Why You Shouldn’t Live Together Before Marriage

Although I’m aware calling my knowledge “expertise” may not be applicable, the advice I give is derived from a combination of experience, education, and observation that helps me determine probabilities. For instance, if a woman asks whether she should stay with a man who has been cheating on her but swears he’s going to be faithful now, while it is possible that he may be telling the truth, experience, education, and observation has shown me that in most situations like this, the guy eventually reverts to his old ways. My advice just mirrors what I think is the most likely outcome.

I’m bringing this all up because there are dozens of different dating/relationship questions, theories, and concerns where there are no real right answers. While one side may seem more likely to occur, you can easily make the argument that the other side is in fact the right answer. Today’s topic—Why I believe people should wait until marriage before living together—is a perfect example.

You can just as easily craft a convincing pro pre-marriage cohabitation argument. If in a committed, monogamous, adult relationship, it may make more practical sense to live together. First is the obvious. Both parties will have the opportunity to save money. And, with your combined incomes, you may be able to afford a larger place and nicer things. Also, if you do plan on eventually getting married to each other, the pre-marriage cohabitation period can be a bit of a test run to see how things might be in the future. Plus, there are certain things you just won’t know about someone unless you live with them, and it’s better to learn “secrets” like “This bastard brushes his teeth like three times a week!” and “Damn, ever since she moved in, my bathroom smells like whiting.”

But, the convincing co-habitation argument fails to consider one of the die hard truths about relationships: most relationships end. When you’re not living together and the relationship ends, aside from deleting your own boo from your Facebook page, there’s really nothing else you have to do. But, cohabitation just makes things messier, more drawn out. Who stays and who moves out? Who keeps what furniture? Since you were splitting bills before, how is that going to be handled now? Also, as I learned, a post-cohabitation break-up ensures that you will have to continue seeing and interacting with each other for at least a few weeks while you figure everything out. When this happens, you’re not able to make the type of clean break necessary in order for a relationship to truly end, and this has a tendency to put you in a “are we or aren’t we?” limbo that ends up making things even worse.

Most importantly, with pre-marriage cohabitation, you’re committing yourself to husbandly and wifely duties without any type of husbandly and wifely commitment. Yes, this can happen even without living together, but when you are sharing the same space, that dynamic basically just creates itself. And, while doing this may seem cool in theory, ultimately one party (or both parties) will feel taken advantage of, and/or tire of “playing” married couple without actually being a married couple, and this can put another level of unnecessary strain on the relationship.

Read more at Madame Noire

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Couch

***Hello, VSB nation.We have a treat for you today. S. Nicole Brown is here again to bless the VSB pulpit. Sit back and enjoy***

I like living alone.

With obvious hyperbole, there is nothing like being able to open the door to your home, strip down to the bare essentials–or just to the bare–pour a glass of wine, and listen to the soothing notes of John Coltrane fill each room as he sings an ode to Naima with the pads of his fingers, no voices asking who ate the last slice of turkey, or in an one-sided argument with the TV over a bad call. And you haven’t fully lived (alone) until you’ve grabbed a brush or invisible mic and pretended you were Beyonce at Madison Square Garden or performed “Ain’t Nobody” along with Chaka Khan at the top of your lungs for an audience of no one but your mirror.

There’s a delicious peace in being with and by yourself, happily feasting on a big spinach salad with a side of green juice one night, and questionable Chinese “meat” and Starburst ice cream the next, with no regard to what someone else might want to eat, drink, or have to say about the curious sweet and sour slop on your plate.

But as wonderful as blasting Jazmine Sullivan while eating ice cream in comfy Target-sale Hanes while watching a Bridezillas marathon may be, my absolute favorite thing about living alone, is the ability to decorate a place to my liking. To make the the space within the walls I’ll be inhabiting mine completely, if only for the duration of a year-long lease. To create a home out of the emptiness, with fresh white orchids in the kitchen on Sundays, plush green towels in the linen closet, and Abeena and Ameena, my two very fly bald African priestesses, hanging in frames on the wall in the entryway, greeting each visitor at the door.

Moving to New York presented an opportunity to do just that: mold from scratch a cool, hip space in the greatest city on earth. Having sold or given away most of the furniture I had in Michigan, I was so excited to start anew. I lived on ApartmentTherapy.com, drew sketches and floor plans of what the finished product would be. I made lists, noted every detail, every piece of art.

A change of plans soon presented a small glitch; I wouldn’t be living alone. But, given the free rein I was assured I’d have if I moved in with Beau, I wasn’t worried.

In my head it was perfect: an autumn-hued living room straight out of a scene meant for Love Jones or a dimly lit lounge where everyone snaps instead of claps. We’d have Mahogany tables with volumes of poetry and philosophy fanned out like literary peacocks, eat from hand-glazed Pottery Barn bowls, and span our impressive collection of Important Books against two entire walls of bookshelves, stacked floor to ceiling. Unique and meaningful art found at cultural festivals or made by me would occupy the walls not covered with books.

See? Perfect.

Of all the decor plans I had, none included the ugly brown sofa that took up roughly one-fourth of the living room, smugly letting anyone who entered know what the prized centerpiece of the largest room, and therefore apartment, was.

“Do what you want.” Beau said as I looked around and squealed in delight upon first seeing the rectangular abode for which the rent was toodamnhigh. It had so much potential: nice hardwood floors, plenty of wall space, a setup not backwards like some I’d seen while shopping. “But I’m keeping my sofas.”
-record scratch-

I felt like he’d suddenly cursed at me. Like he’d somehow just insulted my family name.  In a scene right out of Think Like A Man, He’d actually chosen an old couch over My Vision. “But … It’s brown. Dirt brown. And not even true dirt brown. It’s like an ashy, throw-up, dirt brown.”

He was not amused. “I like my couch. It stays.” I knew by his finite tone and heavy plopping down on the cushiony blob he lovingly and hilariously referred to as Couchneesha, that there was no changing his mind. I was stuck with this impossibly unpleasant sofa.

I ran to my computer, discreetly deleted the beginnings of a Craigslist Ad I’d begun to find what I had thought would be the soon-to-be-orphaned sofa a new home. I’d known he was attached to it, but inseparable? This was not my NYC dream. How could I decorate around such a bland and uninteresting lump of a material?

I sank into its cushions, it welcomed my form like an old friend, its plushness inviting, homey even.

I hated it.

The cup of deeply pigmented red Rosehip Hibiscus tea sitting on the coffee table in front of it tempted me to move my arm clumsily, accidentally spill its contents onto one of the oversized cushions. I weighed the consequences and decided I’d just hate Couchneesha in stubborn silence, try to pretend it wasn’t there being the big eyesore in the middle of the room.

Everyday I’d lounge in its comfort and plot ways in which I could convince him life without this sofa was better, only to be reminded that Couchneesha was his boo whom had always been there for him. If anything, I could count on a laugh out of his various responses, but sadly, never a “you’re right, let’s get rid of it.”

…That was a year ago.

Since then, his love for the throw-up brown sofa hasn’t waned. I’ve reluctantly accepted that it will be with us until it decides to kick the dust, or has a tragic encounter with a cranberry juice and olive oil cocktail and needs a slipcover. When I casually mentioned I was writing about his microfibered love, “she’s such a good girl.” was his wistful response.

But  as I’ve learned in living together, there is an endless supply of subjects and items to argue over and about, least importantly a sofa. I’ve learned that huge, pretty throw pillows are the antidote to Couchneeshas. And surprisingly, I’ve decided that the couch isn’t so bad.  It’s soft and plush and has grown accustomed to my form, my pretzel-crossed legs sitting on it for hours-long blocks, typing away on my laptop. The time spent and  memories created (folded into one another watching movies, being tended to while sick, jumping on it and nearly killing myself in an hilarious episode of  Of Mice and Muze) on this admittedly extraordinarily comfortable sofa have begun to slightly outweigh my disdain for its presence.

When this lease is up though…

S. Nicole Brown (aka “Muze”) is a writer of fiction, lover of words, and chronic reader happily living the clichéd under-spaced and overpriced life of a NYC writer. You can find her in 140 or less @muzeness or on her blog, Because I’m Write.

***This Saturday, October 6 is another edition of Reminisce, our all 90s everything hip-hop/r&b/dancehall party at Liv Nightclub in Washington, DC. It’s free before 11pm with RSVP (http://reminiscedc.eventbrite.com) and there’s an open bar from 930-1030pm with no dress code. Come to party, leave to remember. Reminisce. Peep the flyer and FB invite: http://www.facebook.com/events/325601340869364/ ***

***If you haven’t seen it already, Panama was named the “Hillman College Alum of The Month.” Not sure how one becomes the alum of the month for a college that doesn’t exist, but P found a way to do it. Kudos***

***Lastly, our fundraising campaign is still going strong. Check out our Indiegogo page if, well, today is pay day and shit***