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Is Signing a Lease the New Marriage?

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September 13, 2012

I signed a new lease on a house last night and so officially on October 1st, I will move in with my boyfriend and become one of the millions of cohabiting unmarried un-engaged couples that have begun to define my generation’s demographics.  After an exhaustive, stressful search which required a grueling schedule that included looking at almost forty places, five websites, filling out four credit applications, making three offers, two realtors who now hate me, and one tantrum, I am so relieved it’s all over and so excited about creating our little home together.  But as I signed last night, I realized, as an unmarried couple, this was the first formal commitment we were making to our relationship.  I began to wonder is signing a one year lease a commitment to stay in my relationship for one year?

One of the first places we looked at (which happened to be on “Hart” street) offered an awkward glance into our relationship status.  We were wandering around empty rooms, trying to picture our life within the freshly painted white walls, making conversation with the landlord.  He asked where we currently lived and after we told him, he exclaimed in mock astonishment “oh, moving in together for the first time?”  We laughed politely and said yes.  Then he turned more to my boyfriend and said, mostly-jokingly I’m sure, “are you sure you’re ready to make a commitment for one year?”  I had never thought about it like that before and suddenly felt a little embarrassed at this assumption that us moving in together meant the man in the relationship was true-to-cliché and reluctant to make a formal commitment and the woman had pressured him into cohabitation.  I just smiled while my boyfriend with more aplomb than I could muster in the moment said “hopefully a lot longer than that” and kissed me on the forehead.

But because we’re not married, I hadn’t thought much about moving in together defining our commitment as a certain length of time.  We are making a commitment to move our relationship to the next level “>www.tamarashaynekagel.com and follow her on twitter

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