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Living Together - A Step Before Marriage or a Mistake

Updated on September 19, 2008

What is he thinking?

The Eternal Girlfriend Syndrome

"Veronica, I'm a 28 year old woman, in a committed relationship with a guy for 1 year now. My boyfriend wants to move in with me. I'm excited and want that, but I am afraid that I will become like those couples that don't ever marry.

What should I do?



You're right to be concerned.

I've known several couples like the kind you mentioned that move in together and never marry. I call it the Eternal Girlfriend Syndrome. Kay, you're boyfriend could have any one of a gazillion reasons to want to move in with you. They are all valid but they aren't all in line with your goals. I'm assuming from your concern that you want to get married. He could want to move in as a step toward marriage, to try out how the two of you do sharing household chores and finances, working as a team, living and melding day to day. Maybe he's ready to take the next step and for him this is it.

Or..... he could want to move in with marriage as the last thing on his mind. Maybe you have a nicer place than he does, maybe he sees the financial benefit. Maybe he really likes you and the relationship and in his mind this is all positive but he just doesn't want to get married. Maybe he thinks this is as far as it goes.

The important thing here is communication. Before he moves in you have to have a heart to heart. The fact that you wrote concerned you'd not marry tells me you haven't talked this through with the boyfriend yet. Or, if you have, it did not go the way you had hoped.

If you are marriage minded and the boyfriend isn't then moving in together is not something I'd recommend. I'm not saying he has to pick a date and a china pattern. I'm saying if he is saying things like, "I don't know if I ever want to get married," then this is a mistake. He should at least be open.

I hate that expression: why buy the cow when the milk is free. But the theory is valid and doesn't apply just to sex. If you decide that he isn't taking this step as a move toward marriage, and marriage is really what you want, by moving in together you're indirectly telling him you're fine with his plan. Why would he re-think it if he's gotten everything he wanted?

Once you're living together he is in a position of comfort and you are in a position of being the Eternal Girlfriend, never the wife. You need to talk to him and tell him what you want, ask him what he wants, and maybe even set up a timetable. I did. When my husband moved in with me 11 years ago I told him I wanted the ring on my finger within a year. He was good with that.

Kay, you can't make someone marry you that doesn't want to. Asking him his feelings isn't going to sway or change his mind about things. So don't be afraid to bring this up. Listen to what he actually says, not what you want to hear, and don't move in together if you have different desires for the future.

If you like this HUB please click the “Thumbs-Up” below just before the comments.


All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.


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  • profile image


    9 years ago


    My name is Casandra im 25, I have been with my boyfriend for 5yrs now we have a 3 and a half yr old son together, we lived together for about 3rys.. We have kinda had a talk about marriage but he said that he would like to get married later on down the road he seemed a little hesitant when he said that.. And on the other hand he says that one of the big reasons for divorce if financial issues cause people splurge on this huge wedding that next thing they know they're in debt. I get that but I had told him we don't have to have this huge wedding that we can go to the courthouse, his response was ”I don't know”. I feel like he might be giving excuses like he really don't want to, but doesn't want to tell me straight up. I love this man with all my heart I don't want to be with anyone else amd I try not to push the issue of marriage but at the same time I feel like are relationship is at a stanf still I wanna move forward with it I don't need this huge extravagant weeding im even willing to hit vegas n go to a chapel lol I jis know that hes the one I wanna be with for the rest of my days.. I don't want to be just somones girlfriend, Im not sure what to do... Please help

  • profile image


    9 years ago


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    10 years ago

    I'm so unhappy actually that I have found this blog because it actually confirms what I've been thinking. I've been with my boyfriend for two and a half years during all this period I have "lived" in his house all the weekends or more, I had to bring the conversation of what about next level, I do want to get married and have kids, but am already 35< not his fault I didn't meet my dream before or that any of my exes wanted to marry me, when I started te conversation he kind of freaked out and after few weeks he brought the idea of what if I move with him so that we can try and then we will talk if we want to marry or not, I said no, I will never move if I don't know there is a plan we will follow, am not a free trial, so better to think what to do because I will be miserable if I live with him with the concern in my mind that we will never marry, this weekend we had another conversation and he only said the same, move with me and then we see, what if am not ready to get married yet? am really sad, I know I should move on, but it is so hard for me to leave him, and at the same time am thinking am not gonna find somebody like him and I don't want to marry anybody else but him. I'm ready this now and it is just a confirmation for all my doubts.

  • profile image

    Jennifer Rodriguez 

    10 years ago

    I made the mistake of living with my first serious boyfriend. He got everything without having to make the commitment of marriage to me. After 5 years of giving him everything I left him and started at square one. Eleven months later I met a great guy. He was 4 years older than me and very mature and wise. He did not believe in living together or having sex before marriage. He said that it will likely just prolong a relationship that should of ended naturally. He also said that if you live togther or have sex before marriage, and that person does not end up being the one, you will regret it forever. That is so true for me. I regret moving in and having sex with my first boyfriend. I wasted five years with boyfriend number one. After a year of dating boyfriend number two we got married and I couldn't be happier. As I look back I wish I had been wiser and had listened to those who said not to move in togther or have sex before marriage. I was young and thought I had it all figured out. I thought it was a step in the right direction but instead I became the "eternal girlfriend." Some women are okay with being the eternal girlfriend and some women will end up marrying the guy they live with, so in those cases it's a happy story. But there are a lot of unhappy stories about moving in together and I don't think a enough women are eduated about them. I was one such unhappy story. In the movies living together and having premarital sex is no big deal and it all works out, but that's the movies. Don't believe it. I was so devastated and depressed after wasting five years of my life with that guy. I gave him everything. If I could go back in time I would of saved living together and sex for marriage. For me, I learned it the hard way. Every day I'm thankful for my current husband. I'm lucky that I left boyfriend number one after 5 years instead of wasting even more time with him. My advice to women who are currently an "eternal girlfriend" is to get out NOW. Find a guy who is serious about getting married. Don't let what happened to me, happen to you. Trust me.

  • profile image


    10 years ago


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    10 years ago

    I have been dating my boyfriend since October of 2008, and have been living with him since March of 2008. So we have been together for over two years. We are both in college, I am 24 and he is 25. I love hime very much and do want to marry him after college. I have never mentioned it because I don't know how to without being a nag. I have asked him where he wants to be in the future, and then if they include me (i've asked many times) and he says depends on us, or he asks if im on my period. So that just makes me feel like shit and want to hide again. I have already had my heart broken and so has he maybe thats the problem, I don't know.

    He has mentioned to friends that he has to live with someone for over 3years before he even considers marriage.

    I don't know what my problem is, I am so self conscious, and sometimes I feel as if he doesn't love me as much as I love him. I have never even initiated sex with him! I want to but I am so nervous. I don't know what to do, I feel like a big baby telling you all this. But then I see that he always comes home, he buys me little things that he knows I like, he buys furniture with me etc. I think that he loves me and wants to be with me, but now that I read everyone elses inputs it scares me a little I don't want to be an eternal girlfriend.

    I have met his mother, step dad, siblings, uncles, aunts, grandfather and grandmother in fact his grandmother already calls me her daughter and lets us sleep together (she mainly raised him) even though she has never let that happen before. My BF has had many relationships and one very serious one before me. I have had only one serious BF before him, so I get self concious just thinking about all the different relationships he has already had. I don't know what to do, I just don't want my heart broken again, or waste my time. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

    Thank you

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    sa position here, my boyfriend of 9 months wants me to move in with him soon. He says he is serious about me and the relationship, my family have directly asked him why not get married first and he says that is where we are heading. I just don't want to wake up 3 years from now to find that I am still only his girlfriend.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I have been living my boyfriend for a little over a year. We are both divorced with kids, mine live with us and his is overseas. Before we moved in together he talked all the time about making me his wife. Now that we are living together, nothing is EVER said about it. He says he is happy with our relationship, loves me and is truly madly in love with me. He doesn't respond to direct questions, I have to kind of sweetly and act like I don't what's going on to get him to talk about some things. He absolutely hates confrontations, we have had one argument our entire relationship and to my surprise, since I had never seen a man do this, never even raised his voice. How do I bring up the subject of wanting to at least get engaged? Everyone, my family and friends are always asking when are going to get married and we just chuckle. I really want this. I can not imagine my life with out him. I have never felt for a man what I feel for him.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from NY


    At 19 you are way too young to be thinking about getting married. Meanwhile, you're boyfriend is a soldier who very much needs to be able to concentrate on his job without having to be distracted or worry about anything needlessly. Now, if you really do love him and want to be with him, then that's great. Planning to move in together when he gets home sounds like fun. It sounds like it's something that he can really look forward to, that will help him feel he has something safe and loving waiting for him here at home. And for you, this should be an awesome time in your relationship. You should not be thinking or talking or worrying at all about marriage for YEARS. So please don't get bogged down in the message of this article, it's not for 19 year olds. Don't worry about never getting married. Take things a step at a time.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Hi my name is Tionna Im 19years of age me in my boyfriend have been together for a year now.... he is 23 in also in the army he's in afghanistan he comes home Dec 2010 in he is talking about moveing in together when he come home but I am afraid that I will become like those couples that don't ever marry.

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    I have been with my live-in boyfriend for over 5 years. He gives me almost everything I ask for. I don't even work. He gives me almost everything, except a ring and marrying me. Everytime I try to talk about marriage, ring or kids, it is not the right time; he has too much on his mind. I have tried over 30 times. Am I missing the point?

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    11 years ago from NY


    Thanks so much for such a thorough comment!

    And thanks for the mention of my thoughts on the difference between being a nag and being clear. I think this is the Hub you're referring to -

    I talk about my own experiences and about ultimatums in a few different places. I learned a lot of things the hard way, and I'm glad to share it.


  • profile image


    11 years ago

    I have to agree with Jenn, NaturalBeauty. Both of your guys have everything THEY want. Why should they marry you? Maybe there are some very legitimate reasons that they're holding off--they're scared, don't feel financially or emotionally ready, etc. But it's very hard when one of you wants something important and the other doesn't or the timelines aren't compatible. No foul, no blame necessarily, but you have to accept reality--whatever that may be and act accordingly. I think of it like kids---when one partner wants them and the other doesn't, it's a dealbreaker. Both are legitimate, valid preferences, they simply aren't compatible. There are certain things you simply can't compromise on.

    So, it looks like you've got two choices ultimately: 1) Enjoy what you have and accept it for what it is (i.e. no marriage) or 2) If marriage is that imporant to you, look for someone else that feels similarly (i.e. break up and move on if your boyfriend is not willing to move forward with you towards marriage).

    Veronica has a great story around here somewhere on how this came to be between her and her husband--the difference between an ultimatum/nagging versus being authentic with your personal choices and communicating expectations. I wish I remembered what hub it is under, but the basic gist was that she told her then boyfriend that if they moved in together, that she would only do so under the expectation that it was a step moving towards marriage. That she wanted a proposal within a year of living together. He agreed and they moved in together. A year went by, no proposal. A few weeks after the year mark, her boyfriend said something while driving like, "won't it be great when we can file our taxes as a married couple" and she replied sweetly that that would never be happening and then suggested they stop and grab some ice cream (he was stunned silent). Later that night, he brought up the subject on his own, asking if she was breaking up with him. She said she wasn't right now, but explained how she made her expectations very clear about marriage, that a year had gone by and since he didn't propose, she would be moving on at some point. She didn't break up with him per se, but let him know that she wasn't waiting around for him. She was living her life and if he didn't want to be a part of it, fine, but she didn't want to be an eternal live-in girlfriend and thought they both clearly understood that. As a proposal didn't happen, she'd go on living her life, even if that meant without him. A few days later, he proposed.

    No one wants to be in your situation (I was at one point and it was truly terrible, so I can relate and only wish I had Veronica's hubs back then because I would have handled it better and not stayed in the relationship for so long hoping he'd eventually ask me to marry him), but search your heart. Be true to yourself and the rest will follow. Realize that you deserve to be loved and have certain goals and things you want in life, then be prepared to find someone else that truly shares those goals in both words and ACTIONS. I hope it works out for both you and Jenn ultimately for the best.

  • profile image


    11 years ago


    You are not wrong for wanting to start your future with this man that you've been with for so long! I am actually in the same boat so I can't really give you any advice based on experience. But what is he really waiting for? What is my boyfriend waiting for? We even have a child together. I think these guys are not interested in the notion of marriage because they are content with what they already have. We are there for them in the way that THEY want but they can't comprimise and at least agree to be engaged. I am in love with my boyfriend but love does not mean having to sacrifice what you want.

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    I am so happy to have found this page. I am hoping to receive some advice about my unique situation. I am 26 and my boyfriend is 27. We have been dating since we were in college, age 20 (6-7years ^_^). We have had some ups and downs, religious differences, cultural differences, many periods of long distance (internationally and domestic). We have overcome all of our odds except for marriage. I have always wanted to be married but he hasn't. I believe I was raised with that notion. I would have easily moved forward at the age of 23. I am happy I didn't because I had time to know him better. The more I learn about him the more I love him. I am sure he feels the same way. We have learned more about communication and growth during these years.

    About 3 years ago, after he graduated university I decided it was time to start discussing marriage. He willingly joined the conversation. He started to contribute positive feelings towards the subject. I was elated! I hadn't had a response from him in that way before. I expected a proposal within a year. After that didn't happen I felt it was because of his career situation. I decided to remain happy in our state and push forward.

    When the following year approached I began to wonder what's next. We moved in the same state after a period of long distance. Everything was starting to look great at the time. We hadn't had any arguments and had learned to communicate on a mature level. I believe it was the first time we really understood each others goals.So I was expecting the ring that year! He made several comments jokingly about me being his wife, rings on my finger, blah blah! But nothing!!! I remained sane still. For him moving in together was such a large step. He didn't want to go for marriage. When asked about the topic, he replied that he wasn't sure. I was in shock!!! Not sure!! I thought we were really working towards it.

    I put my foot down and demanded an answer within 3 months!! I told him that I had given my life, time, patience and love to him.

    I was surprised when we started to show improvement again. I didn't want to get my hopes up because I had experienced this feeling many times before. I felt that his conversations towards marriage we becoming serious again.

    I currently live in a foreign country with my boyfriend. We have been here for a little over a year. I have family that would have to pay a high priced ticket to come to a marriage. I was so happy to find that my mother and my father would like to fly here 6 months from now. I thought it would be the perfect time to marry. The weather will be wonderful! My job has a week vacation! We have been together for almost 7 years! We know each other very well and are in love! Yay!! :( He still doesn't think its the right time for marriage. " He told me that he is sure of his feelings now more than ever. Really wants to move forward. Has never felt like this in his life. Wants to do everything when the time is right."

    Am I wrong for wanting to start our future sooner??? I feel like we've had so much time together! 7 years! We're not engaged yet! I hate to be one of those girls, but all of my friends are now happily married to people they have known for only 7month or 1 year. My family is so ready!

    My man is talking about 1 year to 1 1/2 years from now!!! Come on already!!!

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    13 years ago from NY

    Well said, CheryleJ. Your Grandmother was a wise woman ;)

  • CheryleJ profile image


    13 years ago from NEW JERSEY

    My grandmother always said to try the shoes on before you buy them to make sure they are absolutely comfortable before you walk out the store...with that in mind living with someone you think you're in love with will either solidify that or tell you clearly not to live with him or worse marry him.

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    13 years ago from NY

    Thanks Pradaz. I see you've hit a few of my hubs tonight, and I really appreciate the comments.

    Good luck to you with your situation.

  • profile image


    13 years ago

    Excellent advice! I moved in with my now-husband (at the age of 20) & got pushed into marriage before I was ready. This guy proposed to me within FOUR months of dating - not unheard of, but still... seriously... you can't really get to know someone within that short amount of time. However, due to me being young/immature & naïve, I went with it. And now I've learned he's either cheated on me and/or would have if I had not of called him on it. And soon I'll be going through a divorce at 24. If true love is what you have, there's NO reason what-so-ever to get pushy. Take your time & TALK, TALK, TALK things over. Marriage should happen naturally & when BOTH partners are in agreement & comfortable. I guess I can be thankful for having learned this info, even if it happened through the afore-mentioned circumstances.

  • Marisa Wright profile image

    Kate Swanson 

    13 years ago from Sydney

    I think the point is that if this is really the guy you'll live happily ever after with (married or not), then you would be able to have this conversation with him - you wouldn't have to ask someone else! Marriage is all about communication and if you don't feel comfortable communicating, it will eventually fall apart.

  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 

    14 years ago

    I have to say I am so glad I lived with my ex while we were engaged. It made me realize I didn&#39;t want to marry him!

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    14 years ago from NY

    Excellent news, CareyYo! Thanks for the comment. Communication is so important.

  • CareyYo profile image


    14 years ago from Fullerton

    I enjoyed this hub a lot. When my boyfriend wanted me to move with him I told him that I would need an official commitment to make that happen. We are now engaged, so I&#39;m glad that I was honest and told him what I needed.


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