Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cohabitation: The 2010 Edition

The decision to share space with another person is always a big one. People are inherently selfish and don’t necessarily see how their actions impact the people around them. A preexisting relationship with someone can lead to not feeling as comfortable to raise issues that bother you because you do not want to hurt their feelings or damage the standing relationship. Lots of couples are cautious about moving in together because it will undoubtedly lead to arguments, which although healthy are still arguments, and it eliminates free space. The ability to go home and get a good night’s rest without the stress of your significant other hogging all of the covers is a godsend. I don’t disagree this is a civil liberty that anyone in a romantic relationship should have, but I don’t think it’s as realistic as it previously was. This is a classic example of an outdated principle that’s been taken out of proportion.

It’s really easy to blur tradition and the times. And you see that it happens throughout society in many ways. It comes across as a sever identity crisis to everyone. Women do not want men to treat them as helpless needy individuals, however, they still want the door opened for them and they’d like a man to pay for the meal. On the other hand, men do not want their wives to be at home and prefer they work, but they also would like for them to raise the children and do the household duties as well. Moreover, there was a time when a man at the age of 18 was a man and could go out into the world, take a wife, and provide for his family. I’ll be honest with you, chances are you may have moved out, but you will still rely on financial support from your parents until you are well over 21, building wealth is just not as easy and doesn’t come as early as before. Not ten years ago, if you would have been told that you would be making $50,000 upon graduating from college that was really good money and you would be “balling out the gym.” However, if I woke up and someone told me I was only making $50,000, I’d probably slip me an Ambien and Diprivan and hope for the worst.

I watch a little VH1 every now and then and remember a quote from an episode of, I Love New York, where a gentleman in hopes of becoming New York’s beau exclaims, “Let me tell you about my financial situation, I’m Broke.” The interesting thing about being broke is that it is a totally independent determinant on your love life. You will not suddenly realize that you are broke, and now you have no desire to date or continue in a relationship.

Relationships are changing these days too. To demonstrate the change, I want you to think to yourself about how courting took place before the mass production and use of the cell phone. Ironic isn’t it? How would you talk to someone for hours like you do now? How would you let someone know you were stuck in traffic and running late for a date? How would you communicate with your significant other throughout the day without having to pick up the phone in the middle of your board meeting? We previously thought that with the addition of text messaging and instant messaging, we would lose touch with the world. In fact, we’ve only created more channels for communication. And by more, I mean, hundreds more. Now your relationships are so much more intense at a faster rate and you are able to learn about one another so much quicker than before. To be honest, when you’re in a relationship you probably leave one open channel of communication all day and if you can count on one hand the times when you weren’t talking during that day. And when you aren’t using that open channel of communication, couples these days are spending every other waking moment with one another. As work hours continue to increase, free time is at a premium and you do everything in your best interest to spend that time with your mate. And pretty soon you will reach that point where you are either spending the evenings and nights at your mate’s residence, or vice versa. And I’d recommend that at the point where she has her own drawer, space in the closet, and bathroom space that you have a serious conversation about where things are going.

To be honest with you guys it really makes little to no sense to not live together, if you’re going to “live together.” Let me explain, again use the retrospective goggles to look at relationships in the past. People went on dates, they talked infrequently. There were no chat or text messages, there were handwritten or typed letters. Phone conversations came at a premium, most women lived at home until married. A man at age 18, got a job, and got his own place to live. And a few years later a wife would come along. Listen, real talk, our relationships now are way beyond those of what people would call “dating” in the past. People meet parents too early, they have sex, they sleep in the same bed, they plan vacations together, they make life decisions together, and they even sometimes seek counseling together. These are pseudo marriages. However, the tradition is until you get a ring, you can’t move in… To me it’s quite ridiculous.

Consider things fiscally as well. The cost of living these days is sky high, it’s almost absurd. A studio in DC can run you as much as $1050, a 1BR in DC, is a steal at anything less than $1200. (If you are at all concerned about the neighborhood you lay your head in.) A couple living in two separate locations are spending $2250 on rent alone. But they are always spending their time together. You eat out a lot because that’s a way to hang out and share a meal, you also have dates, and vacations to have time alone to yourselves for a few days. Relationships are expensive, very expensive. So let me see if I have all this down, you practically spend all of your time together, you eat as many meals as you can together, you even sleep in the same place each night together, but you don’t live together. With this cost structure, I find it hard to imagine how you will ever afford an engagement ring, wedding, or home in the future. And even so, couldn’t you both stand to benefit from moving in together in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment? I think so, you’d save a lot of money, and you’d have very few changes to your relationship.

We have to reevaluate our definition of what reality is every so often. Come to grips with a changing world. As much as your mother probably told you about “playing house” you might want to be honest with yourself and realize that playing house is pretty much par for the course for our generation. I remember the big jump in relationships I experienced from high school to college, but none was bigger than the one from college to young adult life. I’d like you to take a look at your situation and ask yourself, if your decision not to move in with your significant other is actually costing you more than you are gaining from it.

1 comment:

Anger Management said...

Good Post. I would say that I still like living apart. Sometimes I just wanna come home and be by myself. I think I'd rather spend the extra money.