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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    6,479

    Default "Alternative" living arrangements?

    I'm in love with a boy. Been in love with him for five+ years now, so it doesn't seem to be a passing fancy.

    The thing is....we could never live together. NEVER EVER live together.

    I grew up in a 200 year old farmhouse with a minimum of three dogs, six cats, and assorted other animals. Cleaning when we felt like it.

    He grew up with a crazy OCD mother who always strived for the spotless Martha Stewart house, where a spot on a window could lead to a crying fit and eight hours of cleaning. One dog, who went to a weekly grooming appt. He has inherited some of her tendencies.

    We've talked about our future together, and apart from having completely different tastes in decorating (I like cute and country, he likes clean and modern) and house styles, he would be driven insane by my messiness. Not that I'm rolling in dirt, but stuff tends to collect on countertops and whatnot. NORMAL people don't think it's a big deal, OCD people think it's a disaster.

    What we've decided is that I will have my big farmhouse, and he will have his garage with a living space above. (Car buff, he's talking about a 4-6 car garage, not a shed out back.) He would be in the house a lot, obviously, with his "clean" space to retreat to.

    Anyone have something similar? I LOVE this boy, and can't see discarding our whole relationship just because we can't co-habit the same space.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2003
    Posts
    1,777

    Default

    You find the middle ground and get over it.
    "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2007
    Posts
    3,928

    Default

    I worked for a woman who had a "commuter relationship" with a man--they would visit each other every few weeks or whatever (they lived very far apart; when they were in the same city they visited much more frequently but still lived separately) and were committed to each other, but were both really difficult people and very particular about their spaces so they were happier being apart. It worked for them for like 20 years.

    Not my cup of tea but I tend to think you should do whatever makes you happy as long as no one's getting hurt.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 7, 2009
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    150

    Default

    Sounds like you have come up with an arrangement that will work for both of you! Much better than trying to force living together if it won't work.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,420

    Default

    Whatever the two of you agree on is just fine. Lots of people have different arrangements, and as long as it works for the two of you then it's your business. However, I suggest that if you know a real buttinsky or other snoopy person that you don't tell them, because people will always stick their nose into other people's business. You might come up with some phrases use on occasions when someone else thinks they have the right to comment on your living arrangements.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2002
    Location
    North Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,092

    Default

    Sounds like me and my husband....weve been together 10 years, living together nearly 9 of those...and gradually he has given up trying to make me less messy... :-). He is still a little bit OCD but nowhere near what he was when we got together. I remember seeing his house for the first time and thinking uh-oh.... Lol!!

    On the other hand i know a married couple who absolutely CANNOT live together. They have been married 40+ years and live in their own houses lol. Works for them!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2006
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    4,016

    Default

    I find this a very interesting topic, as I see something like this in my future...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    4,272

    Default

    I just saw an article a few weeks ago about a retired couple, married recently, who managed this very cleverly. (Wish I could find the article, but can't this minute...) I believe it was in New England...

    She had a very nice older home, and there was, I believe, a large garage across the driveway. They did a renovation so that they built an arch or a bridge over the driveway, and fixed up and added to the garage to create a house that was his ideal - they had a shared living area in the larger home, and she had the rest of her place to herself. I think she had lots of antiques, he was an artist, etc. It just seemed perfect. Forwarded it to my ex SO, who could never dig himself out of his place - a 1100 sq ft falling apart "man"cave that he kept promising he'd do something about.

    And I've wondered about other similar couples - so many of us older singles who have our own homes, and don't want to necessarily give one up, or all of our belongings for the other's.

    I'll bet you two could really make something like this work. If I come across the link later on, will forward it along.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2009
    Location
    a little north of Columbus GA
    Posts
    1,911

    Default

    There are house floor plans that have _two_ master suites for a reason!

    A separate space that's all your own sounds wonderful.

    But I'd probably just hire a housekeeper to keep the peace.
    --
    Wendy
    ... and Patrick



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,695

    Default

    I know of a couple that lived in a duplex, each one in one side, the kids shared both houses, with different rules in each.
    Worked for them.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York
    Posts
    4,062

    Default

    Yes, you should do whatever works for you.

    Having said that, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE WHAT A BIG ISSUE THIS IS!

    My husband and I sound like you and your SO; and I would say it has taken us a good 18 years to work the issue out, and the fights during those 18 years were pretty. darn. bad. And could have led -- seriously -- to divorce, except we had kids and we hung in there. (We've been married 22 years).

    The cleaning of course wasn't the issue -- if it was, it would be easy to find a compromise. For him, a clean house meant he was cared for, because that's how his mother expressed her love for him. So -- if the house was messy, it meant I didn't love him, and that is a big thing emotionally.

    There is a reason you find each other appealing -- you balance each other, and give each other what you lack. But after the "honeymoon" wears off, the fact that you are opposites pulls you apart.

    Not to say you shouldn't get married. In the end, I am MUCH neater and he is a bit messier.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 7, 2005
    Location
    Lancaster, PA
    Posts
    4,833

    Default

    I read a magazine or newspaper article within the last few months about a couple who lived in a similar manner (I believe they had adjoining apartments). Seems like it could work out if it suits both parties.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Location
    Landrum, SC
    Posts
    1,755

    Default

    My dad and his SO have had a very happy and loving 23 years together... 20 of those spent three houses apart on the same block and the last three across the state from each other. Each had a "conventional" marriage/living arrangements before and both agreed wholeheartedly to doing it this way in this second phase of life.

    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2006
    Posts
    2,896

    Default

    I think that you could make this type of situation work...I know lots of couples who do things a little differently to keep the relationship working. So if you are comfortable with it, and he is as well, then I say go for it.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2010
    Location
    yonder a bit, GA
    Posts
    3,379

    Default

    Mmmm I think I would really love something unconventional like that.

    My idea of a dream home? Historic. Sqiuggly hand blown glass windows, drafty but hey. Wide panel heart pine floorboards (excuse me while I just daydream about that alone...) Art. And real art, not those reprint posters framed. Not a lot of nicknacks, but lots of framed photos on walls. Tamed down Farmhouse chic.

    It seems whenever we pick out furniture or even just thinking about stuff for our future house, i end up cringing at his slouchy mud colored man cave essentials and he seems aghasted at my insistence of not practical old drafty houses. I want a white Farmhouse. He never wants to live in a white house ever again.
    Well, damn. Lol!
    Oh and also, our 72" projection tv is about to die, and i know there's gonna be an argument about the replacement. He thinks our tv is too big. He wants to put back his 30"er. I'm telling him.... No, he doesn't! I admit, our tv is HUGE... But awesome!! He just doesn't realize how much he's gotten used to it, especially for playing video games, which he's doing right now, and loving it. Silly boy.

    I think we're just going to have to get a place big enough for the both of us. And I'll pony up with the price difference between the biggest tv HE thinks we need, and the size I want. And if I'm going to get my old property, i better dern well learn how to do repairs and upkeep, because MrB ain't gonna want to deal with it!

    (Seriously, aren't other people's relationships all so bizarre??)
    Last edited by bits619; Dec. 26, 2011 at 07:21 PM. Reason: Tv
    (A decidedly unhorsey) MrB knocks over a feed bucket at the tack shop and mutters, "Oh crap. I failed the stadium jumping phase."
    (he does listen!)



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2007
    Location
    Hollowed out volcano in the South Pacific.
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    11,125

    Default

    I remember a news show (60 Minutes or something) did a story on those who do it and it seems like it works quite well. It's certainly something I would be open to as I love my space and it makes ending things a lot less dramatic and complicated if the time comes.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have,
    at this moment, been thrown up from below!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    6,479

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by littleum View Post
    You find the middle ground and get over it.
    Eh, I don't want either of us to have to sacrifice and be unhappy; that never works out later on in the relationship.

    Quote Originally Posted by CosMonster View Post
    I worked for a woman who had a "commuter relationship" with a man--they would visit each other every few weeks

    Not my cup of tea but I tend to think you should do whatever makes you happy as long as no one's getting hurt.
    I'm way too needy to be able to deal with a long-term long-distance relationship...but 500ft out the back door is a little different.

    Quote Originally Posted by wsmoak View Post

    But I'd probably just hire a housekeeper to keep the peace.
    It's funny, that did come up in our discussions! We're both on career paths that will allow for that sort of thing, so it's definitely an option.

    He has even agreed to give up his modern "cookie-cutter" home and live in my dream farmhouse, provided that it is fully insulated, weather-proofed, and central-aired before he even steps through the door.

    Quote Originally Posted by SMF11 View Post
    Yes, you should do whatever works for you.

    Having said that, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE WHAT A BIG ISSUE THIS IS!

    There is a reason you find each other appealing -- you balance each other, and give each other what you lack. But after the "honeymoon" wears off, the fact that you are opposites pulls you apart.
    I totally see what you're saying: luckily, he thinks his mother's version of "clean" is just as crazy as I do. But he can't fight his natural OCD tendencies, which I just don't share. As an example: I'm a "leave the dishes in the sink" sorta person. Not for weeks , but if he's over to hang out, and I cook dinner, I just toss the dishes in the sink afterwards while we continue on, maximizing our time together. I figure I'll just wash them when he's gone; he sits there and frets about them. I tease him about it, he knows it's ridiculous, and it's certainly never gotten even remotely close to causing an argument. It's just that it's ingrained in him that if he doesn't immediately wash (and dry! And put away! In the exact right spot!) those dishes that he will find his mother sobbing in the middle of the floor.

    I've slowly been introducing him to a more relaxed way of life. His mother is a brilliant person, a professor, and truly lovely, but she does have her quirks!




    Glad "alternative" arrangements aren't as unusual as one would think. I can totally see spending the rest of my life with him: just with our own separate spaces. It's not like he'd get to come inside just for dinner and then I'd kick him back out to his apartment. MOST of his time will be spent in the house, with the apartment as an escape area. (I'll have the barn, and the ponies.) I think it could work out quite nicely. We have similar desires in terms of location/amount of land, so that's luckily not a sticking point!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post
    I remember a news show (60 Minutes or something) did a story on those who do it and it seems like it works quite well. It's certainly something I would be open to as I love my space and it makes ending things a lot less dramatic and complicated if the time comes.
    Well, in my particular scenario, we'll own the property together. But yes, definitely easier to end things if necessary, if both parties own their own spaces.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 2007
    Posts
    961

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    Our house is big enough we can cohabitate without killing each other. Seperate bathrooms, two big TV's-one upstairs and one downstairs. Another bedroom across the hall when the bed is too small for my flailing when I sleep and his snoring/plantar fascitis brace etc.

    I would be interested in buying a duplex if it was on a farm and make that work.
    "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2008
    Posts
    350

    Default

    I'm living the tail end of it, and honestly, it's tough.
    I sold my place because he obviously wouldn't leave his. I tried for 4 years to fit in and make it mine too, but failed. It's everything I dislike, a big cold sterile feeling 60's modern box on a city lot. Needs repairs and has had zero redecrorating, so you'd better like orange shag! And stuffed full of his parents stuff they are "storing" there. I love my privacy, love having my horses at home and love houses with lots of sunlight and big windows. I don't like clutter, and felt embarrassed to invite people to his place since no matter how much I tidied, it was full of clutter! I didn't ever feel really at home there.
    I just wanted my hobby farm back! Or at least a compromise place we could both be happy in. I went through a while of feeling very guilty for not appreciating what I had, then finally just sucked it up and moved 2 provinces away, and got a great paying job in order to buy that farm I want. Yes, very selfish, but I'm happy to feel like I'm on the right path again.

    It's been almost a year, and I miss him horribly, but obviously if he couldn't move across town he won't be moving across county not sure where it can go from here, would love to think we'll eventually compromise but not holding my breath! It's nuts, previously I would have thought someone was crazy for being in a relationship with someone they couldn't live with, now, well, that's me and I'm making the best of it.



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