DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m 22 years old and have been dating my boyfriend for over three years. We met in college, and he is the love of my life. Our relationship is very serious, and I know that he is the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with. We have been talking about moving in together in the upcoming months. The problem is, my family is very conservative and does not condone moving in with a significant other before marriage. I know that I am going to marry him, so this shouldn’t be a problem, but in my family, it is. Do you think it’s wrong of me to move in with him before getting married? -- Confused and in Love, Dallas
DEAR CONFUSED AND IN LOVE: I grew up in a household like yours. My father forbade me to live with a man before marriage. I almost made it to that point. We moved in together a short time before marriage. My father was angry, too. He got over it -- eventually. One reason that parents shun living together is because it is not considered a full commitment, and it is not a sanctified one.
That said, what do you and your boyfriend think? Have you talked about marriage? Have you expressly made that commitment to each other for the future? While you may not fully follow your parents’ rules, you should get to a point of clarity with your boyfriend about your intentions before you decide to move in together.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)