What you should know before Shacking up.....

The romantic lifestyle of people today is significantly different than what people of the past engaged in. We have dating websites to help match us with compatible partners, individuals are able to have openly gay relationships, we are dating more out of our race, but mainly we are "cohabiting"  before marriage more than ever before.

Living together before marriage or without the expectation of marriage is as American as apple pie now a days and many couples are "shacking up" despite the negative assumptions.  If you were raised like myself, in a religious household where marriage is seen as a union between a man and woman and thus "sacred" you were taught that you were only to engage in sexual acts after marriage After you began living with your husband or wife.

Looking at my social circle today, friends, and media this belief is dwindling because people are embracing a more modern take on this relationship taboo. Because of the current financial state of our country many couples are moving in together to make ends meet and or save for their wedding in the process. Also many couples are taking the step of moving in together so that they can strengthen their relationship by better getting to know each other.

Shacking up has both it's "Pros" and "Cons". So it's important to evaluate what you and your partner both expect should you decide to move in together. Here's my take on it.....

1. Take your time in deciding if this is the person you want to seriously commit to, don't just move in with someone because they're hot, have a great hook-up with the cable company, or because you're trying to save a buck.

2. Before you move in together, be very clear about what you expect. Do you both definitely plan to get married? Do neither of you want to get married? Do you see living together as a trial that will help you decide? You should both have a clear sense of what moving in together means to each of you.

3.Keep your expectations reasonable. Living together will not magically transform an "I'll never get married" guy into one who proposes on one knee. Sharing a kitchen and bedroom will not sweeten a bad relationship. Live together because your relationship is going well, not to try to make it better.

4.BE SPECIFIC ABOUT THE BILLS!!! I see situations all the time where couples get together and one person is expecting the other to pay for everything while their income turns into their new shopping fund. Set up a budget and create goals because this could be a great opportunity for both to save money.

5.Set boundaries for company/guests, there is nothing worst than coming home from a long day at work or school and walking into a home that is now transformed into a "waiting to exhale meeting" or "Superbowl party". Respect your partner and consider their feelings regarding guests, COMMUNICATE!

6. And lastly, make time for yourselves. A common mistake that many couples make is the assumption that because you live together you have to be around each other ALL the time...have you ever heard of cabin fever? Well it usually ends with someone becoming psychotic because they're "trapped" lol. Create activities outside of your relationship, in other words "Do You Boo!"

This post isn't meant to justify shacking up or say that it's the answer to your relationship problems and I understand that because of the religious views of many, this act is frowned upon. However, this is the way of the world today and people are entitled to live in a way that they feel complements their life.