I’m Considering Living Happily Married Under Two Separate Roofs
Like many young women, I often find myself thinking about marriage, complete with the white picket fence and other cliches that you see in chick flicks. However, while dreaming of the perfect life with my husband, I often wonder if it's even in my destiny to be married and enjoy my happily ever after under one roof with someone else.
I've always liked being to myself in my own space, doing my own thing. I'd get irritated when anyone (including my parents) would just come casually into to my room to chit chat if I wasn't in the mood or if my friends would want to hang out in my house after school when I'd much rather go home, eat snacks and watch The Tyra Banks Show.
As a small child, I wouldn't even ask for help with my homework from anyone; I'd much rather figure it out by myself and enjoy the one part of the day that I got to spend alone. I've never even shared a dorm room with someone in college for goodness sakes. For me, personal space has always been a must.
These feelings intensified, as I got older, especially in my last relationship. Though we did not live together, being under the same roof for an extended amount of time (usually just a few days to a few weeks) led to utter disaster, especially when it was my space that we were sharing. Around the third day of our very temporary cohabitation, I'd become irritated by everything he did. His messy habits, loud snoring, bad taste in television programming, and anything else he did was more than enough to take me over the edge.
Years into this relationship, as we began to spend more time together under one roof, I began to question if the big house with the white picket fence and beautiful front yard is something that I realistically wanted and could handle. Or did I truly just like the idea of it? Don't judge me, but there have been times that I've cried, not because of my significant other getting on my nerves (if I even had one left at this point), but because I didn't understand or could even control feeling the way I did. How could I love someone and not stand being around them? If this is what comes along with marriage, it was time for me to reconsider.
Luckily for me, I'm not alone for once. There are millions of people that are in healthy, functioning Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships. A LAT relationship is one in which couples in long-term relationships or married choose to live separately. It's very different from a long-distance relationship for the simple fact that these couples can live miles or blocks away from one another, or sometimes even in the same apartment buildings. They spend time together when they can (usually evenings and weekends), but prefer to never live under one roof. After reading the New York Times article Living Apart Together last week, which was the topic of conversation amongst my colleagues, I began to dip deeper into this concept.
For obvious reasons, this sort of lifestyle is more suitable for couples who don't have young children involved (though it happens), such as younger couples in serious relationships planning to get married one day, and older couples who have older children from past marriages and are pretty much set in their ways. It's now being seen in the U.S. primarily amongst young couples in their 20s and 30s, and couples age 55+, but has been a growing phenomenon in countries such as Britain, Sweden, and Canada for decades now.
I've watched my own mother and her boyfriend live a LAT lifestyle and never once considered it as an option for myself. She has been engaged in the past, but the tension that formed living under one roof was too much to bear and caused a major riff in the relationship. There are many reasons why LAT couples prefer this type of relationship and wouldn't change it unless it was absolutely necessary:
- The dynamics of a LAT relationship keeps the spontaneity in the relationship and the boredom out.
- More effort is usually put into things such as date nights because of the time that couple spend apart.
- Trivial arguments that sometimes may occur living under one roof leading to big blow ups don't occur.
- The passion in the relationship is continuously brewing naturally because of personal space.
Of course for any list of pros, there's a list of cons to accompany it. LAT couples also recognize that their choice of lifestyle lacks some things that would be found in a traditional cohabitation or a one-roof marriage:
- Trust is tested on a whole other level. Even though your significant other can cheat on you living in the same household, that space may give someone with underlying commitment issues even more free range to cheat.
- Living apart doesn't allow for the level of intimacy that typically exists in a traditional relationship. If you're having nightmare or had a bad day at work on a day away from you're partner, you're pretty much out of luck until you guys see each other again.
- If you care about not being the status quo, how others view your relationship may bother you.
Though I hope that with time I'll be able to feel comfortable with the idea of sharing a space with my partner and/or husband, I accept the fact that I may not be about that life. It's refreshing to know that there are alternatives for people much like myself. Of course, I could just suck it up and just go by what society tells us to do, but in all honestly, I feel every situation deserves its own solution; the solution to my desperate need of personal space possibly being a LAT relationship.
What are your personal feelings towards LAT relationships? Are they a recipe for disaster? Or is the traditional idea of marriage and relationships not made for everyone?
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
In the crazy world of dating, so much attention is placed on the behavior during actual dates. Whether it is choosing the right outfit or making a good first impression, the focus tends to center on the in-person time spent together. But something that often gets overlooked is the significance of "between date behavior (BDB)." BDB is not just generic good morning text messages (that can be sent to 10 women in one minute), but rather text check-ins during the day and even nightly phone calls. This is the time when two people are apart but still find time for connection.
It is during these in-between moments that the foundation of a truly meaningful relationship is often built. A glaring example of what happens when there isn’t BDB is the early relationship between Carrie and Big from Sex and the City. At the beginning of the series, she was so hyper-focused on the time she spent together that she ignored that Big wasn’t calling or texting her often between dates. Instead, he would reach out and send cars based on his convenience… and not hers.
When it comes to dating, don’t be Carrie!
BDB in Dating
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Please realize that 80-90% of your time will NOT be with your partner while seriously dating, so the BDB will also be a significant part of your relationship. Here are some other reasons why what happens when you're not together is just as, if not more, significant than the hours spent face-to-face…
One of the key factors that makes BDB so crucial is authenticity. When we are with someone on a date, it is easy to put on a front (show one’s representative), showcasing our best qualities and concealing our flaws. But it is in our day-to-day interactions, the text messages and phone calls, that our true selves shine through.
Consistency in behavior is an indicator of authenticity. And authenticity builds trust. And trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship.
Speaking of trust, it is one of the foundations of a successful relationship. Building it doesn't happen in a single evening. It's the consistency in behavior between dates that solidifies trust. When your person consistently communicates, shows interest, and keeps it respectful in the moments between your dates, it is reassuring that your potential partner is seriously interested and invested in the relationship.
Also, in between dates, the channels of communication become lifelines that connect two people and nurture emotional intimacy. How you communicate and what you choose to communicate about can significantly impact a growing relationship. Consistent, thoughtful messages and meaningful conversations like sharing your thoughts, dreams, and vulnerabilities can help create a strong emotional bond. Being supportive and understanding during difficult moments can bring you closer together.
While the time spent on a date is super important, the BDB, I would argue, should not be slept on. It's the glue that holds the connection together, builds trust, and sets the stage for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. So, the next time you find yourself waiting for that next date, remember that the journey between those dates is just as significant, if not more so, in the grand scheme of building a meaningful connection.
Hope this helps!
Coach Anwar is a certified dating and relationship coach who has 13 years of experience helping Black and brown women date with strategy, meet relationship-ready men, and get into the best relationship of their lives.
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