Taboo or Not: Moving In With Your Partner
by Emily Goh
So you have found that one person to which you can imagine sharing a lifetime together. You love spending time with them, and you enjoy their physical presence a lot; and the part you hate most is always having to say goodbye at the end of the night and go back to your respective homes.
The idea of physically sharing a life together starts popping in your head. After all, the thought of being able to tailor your daily routine with your favourite person in the same shared space seems like the dream.
But we all know there are many advice out there that says otherwise, especially within the cultural context of Malaysians. Be it religious, practical or safety reasons, our parents may have a reason to why they are hesitant on this big step for you to take with your significant other.
So we did an IG Story poll on this topic, and here is what we gathered:
WHY THEY VOTED YES:
1. We get to see our partner’s True Colours.
“I see your true colours, that’s why I love you”, Cyndi Lauper knew what she was talking (singing) about.
As much as we like to believe we know our partner true and true, especially if you have been dating for a long time, you only get to see 100% of them when you live together. Holidays and trips help, but nothing is as raw as sharing a living space with this person, seeing them when they are tired, frustrated or having a bad day.
You get to see if their quirks and habits are what you love them for, or realise that some are really annoying and make you feel like yanking your hair out.
So regardless of these quirks, are you still able to accept and love them for who they are? Are you able to live together learning to compromise and live in harmony? Living together before getting married is putting your relationship into a “test run”, and you will get to see if this is the right person to do the long haul with.
2. You will share a whole new level of intimacy.
When we say intimacy, we don’t just mean *wink wink*.
It’s how you get to share moments and milestones you never usually have a chance to.
When you share a living space with someone, you get to understand them so much better. You will sense when they need more personal space, learn what you should do when they are having a tough day, or even simple things like how they like their morning coffee made.
On top of that, you will have to learn how to communicate better and compromise with each other. When you are a clean freak and the other person just doesn’t care so much about a good ol’ mess, you will need to learn how to talk about it without yelling at each other. You will need to learn how to meet in the middle and compromise to something the both of you are comfortable with.
If you see your partner as someone you want to share forever with, this would be a good chance to understand better, and to build the foundation for a strong marriage.
3. Its logistically practical.
The last pro to moving in with your partner is quite unromantic. But it is what it is, cohabitation is usually an option for couples who want to save cost and share resources.
The both of you can split the cost of rent or monthly installment of the house you share. Not only that, when you live together, you can share groceries and transportation, and save money for your wedding or your future plans together.
After all, if this person is your favourite person to come home to, it makes so much sense to share a space together, sharing financial and household responsibilities (also something you need to discuss prior to moving in together!), and being there physically and emotionally for each other.
WHY THEY VOTED NO:
1. People will talk.
Yes, maybe its “already 2019” or “we don’t care what other people think”, but we all know in our Malaysian context, our rich culture and religion background is indeed a key factor as to why we are cautious when it comes to living with our partners before marriage.
This is a totally understandable factor, and we do not want our family members to have negative feelings towards our relationships and our partners even before making that big decision to tie the knot.
Hence, if your parents (or whoever who is important to you and your partner) frowns upon it, or even if your religion dis-encourage you to live together before being legally married, perhaps it would be wise to wait.
2. Personal Space May Be Threatened.
It's all fun and games when you get to selectively choose to spend time with your partner. And yes, despite how it often feels like you just cannot get enough of them, but when you actually live under the same roof 24/7, it's quite a different story.
When you are in your moody, “I don't want to talk to anyone” state; or even when you want to come home and enjoy being your “disgusting self” like lying in bed without showering or popping your pimple without being judged…. Not being able to have a space for your own might bother you (especially if you are so used to living alone).
Perhaps you and your partner have different expectations of how much time you should spend together, and it's going to create unnecessary tension when one of you feel like you have been spending too much time together, while the other person feels rejected when the other person wants “more space”.
3. It may hurt way much more when things go south.
This is something I personally find very important. When we make that giddy, head in the clouds decision to move in with the love of our life, we don’t like to think about this factor.
But as much as you really REALLY feel this person is “The One”, there is still no 100% confirmation that you will end up marrying them.
When you live together, and realise this person may not actually be the right fit for you, there might be a high tendency you choose to just settle with this person, because you are so used to sharing a life with them, their physical presence day in and day out in your life.
It will be very painful if you both break up, and have to go through the process of moving out, splitting furniture on top of the emotional pain and separation you have to go through.
Honestly, looking at this matter thoroughly from both perspective, it's hard to give a one answer fits all to the question of, “If we should move in together before marriage”.
However, it really depends on the foundation of the relationship, how both you and your partner are as individuals and how you function together as a couple. And it should be a decision made together (without pressuring the other person), thought out properly and communicating the premises of it all before you jump into anything.
If all goes well, living together might be a new adventure you embark in with “your person”, building a foundation of love and intimacy for your future marriage; but if things turn sour, it may cause you a much more painful heartbreak, but well, at least you realise, this person is not the person you will spend your life with.