1: to live together as or as if a married couple
2a: to live together or in company b: to exist together.

Because a girl needs to know whether he'll buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.

Because a girl needs to know how to say that the wagon-wheel coffee table MUST go!

Because a girl needs to know what to do when he leaves dirty clothes all over the floor.

Because a girl needs to know how to tell Mom and Dad that she's living in sin.

Ah, yes: There's nothing more exciting than the thought of setting up digs with the man in your life! Moving in together could mean spending more time with your best buddy and favorite playmate. It could mean waking up together every, single morning without having to schlep back and forth between two abodes. It could mean having a real, "grown-up" apartment without annoying roommates, and doing fun stuff like decorating and cooking dinner together. It could mean (finally!) getting out of your parents' house or having someone besides a creepy superintendent to help you deal with a stopped-up toilet or leaky faucet.

But before you dive in, there are a few things that you and Mr. Possibility need to think and talk about first. You see, while shacking up can be a total blast, even the best live-in relationships can come with some pits. We're talking about disputes about everything from paying bills to cleaning the bathroom. And then there's the whole marriage issue. Consider this dismal statistic: One out of four couples who move in together don't agree on whether their relationship is headed toward the altar. We’re not trying to scare anyone or talk you out of anything. But we've seen too many of our girlfriends get their hearts broken. We don't want you to end up like them.

We want you to have a fun and fulfilling shacking-up experience. That's why we wrote this book. Whether you're itching to get hitched, looking to test your compatibility, or simply wanting to spend more time together, SHACKING UP explains everything you need to know before moving in and has tips for handling sticky issues, such as household chores, disapproving parents, and deciding who gets the bigger closet. (You, of course!) It tells you what living together is really like and how to prevent catastrophic problems by communicating openly and setting ground rules to keep fights under control. In the book, we offer advice on managing and merging your finances and address special concerns such as pets. We also help you cope with the pressure to make your relationship "official" and take the next big step, whether it involves wedding bells or a devastating break-up.

SHACKING UP is a one-stop survival guide for anyone who answers "Yes" to the "Will you move in with me?" question. Whether you're already living with your man or just thinking about it, we've got the information to help you get it right the first time. To get the full scoop, we interviewed more than 100 girls and guys who have shacked up-as well as dozens of researchers, couples therapists, legal experts and financial planners. We've drawn from our personal experience, too. While the book is written for 20- and 30-something women, it can benefit people of any age, gender or sexual orientation.

Remember: Despite what Dr. Laura says, you can shack up and live happily ever after, if you're smart about it. The key is to be honest with yourself, look before you leap, and discuss important issues like money and marriage prior to taking the plunge. Once you’re living together, you'll also need to learn how to negotiate day-to-day dilemmas such as spending discrepancies and differing sex drives. Oh, and let's not forget the toilet seat - a big source of angst for many couples. In SHACKING UP, you’ll find a road map for navigating all the ups and downs of a live-in relationship. Shacking up can be a wild, wacky and unpredictable adventure. So have fun, but be smart - and you'll never have to hear those four dreadful words, "I told you so!"

Happy Shacking!