eMail Bag: We lived together before marriage. What went wrong?

Hi Dr. Dave,
I moved in with my boyfriend and after six weeks we broke up. We had been dating for a year. I’m still wondering why this happened? I’m reading your book now and hoping it will give me some answers about what went wrong. – Kara

My response…

Hi Kara,

I am really sorry that you’re going through this difficult time. Relationships can be hard and painful, but I believe this experience could help you be better prepared to find the right person in the future.

As for your living together experience, what you just went through is the norm. Most couples who live together don’t realize the statistics show that of 8 couples who live together, four of those couples will breakup and not marry each other. And of the four remaining couples who do get married, 3 of the 4 will end up getting divorced.

I tell couples all the time that living together sets them up for failure and emotional pain. Part of this is due to the fact that a “living together” relationship is performance based. It’s a try out. It’s based on a big IF…

  • If you’re good enough, I’ll marry you
  • If you make me happy, I’ll marry you 
  • If I don’t find someone else that’s better, I may marry you 

I believe strong lasting relationships are built on an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. Simply said, “Love is giving the other person what they need the most, when they deserve it the least, at great personal sacrifice.” A living together relationship isn’t even close to this kind of a commitment.

In my two books I go into matters like these in detail so that couples steer clear of the kind of pain you’re going through. I would encourage you to read both of them: Before You Live Together and Before You Get Engaged. I think they will be an encouragement to you now, and will also prepare you for a happier ending in a future relationship.

If I can be of any further help, let me know.

Dr. Dave
(Permission granted to publish)