Cohabiting couples regret wasting years in relationships that would have lasted only months, had they not been living together.

Drawing from research and from her own experience working with young adults, Jay argues that there is actually something internal to the practice of living together that can put a future marriage on shaky grounds.

The decision to live together is often one that couples “slide” into simply because it is economical or convenient, she says. After moving in, they feel “locked in” because of all the entanglements of living together, such as co-ownership of furniture or pets, which can in turn lead to a mentality of sliding unreflectively into marriage.

Jay cites the situation of one her clients, a 32-year-old woman she calls “Jennifer,” who lived together with her boyfriend for four years, married him, and was looking for a divorce lawyer less than a year later.

“I felt like I was on this multiyear, never-ending audition to be his wife,” Jennifer had told Jay. “We had all this furniture. We had our dogs and all the same friends. It just made it really, really difficult to break up. Then it was like we got married because we were living together once we got into our 30s.”

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Submitted by Doria2

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