Written by Ashley

Monday, 15 August 2005

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This week's article: Today, many couples are choosing to live together before getting married. Some of these couples see this as a first step towards marriage. There are some studies that show that once these couples do get married there is a higher tendency for them to get divorced. This is because many of these people are 'serial' cohabitants (people who have cohabited with more than one previous partner). In other words, just because you have lived with your partner, you are not necessarily better prepared for marriage than those who have not cohabitated. You must realize that there is a psychological shift that occurs after marriage. This brings up latent emotional issues even for couples who have already been living together for several years...

Dating & Relationship AdviceWith this in mind, it is important that you put a lot of thought into deciding to cohabitate before getting married. You need to realize that cohabitation is a big step that will change your relationship forever, for better or for worse. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have weighed all of your options before making any rash decisions. This article will discuss some to those things that you need to bear in mind. 

First of all, it is important to realize that you may get too comfortable with cohabitating, and thus put off the marriage because you no longer see any excitement in it. This could be a problem if one of the partners wants to get married as soon as possible. The best way to deal with this issue is to set a time limit on just how long you are going to live together before getting married. 

Secondly, there is the issue of money. This can cause great problems if one partner pays for more of the bills than the other partner does. The best way to curb this is to set rules about finances before you even decide to live together. You also need to consider keeping your assets separate in order to avoid any property disputes later. This means having two separate bank accounts and owning as little as possible jointly. Try not to become financially dependent upon your partner as this will only cause problems if and when you do split up.

There are also some legal things that you must understand whenever you are living together. Stated briefly, these include:
* Those living together have no legal property ownership rights. 
* Both parents need to be listed on the birth certificate and the father needs to sign a statement of paternity in order for both parents to be recognized legally. 
* Those living together cannot make financial or medical decisions for the other if he or she is injured or incapacitated unless they have "power of attorney." 
Without this important legal document, huge emotional and practical problems have resulted. 
* Those living together cannot make funeral arrangement if the other dies. 
* Those living together do not automatically receive survivor inheritances if the other dies as would be the case if married. 

There are some great benefits to cohabitation though. Some of these are obvious. For instance, you will get to know each others routines and any habits that you have yet to see. You will also get to see your partners various moods and habits , good or bad, since she can no longer put on a show for you. There will also be the opportunity to discover whether or not you can actually live together. 

So, when you are choosing to live together before getting married, make sure that you look at the pros and cons, and that you see cohabitation for what it really is. This is a chance for you and your partner to really see each others' true self before getting married. This opportunity will confirm whether you are right for each other or not. If you decide that things simply are not going to work out between the two of you, remember, it is easier to walk away from a relationship then it is to walk away from a marriage.

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© 2005, Kevin Godbee

Re-print with permission only.
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"Women. Can't live with them. Can't kill them." - Tom Arnold, True Lies. You can "Ask Ashley" and get advice directly from a woman on how to deal with these creatures us men love, but can't figure out. Check back each week for a new article and feel free to email your questions directly to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Maybe she'll write on article based on your question.

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