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I can't afford to live without you: costs forcing couples to move in together

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I can't afford to live without you: costs forcing couples to move in together

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance

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Nearly two million people move in with their partner "too soon" because they cannot afford to live apart, new research has revealed.

Four percent of adults (1.9m people) told a YouGov survey for housing charity Shelter that they had taken the next step in their relationship sooner than they wanted because they couldn't afford to live alone, while one in seven (15 percent) told the poll that they knew someone who had done so.

The phenomenon was discovered to be twice as common among those aged 18-30 (eight percent), but those aged 31-44 are also rushing into living together with half a million (five percent) having done so in the last year.

While millions are being forced to move in too soon, the research also showed that many others have the opposite problem.

It was revealed that 3.6 million adults (seven percent) have been forced to continue living with a partner in the last year because they couldn’t afford to live apart.

More than one fifth (22 percent) of adults said they knew someone who was trapped in this situation.

Ewa and her ex-husband continued to live together for more than six months after their marriage ended as they could not afford to live apart.

Working fulltime in social care, Ewa was the sole breadwinner for the family while her husband was in fulltime education and looked after their two children.

Ewa could not afford to pay the rent on her home, and also save up to get a deposit to move out. She said: “It's been very difficult for all of us. My husband and I were still sharing a bed because we couldn’t afford to get two singles and there isn't a spare room. It's been extremely stressful.”

Shelter's chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “This research shows the extraordinary impact that the cost of housing is having on people’s lives and relationships. Moving in with someone is a major life decision, and it’s shocking that so many people say they are rushing their relationships because they literally can’t afford to live without their other half. Everyone knows relationships are hard work, and being forced to take decisions you are not comfortable with only adds to the pressure.

“Just as concerning is the news that so many couples who have split up are unable to make the final break due to the cost of moving out and starting again. Anyone who has been through a relationship breakdown knows how painful it can be, and being forced to continue living together is extremely stressful for all concerned.”

“We have to start asking ourselves whether it’s acceptable that people’s lives are being dictated by the cost of housing in this way. Unless something changes, future generations will be faced with ever more difficult situations just to get an affordable roof over their heads – or find themselves priced out altogether.”

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, psychologist, said: “People move in together for a combination of reasons, but most will take this important next step to cement their love and commitment for each other. Most couples’ ideal situation is moving in together when they both feel the time is right, but this research shows that worries about housing costs are so great that large numbers of people have to put money first, at the risk of rushing their relationship.”

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