In today's dating culture, it has become almost a given for couples to move in together after they have been dating for a certain length of time. In fact, moving in together is almost universally known as "taking the next step" in your relationship. But this does not have to be the case! In no way is it necessary to live with your boyfriend or girlfriend before you get married. You can be certain about your feelings and commitment without taking this step.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been questioned by shocked friends and acquaintances when I tell them that I absolutely will not live with my future boyfriend before I get married. I get questions such as "How will you know if you're compatible?" or "How else can you test out the relationship?" or even "What if they have annoying quirks that you don't know about until you live together?"
Well, as for the first question, I sure hope you can figure out whether or not you are compatible without living together. If you aren't compatible then I think you would know this sooner rather than later in your dating journey. If you are dating someone, you are likely spending time with them, talking to them, getting to know them, etc. All of these things help you realize compatibility just as you do when getting close to a friend. I understand that a dating relationship should be more intimate in many ways, but this intimacy can be formed in other ways than living together. There is such a thing as emotional intimacy rather than just physical intimacy.
You want to test out your relationship? You mean like you might test drive a car? Is that really what you want to compare your boyfriend or girlfriend to? So after you move in together and have "test driven" living with them and realize they are a horrible roommate, based on whatever qualifications you have decided on, all bets are off and you dump them? Doesn't seem like a very loving and caring relationship to me.
Plus, what happens if you do realize that you are "incompatible" or that the test drive went poorly and you want to break up? You just signed a year long lease and became dog parents, but suddenly you realize you want to break it off. Now what happens? Someone has to move out and find a new place to live and the other is stuck paying the whole lease or has to find a new roommate pronto. But guess what? You don't have to worry about that happening if you are in a committed marriage. You also do not have to worry about that happening if you don't live together before you are married. It's a heck of a lot harder to break up with someone when you have a dog together, a lengthy lease, and a whole apartment of furniture and things to move out.
Finally, what quirks are you worried about discovering in your significant other that you could only realize if you lived with them? Ooh no! They leave the shower curtain open after they shower! Time to break up with him. Ooh gosh, she leaves her dirty dishes in the sink for two whole days before washing them! That's my breaking point. Our two year relationship is over. Gosh, I sure hope not. There are so much more important things to discuss and discover about your significant other than just simple quirks of living with them. And likely, if you have been dating for any length of time, you probably already have discovered these quirks without living with them.
Regardless, everyone has something that will eventually annoy others, even your future spouse. But that should not be enough to cause you to break up with them! Love is about caring for someone even when they do small things to annoy you. Your relationship should be built upon more than just the physical. It should be about more than just what your partner offers you, but also about how you can love them even when they do things to annoy you.
But you can find these things out just by spending time with someone. You absolutely do not have to live with someone to know whether or not you love them and want to spend the rest of your life with them. Leave the excitement of finding and building a home together for when you are married.