Is Living Together Before Marriage Bad for Your Relationship?

Married Couple

Photo: Getty Images

We've all heard the phrase why buy the milk when you can get the cow for free? Often applied to relationships, it's a warning to women not to move in with their significant others until he's put a ring on it. "There's a traditional, moralistic piece to it, where people say it's not good to live with someone before marriage because you can diminish the need for that person to marry you," explains relationship expert and therapist Dr. Jane Greer.

While research has provided conflicting answers to the question of whether living together before marriage actually harms your relationship, one thing is for certain about that antiquated phrase: "A man who doesn't want to buy the milk isn't going to buy it regardless of whether he is living with you or not," says communication and relationship expert Rachel DeAlto. "That saying is really directed at men who are afraid of commitment — not based on something the woman did or didn't do. Pay attention to his actions, not his words."

See More: 6 Things That Change After You Say "I Do"

If you're both saying — and showing — you're ready for that next step, there are actually very good reasons to share an address before a last name. "Why maintain two separate households when the majority of your time is spent together?" asks DeAlto. "It's simply more economical. [Or] live together because you love one another and want to spend your mornings waking up together. Live together because you want to see how compatible you are when you see each other at your worst."

What do you think about living together before marriage? Tell us your opinion on Twitter at @BRIDES!

Give a Subscription to Brides Magazine as a Gift

Get personalized planning advice, exclusive offers and must-read wedding news.

Thank You
for Signing Up!

Check your e-mail inbox for the latest updates from