Question: My boyfriend of a year and a half suggested we move in together to see if we’re cut out for marriage. I view this as an insult and suggested premarital counseling instead. He agreed but says that if we can’t cohabit, he won’t marry me. Should I leave or stay? 

I’m the first to tell a woman to stand by her beliefs-but I would tell this brother to do the same. What man wants to find out after two months of marriage that his wife has a thousand pairs of shoes everywhere but in her closet? And what woman wants to realize after the honeymoon that her husband expects his new “mama” to dispose of the clipped toenails he left on top of the TV Guide?

To figure out how to move forward, look at what’s holding you back. Is “living in sin” against your religion? If so, it’s certainly not against his, which means you need to date someone who shares your beliefs. (Let the church say, “Amen!”) Or maybe you’re worried about him trying to “get the milk for free.” I’m assuming you two have had sex. (Let the church say, “Hmmm.”) So why are you suddenly trying to control the milk?

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Some people feel couples shouldn’t live together because there are no wedding vows to keep either partner from leaving or to compel them to work things out if something goes wrong. People will step out on a relationship whether they’re married or not. And I’d rather have my girlfriend cheat on me than my wife.

I can’t tell you if you should stay or go. But I can tell you that your boyfriend loves you. Men don’t go to precounseling for nothing unless it will clear points off our driving record. Ask him what his live-together plan is. If he has no plan and says you’ll cohabit now and revisit the marriage thing in a few years, move on. But if his plan seems reasonable, why not give playing house a try?

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