Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A different perspective on cohabitation

Most arguments against cohabitation are based on an outsider's perspective, but Verily Magazine is featuring the story of one young woman who shares her personal experience of moving in with her boyfriend.
It didn’t take long, however, for the fairy-tale sheen to wear off my new living situation. Admittedly, I was saving a considerable amount of money not having to worry about rent and utilities, but the truth of the matter is that it created an intense emotional imbalance. I felt forever beholden to Jake and, as a result, I felt that I couldn’t refuse or refute him in anything. Worse still, living together completely abbreviated the get-to-know-you process that dating before marriage is designed to accomplish. The priority became maintaining the household peace instead of probing one another’s souls. Living together bred a thorough complacency that came to slowly rot our relationship from the inside-out.

One evening, for example, it became apparent that he and I did not share the same values regarding working motherhood. I was completely aghast at the things he said to me that night; I felt like I had gotten the wind knocked out of me. Who was this man that I was living with and how could this be his expectations for our – my – future?

But I didn’t say anything. I had class the next day, dinner to clean up, homework to do, and I just could not face such a serious conversation with no place to retreat to in case it went poorly. In a non-cohabitating situation, I probably would have broken up with him right then–it was that bad–or at least taken time to seriously reevaluate our relationship. But I did neither of those things. I told myself that I could maybe change his mind sometime in the future and left it there. We went to sleep that night as usual.

This situation played itself out over and over again. These silences grew into unacknowledged mutual grudges that lived ominously under the surface until a disruption in our lives brought them to the surface.

Read it all here.

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