I understand the excitement of making a decision that seems like a perfect middle ground between new love and marriage. But the red eye to heartbreak is fueled with sweet nothings. The worst reason to move in with your main squeeze is to test out whether or not they are marriage material. There are no guarantees when it comes to that institution, no beta-test, no half-measures. I've actually said, "We're going to see if we're compatible!" What a superficial thing to say. If I love a woman and am compelled to give her access to my rotten DNA, compatibility is moot. I love her totally, and flaws are part of that equation.
Marriage is another word for "trust." Maybe "trust, plus." It is two people full of doubts, shortcomings, and love holding hands and jumping together. It's a risk, fraught with the potential to fail, and that makes it beautiful. Three-legged races, where two people hop, stumble, get back up, and maybe hit a stride until they fall again. It's funny, frustrating, and the wedding ring is a symbol for the rope tying two legs together. I've written a lot recently about my folks: They weren't perfect. They fought, bickered, and had some tough years. But I admire their marriage and don't really feel the need to top it. I should have known better than to have doomed two relationships to failure by writing a check my emotional maturity couldn't cash.
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Women want weddings too much, men not enough. Women embrace the intimacy; men fear the responsibility. Maybe if we switched those two, women would understand why men sometimes agree to moving in as a way to put off what they think is inevitable, and men would understand why a woman would settle for a major step closer to a cherished event in her life. I will never move in with another girlfriend, unless I'm pretty damn sure I'm willing to stand with her, in front of friends, family, Zeus, Odin, and Quetzalcoatl, and make the big gamble. Because, man, what a jackpot.
Of course, if I do end up living with my girlfriend, feel free to admonish me. You know, three's the charm. Until then, I just like to pretend her place is my weekend cottage.
Written by John DeVore for The Frisky.