Is it Ever a good Idea to Date your Roommate?

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Is it Ever a good Idea to Date your Roommate?

There are lots of living arrangements nowadays. Sometimes two platonic friends of the opposite sex end up cohabitating. At other times, such as when we’re in our late teens or early to mid-twenties, we share a place with perhaps several roommates. In certain places like New York City this is common. But if you and your roommate start making lovey eyes at each other from across the sofa, what do you do? Of course you have reservations, wondering how it’s going to affect the relationship and the dynamic in the household. So is it ever a good idea to date your roommate? Probably not.

The truth is that everything is situational. It’s all relative to the two people involved, or perhaps more if you have other roommates, how strong the pull is, and if you two have a real chance together. That said, the fact that you are roommates provides a more uphill battle. What happens if and when you break up? Someone is inevitably moving out. That could leave them stuck in a bad position. Sure you can daydream about a nice, smooth, static-free break up. But rarely do they happen. And can you imagine sharing a bathroom everyday with your ex?

Lots of people point out that there is this better understanding of a person when you observe their habits, how they operate and so on, and so you can see how they will be in a relationship. You may have even observed them with someone else and have a good idea how they act. You will also know their other habits, personal, bathroom and other, shortcomings and advantages. But there is a proper unfolding process to life. Generally, we are bonded together emotionally and neuro-chemically before we start to learn our significant other’s foibles. How does it affect the relationship when it occurs in the opposite order? When you date your roommate, the relationship seems weirdly accelerated. You’ll have to discuss boundaries. What’s to stop you from sliding right from the dating to the cohabitating phase? And what are you missing out on by skipping the steps in between? You could easily get on each other’s nerves all the time.

The thing about this relationship, too, is that you don’t get to choose how fast it becomes deep and intimate, because you are already there, living side by side. If you wanted to date someone else, how would you go about it? And wouldn’t it immediately feel like cheating, make you feel guilty even though you two haven’t discussed commitment yet? Dating your roommate is only a good idea if you think this person could be the one. See if you still feel the same, if the feeling has staying power, or if it’s just hormones and take it from there. For more perspective on the matter read, What Would Judy Say? A Grown-Up Guide to Living Together with Benefits by Judge Judy Sheindlin.

Survey Shows the Right time to Move in Together

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Survey Shows the Right time to Move in Together

It’s a question that often comes up in modern relationships, when is the right time to move in together? Too soon and it could kill the relationship, and give one or both of you deep anxiety. Too late and the relationship may seem to be in slow motion. You of course don’t know someone until they’ve moved in and all of their habits come to bear. The financial savings that could be gained are an excellent plus. But pets, hours, shower scheduling and so many other issues need to be worked out. It really is taking a relationship to a whole other level. Well not to fear, the folks at Rent.com have come up with a handy little survey that shows the right time to move in together.

1,000 renting, cohabitating couples took part in the survey. 37% of respondents thought waiting between six months to a year was appropriate. 29% believed that over a year was better. 18% said that they would wait until after marriage to cohabitate. 7% thought less than a year was alright. 6% thought two to three years a more apropos timeframe. 3% said over three years was the right time. Over a third of respondents said that they were waiting until after marriage which was surprising to the creators of the survey.

The survey didn’t end there. It also asked what happens once couples do move in together. 63% said that they hardly ever went out with their friends alone anymore. 58% spent the weekends at home with their partner. 27% moved in before seeing each other for six months. Nearly 50% enjoyed moving in and spending more time with their partner. 32% came to the realization after moving in together that they’d found their soul mate. Moving in together is a big decision. For some, their familial situation or their religion make the decision pretty clean cut. But for many it can seem like a difficult decision to make. Surely each person’s financial situation, emotional status, your feelings towards one another, where you are in the relationship, whether you are just seeing each other or thinking of spending the rest of your lives together, all are meaningful aspects to explore.

Talk about it together. Find ways to explore the subject. Let your partner know why you are thinking about it and ask what they think. Don’t apply any pressure for commitment as it might backfire. Instead, talk openly and honestly about the situation. If you have been together a long time and want to take things to the next level, share with your partner how you feel, what you want and ask what they think. Make a list of pluses and minuses and weigh your options together to see which is the best fit for you. If you want more out of your relationship but your partner is forever risk adverse, weigh carefully whether you should stay with them or find someone more commitment minded. For more on moving in together read, Not Just Roommates: Cohabitation after the Sexual Revolution by Elizabeth H. Pleck.

Young People aren’t the Only Ones Cohabitating but not Getting Married

 

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Young People aren’t the Only Ones Cohabitating but not Getting Married

Young people aren’t the only ones cohabitating but not getting married. Believe it or not seniors are doing it too. AARP recently took a survey of 1,670 people over 44. 78% didn’t find non-marital sex wrong. In 1999 the number was 59%. Americans have let go of the idea that martial sex be the only socially acceptable avenue. According to the AARP findings, single people have more sex than married couples. And singles are more satisfied with their sex lives. What could be the motivating factor when it comes to seniors? Financial considerations are certainly part of it. Seniors certainly don’t want to stop receiving social security or retirement benefits. They worry about what their children will inherit once they leave this earth and don’t want a marriage making that process more complicated either. Another consideration is the family one. Often even adult children have a hard time accepting their parent’s remarriage. Perhaps they don’t want to give their adult children any trauma.

They may feel that they don’t want to get married and make a big social occasion out of it. They feel that they don’t want to be the center of attention. They had their wedding in their youth and that was enough for them. Women also outlive men. So heterosexual women of a certain age may only find so many available men in their vicinity. Men do often seek younger partners as well. Being practical and open-minded may be the best option if she desires a love life. Cohabitation is much easier for empty nesters and seniors. If they live alone, or in a community of people around the same age, who is to know really what is happening in whose love life? But the point is, no matter what age you are, seek happiness. Weddings are great. But there are far more important things in a relationship than a piece of paper, a party and recognition by the state and perhaps a religious institution. What really matters is how the couple feels about one another and treats one another. Do they support and love one another? Is there a closeness and intimacy? Is there affection? Do they hold each other up or hold one another back? These are the important things. Love is an active state where each participant decides its course moment to moment and breath to breath. Whatever your state, make it a good one from one moment to the next. For more advice on cohabitating read, Unmarried to Each Other: The Essential Guide to Living Together as an Unmarried Couple by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller.

The Marriage Gap is a Good Thing

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The Marriage Gap is a Good Thing

The state of marriage has undergone tremendous change and continues to in American society today. The marriage rate has plummeted 37% in the last 40 years. A little over 400,000 cohabitated rather than got married in the U.S. in 1960. But as of the year 2000, some 5 million Americans cohabitate. Traditional marriage may be giving way to cohabitation as the dominant form of across gender relationships. Of course, couples can be intimate, close and plan a future together without being married. Many couples want more equality than in the past, even though how to achieve it alludes them, and many women believe marriage does not hold equality in its grasp. Another problem, marriages are too expensive, especially in this day and age where more young people are living at home, grappling with enormous student debt and unemployment or underemployment. Some want to own a home and be more financially stable before getting married. Many in the Gen X, Gen Y and Millennial generations grew up with their parent’s divorce in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and don’t want to go through that themselves. Lots in these groups also want to be older before having children, a big responsibility they don’t feel ready for.

But if you look into the reasons why listed above, it seems that the younger generations are considering different approaches to love than traditional marriage, or holding off on marriage for a host of well thought out and mature reasons. It’s good that young people want to be financially secure and emotionally ready before plunging into a huge responsibility like marriage and child rearing. 70% of those who live together for five years do end up getting married. So cohabitation in this view is making sure that the relationship is solid, happy, supportive and most importantly that it’s going to work. This also sounds sensible. Also, studies by the American sociological association found that women are just as interested in delaying marriage or living single, in nontraditional romantic relationships such as cohabitation and in non-cohabitation relationships as men. What’s come to pass is that young people are taking a responsible view on marriage. They refuse to be satisfied with divorces, financial instability, committing before they are ready, or living in functional marriages that lack passion or intimacy. Instead, they would rather wait. It will be a credit to them and society will become far more stable because of their foresight. For more insight on contemporary relationships read, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha.