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Good Walls Make Good Marriages

Here's something I've been pondering lately, on account of various different things going on in my life (especially conversations with annikusrex and sytharin while in Seattle). What kinds of living conditions are best for relationships? The answer is certain to vary, but a teasingly incredulous blog post making fun of tiny house dwellers covers some of the bases.

Personally, I just don't think I could live in such a small space with a partner, as evidenced by how challenging it has been to cohabitate with scrottie either in his apartment in Phoenix (although I felt like that particular part went fairly well under the circumstances) or in my Texas living arrangements. There are just times when it is critical to be able to close a door or go upstairs or what-have-you, especially when one person is up late and another person is up early. Introverts need alone time.

My current apartment in Lincoln is expensive for my salary, but so far, it has felt totally worth it. scrottie has been commenting on how I've arranged the use of space, mostly to point out that I could have a bike room instead of a dining room, but I've been happy with how I've set things up. I actually like to hang out in the living room, for instance, unlike in the Villa Maria house. I also like having a spare bedroom that can serve as an erg room or guest room or private office for S. I suspect the square footage of the apartment is similar to the square footage of the Villa Maria house, but it is arranged WAY better.

I'm nervous about living arrangements in Berkeley, which I know I've mentioned before, but it's an ongoing concern still. It's not uncommon for people to have roommates, as in, people who share the same room, which I remember as being hard for the two years I had roommates back in college. What happens if/when S comes to visit? Do we flee to the hills and camp out in a tent? Should he get a cheap RV to park somewhere?

What do you think about the matter? How much personal quiet space do you feel like you need? How do you create that space? What happens when that need isn't addressed?


( 9 remarks — Remark )
Jul. 17th, 2015 11:56 pm (UTC)
We bought a three-bedroom house to solve the problem. In addition to the master bedroom, we have his-and-hers studies. It's not so much quiet space, so much as space we can do whatever we want with.

It also means that the common space in the house is, in fact, common space, so we don't have to worry about personal stuff piling up the living room. As we learned from a previous small apartment, this prevents a host of conflicts from arising.
Jul. 18th, 2015 12:09 am (UTC)
I cannot speak strongly enough against having an in-room roommate. At this stage of both your life and your career, it is essential to have a space that is not shared with anyone else, where there is a door that can be closed against housemates, against common space, a room of one's own is an absolute must. The presence of someone in your quiet space all the time erodes the ability to relax and focus - and I think you need a lot of relaxing, focusing downtime.

Also, having to always figure out how to find intimate alone time with one's visiting partner is corrosive to the bond of a relationship, and needlessly stressful. It's something to be dealt with under duress, but if there is any way you can avoid it, do so.

For me, I need space from my partner but not too much. A 400 square foot one-bedroom apartment was too small for us but only because there was no room for either of us to have office space. We could easily have made it work in a two-bedroom apartment. Currently we have each taken over one bedroom of our three bedroom condo but I rarely work in my office because it gets to feeling a bit lonely when we're each in our own office. I usually work and relax in the living room where I can easily call up the open staircase and Stuart passes me when he goes to refill his water glass in the kitchen. He's an introvert but doesn't need to be walled off from me as long as I respect his requests for quiet time. I'm an extrovert who needs to check in with my partner from time to time when we're both home and too much interior space in a dwelling makes me feel antsy and unmoored from him.

Edited at 2015-07-18 12:14 am (UTC)
Jul. 18th, 2015 03:40 am (UTC)
What she said.
Jul. 20th, 2015 05:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, I won't go the in-room roommate route unless I see absolutely no other way around it!

I like your description of your arrangement with Stuart. So far, the arrangement of space in Sour Milk House has been working similarly well for myself and S - a mixture of quiet pockets and social spaces.
Jul. 18th, 2015 12:21 am (UTC)
All. the. quiet.

We have 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3/4 of an acre, a hut, and a barn.

We prefer to leave each other alone.
We can talk, or not talk, for hours.
Jul. 18th, 2015 03:40 am (UTC)
That last part sounds like life here.
Jul. 20th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
I hope I manage to finagle a visit sooner rather than later, as it has sounded like you guys have great space for fun and interesting periodic guests. I also really want to check out the Mad Scientist Hut. *grin*

S and I are still working out how to make our talking and not talking work well for both of us...BUT that negotiation has felt much more comfortable for me in the current city and place than it ever felt in Texas.
Jul. 18th, 2015 03:35 am (UTC)
Jul. 20th, 2015 08:32 pm (UTC)
When we were talking about spending time RV-ing, Ted kept saying that our time overseas convinced him that we could manage together in a small space. Given that we were in 2-3 bedroom flats, i'm still not quite sure where the logic is there. I do think it's probable we could do itnow; we don't seem to need separate space as much as we used to, and I put that down to two changes in habits: I don't talk to him much while he's on the computer (especially when he's doing work-workm which these days he mostly does in the dining room that's part of one big room wiht our living area) and he asks if it's OK before he turns on the TV when I'm sitting there reading. In other words, we don't introduce noise to each other's quiet time without checking first.

But even if they had the same habit, I think I'd have a much harder time sharing a small space with someone I wasn't that close to.
( 9 remarks — Remark )

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