Shacking up... then married. What changed?

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JessicaLong Posts : 29 Registered: 8/31/09
Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 5, 2009 12:34 AM

Just wondering... for those of you who lived with their guy before getting married, what's changed since making it legal?

I just recently became engaged to my boyfriend of a little over 2 years. We have been living together almost a year and a half. I feel we know each other VERY well and can't imagine a ceremony or marriage license changing a whole lot. It will be nice to have his name and to finally feel "settled", but otherwise, we've seen each other at our worst... we have a bill-paying system... we have a chores rotation.... we have cleaned the toilet together... etc.. without the passion fading. A lot changed when we moved in together (in a mostly good way, just some surprises), but I'm wondering what it will be like when we are legally married.

So for those of you who were already living together, what changed after the wedding? Good, bad, scary? Any advice or words of wisdom?

Thanks!! :)


FrancieElaine Posts : 654 Registered: 6/26/09
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 5, 2009 12:56 PM Go to message in response to: JessicaLong

Great question! I lived with my BF for about 9 months before our wedding. I would have rather not, but the economy made it the smart thing to do. And things have changed since our wedding... I think for the better! I guess for me, I never felt right about living together. In my heart, I knew we were committed regardless of the marriage license, but I still had feelings that it was wrong. I think I was also feeling insecure. Anyway, since we have married good things have been happening to us! My husband got a GREAT job and I am starting my professional bridal counseling business. It's like things fell into place. I joke that "after we quit living in sin then God made good things happen for us"... ha ha! That is silly I know.

Not much has changed in our day to day relationship. We also have our finances worked out, chores, etc. We work very hard to keep romance alive by having date nights and we flirt constantly. I am determined to be one of those couples that are madly in love when they are old and gray.

I hope things go wonderful for you. I bet things will be just fine. Francie Elaine

Francie Elaine, The Bride Whisperer



HappyGirl13 Posts : 1,298 Registered: 4/21/08
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 5, 2009 2:05 PM Go to message in response to: FrancieElaine

I've heard that for some people, things change for the worse, but I make the assumption (perhaps wrongly?) that that happens with people who weren't entirely sure they wanted to get married in the first place, or with people who weren't entirely honest about who they were prior to marriage, then after marriage it's harder to keep up whatever facade you had going and the warts start to show.

In my personal experience, nothing changed. FH and I lived together for about 6 months before getting married and we practically lived together before that since we were together so often. Things were good before and they were good after.

One thing that sort of came up for me, and another poster brought up recently on another thread, was that gettting engaged can bring up issues about "Oh, my god, I'm going to have to live with this FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE." Her example was that FH's socks on the floor were no longer just socks on the floor, they were dealing with socks on the floor for the rest of her life, and was she really ready to deal with the permanence of this? So that's the only thing that MIGHT come up for you, but then again, it might not.

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JessicaLong Posts : 29 Registered: 8/31/09
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 5, 2009 4:08 PM Go to message in response to: JessicaLong

Thanks for the replies, ladies. It's good to hear that nothing really changed for either of you.

I think the biggest change comes with moving in together... it's never quite what you expect. You can't hide your clay-masked face... or always wait for him to go to work before going #2. He'll stop trying to suppress every fart and/or burp. Everything hangs out, and little is left to the imagination when you live together. The masks come off, and EVERYTHING is revealed. It can be a mortifying and horrible experience... or one that, oddly enough, brings you closer together. So I see the real benefit of living together before getting married- there is less of a shock after the vows.

And Happy- I can relate to the "Oh my god, this is FOREVER" worry. It's weird to think I will never kiss another man, or go on another first date, etc. But honestly, it's just weird to me- I'm not nervous or scared by it. Also, regarding the socks-on-the-floor-forever example.... my fiance is notorious for going through 3 pairs of socks a day, which could all be accounted for on the floor. And it used to drive me crazy. But you know what? I am notorious for leaving the bathroom a crazy mess after I'm done getting ready. I never put the lids back on things. I leave a trail of empty Dasani water bottles everywhere I go. I also have an accumulation of shoes by the front door which cause him to trip sometimes.
We all have our faults. And if his biggest fault is leaving socks on the floor- consider yourself lucky. A liar, cheater, abuser or manipulator... is far worse than a daily sock slinger. I'll take the 2 seconds to pick them up if I'm cleaning, or I'll simply ignore them if I'm not. Either way, I won't let socks (or laundry, or dishes, or drinking from the carton, etc) become a topic of conflict.

Now, if something major is wrong... and the socks are just the manifestation or distraction... then that's a whole other issue.

Pick a guy who has a good heart... and let the stupid stuff go.


kelleyiskelley Posts : 11,590 Registered: 7/2/06
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 5, 2009 6:30 PM Go to message in response to: JessicaLong

Pick a guy who has a good heart... and let the stupid stuff go.

Jessica, that is very very true and well said. Youe entire last post hits the nail on the head actually.

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Mushaboo Posts : 2,165 Registered: 3/22/08
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 5, 2009 7:34 PM Go to message in response to: JessicaLong

My FH and I loved into together 8 months before we got married. We had dated for almost 4 years at that point. To me transitioning from dating to living together was pretty easy. We'd spent the night and weekends together pretty much every weekend so I knew he snored horribly and was a cranky muffin in the morning.

Upon moving in together, I'd say the biggest adjustment was embarrassing situations. We've all started our cycle at night without knowing about it till the next morning. I know how to get out blood stains from sheets but FH never knew or saw me cleaning up an oops. That was weird. I never knew he had to poop before being able to leave the house in the morning. He hates cleaning dishes if he cooked, almost refuses to do it. You just have to adjust to their quirks.

After marriage, I swore nothing had changed. Dh felt the same way. His joke was that his insurance went down. My joke was that I changed my last name. It was the way we blew it off. Yesterday was our 5 month wedding day celebration. We just talked about this same subject. DH said that it took about 2 months (after all the gifts had been given and all the congrats and lunacy/excitement of the wedding) for the aftershock to wear off. He said after all that he finally saw me as his wife for life...that it was real! I felt the same exact way. Now he's my hubby. I am more in love with him and I respect him and am willing to support him to a whole new level. We're still the same people, but we're 100% a team. It's honestly euphoria.
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myra Posts : 5,550 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 5, 2009 7:35 PM Go to message in response to: JessicaLong

Well, for us, A LOT changed. For one thing, I gave up my job and moved across the country with him. For another, we started to talk babies (and had a couple). Sorry, but all of these were things I would not do without the ring on my finger. We also built a house and just generally intertwined every aspect of our lives, finances, etc. Not that we weren't close or comitted before, and we were having a great dealof fun, but there was a certain separateness and independence that I was willing to give up only when we were married. Being married felt a lot more secure.
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Jade1107 Posts : 205 Registered: 9/1/07
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 7, 2009 11:41 AM Go to message in response to: myra

I'm not married yet, however, I would expect there to be some minor adjustments after marriage (ie. talking about children, life insurance, etc).

Someone mentioned that everything becomes exposed - you no longer hold back (clay mask, farts etc). I read something recently that was about this exact topic. The article basically suggested that we as women keep some things secret. I use the term lightly - I'm not talking actual secrets but rather small things. For example - I refuse to allow FH to see me pluck my eyebrows or brush my teeth. I feel that these things are private and I prefer to do them with the door closed. I also ask that FH closes the bathroom door when he uses the loo. He seems perfectly fine with a wide-open show but I really don't need to see it!

So, small things like that. I'm sure the article made reference to other things, but it's always about what you're most comfortable doing or not doing. I know some people feel that hubby should know absolutely EVERY little detail, but I'm not so sure. I think sometimes men find our "maintenance regimes" intriguing and mysterious and I think it's fun to keep it that way!


NJ4Life Posts : 3,358 Registered: 8/10/07
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 9, 2009 2:54 PM Go to message in response to: JessicaLong

OMG Jessica I could have written your post word for word about the mess I leave behind in every room! LOL. I am the messy one of the relationship. Once you own up to that, life gets easier! :)

For DH and I, nothing changed when he moved in except I ran out of space in my apt! We lived together for 6 months before getting married with him moving in about 6 months after we got engaged. Before that he spent the weekend at my place every weekend for a year basically. And I spent every weekend at his place the year before. So we bascially knew how each other lived.

I remember hearing people's horror stories abuot how it "all changes" when you move in together and how weekends together aren't the same as living with someone. The only thing that changed was feeling like I didn't have to "entertain" him anymore when he came over. He lived there so we just went about our business like we would have in our own apts. He always helped me around the house before he moved in b/c he spent so much time there, so chores weren't an issue. It was nice to be able to go to sleep whenever I wanted and not wait for him to leave. So mostly it was all good changes for us!

I do have to say living together for now 3 yrs, things got a little routine and it is something we are working on. It's VERY easy to get stuck in the same old rut every night of watching the same shows, and going to bed at the same time. So we are trying to do more on weeknights, even if its just walking around the mall. And on weekends we usually spend one night together and one night with friends either seperately or together.

EDIT: I want to add that bathroom stuff for me is kept mostly private too! If I am Nair-ing my lip or something I tell him to go downstairs and I will call him up when I am done. And I don't pluck my eyebrows with the door open either! Our toilet is kinda parallel to the door, so it's possible to use the toilet with the door open without anyone seeing. THat whole thing, literally, JUST became semi-okay for me.

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Edited by: NJ4Life on Sep 9, 2009 3:02 PM


auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 12, 2009 10:37 AM Go to message in response to: JessicaLong


What changes is your exit route.

When you are a happy couple together, it is not all that different living together or being married. You are in love, you want a life together, it doesn't feel all that different. In getting married you have that "piece of paper", but other than that, the same socks are on the floor, the same mess is in the kitchen.

Your exit options are far different.

It's important to realize that all relationships end. All marriages end. They end by either death or divorce.

It is at the point of that death or divorce that your "piece of paper" makes a huge difference. It means you have the rights and responsibilities of a wife, not a legal total stranger. It means that if you split up, you have court-ordered protections for you, your finances, your possessions and your children. It means that if you get sick, someone is obliged to take care of you. It means that if one part of the couple wants to marry someone else, they have to settle up legally and financially before being allowed to marry that third party.

During life, you have next-of-kin rights. When my husband was in the hospital, I was in the room with him when the doctors came in. I introduced myself as his wife, and I was permitted to stay. Had I been a girlfriend, I would have been booted out.

Consider this example.

I used to live next door to a guy who worked in the legal department of a railroad. Lots of people ride the rails, illegally. The jump into box cars and do all kinds of dangerous stuff. Some die in the process.

The railroad often gets sued for contributing to a death. The widow of the guy who dies sues and, depending on the circumstances of the death, the railroad might offer a settlement rather than go to court.

But, guess what. They will only settle with a legal wife. They will not settle with a girlfriend or fiancée. They ask the widow to produce a marriage certificate and birth certificate for any children, then they do standard legal research to see if any divorce or separation has taken place. If the so-called widow cannot produce a marriage license, the settlement offer is withdrawn. This is done under the legal theory that if a man intends to provide for a woman, for the rest of their lives, he will marry her. If he intends to live with her for a period of time, then move out, then he won't marry her. Why should the railroad offer a settlement to a temporary girlfriend? It matters not that the temporary girlfriend has been the guy's girlfriend for 40 years and they have 10 kids. He did not marry her, for whatever reason, thus she is on her own once the guy gets run over by a train. (Minor children do receive a settlement to support them to 18.)

I would imagine similar logic would prevail in any accidental death situation where someone would be held at fault.


FrancieElaine Posts : 654 Registered: 6/26/09
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 12, 2009 4:49 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

My Exit Plan is the lyrics to that song, "50 ways to leave your lover". :)

I agree with you Aunt. Marriage means that you connected legally as well as spiritually.

Francie Elaine, The Bride Whisperer



JJsWifey08 Posts : 272 Registered: 12/5/08
Re: Shacking up... then married. What changed?
Posted: Sep 24, 2009 11:53 AM Go to message in response to: JessicaLong

Nothing really changed for us besides my last name and us wearing us and the fact that when I go places and do things legally I now have a big say so and can get on his stuff and him on mine
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