November 15, 2022 |Gideon Hanekom

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Living together (cohabitation) and starting a relationship without getting married is becoming more common. However, not being married does not exempt a couple from the same relationship challenges and pitfalls. Because that’s the case, there might be areas that require even more attention and clarity than when married. So, in this post, we’re looking at 16 tips for a successful live-in relationship to help you navigate the often-tricky waters of cohabitation.

What is the main difference between a live-in relationship and marriage?

The main distinctions between marriage and a live-in relationship are that marriage is a legal union between two people, while a live-in relationship is not. Marriage requires both partners to be committed to the relationship and each other, while a live-in relationship may not. Marriage also typically involves sharing finances and property, while a live-in relationship may not.

What does some research suggest about live-in relationships (cohabitation)?

According to an article published on by Elyakim Kislev PhD, there is a cultural shift impacting the number of singles in the global population.

Kislev says that the number of couples who choose to live together for a long time before getting married or live together without getting married is going up because individuals are concerned about marriage and divorce.

According to Kislev, living with a partner and forming a partnership without getting married is becoming increasingly accepted worldwide.

In some places, living together is more common than getting married. And more people are living together without getting married because live-in relationships are becoming more acceptable and people are becoming less happy with marriage.

However, in certain situations, Kislev says that cohabiting relationships are less stable and last less long than marriages in some situations. They are also more likely to end in divorce, regardless of age, wealth, or number of children. Because of this, Kislev thinks that more people will stay single for longer periods of time, which is not a bad thing in and of itself.

But Kislev also says that trends and patterns in live-in relationships should be evaluated carefully. In some cases, live-in relationships have become more like marriage, both socially and legally. For example, marriage laws in the U.S., Australia, and Europe give the same rights as formal marriage agreements.

live-in relationship

So, as you can see, there are a few essential things to think about before moving in with someone. That’s why good preparation is crucial.

One such plan should include how you will handle money, how you will divide up household chores, how you will handle disagreements, and how you will deal with other day-to-day issues. Having a plan will help make sure that both people in the relationship are on the same page and that things go smoothly.

It would be best to consider how well you know your partner. If you’ve only been seeing each other for a short time, it might not be a good idea to move in together just yet. Before making such a big commitment, you should take the time to get to know each other better. This can help you avoid problems in the future.

No relationship is perfect, and there will always be good times and bad times. But having a good plan can help live-in relationships work out better and be less stressful.

With that in mind, let’s look at 15 tips for making a live-in relationship work so that you can get off to the best start possible.

Define your relationship expectations early on

It is essential to define your relationship expectations early on when in a live-in relationship for a few reasons.

First, it can help prevent misunderstandings and hurt feelings down the road. If you and your partner are on the same page about what you want from the relationship, it can help avoid conflict.

Secondly, it can help set realistic expectations for both partners. If you know what your partner wants and needs from the relationship, you can be sure to provide that for them.

Lastly, defining your relationship expectations early on can help create a stronger, more lasting bond between you and your partner. When you know what each other wants and needs, you can be more supportive of one another and work together to make the relationship the best it can be.

Set some ground rules

It is important to set ground rules when in a live-in relationship so that both partners know what is expected of them and can avoid conflict.

For example, one ground rule could be that each person has their own space and respects the other person’s privacy. This can help to prevent arguments about personal space and belongings.

Another ground rule could be that each person is responsible for their own mess and cleaning up after themselves. This can help prevent arguments about who will do the dishes or take out the trash.

Ground rules can help to make a live-in relationship more stable and less likely to end in conflict.

Be considerate of your partner’s space

When you live with someone, it’s essential to be considerate of their space. This means respecting their personal space, belongings, and privacy.

It can be easy to take these things for granted, but it’s important to remember that everyone needs a little space to call their own.

If you’re considerate of your partner’s space, it shows that you respect them as an individual. It can also help to create a more harmonious and loving home environment.

After all, when we feel respected and valued, we’re more likely to reciprocate those feelings.

Consideration of one’s partner’s space is especially important when disagreements arise. If we’re feeling angry or frustrated, it’s all too easy to invade our partner’s space in an effort to make our point. But this can often escalate the conflict.

By being considerate of our partner’s space, we’re more likely to resolve disagreements peacefully and respectfully. We’re also more likely to maintain a healthy relationship in the long term.

Learn to communicate effectively

Effective communication is one of the most important aspects of a successful live-in relationship. Without good communication, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy relationship and keep things running smoothly.

There are a few key things to remember when communicating effectively in a live-in relationship.

First, it’s essential to be clear and concise when communicating with your partner. This can be difficult when you’re upset or emotional, but it’s important to try to stay calm and avoid arguments.

It’s also important to be respectful of your partner’s feelings and opinions, even if you don’t agree with them.

Second, it’s important to be patient when communicating with your partner. This means taking the time to listen to what they have to say and not interrupting or talking over them.

It can also be helpful to ask questions to ensure you understand what they’re trying to say.

live-in relationship

Finally, it’s important to remember that communication is a two-way street. This means that you should be willing to share your own thoughts and feelings with your partner and listen to what they have to say in return.

If you’re not open and honest with each other, it can be difficult to resolve conflicts and build a strong relationship. Effective communication is essential for a successful live-in relationship.

By being clear, concise, patient, and open with your partner, you can build a strong foundation for a healthy and happy relationship.

Respect each other’s independence

When two people move in together, respecting each other’s independence is important. This means giving each other space when needed and not being overly demanding of each other’s time and energy.

It is also essential to understand if one person needs to take a break from the relationship or needs some time alone.

Respecting each other’s independence is key to maintaining a healthy and happy live-in relationship.

It can be easy to start taking each other for granted when you live together, but by respecting each other’s space and independence, you can avoid this trap.

Live-in relationships can be wonderful, but they require both parties’ work and effort.

Make time for each other

In a live-in relationship, as with ANY relationship, it is vital to make time for each other. This can be done by setting aside time each day to spend together, even if it is just for a few hours. You can talk, watch TV, play games, or just spend time in each other’s company.

It is important to have this time together to maintain a strong relationship. Without making time for each other, it is easy for a live-in relationship to become more like a roommate situation. That can lead to tension and resentment, and eventually, the relationship may break down.

Therefore, it is crucial to set aside time to be together and enjoy each other’s company.

Don’t take each other for granted

When you’re in a live-in relationship, it’s easy to start taking each other for granted. You see each other daily, so it’s easy to assume that your partner knows how you feel and what you need.

But that’s not always the case. Just because you live together doesn’t mean you always know what’s going on in each other’s heads.

It’s so important to make time for each other, even when you’re living under the same roof.

Date nights, weekend getaways, and just spending quality time together is crucial.

live-in relationship

It’s also important to have your own hobbies and interests outside of your relationship. This will help you keep a sense of self and maintain a healthy balance in your relationship.

If you start taking each other for granted, it’s only a matter of time before resentment starts to build. Eventually, this can lead to the breakdown of your relationship.

So, make sure to always communicate with each other, show your appreciation, and never take each other for granted.

Be willing to compromise

In any relationship, it is essential to be willing to compromise. This is especially true in a live-in relationship, where you are sharing your living space with another person.

Sometimes you do not see eye to eye on something, and you will need to be willing to compromise to make the relationship work. If you are not willing to compromise, it can lead to conflict and tension in the relationship. This can eventually lead to the relationship breaking down.

Therefore, it is important to be willing to compromise in order to keep the relationship strong and healthy.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should always give in to what the other person wants. You still need to stand up for yourself and what you believe in.

However, it would be best if you were willing to listen to the other person’s point of view and try to see things from their perspective. Then, you can work together to find a compromise that works for both of you.

Being willing to compromise is an important part of any relationship. It shows that you are willing to work together with the other person to make things work. It can help to prevent conflict and keep the relationship strong.

Talk about your finances and figure out a budget that works for both of you

A live-in relationship is a big step in any couple’s life. It can be a great way to save money on housing and other expenses, but it can also be a source of financial stress if you’re not on the same page about your finances.

Talking about your finances and creating a budget that works for both of you is essential to maintaining a healthy live-in relationship.

It can be challenging to talk about money, but being open and honest with each other about your finances is essential.

If you’re unsure where to start, sit down together and figure out your monthly income and expenses.

Once you have a clear picture of your finances, you can begin to create a budget that works for both of you.

Be sure to include savings in your budget so that you can build up a cushion for unexpected expenses.

And finally, don’t forget to review and adjust your budget regularly as your financial situation changes.

Talking about your finances may not be the most romantic topic, but it’s essential to a healthy live-in relationship.

Set some ground rules about housework and chore division

It is important to set ground rules about housework and chore division in a live-in relationship because it can help prevent arguments about who is responsible for what tasks and ensure that both partners feel like they are contributing equally to the running of the household.

In fact, some research suggests fighting over chores is one of the most common causes of divorce.

Having set rules can also make it easier to keep on top of the cleaning and other chores, as each person knows what to do and when to do it.

If one person is doing more housework than the other, it can lead to resentment, so it is important to try and keep things fair.

One way to do this is to sit down together at the start of the relationship and discuss who will do what tasks and how often they will need to be done.

It can be helpful to write everything down so that both partners are clear on what is expected of them.

live-in relationship

It is also important to be flexible and willing to negotiate, as circumstances can change over time, and one person may need to take on more or less responsibility at different times.

If arguments do arise about housework, it is important to try and resolve them calmly and constructively.

It can be helpful to talk about why you are feeling upset or angry and to try and find a solution that works for both of you.

It is also important to remember that not everything has to be done perfectly and that a little bit of mess is not the end of the world.

Agree on a few basic ground rules for fighting fair

When two people move in together, it’s important that they agree on a few basic rules for fighting fairly. This will help keep the relationship healthy and make sure that both people feel heard and valued. Some basic rules for fighting fairly might be to take turns talking and listening, to use respectful language, and to avoid calling each other names or making personal attacks. If both partners can follow these ground rules, it will go a long way towards helping them work out their differences in a healthy way.

Talk about your sex life and what you both want and need from each other

It is important to talk about your sex life with your partner for several reasons.

First, it can help to foster a more open and honest relationship overall.

Secondly, it can help ensure that both partners are getting what they need sexually from the relationship. Lastly, it can help prevent any resentment or frustration from building up over time.

If you are in a live-in relationship, it is especially important to talk about your sex life on a regular basis. This is because you and your partner are likely sharing a bedroom and spending a lot of time together. Therefore, it is important to make sure that both of you are happy with the sexual aspect of your relationship.

If you are not talking about your sex life with your partner, it is possible that one or both of you may be unsatisfied. This can lead to frustration and resentment, eventually damaging or even ending the relationship.

Therefore, it is important to communicate openly and honestly about sex to maintain a healthy and happy relationship.

Discuss your plans for the future and how you’ll handle changes and challenges

Discussing your plans for the future with your partner for a few reasons is important.

First, it can help you both ensure that you’re on the same page regarding your long-term goals. If you’re not, staying together can be challenging in the long run.

Second, discussing your plans can help you figure out how to best support each other in achieving your respective goals.

Finally, discussing the future can help you identify potential challenges you may face and devise a plan for how to deal with them.

Discuss your expectations for privacy and alone time

When you live with someone, talking about what you want in terms of privacy and time alone is essential. This can help you avoid misunderstandings and fights in the future.

If you both know how much privacy and time alone you need, finding a balance that works for both of you will be easier. Also, it would help if you were honest about what you want.

live-in relationship

If you value your privacy and time alone, don’t try to act like you don’t if you want to make your partner happy. This will only make things worse in the long run.

Be honest about what you need from the start, and work with the other person to find a solution that works for both of you.

Define what a successful live-in relationship looks like to you

A successful live-in relationship looks like a partnership where both people feel comfortable and respected.

Each person should feel like they can be themselves without judgement.

There should be a mutual understanding of each other’s needs and wants. Each person should feel like they can rely on the other person.

Having these things defined is important before entering a live-in relationship. If not, it’s easy for misunderstandings and hurt feelings to occur.

When you know what you both want and need from the relationship, it’s easier to communicate and work together to ensure everyone is happy.

Determine if you’re both on the same page about the level of commitment you want in a relationship

It is important to determine if you are both on the same page about the level of commitment you want in a relationship when you are living together. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or arguments down the road.

If you are not on the same page, it is important to communicate with each other and agree about what level of commitment you are both comfortable with.

A live-in relationship and having kids – is it a good idea?

There is no correct answer regarding whether or not you should have kids in a live-in relationship.

However, some experts typically recommend that couples wait until they are married before beginning a family since evidence indicates that children born outside marriage are exposed to several risks. That is because a healthy marriage typically gives children the stability and commitment they need to grow up and do well.

Married couples also tend to have more money and social support, which can help them raise their children.

Obviously, every couple is different, there are thousands of exceptions and cultural differences, and there is no right or wrong answer.

In the end, you and your partner will need to decide what is best for you and your relationship.


Assuming that a couple wants to have a successful live-in relationship, they should keep a few key things in mind.

First and foremost, communication is vital.

The couple should make sure to talk about their expectations for the relationship, as well as any concerns they may have.

It’s also important to be respectful of each other’s space and to have regular “date nights” to keep the spark alive.

Another critical aspect of a successful live-in relationship is maintaining a healthy sex life. This means being open and honest with each other about what you like and dislike and trying to keep things exciting.

It’s also important to be supportive of each other’s careers and hobbies and to find ways to balance your time spent together with time spent apart.

In general, the key to a successful live-in relationship is effectively communicating and compromising with each other. If both partners are willing to work on these things, the relationship has a good chance of success.

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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