"Why don't you live with your boyfriend?"
I've been asked this question for years.
About 60 percent of couples today live together before getting married.
It's hard enough that my generation has a fear of commitment, but they also won't get married until they "test drive" their relationship.
So, why not dive in like everyone else?
Here are four reasons why I'm against cohabitation before marriage:
1. Cohabitation usually starts with fear.
It starts with, "Aren't you scared you won't be compatible?"
People always say love should be easy, and that's true.
But, loving someone is different than living with someone.
Living together is a learning process.
It's always going to be an adjustment to live with another person, and it's also another living adjustment to live with a man, especially your boyfriend.
I'm sure men can say the same about living with women.
But what remains a constant variable is that no matter how perfect the relationship is, there will always be adjustment, conflict and compromise.
So what if I don't realize until marriage that we can't agree on decor, or that my husband sh*ts with the door open and never rinses his dishes?
These issues can be resolved with a simple open discussion, and if you can't work out the petty issues of living habits without getting into an argument, you clearly have underlying communication problems at hand.
If I jump into living with someone simply looking for reasons why it won't work out, I'm already setting the relationship up for failure.
2. There are other ways to test the union.
There are many other significant variables that can test your relationship.
The one that I find most important is meeting each other's families.
Meeting the family and spending time (and possibly a holiday) together is a gauge of how comfortable you'll be in the long term.
Getting to know the family, learning new traditions, listening to gossip and seeing if his or her family warms up to you is important.
For years to come, you will be spending time with family, and if you can't stand them, or they can't stand you, it's a red flag.
It's not fun to feel like you're walking on eggshells when it comes to family, and it won't be fun for years to come.
There are success stories of those who fought for acceptance until marriage, but those are the exception, not the rule.
3. It's the "'convenient" solution.
You spend all this time together, and you're at each other's homes regularly. So, you might as well move in and save money.
This is a common reason why couples move in together.
But if someone wants to make a huge commitment just to save money, then that diminishes credibility in making any serious decision together in the future.
I want someone to commit to me because there isn't anyone else he'd rather spend his life with, not to save money on rent.
4. You need to discuss your financial situation.
Money is one of those topics no one ever wants to bring up.
We're all embarrassed about how much we make, how much debt we have and what our credit score is.
We want to continue the façade that we have our sh*t together, and our financial situations reveal mistakes we've made in the past or are still making.
That's OK, but as long as you two can discuss your situations without judgment and set goals together, you can help each other grow financially.
The "money talk" is something you should be discussing prior to marriage, and you don't need to move in together to talk about it.
If you're serious about building a life together, you should be discussing every element in a future marriage.
Although I find communication to be a huge part of success in a relationship, it is an element that can be developed over time with work.
It really comes down to common values.
For example, if religion is important to your partner and you want no part in participating at all, conflict is inevitable.
Other examples include one wanting children, while the other does not.
One of my deal breakers is a man's bad relationship with his family.
If he shows utter disrespect to his family, it's a huge red flag.
If he can't be respectful to his own family, what are the chances he'll be respectful to mine in the future?
Understanding each other's common values sets expectations.
Values are the foundation of a relationship, and they should be known if you're looking to build a life and possibly a family together.
Call me traditional, but I want someone to move in with me because he knows I'm it, not some because of some bullsh*t reason to save money or shrug and say, "Well, we might as well."
My ideals may be going extinct, but I stick to my guns.
If someone wants to take the next step of moving in together, it's because that person wants to marry me.
I am a ride-or-die bitch, not someone to settle for.