man's legs dragging a ball and chain

Ask Rene: Living Together
Versus Love Everlasting….
What Should I Do?

Hi Rene:

I’m hoping you can help me. My boyfriend and I have talked about getting married. Even though he loves me, he’s not sure he wants to be married again (it would be a second marriage for both of us). Now, here’s the rub.

We’re supposed to move in together this fall; he thinks it makes more financial sense to live together now. But I would like to wait until we are at least engaged. On the other hand, I really don’t want to lose him and I think if we do move in together it will be easier for him to propose.

Should I wait until we’re engaged to live together or just do it now?


Waiting and willing


Dear W and W:

Let me start with your last sentence first.. “I think if we do move in together it will  be easier for him to propose.”

Um. No.

You know what will be easier? For the two of you to settle into a comfortable routine that looks something like this:

You work hard and so does he. On Friday night, you’re both too tired to go out, so as soon as you get home, he takes off his pants (trust me, I’ve seen this in action) and orders a pizza and a six-pack. You will then get comfortable on the sofa, binge-watching 30 Rock on Netflix for the next several hours before falling into bed. The only thing that will change will be the channels and the toppings on your pizza. Maybe.

So, here’s what I would do if I were you.


Hand writing Keep It Super Simple with white chalk on blackboard.

You need to be really, REALLY clear with him about what you want. Do not drop hints, thinking he’ll get it; men (and I may take some heat for this but Good Enough Guy and my own husband will probably back me up on this) do much better with very clear communication. Heck, we all do. So give that to him. If you want to be married, say, “I want to be married” and then say by when. There is no room for interpretation in that statement.

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Nothing but truth, conceptual words on blackboard

You ever hear that phrase, “Name it to claim it?” Yeah. This right here. Along with being explicit with your boyfriend you need to be truthful with yourself. Saying you want to be married doesn’t make you desperate; it means you know what you want.

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Moving in with your boyfriend is NOT going to move you closer to the alter. As I said above, I think there’s actually a good chance it delays things even more. Starting a life together (combining  finances, housing, and everything that goes with it) without an agreement on where this will ultimately lead, is like commitment-lite. It means that he (and you) can cut and run at the first sign of trouble. That’s not what marriage is.

If he’s balking now, the move is not to move in with him and complicate things further; the smart thing would be to let him figure it out on his own and fill  you in when he’s arrived at some conclusion. However, I would not be waiting around if I were you.

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Now here’s the really hard part: you are going to have to decide what you will do if  your boyfriend decides he does NOT want to be married. If he says no, will you stay? Will you be satisfied living in your current situation for the foreseeable future, possibly forever?

My advice? Do not start sharing a life with your boyfriend until there is a larger commitment looming in the form of a ring and some save the date cards.

Good luck to you!

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