I have never lived with my husband before December 2014. Sure, we've travelled together, and I've visited many, many, many times but anybody can tell you that travelling and visiting are two completely different things from actually living in the same household.
We never co-habited partly because of geography, and partly because of religious beliefs, in particular, our parents' religious beliefs. In the course of our relationship (and we were together 4.5 years before we got married, so you can trust me on this), we have been told enough times that we should move in together before we get married. Apparently, you wouldn't truly know someone unless you've lived together.
Sure, I understand the excitement of moving in together, domestic bliss and all that jazz, but I don't think it'll make much of a difference. Say, for instance, you moved in with a man you're sure you want to spend the rest of your life with, are you really going to break up if he doesn't wash his plates after he eats? And likewise, is he going to dump you when he sees how you look in the morning? I highly doubt it.
Everybody can change, everybody can adjust and adapt. I call bullshit on people saying that you wouldn't really know your partner unless you've lived together. I've known John for slightly more than four years before I showed up in his bachelor pad with three suitcases full of clothes and shoes and makeup and he is exactly the same person as he was before I moved in.
He's had to change some things he does around the house, like where he leaves his clothes for laundry, for example, because that cupboard is now what I use as one of my wardrobe spaces. And likewise, I've had to change some things that I've gotten used to, like, sleeping diagonally on my queen-sized bed.
I've been grumbling to myself how our bed feels too small, and I miss sleeping alone until John fell ill and moved himself to the couch so I didn't fall sick. Let's just say it was a lonely four nighter.
You learn to be patient. I know that John has lived by himself his whole adult life, and I, with my family. We both make little, gradual changes to make our lives cohesive. Sometimes, he annoys me but then, he drives me to get froyo and all is right in the world again. And me? We can now henceforth refer to March 2015 The Great Tampon Incident where I flushed tampons down the toilet, and then clogged it the f**k up (in my defence, I've been flushing tampons down the loo my whole life.)
Embracing quirky living habits is something that you need to learn to deal with. John can't fathom how I don't mind being at home the whole day writing up a storm; when he's not in the office, he enjoys writing in cafes. On the other hand, I prefer to work on my stomach, on the bed, with my materials sprawled around me. I've freelanced successfully for many years this way, and it's not about to change.
I'm not saying that you should only live with your partner after you're married, you can really do whatever you want. All I'm saying it - I'm calling bullshit on all those people who've told us we should live together before getting married.
As John says, you do you.