Sharing the Lease: The Knock-off Marriage

Her:  Giirrllllll, he said we should move in together
Me: Oh really?
Her: Yep.
Me: Oh okay.  When ya’ll plan on getting married?
Her: I dunno, girl.
Me: Has he brought it up?
Her: Nah, not really.  But I think I will have a dinner party to celebrate.
Me: To celebrate what?
Her: Him moving in.
Me: …
Her: Hello??
Me: Yea, I am just looking for the best way to say that sounds ridiculous.
As the conversation progressed, she finally admitted that what she really wanted was an engagement party but living together seemed like a good step towards that although he has never mentioned marriage.  She said she didn’t want to scare him away by bringing it up.  She said, honestly, she could use the savings by him moving in because he said he would split the cost of the bills and he is always over there anyway. I said mmhmm in between and gave the standard “if you’re happy, then I’m happy for you” friend spill.  She knows me well enough not to believe it and asked how I really felt about it.
I lived with a man before, and while all relationships are different, it is something that I made a personal choice not to do again.  These are the reasons why:
1)        All of the Work, None of the Title: When you live with a man that you are not married to, as a woman you automatically feel that the audition for wife has begun.  So you take on the role that a wife- the cooking, the cleaning, the loving, the nurturing- without the title or benefits.   And while as a girlfriend, you may do all of the things, it is nothing like the full time duties when living with a man.  It is like working for free, while when you are not living together it is more like you are volunteering.  You can make your own schedule and leave whenever.  However, by living together you figuratively and literally rob yourself of benefits that come with the term spouse.  There are no medical and dental options or tax breaks for heterosexual live-in girlfriends like there are for wives.  Maybe working for free is too harsh, maybe it is more similar to be underpaid and overworked because hopefully this man provides some benefit to you other going half on the rent.  If that is all he is doing, you can get a roommate.  She didn’t like that part.
2)        You Lose the Go-Home Ability: I know right now, you claim you can’t get enough of each other and talk to each other 20 times a day and see each other day and can’t be more than 5 feet from each other every single but eventually that will get old.  You will grow tired of each other.  By living together you lose that option to allow time for your relationship to breathe, so it can grow until you are both ready for the commitment of marriage.  And what if he cheats…again??  “He will have no reason to cheat if we live together,” she says.  I sigh deeply and respond, “but what if he does?  Are you going to let him stay with you after he cheats?”  Probably, because you are overly invested in a relationship prematurely.  It is much easier to keep it moving to someone worth your time when you are not tied down in a shared lease with a man.
3)        If and When You Break Up You Don’t Get $750 Million Anything: I’m not saying it is not going to last forever, I am just saying what if it doesn’t.  The statistics are not in your favor.  You are fully emotionally invested,  and now financially invested.  So if you break up, you deal with it like you would a divorce, yet you get absolutely nothing to make you feel better about wasting your time it easier to pick up the pieces and move forward.   You don’t think he is aware of this?  He can get all of the benefits of marriage without spiritual, legal, and financial commitment? Hmph.
So while I absolutely feel you need to spend lots and lots and lots of time to truly know each other before you get married, shacking it up is no longer a feasible option for me.   About the best I can do is give him a little space in a drawer and keep his favorite drink stocked.   That is about as much as I can commit before I get his full and legal commitment.

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5 Responses to Sharing the Lease: The Knock-off Marriage

  1. S Shaw says:

    Hmm I dont think I agree based on personal experience. Im not sure about your conviction on it but are you saying people should wait for marriage to move in together? Not living together before marriage is just waiting til money & family is on the line to find out u dont really wanna live with this motherfucker forever. I lived with my wife before we were married and it made the transition so much easier.
    1. As far as the cooking & cleaning its all in how you arrange it…would you not clean your own domicile if u lived alone? Well ok then…he should help of course, but chores should be an arrangement not an obligation. I dont cook, but my wfie does. We both clean based on who’s home when…simple.
    2. The Go-Home ability is sometimes a luxury but if you are looking towards a fruitful marriage at some point, u need to grasp the idea of not running away and jsut working shit out. When you are married u will not be able to leave (all yo shit is there) so consider it practice for the future.
    3. Lastly marriage should never be viewed as a “benefit”…its only a legal agreement and public assertion of your commitment…as far as the two of you, you should be in your mind married at least a year beforehand! This has zilch to do with money or “benefits”.
    I just think u cant really get the idea of who a person really is and if you are compatible in terms of living together until you actually live together. Not moving in together before marriage is just asking for troubles after the union which is made all the more complicated with the added burden of THEN changing your living arrangements. At that point, depending on prenup or absence of such, money, lease limitations etc are all on the line…which to me is a foolish predicament to be in.

    • I knew you would be the first on this! lol! And I am not saying you don’t have any valid points but I think we both can agree you and your wife is not the majority. The majority of those relationships fail and never make it to marriage. The fact that he hasn’t begin to talk about marriage makes me believe is just trying to get the most out of the situation and take advantage of her wanting some man to lay her head next to at night.

      • S Shaw says:

        True…if u aint NEVER brought up marriage and if u aint at minimum on “wifey” STATUS movin in is foolish. My wife and I may not be the majority because too many still marry based on tenure (“well we been stuck with each other 3 years so fuck it) instead of your girl/man being your best friend…at that point it aint no thang to move in…just makes sense…no point in payin 2 rents lol. But yes there are those who move in wishin and prayin to one day DISCUSS marriage and thats foolish…your post just seemed like u were saying never move in befroe marriage.

        • I am saying I wouldn’t recommend it. I don’t think it takes years to see if you can live with someone before marriage. I think it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. A few months in you know what type of person he is to live with-if he nasty and trifling or not. Everything else within the relationship can be done outside of living in the same place. So yes I do promote frequent slumber parties 😉 and vacations at each other places but for ME, I wouldn’t do a full-in move in anymore. And from my close friends that have done it most like 85% have not married their live -in boos.

  2. mrjames8 says:

    All of what you said above is why black women are losing black men to other races. Any man with half a brain wouldn’t live with, let alone marry someone that follows the thinking you’re suggesting. You live together to see if you’re compatible, as S Shaw so eloquently put. Suggesting that you shouldn’t live with a person first because it’s doomed to failure statistically makes about as much sense as me suggesting that a person never dates because statistically you’re probably going to break up. Statistically if you’ve only ever dated 9 people before you get married you’re only at a 10% success rate which isn’t that great. But that’s why you date and put yourself out their, to see what may become. The half steppin’ that you’re talking about is the reason the black community is in the state it’s in now. Because black women are looking for a damn hand out, someone to take care of them, without showing themselves approved. Why the hell would I, successful black man, want to share my life with someone that is so worried about a title she can’t focus on the true point of us being together? Why spend my life with someone that has a habit of sending me home at the first sign of trouble instead of working it out with me like a relationship calls for? Why would I marry someone that feels like when we break up they should be financially reimbursed for her “trouble”? I’m no golddigger-ologist(thank you Brandon Miller) but it looks to me like you’re only in it for the money. Then you say you’ll do all of the good stuff after we are married. How can I believe what I don’t see? Expecting people to change for the better is why relationships end. So to your friend you had that conversation with I say to you boo-boo, if you think he is gonna cheat on you again don’t do it but if you don’t think he will you love that man with all your heart and soul and you put your everything into that relationship because what your friend is suggesting is absolutely ridiculous.

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