Mar
14

2018

Are we living together too soon?

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Are we living together too soon?

Originally posted in news.com

LAURA and her boyfriend Will moved in together after just seven months of dating. While they saw a future together, they admit they were forced to move in sooner than planned for financial reasons.

“I probably did feel like less than a year was too soon, I had thought that we’d be together for about a year or a year and a half before moving in together,” Laura told news.com.au.

Both 28, they were paying a combined $610 a week in rent before making the decision.

While they’re both working (she’s a social worker and he’s an electrician) they felt that paying ‘double rent’ made no sense.

“Realising how ridiculous it was to be paying over $600 a week when we were spending so much time together, we both became more open to the idea of moving in together sooner,” Laura said.

But instead of taking the plunge and moving into a home with just the two of them, the couple decided to live together as part of a share house.

Laura and her boyfriend Will moved in much more quickly than they’d planned, as they couldn’t justify paying double rent.
Laura and her boyfriend Will moved in much more quickly than they’d planned, as they couldn’t justify paying double rent.Source:Supplied

While Laura and Will are happy with their decision, the life-changing call to live as a couple isn’t so rosy for many young Australians.

But with Sydney and Melbourne now two of the world’s most expensive cities for housing, many newly dating couples don’t feel they have much choice other than shacking up much sooner than they’d planned.

CM Lawyers, an Australian law firm, suggests living together prior to getting married can increase the chances of divorce by as much as 40 per cent.

But despite these shocking stats, the decision to move in together is being forced on many couples, out of financial necessity.

Angelo Bouras from Richardson & Wrench at Elizabeth Bay said: “In the last 24 months we have seen a substantial increase in the cost of the average apartment.”

He added in that time he has seen a big change in the clientele looking for a flat.

“Many of our rental clients are new couples that are pooling their money together as they have found they are keeping two places but staying most of the time in just the one home.”

Sydney property prices are soaring, with many new couples deciding to pool their money to save on rent. Picture: realestate.com.au
Sydney property prices are soaring, with many new couples deciding to pool their money to save on rent. Picture: realestate.com.auSource:Supplied

Nadine Walker, 31, who works in the tech start up industry had been living with her boyfriend for 13 months. They moved in together after four months of dating. She was previously paying $550 per week and her boyfriend $600 before they cohabited, where they split their weekly rent of $650. Nadine explained why living together so soon was appealing.

“With the excitement you have at the beginning of the relationship, you want to spend all your time together so moving in solves a lot of problems. Instead of packing an overnight bag you think it’s a great idea and easier too. It also makes sense finically. You speak to each other about financial goals and when you move in together you can get to those goals quicker.”

She does confess that the rising property prices were a major factor in their decision. “We are both at an age where we want to own a property and Sydney property prices are ridiculous. For us to do it on our own is near impossible.”

However, she admits there is a down side to living together so soon. “In the beginning it was amazing because we got to do those living tasks together and got to save money. But I soon felt like I lost my independence and lost a step in the relationship because we jumped from dating to real life very quickly. Instead of going out and making dates, we then would stay in. It brings the honeymoon phase to a bit of a halt. It takes the fun out of it somehow.”

Nadine admits that, “While it’s great living together, I would have loved to have prolonged that period in our relationship.” (In the time this interview took place and was published, Nadine and her boyfriend have parted ways).

Even basic apartments outside of the city are nearly $500 a week in Sydney. No wonder people are pooling their money to save on rent.
Even basic apartments outside of the city are nearly $500 a week in Sydney. No wonder people are pooling their money to save on rent.Source:Supplied

Amanda and David were also only together three months before making the decision to move in together. Amanda was paying $220 in a share house and Mitch, $650 with a roommate. But when David’s roommate moved out and he was left paying the full rent for two months, things changed.

Amanda admits that the decision to move in together so soon was not initially planned. “We had thought we’d move in together in about eight to nine months’ time, closer to a year of being together,” she said.

And finances were a factor in their decisions as well. “It makes sense not to pay double rent when we want to spend most nights together anyway. She explains. “For us the move was prompted by convenience and opportunity. But if rents were cheaper, yes we would have waited longer to live together.”

But for those who are not yet ready to put their relationship into the constraints of everyday living for the sake of finances, share housing might be an alternative. Siobhan Hayes, co-founder of bill sharing app Easyshare told news.com.au: “Nearly one in three of our share house customers are couples living with other housemates. This growing trend of at least one couple living in the share house group is a popular option to save money on rent, as well as becoming a more modern step of moving in together in the non-traditional sense.”

This is the option Laura and Will chose, feeling it gave them some adjustment to get used to living as a couple before moving out on their own.

“Living in a share house has been a great transition to living together. I feel it has taken the pressure off living just us two,” Laura said.

Maybe this is the road financially-savvy new couples should consider.

While we don’t want to make a huge life decision based on financial realities instead of the strength of our relationships, it’s likely most of us don’t have the luxury to wait.

With property prices unlikely to tumble any time soon, we might need to accept the risk of shacking up before we really know our partner.

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