Why I Would NEVER Live with a Boyfriend Explained on NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin

That I feared the ¿qué dirán?–what will people say?–more for Mami than me is what barred me from ever committing a barbaridad of ill-repute that would prove all my tías in Colombia right about the perils of raising daughters a la americana.

Then I got older and guess what?  I won’t move in with a boyfriend.  It has nothing to do with Mami.

Media reports and new studies show that the majority of people in their 20s shack up with their honeys and 1/2 of married couples today first lived together.  The top reasons?  It’s more convenient and cheaper.  Jes.  We do spend every night together alternating between his and my place meaning that we’re paying double the rent, double the bills each month.

The research also shows that these couples are not happy.


Reason #391

¿Cómo?  Isn’t that why you take the car on a test drive to see if you (don’t) like it?

The reason they’re not happy has less to do with economics than with emotions.  And when it comes to relationships, our permissive culture has robbed men and women of roles that may have limited our options but protected our hearts.  Yes, money in the form of inheritances, dowries, or yearly income has always played a foundational role in relationships.  But living together is one more way we’ve stripped men of their manhood and made them afraid to be men like Papi who worked like a dog to provide for his family and always walks on the “outside” to flank his women from the perils lurking in the street.  He didn’t see my Mami as a rent break.

Mami, and millions of women from previous generations felt limited by their options, stifled by their realities, with personal ambitions left unfulfilled.

¡Psst!  Let me tell you a secret.  So do I.  The difference: at least past generations of women knew where they stood.

Today, both men and women don’t.

I’m going to continue to ride men’s chops, withholding from shacking up, heck, even staying in the car after my date has parked and proceeded to walk a block before he asks, where is she? I’m waving back at him from the passenger seat, waiting for him to open the car door.

What’s the worst that can happen?  You find a guy who shows you with words and actions that he loves, treasures, and respects you as a woman and as an educated professional?

That’s worth the wait.

The Beauty Shop segment of NPR’s Tell Me More was a little spicier than usual as I joined Michel Martin, US World News & Report’s Mary Kate Cary, the snobalicious Danielle Belton of the politics and pop culture blog the Black Snob, and Bridget Johnson of the libertarian and conservative PJ Media where we discussed the pros and cons of shacking up with your beau and the Secret Service sex scandal.

To hear more hot topics on TMM‘s “Beauty Shop” with Viviana, Michel, plus smart and sassy ladies, click here.

Have/would you live with your honey?  Up/downside?



  1. says

    I feel exactly the same way! I feel shanking up before he puts a ring on it makes it too easy for men. If he loves spending time with me so much, then marry me! That’s when I would shack up.

    And on my next date, I am so staying in the car lol.

  2. says

    Great post…although, the husband and I were shacking up before we got married. And even though we knew what to expect – that first year of marriage was THE HARDEST for us. It’s not as easy to walk away at that point and the pressure is really on. Had we not had that year of unmarried, living together experience – maybe we would not have made it.

    Who knows – either way you do it. It’s a gamble.

  3. says

    To marry or to shack-up? I think great love lives hinge on wisdom, respect and attitude. From what I’ve seen, most married couples in the USA try harder than those who live together. On the other hand, I’ve known couples in Mexico who have lived together and raised families with the same dedication and expectations as a marriage–and are still together after many years. Here in the USA our culture of individualism, materialism and convenience brings more challenges to marriage. Which is why I own a pair of well-worn running shoes. :) Yes, I’ve become queen of the bachelorette club.

    I, too, love chivalry and romance. And I have loved and lost. Truth is, you can “put a ring on it” but some people aren’t cut out for the work of building honesty, respect, integrity, trust, value and the willingness to grow both as a couple and as individuals. Ring or no ring, great love relationships are an ongoing journey that involve learning to be a real team; taming egos (and we all have one!), being authentic, sharing, communicating effectively, and operating from a point of joy and love rather than fear, pride, ego, etc. When I find a partner willing to take that leap, I’ll gladly trade in my bachelorette club tiara for a wedding ring!

  4. says

    Such a taboo subject, much more so in the Latino community, I think. Either way, it is a personal choice which I’m glad my mother left for me to make. My reason for playing house or merging, as we lovingly called it, before the big “M”, marriage was to make sure we liked playing house, if not we were both grown up enough to know we could walk away with no strings attached…we are coming upon our 20th Wedding Anniversary this summer. It worked for us.

  5. says

    I’m so staying in the car, too! Genius! Love it. I’ve never thought of shacking up, but I sure have thought of the benefits… but that’s selfish— a double-edged sword. It would in fact benefit me, but in the end my value and integrity is paramount to a saved buck!

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