Love & Life

To Cohabitate Or Not To Cohabitate: Is Living Together Before Tying The Knot Really The Answer?

To live with your partner before marriage or not to? That is the question.

  • written by Joy Onu
  • 5 min read
  • 31 Jan, 2024
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Every year, almost like clockwork, the conversation about cohabitation swerves through the minds of couples everywhere, especially with couples in Nigeria who are restricted by one moral-cultural-religious compass or the other. 

If you’re Nigerian, you know what I mean. There’s just not a lot of parental figures jumping at the idea of you living with your spouse if there’s no ring on that finger, but the question remains, should you? We might just have the answer you’re looking for.

The truth is, the world as we know it is changing, there’s a lot of packaging that comes with the age of social media, so now more than ever, we need to dig deep into knowing someone as opposed to knowing just the idea of them. This doesn't mean living with your partner before marriage is a must for everyone, in our opinion, it’s more of ‘if the glove fits’ scenario. What worked for one couple wouldn’t necessarily work for another, so at the end of the day, it is your choice to make.

We’re drawing up a pros and cons list, because there’s nothing a good pros and cons list can’t solve.


There’s Nowhere To Hide

I know this might sound more like a threat than a pro, but it most definitely is a pro. Imagine being with someone and knowing every single thing about them. From what tickles their fancy to what irks their mind, the thing is, when it comes to living together, you get to know how cranky a person is in the morning, you also get to understand what life could possibly be like if you’re married.

Sometimes, love just isn’t enough, are you going to potentially kill each other when there’s trouble in paradise, this is when you find out how you would navigate hard times as a couple when there’s literally nowhere to hide.

Your Emotional Bond Could Get Stronger

This is not to say that your emotional bond wouldn’t get stronger if you don’t live together, but logically speaking, living with someone does have a way of either making or breaking that relationship. Living together means you just have more time together to build and share a life together, it’s almost like there’s more room for trust, love, communication, and so on, to grow even stronger.

To every rule, there is an exception, so while living together could strengthen that bond, it could also destroy it, but it’s also better to know now rather than later, which side of the coin you fall under.


The Knot
It Might Lead To Over-Familiarity 

You know that saying, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ or as we like to say in Nigeria, ‘see finish’. Well, that’s one major con in our opinion. If you end up with someone who could easily get too comfortable to the point where they no longer feel the need to do the little things for you, or they take you for granted all of a sudden now that you’re living together, this might be a big issue.

The last thing you need is to be in love with someone who knows you all too well to the point of disrespect, boredom, or even a lack of attention.

You’ll Have To Deal With The Judgement 

Nigeria is just one of those places where once a particular thing is generally frowned upon, there’s no getting away with it. Not a lot of parents will jump at the idea of cohabitation, because in their mind, it’s like: “If you love her/him so much, get married straight away.” In their defense, it makes sense to just get married right away and begin the journey, so trust that if you do things differently, you might get prying eyes here and there that are secretly or openly judging your choices.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Regardless of the pros and cons, I would say go where your heart leads. There’s not a one-size fits all solution that will help out when it comes to this topic. In some cases, cohabitation has worked wonderfully for some couples, and not so much for others. It is really important that you build your relationship in a way that honors you and your partner, as well as your standards.

Have a conversation about it, if that’s the route you choose to take or not take, it is all up to you. There is no wrong or right answer, there’s only what works best for you and your relationship. As long as you’re true to yourself, and as long as you’re dating the right person for you, there’s only up to go from here. 

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