“It’s not the piece of paper that’s important, it’s the quality of the relationship,” says Relate counsellor Barbara Bloomfield in an interview about living together, commitment and marriage.
Around 80% of couples co-habit before getting married, but it’s not always seen as a precursor to marriage. A 2012 report suggests that 21% of people live together to reduce costs – and a fifth of people living together have already ruled out marriage.
Some people live together because it’s cheaper and they’ve ‘fallen into it’ without thoughts to the future. If they’ve planned to spend their lives together, intending to be committed to one another, and possibly thinking of getting married at a later date, they’re more likely to remain in their relationship longer-term.
Problems occur when one party sees living together as a stepping stone to a ‘big white wedding and a happily ever after’ and the other doesn’t see it in the same way.
One of our workshops helps couples think about the future together. “It’s a safe place to be honest with themselves, to check out expectations and find out whether they both see their relationship in the same way,” says Relate Bedfordshire and Luton’s Yasmin Ali. “It’s important to know what you expect of one another. Often couples don’t talk about these things until there are problems and then the consequences can be serious.”
Living together may be a phase on the way to marriage, a test run of trying the relationship out to see if you fit. Equally, it may never lead to marriage, but can still be a totally committed relationship. “It’s infinitely better if you both have the same view of the relationship, then whatever works for you as a couple is the right choice,” says Yasmin.
The six-hour workshops are limited to six couples. For details of the next workshop call 01234 342503 or email email@example.com