Does 'Shacking Up' Ruin A Relationship?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 02/24/2014 | 04:45 PM EST

Rumors are swirling that Brandy Norwood ended her engagement with Ryan Press after the two moved in together..was it the wrong move?

Rumor has it that Brandy Norwood called it quits with her fiance Ryan Press, after the couple decided to put pause to their relationship after moving in together.

Though neither the singer nor Press - who’s currently Brandy’s manager - have not denied or confirmed the news that was leaked by a source, Brandy did hit the red carpet at the 2014 NAACP Image Awards without her engagement ring. The couple were engaged on Christmas Day in 2012.

If true, it appears the two got second thoughts about walking down the aisle once they began cohabiting. But not all hope is lost; they’re reportedly taking time off to “reevaluate” their relationship and whether or not marriage is in their future.

Of course, this isn’t anything new under the sun. Many couples experience the dark clouds of cohabitation. Living with your significant under before marriage is an eye-opener and, in most cases, you find out rather quickly just how compatible you are under the same roof.

But does moving in or “shacking up” with your partner ruin a relationship?

Not quite. Though it’s not an automatic blow to a relationship, it can certainly change one. After the honeymoon phase is over, partners will often begin to see behaviors in their lover that they may not have noticed prior to cohabiting. Men may be taken aback by seeing their woman without her makeup, while women may notice their man may not be the tidiest person in the world.

In a New York Times article, author and psychologist Dr. Meg Jay tackles the complexities of cohabitating.

“Sliding into cohabitation wouldn’t be a problem if sliding out were as easy. But it isn’t,” Jay says. “It’s like signing up for a credit card with 0 percent interest. At the end of 12 months when the interest goes up to 23 percent you feel stuck because your balance is too high to pay off. In fact, cohabitation can be exactly like that. In behavioral economics, it’s called consumer lock-in.”

However, she points out that shacking up can work if both partners are consciously doing so as an intentional step toward marriage - but even that doesn’t guarantee the relationship will come out unscathed.

Most people will argue that there are great benefits to cohabitation because you get to “test drive” how life would be if you actually did get married. It could even be argued that it saves you a lot of time in the case that you do get married only to end up in divorce. However, cohabitating should be a decision that’s taken just as seriously as tying the knot, for it is a commitment nonetheless.

Still, shacking up may not actually ruin a relationship. If anything it probably just speeds up the process of whether the relationship will lead to marriage or burn up in flames.

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