really tied to this fool now! :lol: j/k. I know people that have lived together for years and have been through some mess…..I am not/would not go through the fire with a “boyfriend”. I just could not do it, it’s not me. However, I don’t knock those that do. Do you! And to the people that say it’s just a piece of paper…whatever. Hit me up when you have been married for 15 years…and holding on :-)

kimmie

July 28th, 2011
9:50 am

Slim – Sounds like you two have fun together! I love hearing that.

Celisea

July 28th, 2011
9:52 am

Morning,

Is that MCHammock in the house? Welcome back buddy :) Stay one person and you’ll do just fine :)

On topic: You would have to experience both marriage and living together to make an honest comparison.

I lived with ex for a number of years and frankly it’s nothing I’d ever do again. Nothing to do with milking the cow. Heck it’s the same mentality IMO with getting at your place, my place or ours…if we ain’t married. Something is amiss though. I don’t mean in a monetary or in the physical sense…just IMO something is not there. I was cool living with buddy but after a while when I realized he was holding me back, I didn’t want to stay. Bbqing, eating out, clubbng and lots and lots of sex…then what(shrugs)? Having “that”conversation time and time again became futile and draining for me. HE NEVER “GOT” IT. He used to LOOOVE to say (after talking about growing and moving higher), “all I need to do is sh@t shower and shave”….for real? Aside from having a physical presence, which btw takes some getting use to, it was time to bid him adieu. I think too he was just a pretty face and good at sex….and that was all. Walking away from living together was easy.

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
9:54 am

@SlimNu ~ you are a hot mess!

Nevertheless, what kind of freaky deaky you guys got into that resulted in blood on his shirt and the door? Did you ever figure out how he cut himself and with what?

@Michael P. ~ since I’ve been married and divorced, your post is on point for me.

Lovely Brown

July 28th, 2011
9:55 am

Speaking about beer, I finally got rid of the 16 bottles of beer I had in the fridge since Superbowl. Gave the last one away last night

@ Leggs- I bet that was the coldest beer ever! I have never had beer for breakfast, but vodka…now THAT is the breakfast of champions :lol:

MsMarriedUp

July 28th, 2011
9:58 am

It may feel like a divorce, but can ASSURE anyone it IS NOT! …hardly compares to divorce attorneys, and divorce court, and motions and filings and RULINGS!!! And getting them taxes straight. Who claims what and whom. And a PET!?! Are you kidding me!?! Try having to split a home, and children, and getting them insurance policies straight.

Emotionally maybe… and even that’s subject. Sometimes by the time a real married person gets way into this divorce, why they had not one emotion left over to care about the marriage.

Nothing I’ve experienced though;-) I’m just saying… lol

Celisea

July 28th, 2011
9:59 am

He didn’t let go though for a looooooong time. He would show up ALLLL the time unexpected saying “we need to talk.” I think not buddy. When I tried to talk you was not listening. I was done talking. He went from we need to talk to I need to spend time with my kid to we need to do things as a family. Whatever honey…that ship done sailed. I was glad when I got gone….seriously. He tried to sabatoge my thing with the stockbroker, he would call my sister and after she died my brother. But um, er…that wasn’t the same convo. My brother laid him out. Anyway…good riddance to bad rubbish…lol

Michael P.

July 28th, 2011
10:03 am

Just a quick post-script, my wife does have a total 3.5 carrat “wedding ring” on her finger that would make most of the women on this blog green with envy! And, as I was broke financially after my divorce from the ex, I traded in most of my firearms in order to buy it for her! As I said before; commitment is within the individual.

abc

July 28th, 2011
10:03 am

No, living together isn’t anything like marriage. But I think one must consider what marriage really is.

Marriage is an invention of God. Note that the Bible doesn’t say anything about ceremonies, pastoral involvement, etc.; it’s a commitment between a man and woman, and a covenant with God for providing you a mate.

So, do you need a ceremony and legal arrangement to be married? No. Case in point is common law marriage as far as society recognizing that it’s true. If you’re living together, is that pretty much the same as being married? No. A marriage is a firm and steadfast commitment with God at the center, not a shack job.

Celisea

July 28th, 2011
10:05 am

abc – I agree.

Exiled!

July 28th, 2011
10:06 am

Kimmie!

I saw him come to the counter where I was eating nut breakfast(airport lounge) and he said’ I pint Guineas please’ then sat down to drank!

SlimNu

July 28th, 2011
10:06 am

Leggs – That will remain a mystery I suppose until we find something sharp with his blood stains on it. He said I must’ve cut him in his sleep lol

Lovely Brown

July 28th, 2011
10:06 am

MsMarriedUp- I agree with your post @ 9:58….so true!

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
10:07 am

@Celisea ~ girl, don’t I know what you’re saying. My ex still hasn’t let go. However, I don’t backtrack. I definitely never understood marriage, divorce that person, then marry them again! I’m simply not cut from that fabric.

Exiled!

July 28th, 2011
10:08 am

Not ‘nut’ breakfast but ‘my’ breakfast

Celisea

July 28th, 2011
10:09 am

I think often times the comparison is made because the motions of both living together and being married are the same (eating together, 2 bodies present, sex, kids produced sometimes) but the essential piece that abc mentioned is the commitment between man and woman goes further and bound to a covenant with God. That’s the piece that’s often overlooked and sort of placed aside.

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
10:09 am

“…make most of the women on this blog green with envy!” That’s not nice to say. Apparently, you haven’t picked up the vibe of the women on the blog. We are not jealous of anyone, nor do we envy anyone. We applaud those that have whatever material possession they have! There are more important things to be concerned about other than the size of one’s ring….IJS!

Purple Rain

July 28th, 2011
10:12 am

Two totally different things and levels of accountability. Not married and living together, just walk out and deal with the emotional. Married and getting divorced there is a bunch of legalize and stuff to make it that much more difficult all the while building more animoisty during the process. There is a difference between an ugly breakup and an ugly divorce. I had a co worker who broke up with his live in girlfriend. He asked me to help him move his furniture out because I had a truck, I go there to help him move and as we are loading she pulls up with some dude and that dude pulls a gun. Come to find out, my co worker was basically taking stuff that was not his and had me caught up in the middle of it. I can laugh at it now, but I made him and the dude take the stuff out of my truck and left them all there. I don’t believe in the eternal live together, there has to be some sort of goal for me.

Celisea

July 28th, 2011
10:12 am

Leggs – Girl, sho hate it for you…lol It took this fool what, until my kid was about 7 or 8? It wasn’t just “in the middle of the night” stuff. This joker would be parked outside waiting on me sometimes. The last time he showed up unexpectedly was New Year’s 2009. He knocked and my kid peeked out the window and said “oh it’s so and so.” I turned back over and she got back in the bed. That might sound mean but what else should I have done? When I got ready to leave about 1.5 hours later, he was still outside. Followed me until I pulled over in a gas station and got out. I took the tag number and placed my finger on the number 9. I told him you got 2 seconds to get ghost.

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
10:12 am

@SlimNU ~ I just snorted over here laughing out loud. I was picturing you cutting him cuz you weren’t finished, but you wore his behind out and he had to go to sleep. You standing over him with hands on hips saying, OH NO YOU DIDN’T, then go the kitchen for a steak knife and take a slash to his side. Slip the knife under the bed, then begrudingly fall asleep yourself. :lol: :lol:

Just saying

July 28th, 2011
10:13 am

My husband & I have known about a dozen women who between the ages of about 26 to 34 were living with their boyfriends. In every case after they broke up the guy married someone else within a year. Our assessment is like in that movie “When Harry met Sally” the guy wanted to be married, but not to her. She was just saving the place for someone else. The woman always loses because she’s not looking for her true intended during her prime. Most of these women are still single many years later. If a guy wants to marry you, he’ll marry you and ladies don’t take an offer to let you move in as a proposal of marraige.

Celisea

July 28th, 2011
10:13 am

“…make most of the women on this blog green with envy!”

I didn’t agree with that either but I didn’t want to cause a ruckus. Some of us don’t get up in arms over material stuff.

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
10:13 am

@Ex ~ I won’t even say what I was thinking reading your “nut breakfast!”

Exiled!

July 28th, 2011
10:16 am

‘I’m just glad he is home’

@Slim?

So we actually talking about u and ur guy this morning..the living arrangements?

Leggs

July 28th, 2011
10:17 am

@Celisea ~ mine isn’t a stalker. He did the drive bys the first year where I could see him. He’s probably still doing them, just not as often. He knows I’m not coming back to him. He constantly texts me how he blew a good woman! I never comment back to him, but always say to myself “you damn skippy!” If he wants to waste his time spying on me, that’s his time wasted.