A hot topic I come across often is whether a couple should move in together before marriage.

It’s an especially hot topic for millennials since we like to do things a little differently than prior generations. Notice I say differently – and different does not mean bad. 😉

This month marks 2 years, 4 months and some days since I moved in with my boyfriend, John! What an amazing time it has been and before I dive on in to this topic, I just have to say how thankful I am to have him by my side.

I truly am a better person today because of him. Living with your significant other isn’t always a cake walk (at least it wasn’t for me) and I wouldn’t be where I am today in my relationship or life without the love and support of my partner. Love you babe!!

&& back to business. 😉

I’m a HUGE advocate for living together before marriage and it has done more good than harm in each situation I’ve personally been in.

In fact, in my experience, it has been a good thing for me to experiment with living with my significant other before marriage!

When I moved in with my ex, we broke things off a few months later because we realized we weren’t as compatible as we originally thought.

Living with your partner brings up so many things you never thought out. What does this person spend all their time doing? Do you share similar schedules, values, cleanliness? Do you view bills and money similarly? The list goes on.

This time around living with my current boyfriend, things have been completely different. It’s basically been a confirmation to me that I am making the right decision and do want to marry this man. 😀 (I have a deep rooted fear of marriage so even typing this still makes me nervous).

I have learned SO much from living with my boyfriend. The surprising thing to report is that while I have learned a LOT about him, I have learned even MORE about myself.

Current Living Situation

Because divorce has been such tangible thing in my life, living with my boyfriend before marriage has always been very important to me.

I’ve basically decided that it’s a requirement in order for me to know for sure that I’m not making a mistake.

After about one year of dating John, I found myself living in a brand new, beautiful apartment unit situated next to the most amazing pool, but just below a nocturnal elephant.  

It was impossible to sleep at night and it started to take a toll on my focus at work. My anxiety also peaked because sleep is such an important part of my routine!

So, I made a decision to move in with John. He encouraged it so I thought “hell, why not.” I’ve always believed in timing and this just felt right.

I got out of my lease early and moved in with him at the end of summer 2016. From there, we’ve moved a few more times settling in Dallas.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Growing up an only child was lonely and isolating at times, and so was living alone as a young adult. But I never realized this until the past few years.

I feel like living with John is like someone is holding up a mirror to my face 24/7, picking up on everything I do between the good, the bad and the ugly.

What I’ve realized is the things I thought I was good at – I was right! I’m organized, a great cook, and I keep the house in order.

But the things I could work on are all things I was less aware of.

How to get along with someone when you’re not “in the mood” to get along, how to listen, how to put your own needs aside for someone else, how to share space and just being more tolerable in general.

Most of the things I struggle with stem from anxiety related to my past. One of the best ways I’ve learned to handle this is through learning how to love myself while learning to calm myself and my mind.

I’ve always been a relatively confident person – but what I’ve learned recently is that confidence is not the same as to self-love.

I needed to learn how to love myself unconditionally, despite all the flaws, anxieties and issues. Because until I learned to do that for myself, I couldn’t do it wholeheartedly for another human.

I feel like this will forever be a work in progress, but I honestly thank John for bringing this realization to the forefront of my attention and priorities.

Growth Inside & Outside of the Relationship

One of the best things that has happened by living together is the closeness and bond we now have. We have experienced some really high highs, and some really low lows.

I try to block the lows from my memory because there have been some ugly, embarrassing moments for both of us. And they will continue to happen because we are both imperfect humans.

But what it has taught us is that we can persevere through the hard times and what I’m learning through it is that no relationship is perfect. No man is perfect. I’m not perfect. And that is okay.

We all have a certain level of tolerance, but at the same time love is just that – tolerant, accepting and unconditional.

And now that I’ve flipped the script and am learning to practice this on myself, I am able to better practice it inside the relationship.

Facing Fears

One of my biggest fears is marrying the wrong person and ending up divorced 5,  10 or 20 years later.

I was deeply impacted after going through my parents divorce at 14, and I’ve developed a bad habit of excusing myself from any real connection for most of my life.

For a long time I was obsessed with the pursuer-distancer model of relationships that the media, including TV and music, teaches us.

I loved a good bad boy. I loved a chase. It was a sick a twisted reality that I had created for myself to avoid real love and acceptance.

Moving in with my boyfriend has literally forced me to face my fears every single day and learn how to love with an open heart.

Vulnerability, imperfection, conflict, all the things that make me want to run are things that I am learning to lean in on instead of jumping ship.

It’s so much easier to walk away than to stay. Starting over fresh always seemed like such a better path to me, and I’m learning that isn’t normally the case.

Especially when you have everything you need right in front of you.

I’ve learned an important lesson in that if you fear something, you should lean into it and push yourself to do it, even though it seems scary.

Pure Joy & Gratitude

Most importantly, I feel beyond blessed to be able to share my life with someone day in and day out. I love living with my boyfriend and it truly has given me a sense of peace about the future.

I love waking up on a beautiful Sunday morning and cooking pancakes (his favorite) in our kitchen, drinking coffee on our patio, and just the simple things in life.

The feeling is hard to describe but all I can think of is pure joy. It’s a joy that is almost impossible to find anywhere else but inside your own home, with your person.

There have been so many lessons to learn and I know there will be so many more. But I feel like after living together for 2 years, we have a solid foundation to work off of, and will continue to push each other to grow and be our best selves.

What is your opinion on moving in before marriage? Are you more traditional or do you also like the idea of testing the waters before making it down the aisle?