A Facebook discussion was the impetus for this post (a RESPECTFUL one, but still, I was a bit annoyed, hence, blogpost).
An article came out talking about what is apparently some sort of trend now – people in relationships that live apart. The article actually made good points for all sides considered, and I’d link to it, but knowing the Internet as I do, the link would go dead in six months and I’d get “I can’t find the article” emails from hell to breakfast. So, just trust me, this is a thing now.
So I’ll say this: I’ve done everything but divorce. I’m going to give you a bit of background to try and explain my reasoning for my opinions.
A) I followed boyfriend #1 from Michigan to Colorado. We lived together for 2.5 years, then got married and were together for 2.5 years before he died.
B) A few years later, I became involved with The Ex. We lived apart. For eleven years. It was AWESOME. He had his house, I had mine, we got together on weekends and the occasional day during the week, took vacations together, and other than that we had our own space and lives. I LOVED it.
So, let me give you Dag’s advice on relationships 101, based on MY personal experience (and you can ignore anything you don’t like, hey it’s your life, after all).
1) Do NOT live with a man without marrying him (or at least having legal documents drawn up).
When my husband died, I rapidly discovered that, had I not been married, his family could have rushed in, taken anything I could not clearly prove was mine, and taken it. Marriage gives right of survivorship. If it was his, it was mine, because I was his wife. That also gave me say over his funeral, etc. DO NOT underestimate this. After he died I heard HORROR stories of women who lived with men for YEARS who were living in a house in his name, and his family, who were all sweetness and light when he was alive, threw them to the curb before they’d even buried the guy. Also, you get NO SAY in medical care if you’re “the girlfriend”. As a wife, you’re the last word. WORD TO THE WISE: if you’re committed to the point you want your significant other to make medical decisions for you and you’re not married, get papers drawn up. RIGHT NOW.
2) Living apart and being committed is NOT less of a commitment than most married people have.
I had an AWESOME eleven-year relationship with a man where he had his house, I had mine, and we saw each other on weekends and occasionally during the week. It rocked. We were both independent people who liked our spaces a certain way and we enjoyed our relationship the way it was. Had we lived together, I’d have killed him. He was perfectly fine with dishes in the sink; not me. I would have lost it. Daily. Also, I had birds, and subsequently a cat, and he was not a “pet person”. He liked my feathered and furry children in the context he could play with them but not have to deal with the care and feeding of them. So this worked out GREAT.
It’s a simple risk/reward formula. If something happens to your significant other, and you have no papers drawn up, and you’re not married, you are at the mercy of his family. This is only something you two can decide and work out, but I beg you to consider it.
Legal considerations aside (and I’m not going into moral considerations, because, frankly, I don’t care) my bottom line is this: if you’re dating, living together, married, polyamorous, or whatever you are or want to be, protect yourselves legally.
I don’t care who (or how many who’s) you love, protect all of yourselves and for fuck’s sake get a lawyer and work it out.
And tell everyone else to get the fuck out of your relationship. It’s no one’s business if you love one person or ten.
Hell, people, this is 2014. Let people love who they love. Married, single, gay, straight, polyamorous, who cares? Love is always a good thing. There should’t be any rules or qualifiers on that.