Finding time to invest in the right relationship in today’s fast paced America may seem nearly impossible, but it is doable. The dating scene has become an exploding business in the 21st century, with innovative smart phone applications and dating sites, such as Match.com, EHarmony, and social media. The simple reason why they are so heavily explored is because of the “time issue”. People don’t want to waste their time. Let’s face it — dating can be a fulltime job in and of itself, so the convenience of today’s technology is taking over the dating scene.
In busy cities like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, most professional, hard working people have very little time to hang out in single’s bars or attend single’s events in hope of finding the right person. It’s also not easy to get up and go to work after a night out on the town. Now imagine being in a relationship… If you can’t invest time in your relationship, it’s more than likely not going to work. Remember “Sex in The City” — everyone’s favorite show with all that New York glam? Like those characters, some people are in the market to date their life away, change partners left and right with no strings attached, and have no desire to make a life together. But if you’re looking for a serious, stable relationship based on love and responsibilities that come with commitment, then I have a solution for you.
It’s hardly fair for busy, hard working individuals to not be able to enjoy a healthy relationship, simply due to the lack of time. There are also many Americans who are involved in long-term relationships, but still living separate lives with no shared accountabilities or commitment. However, the next step to truly bonding as a couple and figuring out if you’re meant for each other long-term is cohabitation.
What is “Cohabitation”?
It’s a situation, in which people who live together and share a sexual relationship are not necessarily married. (Greenberg, Bruess, and Conklin, 2011)
Cohabitation is almost like a “marriage, but without the papers”, and in many cases, it is a very prominent stepping-stone towards a happy future together. It can also be a disappointing realization that this person is not for you. Either way, the experience will benefit you by helping you figure out your relationship. Investing and finding time to maintain a healthy relationship is crucial, and moving in together is a good way to test your feelings and compatibility. In fact, cohabitation in America increased from 439,000 in 1960, to more than 6.4 million in 2007.
When couples decide to commit and share their life, certain issues should be approached carefully before making the decision. Certain areas to consider are intimate compatibility, being honest about your individual goals (as well as common goals as a couple), economical issues, family values, and in many cases “cultural backgrounds”. Also, many times, one or both people have children from previous relationships, which can be a very sensitive subject, and a huge responsibility. This needs to be handled with care and understanding before moving in together to make sure all parties involved are comfortable.
One of the most important subjects to address before moving in together is money. Addressing financial concerns helps pave the path to a successful life together of combining income and sharing living expenses. It is very different from dating with no responsibilities. Remember sharing is caring! Living in fast paced cities is very expensive and can be stressful for single people. If you’re lucky to find your significant other and fall in love with that person, and both of you are comfortable combining your income and sharing your living expenses, then moving in together may be a blessing. On the other hand, if you have your own agenda and have trust issues, you should think twice about taking this big step.
Another advantage of cohabitation vs. living separate lives and simply dating, is building a stronger bond by working on the relationship from the inside, on a daily basis. Living together provides opportunities to trust and support one another, practice strong communication and most importantly, be accepting of each other. Isn’t that what love is all about? Of course, respecting each other’s personal space and “me-time” is also very important as well. Most personal differences are easier to handle and resolve while living together under one roof. It is safer to evaluate your relationship and figure out if your feelings for each other are strong and long lasting throughout the ups and downs in life. It is also a great way to really understand if you’re made for one another and may eventually tie the knot.
As for the health reasons, it is much safer to be intimate with only one person, which carries a much lower risk for sexually transmitted diseases and unpleasant circumstances. If you both have sexual chemistry and are fully committed, there shouldn’t be issues with infidelity. And if being committed to one person is a problem, then you are just not ready to share your life with your significant other, or you are not truly in love.
For those divorced individuals, who are more experienced in relationship issues, and looking for a second chance to find love, there is hope that they learned their lessons in life from previous relationships and know what they want and need in life. Most divorced men and women who decide to live together are more financially stable, already know what’s involved, and how to deal with it. They have a good sense of priorities, more knowledgeable in handling differences, and tend to appreciate the simple things in life shared as a couple. The real key to having a great solid romantic relationship the second time around are the lessons they learned through experience, and the ability to truly appreciate what they have now.
Although there’s no guarantee that partners living together will get married and live happily ever after, it is a good start. It is also a great test for your feelings, and a new experience, which will help you determine your relationship goals and figure out what you really want in your life.
Miguel A. Elias.
Photo by Andriy Goncharenko
Models Marta Karapata, Yaroslav Tkach (Bravo models)
To subscribe or purchase the magazine http://inlovemag.com/subscribe/