Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free

on Sep 16, 2008 @ 11:31 am

Has anyone else heard that expression? I have a lot of friends who live with their boyfriends for a long time before getting married and it seems like in most cases the relationship falls apart since they don't make the final commitment. My belief is that if the milk is free every day there is less motivation to make anything official. Am I just being old fashioned? What do you think?

27 Replies

Feisty Redhead
Depends on the people on Sep 16, 2008 @ 01:08 pm

I think it depends on the individuals involved. I know of two couples that have been living together for many years (one couple for about 13 years and the other for about 24 years) and their relationships are very strong - and they have no plans to ever get married. I also know of several couples that chose to live together for a year or more before getting married and they have happy, strong relationships as well and HAVE followed through with marriage when the time was right for them. My own boyfriend and I are planning to move in together in a few months and spend some time living together before getting married. We've spent a lot of time discussing it and both agree it's what is right for us. We do want to get married, just not right now.

They say you don't really know someone or how well you get along till you've lived with them for a while. I personally think living together for a while can be a good thing. It can save you from having to go through a divorce later on, if you happen to find after living together for a while you are not as compatible as you thought you were. You can just break up and move on, no messy strings of having to end a marriage.

Marriage isn't for everyone. I don't think that just because a couple doesn't want to get married does not mean they're any less committed to one another than a couple who does want to get married. If they're happy together and agree they just don't want to sign some papers to make their relationship "legal" I don't really see anything wrong with that.

It's when one person wants marriage and the other doesn't that things get messy. But if you both agree on what you do or don't want from the relationship it can work out just fine.

tricky on Sep 16, 2008 @ 03:35 pm

There are statistics that claim living together before marriage results in a higher rate of divorce down the road than not living together. But before you take those results at face value, there are certainly factors that muddle the issue.

For one, those who choose to live separately may do so for faith reasons - and these same couples may have strong feelings against divorce too. Are we seeing certain couples committed to staying together sticking it out longer than those who don't have a strict perspective on divorce?

Second, there is always that adjustment period when you enter a new phase of a relationship. Whether you go from dating while living separately to straight into marriage, or living together and then into marriage, it will not be a seamless adjustment. No matter how much people say "it's just a piece of paper", I think there is still an important mental and emotional attachment there. You also suddenly realize that splitting up just got a whole lot trickier! Maybe those who had a successful living together experience are shocked to see just what a difference that piece of paper makes, and having lived together to avoid such an adjustment are finding this rude awakening too hard to handle.

Then there are those couples, both living together and not, who adjust extremely well to married life. More power to them! I think, though, that many couples assume that living together first will be an important litmus test for later on - but I don't think that's necessarily so. In my opinion, you shouldn't live together because you want a marriage dress rehearsal. You can never know what you'll get.

Case in point, the sister of a good friend from high school lived with her BF for years before they finally got married, were separated within weeks of the wedding and divorced as quickly as the law allowed. I think her parents are still paying off the wedding years later.

Live together because of other reasons. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that it's a good way to test your compatibility "once and for all".

about to take the plunge on Sep 17, 2008 @ 05:24 pm

I've lived w/ 2 boyfriends. One, obviously, didn't work out. It
wasn't from living together, but rather how we viewed our future family
values. The other one is my fiance and we're getting married in 16
days. I'll let you know if the piece of paper makes any difference for

here comes the bride.... on Sep 18, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

wow! 16 days, that's really soon! Congratulations in advance Spotty! I hope that your day goes perfectly. :D

WoW! :) on Sep 19, 2008 @ 08:50 am

Congratulations Spotty!
Have a wonderful day!

I've never lived with a boyfriend. I almost lived with the last guy I dated seriously, but I was afraid I'd be expected to "take care of him" like his Mum. My place would have been the first place he lived out of his parents' place. I didn't feel he had enough experience taking care of himself. We loved each other, but this and a few other things lead to our breakup.

although tricky makes some good points, here's my take... on Sep 21, 2008 @ 07:10 pm

When I was about 13, my grandmother (who is very blunt and honest) told
that it's important to have sex with the person you're planning to
marry BEFORE you marry them "to make sure that everything works" and
that the two of you "work together". Although she's the last person I
wanted sex advice from, I think it's very wise advice. Sex is a very
important part of marriage, and you have to make sure you're compatible
in that area.

As for living together, as a lot of people have already said, you don't
truly know someone until you live with them. When you're dating, you're
both on you best behaviour.

If I'd married my ex-boyfriend before living with him, my life would be
miserable now. The only girlfriend I have who DIDN'T live with the guy
before marrying him ended up divorced less than a year later, partially
because of his living habits.

I'm all for living together first, but you also have to make sure
you're on the same page and doing it for the right reasons. Do it
because it's the next step toward having a life together, not because he's broke
and needs a place to stay, or because you don't want to be alone, etc,

And wouldn't you rather have him marry you because he loves you for who you are and truly wants to make a commitment rather than because he's pressured or because he wants "the milk" and can't get it unless he marries you?

I'd also like to quote Dan Savage in saying that "Every relationship fails until you find the one that doesn't". Your friends who broke up probably would have broken up whether they lived together or not. They must not have been right for each other, and wouldn't you rather find that out before being married?

*2 cents*

Ali de Bold
Cow thing on Sep 22, 2008 @ 10:36 am

I think everyone is making valid points. It's funny I too have done the cow/milk rant for years based on what I have seen with my friends and my personal beliefs but obviously there is no one blanket rule that makes sense for everyone. I don't agree that if you hold off on sex that person is marrying you just to get the 'milk' and relieve the pressure. That statement applies when the woman wants to get married but the man doesn't want to commit because he has everything he wants already without the public declaration. "But Baby, things are so good now. Why would we need to go and mess that up??"

I think the most important thing is to make sure you are both on the same page and have the same expectations and you'll figure it out. I do think that young women should abstain as long as possible as sex does complicate things. You need to be careful who you emotionally bond with. Sex expedites that.

As to the comments that you don't really know someone until you live with them, I agree you certainly get to know them better when you are under the same roof, but I think if you have both been honest with each other while dating it shouldn't be a huge transition.

I don't see marrying someone you haven't lived with as risky. Alex and I moved in just before our wedding and we didn't go through any major adjustment phase at all. He was exactly as I expected he would be and vice versa. If the person you move in with is completely different than when you were dating I would argue you may have missed some red flags there. Unless that person is Jekyll/Hyde, you should be able to pick up on most of those things before you move in together.


hear, hear! on Sep 24, 2008 @ 05:02 pm

Well said MissChickie, and Spotty, that's such exciting news, I wish you all the best!

Do people still get married? on May 17, 2010 @ 05:12 pm

I'm a man - why the hell would I want to commit myself to one women? Would I commit myself to one of anything else? One pizza topping? One flavor ice cream? Hell no - I might feel like strawberry one day but I'll want a change sooner or later.

I have multiple friends for multiple purposes, I play golf with one friend and go drinking with another, yet they don't feel exploited by my having multiple friendships. So why am I supposed to find fulfillment in one women?

Human beings are not swans, when people are 'committed' to each other it takes a lot of work, I doubt there are any couples who are really happy with each other. Those who don't get divorced must be getting extensive marriage counseling. If you think something will last forever, including a personality/emotion, you will be utterly disappointed.

People should have figured that out by now.

jaded on May 18, 2010 @ 07:39 am

Holy cow, dude! Those are some mighty strong statements that make me think you have been very hurt and are bitter. There are plenty of people out there who are happily married. Plenty.

I am sorry to hear that you are so unhappy. But when you find that right person, you will quickly see that it is a beautiful thing to commit to one person and they to you.

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