In my very personal opinion, I MUST partake in the cohabitation with a partner if things get very serious. I am a little bit of a control freak, so go figure I like to know what that person is like in their normal day to day life before I could possibly one day marry that person. As much as you can go over and see what they are like while you visit, it's typically a completely different story once you live with them. I had a boyfriend once who was SO neat and tidy, to a point of almost being anal about it (a glass on the table without a coaster is a NO FLY zone for him). I dated him for a few months, and then we broke up for whatever reason that I don't remember (we had just finished High School) but remained friends for a while. His next girlfriend (after about a month of dating) was let go from her job, and was "forced" to move in with him (because she didn't want to live at home where there was rules of not coming in at 4 AM drunk...). In the month that followed... not only did I find out that he would just shove his clothes into the closet in the living room when company came over, but he would put his dirty dishes in the BATHTUB, because well who would go over to someone's house and look in their bathtub (it may possibly be something that I do now with some friends...don't judge)? YUCKERS! Anyways, moral of the story is that some people put a "mask" on their habits (good or bad) with most people. This story has traumatized me, and thus has lead me to live with three of my boyfriends in my life. I will leave their anonymity for the sake of the story. Before I go ahead, I will just mention that I value every relationship that I have ever and will ever have (friends, family, boyfriends, fiancee, husband, etc). I believe every relationship teaches you valuable lessons about life, and more importantly.. about yourself. I never regret any relationships, ever. Not even the one hour one. HAHA!
1) Mr. Crappy Tire - Dated for 6 months total, moved in at month 4 (he had financial problems because of school and I felt bad... STUPID ASHLEY). We lived together for 2 months (in separate rooms though) before I found his wrappers/cans/bottles UNDER his bed. Needless to say in that moment, I figured out why he always wanted to come into my room to watch a movie. I will also mention that cohabitation does not always lead to sex, I never had sex with Mr. CT. It all depends on your values and self control. That being said, I personally have no problem with pre-marital sex (to a certain extent. Like you probably aren't prepared to have sex at the age of 13 because you wouldn't be able to handle the consequences that come along with having sex, like pregnancy. We shall save this topic for another day).
2) Mr. Introvert - If any of you have ever met me or know me even in the slightest, you would know that an introvert and I just don't belong together. It took me a little over a year to figure that one out. We dated for about 10 months before moving in together (this time it was my financial problems that lead us to that point) and in the 4 months that followed, I learned all of his traits, thoughts, etc. Most of them drove me absolutely insane. I could never spend the rest of my life living with someone like this. He is a great person and he will make someone so very happy, but that someone just didn't happen to be me. His incessant whining; leaving his computer, Xbox, and every other light on in the house; his less than terrific hygiene; his ability to suck the fun out of everything; etc. Sorry, just not for me. I didn't sign up to be someones mommy. He was as sweet as pie though, and he always put me before himself. I really wish him all the happiness in the world, even if he hates me. (OOPS.)
3) Mr. Black Belt - a.k.a. Mr. Right for Me Yes Indeed - With Mr. BB, what I saw was what I got, and boy was I happy about that. We have been together for 3 and a half years, and have lived together for the better part of two of those years. We have been friends for at least 8 years now, so I always knew he was the one for me right from the start. With Mr. BB, I have found minimal things that changed in the time we have lived together. In some respects, the changes that did happen were for the better. I was pleasantly surprised that his cooking was good, he is cleaner than I am in some respects, he helps with laundry/dishes (when I'm really busy with school and work, he does them ALL the time), etc.
Part 2 tomorrow... what inspired me to write all of this kerfluffle!