Should I Change My Status to Domestic Partnership?

February 22, 2011 at 7:32 am | Posted in Relationship Woes | 11 Comments
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I was out to dinner recently with a couple girlfriends, catching up. We talked like girls do about our boyfriends — each of us at different but overlapping points in our relationships.  One of the girls was saying how her and her boyfriend have been fighting a lot lately.  We started to comfort her, saying it’s probably just a phase. Couples fight.  We’ve all been there. To which she of course asks the question, “you guys still fight over stupid stuff? Like what?”

The other girl and I start ranting about how our boyfriends are messy, or clean, except for that one thing they do that doesn’t make any sense.  That they go to bed too late or wake up too early, and in both instances, we wake up with them.  We argue about who is going to take out the garbage, maybe we’ll argue about the bills or who is going to walk the dog.

And when we took a second to breathe we realized that nothing we argued about had anything to do with our relationships.  The difference between our relationships and our friend’s was that we lived with our boyfriends.  It’s a blessing, my friend said, because it makes things easier, which I agreed with, but it doesn’t make everything easier.

Because we are no longer just “in a relationship.”  We have unknowingly entered into a domestic partnership.

So when I saw in the news that Facebook was adding two new options to their relationship status, I was intrigued.  I know that this decision was made to accommodate our LGBTQ friends, but doesn’t this status pertain to me too?  Yes, I am straight, but I am living with my partner, just the same as a same-sex couple would.

But the problem with the phrase “domestic partnership” is that it takes away from the intimacy of the relationship.  A domestic partnership to me sounds more like two people getting together for convenience, like Hillary and Bill Clinton. You can’t tell me there’s love in that relationship.  And our LGBTQ friends have just as much love in their relationships. But right now they don’t have the same rights to declare their love as straight people do, so we gotta do what we can to help them describe their relationships while our country catches up to our social reality.

So what does this all mean for straight people?  It means we shouldn’t forget that we have the right to express our love the way we want to.  That we shouldn’t forsake our relationships once they reach the level of domestic partnership.  That we should continue to love and not mistake domestic disagreements for relationship problems.

And hopefully, in the lifetime of a 20 something, we will see that we don’t really need all of these classifications related to sexual orientation.  That love is love — not some box you check off on a form.

Living with Roommates

July 22, 2010 at 7:35 am | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Life and Living | 9 Comments
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When I moved out of my parents’ house, I moved out alone, very intentionally. I’d been through the roommate situation before, and didn’t need to experience it again.

My first exposure to living with roommates was when I was 12. I went to sleep-away camp and had about 7 bunkmates.  The following years that number would increase to 20 or so girls per bunk.  We each had our own bed and dresser and shared a bathroom that had about three stalls.  This would be my only exposure to living in the same room with people I didn’t know beforehand, and I honestly can’t remember any particular quirks that would make me not interested in living with roommates later on in life.

I wouldn’t have roommates again until college, and lucky for me, my best friend followed me to college so I didn’t have to deal with some of the nightmares I heard from others who were assigned a random roommate.  I know a lot of people say you should never live with your best friend because you will end up enemies.  I totally disagree with that. If you can’t live with your best friend, then how real is the friendship?  We got along great and were great roommates.  Unfortunately, she became very homesick and only lasted at the school for a year.  There was still plenty of time for me to find a roommate for the following year.

I ended up moving in with one of my new best friends.  We got a really small room in the building of our choice and we made it work.  We never had any real roommate drama, but we had friendship drama that pulled us apart midyear.  I left the room and moved in with another best friend and was very happy there. But guess what? She left me at school too!   I  seriously never had a roommate last longer than a year for one reason or another.

When it was time to move off campus, I got an apartment with three of my close girlfriends. We each had our own room but often could be found hanging out together in the living room.  As long as the common rooms were kept clean, everyone was happy.  There was only one occasion where roommate drama made living uncomfortable but it was enough to make home not feel like home for a while.

That’s the biggest problem I have with roommates. If there is roommate drama, home doesn’t feel like home. I never want to dread coming home, if I can avoid it.

When I moved out, I wanted it to be on my terms. I didn’t want to have to compromise my happiness to meet anyone’s needs. My needs were complicated enough.  Of course, I realize this can’t last forever, unless I want to become an old maid.  But for now, I’m happy to let friends crash at my place from time to time. I’d never let a good friend go homeless, but realistically, the one person I’d want to live with is the boyfriend (more on that to come…)

Have you ever had a crappy roommate? I’d love to hear your story!

Cost of Freedom: $1150 a Month, Utilities Included

April 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Posted in Life and Living | 4 Comments
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I always imagined that after college I would get an editorial job and an apartment in the city.  It’s part of the reason I left New York for college — I always knew I’d be back.  I graduated college early and started looking for a job quickly.  There was no way I was going to come back home after living on my own for three years.  But when I got a great offer for an entry-level communications job in the suburbs just ten minutes away from my parents’ place, I knew I had to take it.  The only problem was that the job was with a non-profit, meaning there was no way I could afford to move out right away.

It wasn’t until I started my second job that I could afford to move out, and I wanted to do it quick.  I was moving alone, with the added hurdle of bringing a big dog with me, which meant that it was going to cost me once I found a place – if I even could find a place.  I ended up going through a realtor, looked at one apartment, and was moving in within a week.

I live in a third floor walkup attic apartment just outside of New York City.  I can walk to the train in less than two minutes.  I have a yard, and lots of space.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some serious downfalls.  Parking is a game when dealing with alternate side rules and a highly populated area, my electrical outlet in my bathroom only works when the lights are off (imagine trying to blow dry your hair in the dark), when it’s too humid, the light in the kitchen won’t go on, the hot water is sporadic depending on when other residents are showering, and in the summertime it gets absurdly hot.  I’ve learned to live with these quirks, mainly because I didn’t expect to live here this long.    I thought two years tops.  I never even painted.  I’ve been here for over three years and will be here at least through the summer, though it really seems like you never know. It’s not rare to find me on Craigslist looking at apartments.

My living situation is very Friends-esque.  My boyfriend lives a few blocks away, another good friend lives around the corner, and another set of close friends lives about 5 minutes away driving.  We also live blocks away from some pretty chill bars, so going out is easy.

You always deal with a lot of bullshit when you live on your own, and I hope I never have to boomerang home again.  I know a lot of people my age are either back at home or still at home.  Some people may say you throw your money away when you rent, but for me, I’d say it’s worth the money to keep my sanity.

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