A few years ago, long before the pandemic struck, my partner and I were in a live-in relationship in Mumbai. We were in this situation for quite a number of years, and trust me, it made our relationship stronger. I am not going to talk about my relationship here. Rather, I’d like to talk about what living with your partner teaches you about your relationship and you.
Know Your Partner Better
This is the most obvious part, isn’t it? But I believe that this is the biggest reason why everyone should be in a live-in relationship before marriage. Living with your romantic partner is much like living with a roommate. When you see and interact with them on a daily basis, you understand their ‘true colours’. That’s exactly what a live-in relationship is like. You will get to know your partner better. Sometimes, you may dislike or like certain habits and behaviours. That’s normal. Once you understand this, you will be able to figure out whether your partner matches your wavelength, and if they are someone you would really like to spend the rest of your life with.
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Living in Mumbai is an expensive affair. That’s why many people opt to share apartments unless you have a salary that allows you to afford your own place. My partner and I had to pick out a place that was reasonably within our budget. More than that, we also had to talk about the division of finances. When you live-in together, you need to discuss who pays for what. In this particular case, I am going to assume that both the parties are employed, and therefore, financial division becomes important. In our case, my partner took up the rent expenses, and I took up the electricity, wi-fi, groceries, and other basic expenses.
Money is usually deemed a ‘sensitive’ topic. But having similar financial goals and views about managing finances plays a vital part in maintaining a healthy relationship. You have to be open about it with your partner; be it savings, spendings, and sharing expenses. And living together will help you understand each other’s spending habits and lifestyle choices better, thereby, making your relationship stronger (or help you realise that some things are just not meant to be).
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Division of Labour
Since we had 9-5 jobs (which sometimes became 9-9), looking after the house wasn’t really a priority. But of course, we couldn’t live in an unclean cave with dirty dishes lying in the sink, dust accumulated in every nook and corner, and whatnot. We had the privilege of affording a house help, at one point, who seriously made our lives easier. But, there were also times when we did the chores ourselves.
Here’s how it worked for us.
My partner and I cooked for each other every alternate day. So we both had time to plan our meals for the next day. Since my partner preferred dusting and cleaning the house, he did that. While I took up the chore of cleaning the bathroom. Yes, there were times when we skipped our turns because of work-related issues, but we compensated for it later to get back on the schedule.
We both understood the importance of being fair to each other, and that is why division of chores came naturally to us. Both of us had work but we were equally responsible for looking after the house, ourselves and each other.
Yes, you are going to have sex. Loads of it. Sexual compatibility is as important as anything else is in a relationship. At least it is for us. We both never saw sex as something that was to be done only after marriage. Rather, we wanted to explore if we liked having sex with each other. And, that was the reason we knew the relationship was going to work out.
By the way, it was not always about sex. It was also knowing the level of intimacy we both shared. Right from doing things for each other to finding our own definition of love and sex, we both had it to understand it for ourselves.
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And this is why, I believe, that everyone should be in a live-in relationship before they decide to get married. To me, it feels like the natural step between getting into a relationship and getting married. It helps you make a more informed decision. Have you been in a live-in relationship? How did it work out for you?