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BellaOnline's Dating Editor

The Art of Living Together

There are a number of theories swirling around out there about whether or not shacking up with a partner before marriage is helpful or harmful to the long term potential of the relationship. Some experts believe that couples who live together before tying the knot face a higher risk of divorce while others claim that just the opposite is true. Personally, I think skyrocketing divorce rates have less to do with cohabitation and far more to do with compatibility or lack thereof. Sometimes it takes sharing a living space with somebody to realize that perhaps you are not nearly as compatible as you may have hoped. Where cohabitating couples tend to go wrong is that they often fall into comfortable routines that they mistake for love and compatibility so rather than end the relationship and find a more compatible partner, many couples who have lived together for some time feel that the only logical thing to do is take it to the next level by getting married or making joint investments in property, pets or children, which of course only serves to compound the problem.

One of the best things that cohabitating couples can do to make the most out of their living arrangements is to be aware of the common obstacles that they are likely to face and develop a game plan for how they will successfully overcome those obstacles together. Most importantly, if things donít work out as planned and the partnership is failing to meet even the most basic of expectations, it is necessary for both parties involved to be realistic about the situation and cut their losses before things begin to get really messy.

Though every situation is different and many unforeseen factors can play a significant role in how things ultimately play out, take a few minutes to review the tips below. While love does not come with any guarantees, there are some things that you can do to improve your chances of successfully cohabitating with a romantic partner.

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