“Playing House” Doesn’t Make You Or Your Relationship Serious – It Makes You Immature

Be honest with yourself right now: How many of you believe that moving in or “shacking up” with your significant other is the natural progression of being in a serious relationship BEFORE marriage/engagement? No matter how many of you want to admit it, that is a very common thought process amongst many young people – and that line of logic is completely STUPID.

Let’s be clear about SERIOUS dating and what it entails right now: Dating is the process of getting to know someone in order to qualify their potential as a long term mate. And it seems nowadays it’s broken down into very distinct stages with SHACKING UP being the final one before the lifelong commitment to be married has been agreed upon – unless both parties are against the idea of marriage – that is an incredibly ignorant thing to do.

The stages of serious dating nowadays are as follows:
1) Meet & Court Stage
2) Sex & Intimacy Stage
3) Comfort Stage
4) Move-In Stage
5) Start Talking About Marriage & Engagement Stage

Many people use moving out as an expression of how serious the relationship is becoming, when it should be a sign of how serious the relationship already is and how committed both parties already are to each other. But nowadays people want props because they decided to take their frowsy significant other “seriously” and move out with them with not so much as ONE single discussion on spending their lives together.

The problem with that thinking is as obvious as Foxy Brown’s lack of Mathematical prowess on “Affirmative Action”: Moving in together is the ultimate way of turning you and me into USbut if we haven’t even discussed where the relationship is seriously going – then are we not just setting ourselves up for failure? If your punk-a*s doesn’t know if you want to commit to that person, moving out should be the LAST thing on your mind no matter HOW grown you want to appear, because you aren’t ready to take on the responsibility of having another persons love, sanity and hell, even CREDIT all tied in your hands – but that’s what comes with LIVING together.

No SUCCESSFUL relationship can thrive with two people living under the same roof approaching life like “I’mma do me, and he/she can do them” so why are you playing house? Do you really want me to look at you like a serious grown-a*s couple just because you share the same p.o. box? Get the HELL outta here.

Now I am NOT stating that you need to be married before you move out, but what I am saying is that moving out is NOT something a couple should do because they have a warped opinion of what “serious” couples do. Hell, if you both live at your parents until you’re 30 and ready to commit 100% mentally, physically and emotionally thats better than moving out after 5 months of dating because you just hit stage 3 and it’s tome to “get serious.”

This Is Your Conscience

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog ThisIsYourConscience.com, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.

55 Comments

  1. Queen Erudite

    11/08/2010 at 2:38 PM

    People should not even consider shacking up until they are married. No ring, No key.

    • The_Mad_HATER

      11/08/2010 at 2:40 PM

      lol thats corny!! if you care about each other you should move out and see what happens if you want!

    • Independent Woman

      11/08/2010 at 2:46 PM

      I agree! Maybe women wouldn't be in such messed up situations in their relationships if they kept their behinds at home or at least alone.

    • imakesense

      11/08/2010 at 9:02 PM

      I disagree, If you are engaged and planning on getting married I don't see the problem. If anything it gives you the opportunity to be able to 100% know whether you can tolerate living with this person on a day to day basis, as you get to see habits/behaviours you wouldn't be able to find out unless you have lived with the person for a portion of time

      • Starita34

        11/08/2010 at 9:14 PM

        Exactly what habit could one possibly display that would change your mind from wanting to MARRY them and spend the rest of your life with them? Towels on the floor? Leaves dishes in the sink? Rancid gas (fyi – that's like 98% of men lol, well people, let's be real).

        My point is, if you love someone enough to want to MARRY them…those little annoying habits shouldn't really matter. Things you'll want to work on? Yes, but at the point that you're ready to marry someone/move in with them, shouldn't you be familiar with their conflict resolution methods? It feels a lot like a move to passify a woman that doesn't want to "waste" time and a man giving her a key to distract her from her empty ring finger; and of course they both get to reap the practical benefits. Let's not argue that it's an effective premarital trial, hard data disproves that theory over and over.

        • imakesense

          11/08/2010 at 9:54 PM

          "Let's not argue that it's an effective premarital trial, hard data disproves that theory over and over."

          I call bullshit on theories that supposedly tell you how you are supposed to lead your own relationship. I wholeheartedly hope people aren't buying into those self-help books and pushing the idea that there is ONE way to maintain a successful relationship. If it works for some then who are you to say it doesn't?

          "Exactly what habit could one possibly display that would change your mind from wanting to MARRY them and spend the rest of your life with them?"

          Um..you listed juvenile ish, financial conflicts, gender roles in practice, work schedule conflicts, etc. are a few things that you are not 100% aware of until you live day to day with the person. These difficulties will NOT stop you from wanting to spend the rest of your life with said person, however, they will provide insight as to whether or not you are ready to jump the broom or whether it's something that both parties cannot handle at the moment.

          "It feels a lot like a move to passify a woman that doesn't want to "waste" time and a man giving her a key to distract her from her empty ring finger;"

          If you read my comment I was referring to engaged couples who have rings…

          As I stated above, there is not ONE way to create a happy, fulfilling, successful marriage and family. If it is my opinion that engaged couples can learn a lot from each other prior to getting married, what's it to you? You obviously don't feel the same way and that's fine, whether it's because your married and did not move in prior and your marriage is great or w/e the case may be, just because YOU feel it is so does not mean that translates to the MASSES

          • Pretty Manny

            11/08/2010 at 10:14 PM

            I just so happen to be doing a paper on this very subject and I agree with Starita34 it is a well documented fact that cohabitation prior to marriage does not result in a positive outcome. It is referred to as the "cohabitation effect" Please read below for the findings:

            Major empirical studies have failed to discover a
            positive link between premarital cohabitation and
            marital quality or stability.Perhaps most compelling are the findings from
            several recent articles that document a strong negative
            association between cohabiting and marital
            stability. These studies indicate that living together
            before marriage substantially increases the
            chances of divorce for a couple (Balakrishnan,
            Rao, Lapierre-Adamcyk, & Krotki, 1987; Bennett,
            Blanc, & Bloom, 1988; Booth & Johnson,
            1988; Bumpass & Sweet, 1989; DeMaris & Rao,
            1992; Teachman & Polonko, 1990). This counterintuitive
            association between premarital cohabitation
            and divorce is called the "cohabitation effect"
            in the literature.

          • lincolnanthonyblades

            11/09/2010 at 1:55 AM

            Wow…Strong Evidence.

          • imakesense

            11/09/2010 at 2:44 AM

            aren't you the one who looked up negative issues with studies for an ACTUAL scientific issue in that other post, rather than just "co-habiting" *hypocrisy*, cuz I could easily do the same damn thing with this one, hmmmm. Anyway, I call bullshit on studies regarding this matter human's vary way too much when it comes to relationships.

          • ATLienSince82

            11/09/2010 at 11:22 AM

            tell em again!

            humans are insane when it comes to love and relationships and there aint no study that can truly decipher that

          • Starita34

            11/08/2010 at 10:51 PM

            Not that there is one right way to make a successful relationship, but there are certainly several wrong ways. For me, shacking up is one of the wrong ways, and I believe that, in general, it's wrong for most people. Not wrong as in, immoral, wrong as in doesn't work (i.e. result in a healthy, long term relationship).

            "If it works for some then who are you to say it doesn't?"
            Um, that argument borders on ridiculous. So since Mary K. Letourneau and Vili Fualaau got together when she was his adult, married teacher and he was 13, then she went to jail, but they have two kids together and have been together for over 13 years – that method "worked" for them, therefore it's a valid relationship route? It's so asinine I'm embarrassed to type it out.

            People's definitions of "working" relationships vary. For real, I can only give you my definition, my opinion. What I'll do and what I'd teach my children to do. Are there other ways? Of course.

            "Um..you listed juvenile ish" Yeah I listed trivial things intentionally, partly for comedic effect. But why would one even be engaged to/considering living with a person/marrying a person they haven't already learned their financial habits? Their ideas on gender roles? Etc…and when you live together you'd be surprised how HUGE the trivial things can be. Toilet seats have sullied many a perfectly pleasant evening.

            And my main issue with cohabitation – "a few things that you are not 100% aware of until you live day to day with the person". Marriage is not, will never be, a 100% guaranteed thing. It requires faith and commitment. It requires conflict resolution. You WILL argue; it's what you do when things aren't great that make the marriage. People that live together have a false sense of security in my opinion…

            We can agree on this: "just because YOU feel it is so does not mean that translates to the MASSES". And no, I'm not some happily married woman giving a holier than thou speech.. just a single girl giving my lil ole opinion on a blog, just like you.

          • imakesense

            11/09/2010 at 2:50 AM

            No, you are being holier than thou, you think your way to do it is the RIGHT way to do it as you have stated multiple times. So what about Mary K? I could care less about some high profile criminal's life? It won't work for every personality type, especially a criminal's. And her relationship would be crap if she had not moved in with him prior same way because she is a pedophile. I only know what I've seen work in my immediate life and if my eyes have seen it work, than it makes it so, no argument necessary. Financial concerns and gender roles are different in daily practice than in theory/belief. No I am not SINGLE and plan to move in with my SO of 4 years, 4 years from now before Marriage. I find it funny that its always the people who are single who seem to know what works, ok then w/e floats your boat. To each his own just leave it at that…

          • MistaHarsh

            11/09/2010 at 10:25 PM

            to chime in, marriage is an old tradition and it's what couples do before they live together. Its also what couples did before they had sex. I'm assuming you had sex with your husband before marrying him? Why did you not wait? Could it be you tested the sexual compatibility to see if it was a good match? If so you should be able to acknowledge cohabitation as an effective tool.

            Marriages/relationships fail for every reason under the sun no study can prove there's a pattern. I believe marriage gives people a false sense of security. Divorces are at a all time high sheeit look at bus shelters some lawyer's pedaling a quick divorce for $500.

            The ONLY reason marriage should be considered before cohabitation is if you are religious and do not want to "live in sin". I don't believe I heard you mention religion throughout your posts(I didn't read all)and thats the whole basis of marriage. So if the couple loves each other but wants to take it to the next level give them your blessings instead of cursing them with statistics.

          • Starita34

            11/09/2010 at 10:42 PM

            Other couples can do what they please. That's not my business.

            I'm not married. I've never had conventional sex. I won't until I am married. I am religious. I do believe in tradition. I don't know why I came across as so judgmental. I don't care what other's do, I'm talking about MY life and giving MY reasons for MY decisions. I'm not condemning anyone by stating the data, the facts are there whether I repeat them or not.

      • lincolnanthonyblades

        11/09/2010 at 1:54 AM

        Co-Sign…I Think If You Have NEVER Lived With Someone, You Probably Want To Try That Out Before Doing It MARRIED

  2. ATLienSince82

    11/08/2010 at 2:58 PM

    Y'all are crazy! I ain't moving out at all with no crazy chick…that is a recipe for disaster

  3. Streetz

    11/08/2010 at 3:06 PM

    Good shyt and I agree.

    PT of info: U reference moving out a lot. did u mean moving in? Not tryna be a dyck, just want to make sure im not wilin out!

    • Queen Erudite

      11/08/2010 at 2:39 PM

      What exactly do you agree with?

      • Independent Woman

        11/08/2010 at 2:50 PM

        Girl he agrees with running around the town and throwing his nasty richard in and out of every girl he sees and not have to report to a woman he lives with.

        • ATLienSince82

          11/08/2010 at 2:56 PM

          Why you going so hard on the dude??

          Fact is playing house is not what's hot in the house

        • KG S

          11/08/2010 at 8:28 PM

          Oh boy. Anyone who's seen my comments on the FB page know that Linc and I constantly butt heads, but I'm almost convinced that you (Independent Woman) are resolved to disagree with pretty much every thing he says. I don't quite understand how you came to the conclusion that this post was acting as a permit for commitment-free indiscretions, and that that was what Streetz was subsequently agreeing with. The point is not that serious couples should not move in together, but rather, that people should not move in as a mark of how "serious" their relationship is.

          What sense does it make, really, for individuals who haven't the slightest inkling where they see the relationship in the next 4 months – talkless of 5 years or the rest of their lives – to cohabitate? The fact that I'm not a proponent of non-marital cohabitation aside, I find it rather daft for individuals to blindly take that step without considering its full implications. I'll be interested in knowing the specific parts of his argument that you disagree with.

          • lincolnanthonyblades

            11/09/2010 at 1:52 AM

            Hey You Actually Came To My Defense…Wow

            Something Tells Me This Conversation Will Keep Going For The Next Couple Days

          • NaijaSweetz

            11/09/2010 at 5:22 PM

            Haha, you know I've got your back (*cough*SOMETIMES*cough*) Linc. =P

            On a serious note, I usually read through things with an open mind and try to see where the author is coming from. If I disagree with the points made, I will say as much. We disagree much of the time, but it wouldn't be right for me to automatically write off everything you say.

        • Streetz

          10/11/2012 at 10:11 AM

          After almost 100 weeks, Im just seeing this response. IW stop #reacting LMAOOOO

          I agree that playing house is a swindle and you should be more forthcoming on the parameters of a relationship.

          Maybe you reacted because this was you once? lool

    • imakesense

      11/08/2010 at 9:04 PM

      yea this confused me but by moving out i think he means moving out of 'rents home

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      11/09/2010 at 1:50 AM

      One Part Of My Grammar That Refuses To Improve: I Use Moving Out And Moving In Interchangeably Like They Are The Same Phrase…

  4. seven

    11/08/2010 at 3:52 PM

    Move out? Do so many adults actually still live with their mommy and daddy? Maybe before you think about getting married and depending on yet another person, you should learn how to live. Cut the cord.

    • Double K

      11/08/2010 at 7:02 PM

      Says you. Living with your parents doesn't necessarily mean that one is immature in anyway. Our social construct may dictate that you should move out on your own, but many cultures/societies suggest quite the opposite; which is to stay with your parents until you get married. To other's it could be a totally logical financial decision. Where I live the average one bedroom goes for $1500; which, understandably, would be a problem for some people. So the first though to come to mind would be to split that expense. Now to pick up and share a space with somebody you are not 100% real with is taking a huge and needless risk. So if shit doesn't work out, somebody's got to be homeless?

      • lincolnanthonyblades

        11/09/2010 at 1:58 AM

        Co-Sign.

        This Whole "I'mma Struggle To Be Independent So I Can Walk Around Naked And Have Sex As Loud As I Want" Is A STUPID North American Ideal That Keeps Many People BROKE & Destitute Living From Paycheck To Paycheck..

        If We Were Smarter Like East Indians And Orientals We Would See The POWER In Passing Down Inheritance And Consolidating Wealth In A Large Family Structure

    • MistaHarsh

      11/08/2010 at 7:13 PM

      I'd rather live with my parents than pay rent in a roach infested apartment any day. All you young folks looking to ball out at a young age so you can invite some skeezers to the house.

      Stay with fam
      save money
      smash skeezers in your car
      buy property
      have enough money stashed to live comfortably for 6mos without income.
      = smart move

      • China

        10/11/2012 at 12:14 PM

        Why are you referring to the female as a "skeezer"?

        • MistaHarsh

          10/11/2012 at 12:44 PM

          that was 100 weeks ago. I've since reformed. I call them hefers now…

          • ChloeRayne516

            10/11/2012 at 3:53 PM

            *Smhl*

            This boy here^^^^^^^

  5. Starita34

    11/08/2010 at 5:58 PM

    It's just yet another symptom of our instant gratification society. We want all of the benefits with as little of the responsibility and/or commitment as possible. "Playing House" is the perfect description to me. Half the bills, in house chex, home cooked meals, shared laundry…show me why a person wouldn't want that? Why a person would ever disturb that great situation by adding a ring? Most times they wouldn't. Which is why many people cohabitate for years and never end up marrying. And many that marry, divorce quickly. Marriage takes a certain amount of commitment and trust. If you gotta "try it out" first. It's not looking good for you.

    In our society, we're sexin by week 3 – why wouldn't we move in? I mean if things go south, just move out. *dripping with sarcasm*

    It's interesting to see men agree with this. I would've bet money that most men were on the "shack up" side of the fence. Humph.

    • KG S

      11/08/2010 at 8:42 PM

      Geez, I need to find a cute lil moniker. I'll get to it eventually. /randomthotz

      lol @ thinking most men would be on the "shack up" side of the fence. Remember, the post is discussing individuals who haven't quite decided that they're in it for the long term. Even with guys (who fall under that category) who intend on being faithful, one would be hard-pressed to find up to 50% who'd be thrilled with the idea of living with their girlfriends. To be honest, I know of more situations where the guys grudgingly agreed, and only so as not to cause irreparable damage to the relationship.

      Honestly, I love my personal space too much to consider moving in with someone until I absolutely have to. I'm actually surprised that I'm not pulling my hair out by now – I recently graduated and temporarily moved back home with the fam. I guess it' spartly because I love my peeps, and partly because I know it's a temp thing.

      • KG S

        11/08/2010 at 9:06 PM

        Pffft….I'll just default back to my usual NaijaSweetz. /morerandomcrap.

      • lincolnanthonyblades

        11/09/2010 at 2:01 AM

        I Disagree.

        Men LOVE The Concept Of Shacking Up.

        • Adrian

          11/09/2010 at 12:25 PM

          Some men like the concept of shacking up, I sure as hell DON'T. Though I'm at home because of school and financial reasons, I love the idea of having my own space. I'm defintely not moving in with my significant other unless I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO! Lol

          • NaijaSweetz

            11/09/2010 at 5:25 PM

            lol See, Linc?? I guess the most we can say is that, as with everything else, some men do and some don't. Most of my close guy friends wouldn't, though, unless it's a SERIOUS thing. Even then….only if they were being given some kind of subtle (*cough*) ultimatum.

          • lincolnanthonyblades

            11/10/2010 at 1:23 AM

            LoL..Agreed.

    • cynicaloptmst81

      10/11/2012 at 10:07 AM

      *waves to Star and Naija*

      …and I soooooooo agree with you.

      • Starita34

        10/11/2012 at 12:12 PM

        Hey girl, hey! Glad things are going well with the man man. :-)
        Nice to see you doing well and stickin to your guns.

        • cynicaloptmst81

          10/11/2012 at 12:22 PM

          Thx! I hope you're doing well too. I didn't realize until after the fact that this is a repost, (comments made 100 wks ago?!, lol).

          I'm trying to raise future husbands for folks out there with young ladies born after 2000, LMBO!

  6. lincolnanthonyblades

    11/09/2010 at 2:00 AM

    Common Law! The Most Misunderstood Concept In This Whole Shacking Up Thing…Many People Don't Even Understand That Common Law Is Defined Differently All Over

  7. Pretty Manny

    11/10/2010 at 11:06 AM

    Cosign Starita34 people nowadays will have u believe its a crime 2 speak ur mind u do u n god will do the rest

  8. cynicaloptmst81

    10/11/2012 at 10:02 AM

    *sigh*

    This is one of only a few "big deals" that my bf and I disagree on. I'm not for living with a man I'm not at least engaged to…and he's not for proposing to a woman he hasn't vetted via cohabitating. And since I have children, I can't budge on it. I'm very particular about the messages my actions/choices relay to my children. If I didn't have kids, there'd be temptation to compromise…but I do so won't. We've discussed it at lengh and still disagree.

    I just don't understand that line of thinking. After all the time we've spent together…and transparent discussions about finances…what in the WORLD do you think I'm gonna do that you haven't already seen, for real? You really think I'm hiding some habit or something? I don't get it…and I really don't know how to bridge the gap. The good thing is that neither of us are ready to take either step at this point…so disagreeing is not an issue right now.

    …oh, and I didn't touch on the whole "we haven't even discussed long-term commitment but lets move in together" thing cause its dumb…and should be common sense, lol.

    • Lia

      10/11/2012 at 10:28 AM

      "And since I have children, I can't budge on it. I'm very particular about the messages my actions/choices relay to my children. "

      This just made my day. I'm glad to know that there are still some single parents out there who still put their children first. I know of a good number of single mothers and fathers who didn't hesitate to move their partners into their homes when marriage wasn't on the table, or anywhere near the table, and it made me wonder what it did to the kids or what message it sent to them…

      • mena

        10/11/2012 at 11:51 AM

        The message isn't good. Trust me.

    • mena

      10/11/2012 at 11:50 AM

      That is a serious struggle and I see both of your points of view. If he said that he was moving towards marriage but needed to live with you first, what would you say then? Do you think there is any room for compromising and should you continue the relationship if this is something you both won't budge on?

      • cynicaloptmst81

        10/11/2012 at 12:06 PM

        My ONLY compromise would be a proposal and just to delay setting a date. That says, "its my intent to marry you and we're prepping for that step". If he needs a year engaged and living together before a date is set, I can give that. If we decide it won't work within the year, the engagement can be called off…and I PROMISE to give the ring back.

        I think what he thinks about needing to live with me before he's ready to propose will change once he's actually really ready to consider that option…which he isn't (and neither am I, lol). I think its easy to hold on to his view on this that preceeded our relationship cause he's not ready to be married…period…at this point. Once he's at that place (ready to be married), I think what he's willing to compromise will change. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. For now, its a risk I'm willing to take.

        • MistaHarsh

          10/11/2012 at 1:03 PM

          I think you're making right decision. No time for pussyfooting when you have kids or dealing with a woman who has kids. He needs to make that committment before he asks you to make a serious life change….can he not spend the week with you guys in your place? what does he need to know that he doesn't already? Doesn't sound like he's convinced yet.

          Usually guys want to see how well women handle their finances or how consistantly well their woman will take care of them and treat them like a king when they come home….in other words how much responsibilities will you assume in the household. Some men just want to be the provider and the protector and nothing more.

          Know what you're comfortable with and decide what you want to do.

  9. Vicky

    10/11/2012 at 7:29 PM

    If you find someone that you want to marry, I think you should live together prior to walking down the isle. You do not know a person fully until you live with them!

  10. Kelly Manchester

    10/12/2012 at 6:31 PM

    One of my coworkers asked me, "So when are you going to find someone to shack up with?" I was like "Uh….Never!" I just don't see a point in getting married at all if you can share the same house, bills and bed without doing so. It's pointless to me.

    And I realize the post isn't about living together vs. not.

  11. Porsch

    10/29/2012 at 3:18 PM

    I completely agree with this article!

    But Linc, another thing you forgot to mention is the fact that moving in together too soon can also make you feel strong attachment to that person which can often be confused with love. I think love takes time and while you may be open to loving somebody by stage 3, living together can make you feel like you are madly IN love with them, when really you have just become really attached and dependent. Naturally living with someone would do this.

    Premature cohabitation can do this much in the same way that having sex with a guy on the 1st date can sometimes make a girl think she is in love with him. But really she is just attached.

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