I went for a long walk on the beach with my dear friend Alex* recently, and during a conversation about relationships -- inspiration struck! (Inspiration always strikes when I go to the beach!)
Alex wanted to contribute to The Happy Talent... but anonymously. So without further ado, here is The Happy Talent's first guest post of 2017!
Hi there! Long time reader, first time contributor!
I've been reading about adult playfulness and leisure skill development on The Happy Talent for a while now -- and it got me thinking about how dating a guy who lives with his parents actually made me more playful.
It also made me a little more careful about spending money. It also made me more... of a feminist?
So, yes, we're all aware of the downsides of dating someone who lives at home -- no private time. No sexy time. Having to awkwardly interact with the parents all the time. Having to meet the parents way before you'd ever meet anyone's parents normally. But there are some redeeming qualities.
1. It made me more active and playful!
As James Emry wrote in How to be Happy, Even When You're Programmed NOT To Be, humans have an instinct for idleness.
You must confront the fact that you are lazy.
Even or especially in a new relationship, it's easy to want to stay in bed all day cuddling.
It's easy to want to "Netflix and Chill," even though that's an activity that's totally boring and never took anyone's breath away.
But would you rather have a weekend that looked like this:
From: The Cut
Or one that looked like this:
When I first started dating Andre, the only way to get any privacy (he had parents; I had housemates) was to go somewhere and do something.
While my friends were cleaning their houses or watching the new season of House of Cards in their apartments, Andre and I were at the beach. Neither of us bothered to check the weather before we went, because we just wanted to get some alone time.
When we arrived, we found that it was what many people would think a "horrible" day at the beach. It was cloudy. Windy. Chilly. But we bundled up (as I once read on The Happy Talent, "There is no such thing as 'too cold.' There is only 'dressed inappropriately for the weather") and trekked down the bluffs to the beach.
After a rogue wave nearly dragged me out to sea (I'm exaggerating, but only a little), we found ourselves cuddling in a little cove for hours, just the two of us. We had the whole beach to ourselves as we kissed, cuddled, talked, and laughed till it hurt.
We didn't need a TV -- we had the ocean waves, the snowy plovers, and the storm to entertain us. And, of course, our incredible rapport and wit.
If he'd had his own place, we probably would have checked the weather... and then decided to hold off on going to the beach till the weather improved. Instead, we had one of the most epic afternoons anyone's ever had.
I guess Eva is right -- Everything Is ALWAYS Worth It.
2. He's not paying rent -- so all his money goes into savings (or fun)!
In the now, it totally kind of sucks dating someone who lives at home. You can't cook naked together. You can't stay up late making music (or love). You can't even really sleep over. Like, I definitely don't want to sleep over with him and his parents... and I don't necessarily want them knowing every time he sleeps over with me.
If you can think about the long-term -- or even just ahead to the weekend -- all of this guy's earnings go straight into savings. He's not spending hundreds (or, in the case of the San Francisco Bay Area, thousands) of dollars per month just on his apartment.
That means that he's saving for retirement. Or getting ready to pay a mortgage. Or even just loaded with more disposable income than he would have otherwise.
And, as we all know, money can absolutely buy happiness -- if you spend it on fun experiences. We also know that couples that play together, stay together. Which means you're going to spend your weekends doing this:
Or, at the very least, he's "being responsible" now for a better tomorrow.
That's kind of hot, right?
3. He has a pool/hot tub/washer/dryer/appliances/grown-up things.
He's clearly not exactly a grown-up... but he has access to lots of grown-up things. Like hot tubs, and an "in-unit" washer and dryer.
Hell, he might not even be doing his laundry. Which means more time for fun, now... but potentially less, later. Remember: the way he treats his mom is the way he's going to treat you.
Regardless... it's hard to say no to a hot tub.
4. Not every woman wants a breadwinner -- some of us are looking for a nice stay-at-home dad to support our careers.
From an evolutionary perspective, men are selected for their ability to provide. Sure, living at home may imply that he's not exactly a resource-provider... but we're hardly living in the cave man era, anymore.
Some women want a stay-at-home dad to support them in their career. I know tons of women who busted their asses for years to get where they are... and aren't sure they'll ever want to give that up. A stay-at-home dad is the answer to their problem.
Besides, the way things are going, most women may be out-earning their husbands in the near future. In 2015, 38% of American wives made more money than their husbands. And it takes a special couple to be happy with this arrangement.
In 2013, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business published a paper that looked at 4,000 married couples in America. It found that once a woman started to earn more than her husband, divorce rates increased. Surprisingly, whether the wife earns a little bit more or a lot more doesn't actually make much of a difference.
Not only does it take a special woman -- it takes a special family. In my experience, most parents don't want their daughter dating a broke dude, and they'll almost certainly give her a hard time about it.
5. At least he gets along with his family???
Presumably, if he's living with them, he gets along with his family and is decently okay to live with.
And, again -- he'll end up treating you like he treats his family. So you'll have plenty of chances to gauge the dynamic there and decide if that's what you really want.
6. He doesn't have a lease -- taking off pressure and making things easier when you decide to move in together.
Lots of couples make the decision to move in together when one of their leases is up...
Which forces lots of relationships to end (or commit) preemptively.
Instead of letting chance dictate when you to take the next step, you have total freedom to decide when you're ready.
You know -- assuming someone who lives in his childhood bedroom is interested in any kind of commitment.
(Back to Eva)
Thanks again, Alex, for this amazing, funny, and informative post! I have nothing else to add, other than this obligatory throwback, for your entertainment:
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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