So, cohabitation is something that I have always wanted to discuss. For those of you who want it defined in layman’s terms, cohabitation is when two people, who are not married, live together and have a sexual relationship (with the exception of couples who are practising celibacy of course).
I cohabited for a very brief period and during this time I learnt so much about myself (good and let’s say, areas for improvement). It is true what they say by the way, you never know someone until you live with them and I should also add that you never know yourself until you are responsible for the upkeep and care of yourself and your partner too.
If you are thinking about cohabiting, especially if you are courting, here are my words of wisdom…
- Be ready – If your relationship isn’t healthy, mutually respectful and fulfilling, DO NOT live together. Take it from me, when more responsibilities are thrown into the mix and the relationship isn’t stable, it will push the two of you further apart a lot quicker. Don’t adopt the mindset of ‘If I do this, maybe he’ll’ or If I did this more, maybe she’ll’. Accept all situations for what they are. I think this is one of the biggest problems we have as millennials, some of our relationships last a lot longer than they should because of this instant desire for commitment.
- Enjoy your relationship beforehand – I have heard countless stories about couples who cohabit way too early into their relationship and have so many problems soon after. The first year of a relationship should be all about getting to know one another, sharing experiences, allowing your partner into your world, building a beautiful bond. You shouldn’t need to be worrying about rent and bills and who’s going to do the food shopping on a weekly basis. In my personal opinion, I don’t think that a major commitment should be made within the first year of a relationship. I guess some people would disagree because of the ‘Why wait when you know?’ ideology (fair enough).
- Find a medium – always ensure you are able to return to your happy place after a disagreement. The worst thing a cohabiting couple can do is refuse to let things go. Can you imagine coming home to someone who can’t let Tuesday’s minor argument go and its Friday already? All I’m simply saying is when you live with somebody, you have to pick your battles. Yes, you will argue at times, it’s inevitable but know which arguments to talk out and which ones to let go.
- Honesty IS the best policy – do you share the same values, hopes etc for the future? This is SO important and it’s only through getting to know your partner and spending quality time with them that you will gain an understanding of their values, hopes, dreams. Don’t be afraid to be open and don’t go along with things you’re not 100% about just to make your partner happy. In the moment, it may seem fine but other time, you may realise that you didn’t stay true to yourself and resentment may start to kick in.
- Can you honestly imagine spending your life with your partner? – Some young couples don’t realise that cohabitation is a test. It’s a test of what life would be like if you were a married couple. I think that some couples move in with each other and just adopt an ‘I’ll see how this goes’ approach. Personally, I think this is wrong. If you can’t cohabit successfully, then your chances of having a happy marriage will significantly reduce. On the other hand, if you are able to pinpoint and address the reasons why living together is such a challenge, then you may be able to move forward.
In order to successfully cohabit with the person you love, you have to be ready. There is no question about it. Take time to really understand what you are getting into and don’t be afraid to share your hopes and expectations. Remember that this is a new experience for the both of you and be patient, understanding and loving. To transition from having your own space to sharing it with someone else 24/7 can be daunting but if you have chosen the right person to settle down with, the benefits far outweigh the cons.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know what you think about cohabiting with a partner. Is it something you’ve done? Is it something you want to do in 2018?