14 Disadvantages of Living Together Before Marriage (Cohabitation)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco


If you’re thinking about popping the “will you move in with me?” question to your other half, perhaps you want to give it some thought first. It’s natural to jump straight into the romantic element of living together before marriage, but what are the possible disadvantages? It’s best to know what you’re getting yourself into, before you take the plunge. 

The disadvantages of cohabitation have been noted from various surveys and studies done over the years. If you read an article from the early 2000s and read an article from today on the possible risks of living together before marriage, you will see that they say pretty much the same thing. Cohabiting before saying “I do” could open your life up to several complications.

Cohabiting might not seem like a big deal to start with. In fact, it might seem quite exciting, but it’s important not to overlook the possible risks and drawbacks thereof. Below are several disadvantages of cohabiting before marriage. 

14 reasons why living together before marriage might be a bad idea:

1. You may never actually get married. 

Couples that skip the step of marriage (or put it on hold) and move in together first, might not get married. Instead, they settle into normal life and let the idea of marriage slip them by. If you want to avoid this happening, rather wait until you are married to move in together. 

2. There’s always a level of uncertainty.

When couples that are married and live together get into a fight or go through tough times, they have the certainty of their vows and the promise of the rest of their lives together to fall back on. Cohabiting couples that get into fights or go through tough times often take the easy way out and just break up instead of working through the problem. One or both partners may have an underlying sense of uncertainty. 

3. Risk of a less fulfilling sex life.

This one might seem a little bizarre to you, but as it turns out, couples find sex more fulfilling when they are in a committed and settled marriage. Couples that moved in together before marriage reported that they were less satisfied with their sex life after their first year of marriage. This is based on research done by The Journal of Sex Research. Overall, straight couples who wait to get married and move in together show more enjoyment (or satisfaction) in their sex lives. 

4. Increased risk of divorce.

According to statistics made available in the Journal of Marriage and Family, couples that live together before marriage have more chances of divorcing in the long term. By living separately and doing things more traditionally, the relationship and bond strengthen, and couples are entirely sure that marriage is the next step they want to take in their relationship. If couples cohabit, it might seem like the next logical step, so couples might make the decision without giving it enough thought.

5. Life dissatisfaction.

Couples that move in together before saying “I do” tend to put the magic of marriage aside and jump right into chores, responsibilities, and getting over life’s hurdles. It doesn’t give the couple enough time to plan their lives together. Instead of living together as a team and single unit, couples tend to feel like they are living their own lives in the same house as their partner. This can lead to general life dissatisfaction, as it can seem like the effort put in is wasted on uncertainty.

6. Moving-in might place undue stress on a relationship that’s not ready.

Moving home is one of life’s biggest stresses. If the relationship isn’t ready, and the couple is faced with the stress of moving, it could cause the relationship to break up. This doesn’t mean that marriage would never work; it just might not be strong enough to handle a big move. By waiting, you give your relationship time to develop and strengthen so that you can make plans to move together, with the solidifying security of “forever” between you. 

couple quarreling at home

7. Risk of an unhappy marriage.

There are many reasons for this. Unmarried cohabiting couples report having higher instances of alcohol issues, aggression, poor communication, depression, and domestic violence than couples who got married before cohabiting. 

8. Potentially more fights and arguments.

When a couple gets married, they have to go through several processes before the wedding can go ahead. The couple generally goes for counseling and goes through a checklist of conversations that simply have to be had. You could discuss things like how you will handle the finances, what the household responsibilities will be, and what you expect of each other. People who are close to you will provide you with solid advice on how to handle your marriage and living together. 

When you choose to just move in together and skip the step of marriage, you miss out on this crucial planning part of the process. This means that arguments will crop up with regards to finances, household management, and general responsibilities. 

9. Can impose a negative impact on children.

Children that grow up in a home where the parents live together but aren’t married might feel some pressure as their family unit is different from other kids their age. They might also feel the stress of uncertainty, especially if one or both parents feel it. As children become more emotionally aware, they may worry that simple issues could result in the parents splitting up. Marriage provides security for the couple as well as any kids involved. 

10. Stop getting to know each other and get distracted by life.

If you don’t live together before you get married, you have to set time aside to see each other and focus on each other. This provides sufficient time for the couple to get to know each other better. It provides a solid foundation. If you cohabit before you get married, you no longer have to set time aside, and you could start taking your partner and relationship for granted. Life can get busy, and your new living arrangement could rob you of the real joy of getting to know someone and get married. 

11. Religious objections and disputes may arise.

If one of the members of the couple has religious beliefs that go against cohabiting before marriage, these issues may rise to the surface in the months to follow. This could result in fights or one of the partners feeling pressured to take the next step before they are ready. 

12. Possibility of negative judgment.

Even though the world has changed, there is still a stigma attached to living together before taking the step of marriage. Those on the outside looking in might wonder if you are avoiding getting married and if you are actually “right” for each other. Not everyone will judge cohabiting couples, but a lot of people will. 

13. It might not work out – huge life change. 

If the relationship doesn’t work out and the couple decides to give up on it, you’re going to be in a bit of a pickle. Moving is a huge life change, and if it doesn’t work, you could find yourself faced with another move – another big life change. 

couple arround cardboard boxes moving

14. You miss out on the excitement of “being married”.

Marriage is actually a very exciting thing. It’s exciting to plan things and set up house together as a team. Cohabiting couples do still experience the excitement of moving in together, but it’s somewhat of an empty promise, so lacks the true luster of a marriage. If you do eventually get married, nothing in your life will really change, which means you will miss out even more on the excitement of marriage…and the new start it is meant to symbolize. 

Last Word

If you are thinking about moving in with your partner, chances are that you have serious feelings about him/her. Before you take the plunge, just make sure that you are aware of the possible disadvantages. Maybe it is a good idea to discuss these possible drawbacks with your partner before you make a final decision. Either way, good luck in love and life together!

This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.