My boyfriend of four years and I are planning to move across the country later this year, he to start graduate school and I to start a new job. We’ve never lived together, and to save money we’ve been living with our respective families. We’ve been planning this move for a long time, we’re committed to each other, and frankly we’re just ready to live together. The problem is my very conservative parents, whom I love. They don’t approve of couples living together before they are married, and have gone so far as to say that their children would never do such a thing. My boyfriend and I certainly plan on getting married eventually, but we’re going to live together first. What sort of explanation do I owe my parents here? I’ll be a financially independent adult, and I know I’m free to make my own decisions, but I don’t want to create unnecessary conflict with my family or burn any bridges. I tend to retreat from conflict entirely with my family because it’s always been easier, and part of me wishes I could just not tell them anything at all, but I know I can’t avoid this forever. How can I ease my family into this?