I shared this entire story with Roommate, one warmish afternoon not too long ago.
“He’s right,” she said, of Handrolled, herself the product of at least two live-in boyfriends, one of which she was engaged to.
“You really don’t know what you’re talking about. You learn so much more living with a person than you ever do just staying with them.”
And then I shared with S, one of those seven original members, just last night.
“I see where he’s coming from,” she said, apparently agreeing with Roommate.
“I moved in with D” (her boyfriend, and they have NOT had a smooth relationship) “mainly FOR that reason. I was really concerned about what living with D’s eight-year-old son would be like. And I wasn’t sure that D and I were meant for each other in the first place. So I moved in on a trial basis to see if we could work it out, as a qualifier for marriage: ‘If we can handle this, then maybe we can get married.”
“But HE moved in with totally the opposite point of view. For him, moving in together was already the commitment. He thinks marriage is a final step, for sure, and he wants to get married, but the way he sees it, it’s sort of a by product of the REAL commitment, which is moving in together. He wouldn’t have moved in with me if he wasn’t already 99% sure.”
Me, thinking about the many books and studies I’ve read recently:
“That’s very continental. I’ve read that that’s how the French, and most Western Europeans, seem to view it. It’s not that marriage isn’t important. Eventually. But if the pair keeps dating for awhile, and agrees to move in together, that’s 99% of the way to ‘death do us part’. Living together is not really a test. It would take a LOT at that point to break up the relationship. Way more than just some dirty dishes in the sink.”
Her: “Yes, I’ve heard the same thing. And I understand it. But I guess that’s not where I was.”
“I wonder if that’s why so many ‘living together’ relationships fail? Because one party moves in thinking this is just a final step before the ring happens, and the other party moves in because they’re still not sure the relationship will last, and decides to see if dirty dishes take care of the breakup for them?”
“Yeah, neither party ends up looking good there. Trying again: one person moves in because they want to wake up next to the person every morning, pretty much now and forever, and the other person moves in thinking they *probably* want to get married to this person, but aren’t sure, and would like to see how they feel about living with the other person first?”
Her: “Maybe? I’m certainly no expert. Thanks to you, I just realized I was dating my mother. IN MY BOYFRIEND.”
Her: "Maybe I should be paying YOU $75 an hour."
Me: "It's easier for me. Your therapist just met you. I've known you for three years. And I just did the same thing myself LAST year."
Her: "Still. Maybe get a second job?"